Discover Galapagos - A travel guide to Galapagos cruises, tours, boats and yacht charters

Galapagos Islands tours - fun for the whole family!

A travel guide to Galapagos tours, boats, cruises & yacht charters

Galapagos Islands Pre-trip Planning

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best time to book my Galapagos vacation? How will I find a Galapagos hotel? What should I bring for my Galapagos island tours? These are common questions because the Galapagos is such a unique destination, and travelers have many inquiries about scheduling a vacation here.

We’ve assembled a list of the most frequently asked questions about our Galapagos island tours and listed them below. We’ve included most of the information you’ll need to get started planning your Galapagos vacation. From questions about the weather to making travel arrangements, we’ve been helping people have extraordinary experiences in the Galapagos archipelago for more than 30 years and we can’t wait to help you get here as well!

Learn more about how much your trip will cost and how to arrange a Galapagos hotel for your stay. If you don’t see the answers you’re looking for, please contact us today. In the last three decades, we’ve seen just about everything so we can help you with any specific questions you may have.

Q: Where are the Galapagos Islands?

A: The Galapagos Islands (or Archipelago de Colon) is a Province of Ecuador located 500 miles (800 kilometers) west of the Ecuadorian coast. They lie directly on the equator.

Q: What is the climate like?

A: As the Galapagos Islands lie directly on the equator, you can expect it to be warm for most of the year. The hottest season is generally from January to April with average temperatures ranging from a low of 70 to a high of 84 F (22 - 31 C). It is during this period that you may expect afternoon thundershowers. During a severe El Nino, you can expect rain or thundershowers at any time. From April to December is considered the "cool" (and dry) season with average temperatures ranging from a low of 68 to a high of 82 F (19 – 27 C). During this time of year you may encounter "garua" (misty rain) early in the morning and in the highlands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal.

Q: When is the best time to travel to the Galapagos Islands?

A: Anytime is a good time! During the "hot" season with it's frequent afternoon rain showers the islands are generally much greener and the land birds most active. It is also during this period that the ocean temperature is warmer for swimming and snorkeling.  During the "cool" season the land birds and sea mammals are most active. This is the best time for observing courtship displays in the sea birds. No matter what time of year you visit the islands, you will always find the wildlife activity to be absolutely amazing!

Q: How do we get there?

A: From North America there are daily flights via Miami and Houston to Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Q: Can you arrange our air to Ecuador?

A: We do not arrange any international air from North to South America. We recommend that you check for these flights directly with Continental or American airlines.

Q: How do we get to the Galapagos Islands from Quito and Guayaquil?

A: Flights to Galapagos depart daily from both Quito and Guayaquil. We will arrange the Galapagos flight for you. The owners of the boats in Galapagos block book spaces on these flights to ensure our passengers are on the flight to meet the boat. You will fly to Galapagos in the morning of first day of the cruise and return to the mainland in the afternoon of the last day of the cruise.

Q: May we fly to Galapagos from Quito and just back to Guayaquil (or vice versa)?

A: Yes, we would be able to arrange that for you.

Q: Are all your prices in US dollars?

A: All of our rates are quoted in US dollars.

Q: When do we have to pay?

A: A 20% deposit is required at the time you decide to confirm your reservation and the balance is due 60 days before departure (with a few exceptions).

Q: What form of payment do you accept?

A: We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Payment may also be made by electronic bank transfer (wire).

Q: How often do the sailing yachts sail?

A: The sailing yachts will sail when there is enough wind to do so, but will usually travel under power (with or without sails). Please bear in mind that from January to March is the doldrums on the equator and there is usually not enough wind to set the sails. In any case, all of the sailing yachts will travel under power most of the time and cruise as fast as most of the motor yachts.

Q: What is included in the rates for the yachts and ships?

A: The rates for the ship or yacht includes accommodation aboard the ship or yacht, all meals, island sightseeing, all guide and lecture services, transfers in the islands and between the airport and yacht in Galapagos. Itineraries are subject to change without notice (for safety, environmental or any other reasons).

Q: What is not included in the rate for the yachts and ships?

A: Galapagos flights, Galapagos Entrance Fee (includes the municipal tax, currently $100 US per person payable in cash to the national park authorities in Galapagos), tourist transit card ($10 US), tips (it is customary to tip the guide, chef and crew) soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and any other extras not specifically mentioned. There is also a $41 US per person departure tax from Quito and $28 US per person from Guayaquil on all international flights. All prices are subject to change without notice. 

Q: Can you make hotel and other tour reservations for us in Ecuador?

A: Yes! We are able to assist you with hotels and tours throughout Ecuador and into Peru and Bolivia. We can also help you to plan an efficient itinerary that will make the most of the time you have available and at a price you can afford.

Q: Can we purchase trip cancellation and travel insurance for this?

A: We offer trip cancellation, travel and medical insurance through Travel Guard International.

Q: How do we receive our vouchers and tickets for the Galapagos?

A: We will e-mail (and/or fax or mail if requested) a travel voucher and receipt that is valid for the ship or yacht and for the flight to Galapagos. The ticket for the Galapagos flight is held by the ship or yacht owners and will be issued to you by our associates once you are in Ecuador.

Q: What level of Naturalist Guide will be aboard the boat and do they speak English?

A: All of the boats we use employ highly experienced and qualified level II and III naturalist guides who are fluent in English (and often other languages as well).

Q: How much should we tip the guide and crew?

A: We recommend that you consider tipping 1) the guides, and 2) the rest of the crew. As a general rule-of-thumb, we recommend between $10 - $15 US from each passenger to each group per day. If you have received very good and exceptional service, please be more generous! 

Q: Will there be time for snorkeling?

A: There is plenty of time for snorkeling for those who are interested. Snorkeling gear is provided aboard most of the boats. For personal hygiene, we recommend that you bring your own gear.

Q: Is there a rental charge for snorkeling equipment?

A: Some boats offer the equipment at no charge and some charge a nominal rental fee of up to $25 US for 8 days.

Q: Is a wetsuit necessary for snorkeling?

A: No, a wetsuit is not necessary, but we suggest that you bring a 2mm "shorty" to help keep you warm in cold water.

Q: Will we have to exchange any money before we travel to Ecuador or once in the country?

A: Not if you have US dollars. Ecuador has adopted the US dollar as its official currency.

Q: What should we bring?

A: A "What to Bring" list is located online at

Q: What shouldn't we bring to Galapagos?

A: A list of items NOT ALLOWED to be brought to the islands is located at january 20091.pdf


Galapagos Cruises and Tours
SCUBA Diving Cruises



Frequently Asked Questions
Galapagos Map
A Brief Introduction
What to Bring
Travel Insurance

Hotels in Quito & Guayaquil


The Galapagos Archipelago
Baltra (Arrival)
Santa Cruz - Caleta Tortuga Negra
San Salvador - Sullivan Bay
San Salvador - James Bay
Fernandina - Punta Espinoza
Isabela - Tagus Cove
Isabela - Urvina Bay
Isabela - Elizabeth Bay
Santa Cruz - CDRS and Highlands
Hood Island - Punta Saurez
Hood Island - Gardner Bay
Santa Fe
Baltra (Departure)


Family Travel Planner
Adventures of Little Miss Chievous
Evan's Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia 2000
Evan's Ecuador 1998

Follow this link to Evan's Ecuador...
Evan with Galapagos Tortoise




Hotels, Haciendas, & Jungle Lodges

Photo Journal

Follow the iguana to Hood Island...
Marine Iguana


 Discover Galapagos
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Box 1586 Banff, AB., Canada T1L 1C1

galapagos boats,  tours, cruises, cruise ships, yacht charters and reservations