For more information contact us on +44 (0) 7414 00 66 03paul@greigsmithtravels.com

Greig Smith Travels Ltd. Registered Company Number 7786310.

Travel Trust Association No: U9657

32 Drake Road, Chafford Hundred, Essex, RM16 6PS. UK

© Greig Smith Travels Ltd 2011

No portion of this website may be reproduced without the prior consent of Greig Smith Travels Ltd. All rights reserved.

Ecuador & Galapagos

What should I pack for Ecuador!?

What to pack depends on where you are going, since one can experience all types of weather in Ecuador's different regions. We have prepared a list of things that you should pack according to the region:


General Packing List: Passport, travellers checks, medical prescriptions if needed, your usual health and toiletry supplies, sun hat with brim, sunglasses, plenty of high-factor waterproof sunscreen, insect repellent, anti-bacterial gel for hands, clothing for warm and cool weather if travelling between regions, sandals, raincoat, small backpack, money belt, watch with alarm, flashlight, cameras, extra batteries, and light comfortable, easy-to-wash clothing.


Do I need a visa to enter or visit Ecuador?

Check with your local Ecuadorian Embassy or Consulate. However, most visitors are allowed to stay up to 90 days, renewable for an additional 90 days. You do need a valid passport and it should be carried with you at all times.


What language is spoken in Ecuador and on the Galápagos?

Spanish is the official and main spoken language in Ecuador. However, the vast majority of people involved in tourism speak English.


How do I pay my bills?

You can use credit cards (with an additional 10% service processing charge), cash and travellers checks.


What is the local currency?

US dollars are used both in mainland Ecuador and on the Galápagos. Travellers- checks are accepted under special conditions. You can check with the captain or your guide onboard. You can also withdraw cash from ATMs located in Puerto Ayora, but only with VISA or MASTERCARD. Banking hours are: Mon - Fri 9:00am -16:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.


How safe is it to travel in Ecuador?

It is wise to watch your belongings at all times. Never leave your camera or other personal items unattended. Ecuador is considered one of the safest countries in the Andean region; however, it is always a good idea to be cautious during your visit.

• If you are not visiting the city with a guided tour, find out which sectors are unsafe and avoid them. Also, try to visit the touristic sites at normal hours.

• Avoid people who are too friendly or eager to help you, or who offer to show you around.


• Don’t wear expensive jewellery or wristwatches when walking around the city.

• It is recommended that you carry shoulder bags and purses in front of you (on your chest) when entering a crowded place.


Should I carry my passport with me while visiting Ecuador?

It is recommended you make two photocopies of your passport, airline tickets, tour documents, travellers check's numbers and airline itinerary, so you can leave one copy at home with a friend or relative, and bring one with you separately from the originals. It is essential that you carry your passport at all times in Ecuador. However, you can leave the original in the safe box at your hotel and carry copies when on a day trip. While you are in Galápagos you can leave all your belongings in your cabin. However, if you plan to use travellers checks in Puerto Ayora you will need your passport.


Is it customary to tip in Ecuador?

If you are satisfied with the service, it is customary to leave a tip for the crew with the captain, and one for the naturalist guide. On the mainland it is also customary to tip the guide, driver or person serving you.


Do I need to get any vaccinations to visit Ecuador?

There are no vaccination requirements to enter Ecuador. However, in some specific regions there are mosquitoes that can transmit diseases. If you are visiting the rainforest please contact your local health centre for more information on preventive measures.


GALAPAGOS

What is included in the cost of my trip?

Onboard accommodation and meals, visits to the islands with a qualified naturalist guide, ground transfers on the Galápagos.


What is not included in the costs?

The airfare to the Islands, National Park entrance fee ($100 cash), the INGALA transit control card ($10 cash) to be paid at the airport when you depart for the Galápagos, beverages, and gratuities for the crew and guide are not included in the cost.


Do I need to worry about the water on board?

The water on board is safe to drink and complies with all health regulations and international standards. For your convenience, there is a hot and cold dispenser on board for you to use at any time. Here you can refill your water bottle to take onshore or have with you in your cabin.


Do I need to worry about the food on board?

The food on board is completely safe and meets all international standards. However on mainland Ecuador and in Puerto Ayora, avoid eating uncooked food like salads and unpeeled fruits.


How many pieces of luggage am I allowed to take to Galápagos?

One piece of luggage (40 lbs or 20Kg) and a small carry-on bag that fits under your seat or in the overhead compartment in the airplane.


What is the electricity on board?

110V AC-60 cycles and 220V in certain social areas of the yachts (If visiting from Europe, bring adaptors.)


Do I need to purchase anything onboard?

You don't need to buy anything, but all individual bar consumptions should be paid in cash or credit card at the end of each cruise.


How old should my children be in order to travel on board the ships?

Different vessels have different policies, however, most of the yachts we use are family friendly. Please enquire for further details relating to a specific yacht or itinerary.


How should I dress on board?

Informally! Shorts and a T-shirt are recommended, but we ask you to remove shoes on board and place them in the shoe box. If you have tender feet you can bring some kind of comfortable sandals or slippers, to be used on board only; otherwise bare feet are totally fine. From June to October, you might want to bring a light sweatshirt or windbreaker and light pants for the evening.


What's the climate like in the Galápagos Islands?

There are two main seasons on the islands: wet and hot, and dry and cool. December to May (inclusive) are hot and humid (28°C / 82.4°F average temperature); although it is warm during the day there might be heavy rain showers that can last for 20 minutes or more. That is why the islands can be very lush and green at this time of the year. Consider using insect repellent while visiting the islands. The water temperature is perfect for swimming and/or snorkelling. It is wise to use a T- shirt or dive top while in the water to prevent sunburn. Between June and November, it is cooler and windy (24° C/ 75.2°F average although at noon it can reach 33°C / 91.4?F). It is also the garua season (local term for occasional light drizzle) especially around the southern islands. You might want to consider bringing a light rainproof windbreaker. The water temperature is also cooler (20°C / 68?F) at this time of the year. This means it is the best time for snorkelling, since the cold waters are rich in nutrients for the marine ecosystem, but you might want to have a wetsuit to keep warm.


What should I pack for Galápagos?

Sun hat with brim, sun glasses, good walking shoes, Teva-style sandals (for wet landings), swimsuits, plenty of high-factor waterproof sunscreen, snorkel and mask, windbreaker, light sweater or sweatshirt (especially from June to December), shorts and T-shirts, extra film, memory cards, batteries for cameras, underwater camera, binoculars, motion-sickness pills or bands, anti-histamine tablets or cream.


How should I dress on land, what type of shoes are best?

Again shorts, zip-off leg pants and T- shirts are fine for most visits on land. Sunglasses, hat with a brim and sun block are a must year round! Good walking shoes with a good grip are recommended; again if you have tender feet consider bringing sandals or Tevas for the wet landings. From June to October, you might want to consider a light waterproof windbreaker for afternoon visits. From December to April, long-sleeved, light cotton T-shirts might be a good idea if you have fair or sensitive skin.