|MEETING PLACE:||Hotel Rincón de Puembo—near Quito Int’l Airport|
|MEETING TIME:||Approximately 7:00 AM (the morning of day 2)|
|RETURN TIME:||Approximately 4:00 PM on day 10 (you are free to depart later this evening or anytime on day 11)|
|AGE LIMIT:||Minimum age is 6|
|TRIP LENGTH:||11 days / 10 nights, including arrival and departure days|
|ACTIVITIES:||Hiking, snorkeling, kayaking|
Cruising the Galápagos Archipelago is the ultimate way to see these incredible enchanted islands. Island hopping on a luxury yacht, moored each night in a different location, our permit allows us to experience the best the Galápagos has to offer. Our relatively small ship allows us to easily access places the bigger ships may not venture and our group size is far more intimate, allowing us to spend time observing the wildlife and enjoying the active nature of our vacation rather than loading and unloading from a cruise ship.
Days are spent bobbing with blue-footed boobies, swimming nose-to-nose with friendly and playful sea lions, snorkeling and kayaking with sea turtles and observing breath-taking marine, bird and wildlife. Evenings offer time to lounge aboard our private vessel while savoring delightful regional cuisine prepared fresh daily.
Enjoy exotic and abundant wildlife and unique, scenic locations—without the crowds—as we cruise through Ecuador’s volcanic Galápagos Archipelago on a 90 foot long deluxe yacht.
We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the group, other trips in the area and sometimes the weather. (Important: Some activities may be subject to change dependent on weather and participants’ ability, however daily distances and activities within the park are governed by our permit, which allows us to visit these protected sites on our adventure.) The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:
Day 1 (Thursday): Arrive to Quito, Ecuador
Upon arrival at Mariscal Sucre International Airport, OARS will arrange your transfer to our hotel. If you’d like to explore the city of Quito, OARS can arrange a day tour, or you may want to consider spending additional nights in the city before or after the Galapagos program.
Rincón de Puembo
Day 2 (Friday): Flight to Baltra and Santa Cruz
After an early breakfast, an OARS representative will provide our transfer back to the airport for the morning flight to the Galápagos Islands. We will try to arrive at least 2 hours prior to our flight from Quito to Baltra (which is adjacent to Santa Cruz). The OARS representative will guide you through the airport check-in process.
At Baltra our islands-based guide will meet us outside the arrivals area and accompany us to the canal, where a short ferry ride brings us to the island of Santa Cruz. We have a private guided transfer though the highlands with an opportunity to see some of the Galápagos flora. After lunch we arrive at a local farm where we begin our search for the giant tortoises who live in the wild in this area. Resident vermilion flycatchers are also often seen with the tortoises. We’ll continue to the town of Puerto Ayora later this afternoon and check-in to our hotel.
The evening is free for you to settle in to your new surroundings and explore this bustling port, where shops, restaurants and the local population make for a stimulating atmosphere.
Villa Laguna (B, L)
Day 3 (Saturday): Santa Cruz
We will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galápagos National Park headquarters to learn first-hand of the conservation and research efforts in the islands. There, you’ll see several subspecies of adult tortoises, lots of hatchlings and learn of the repatriation programs that are saving several subspecies of tortoises and iguanas from extinction.
After visiting the station our guide will take us on a walking tour through the village of Puerto Ayora and suggest a great place for lunch. There will be some free time before boarding our yacht, the Reina Silvia, at 4:00 PM. During this time, you may enjoy the walk out to Tortuga Beach, visiting the fish market, local shops and cafe’s or simply absorbing the local culture from a park bench.
We’ll spend the next 7 nights aboard our deluxe motor yacht visiting Espanola, San Cristobal, South Plazas, Genovesa, Santiago, Rabida and Chino Islands. (B, D)
Day 4 (Sunday): Gardner Bay and Española Island
We usually spend part of a day on the great white sand beach at Gardner Bay. This is the place where you can have time alone to reflect, take a long walk, jog in the surf, swim, snorkel or stretch out on the sand for a snooze. Sea turtles nest on this beach and sea lions conduct helpful snooze workshops as part of their compelling “Live Like a Sea Lion” programs. Enjoy the views of Islote Gardner, a small island in front of Gardner Bay lined with vertical cliffs that drop to sandy ledges and large boulders. Islote Osborn is a small Island, about 3 km from Española Island, perfect for swimming and snorkeling, if park regulations allow.
At the Punta Suárez visitor site, on the north-western corner of the Española Island, birds are everywhere—underfoot, on the trail, overhead, diving into the sea, taking off from cliffs, engaging in ritual mating dances, sitting quietly and hatching eggs. As the panga driver guides us in through the surf to the landing, sea lions are often seen “hanging 10” on the waves. A great tangle of marine iguanas, stretched out in the sun on the beach, are usually present when we land. (B, L, D)
Day 5 (Monday): Leon Dormido (San Cristobal Island) and Punta Pitt
Leon Dormido, well known as “kicker rock,” is a huge monolith that split apart creating a narrow passage that only the most skillful yacht captains can negotiate. Blue- footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds nest along the ledges. This location offers an absolutely amazing venue for deep water snorkeling is will likely provide an up-close and personal encounter with rays and sharks.
Punta Pitt, the most easterly point in the archipelago, is one of only a few visiting sites in Galapagos where Red-footed Boobies can be observed. All three Boobies (Blue-footed, Red-footed and Nazca) are known to nest here, and at Islote Pitt which is a small islet near the anchorage. Blue-footed Boobies can often be seen plunge-diving for fish while frigate birds soar overhead. The trail at Punta Pitt winds up through eroded volcanic tuff formations to a plateau for a spectacular view of the island, and Islote Pitt. Along the trail are endemic plants and wildlife unique to San Cristobal, such as the San Cristobal Mockingbird and the San Cristobal Lava Lizard. The beach is frequented by sea lions. Snorkeling with sea lions is a prime attraction at Islote Pitt. (B, L, D)
Day 6 (Tuesday): Santa Fe Island and South Plaza
We spend a fascinating half-day on Santa Fé, the island home to a small population of very large land iguanas, and the largest of the Opuntia cacti. The lagoon appears like a scene from “South Pacific” and is ideal for swimming and snorkeling; sea lions and colorful fish abound here and sometimes we see sea turtles. You may snorkel from the beach to the yacht with your guide, provided the bull sea lions are not overly aggressive. The climb to the bluff is challenging but the payoff comes when you spot a couple of huge land iguanas. This is a lovely, restful site.
South Plaza is a small, but very rewarding island to visit. Here you see lots of land iguanas munching on Opuntia blossoms and leaves, defending territories and looking somewhat sinister. On the upper edge, at the windward side, Swallowtail Gulls nest. It is a treat to watch these beautiful birds maneuver in the tricky air currents as they set up to land on the cliff face. The shrieks of the Red-billed Tropicbirds, flying overhead in tight formation, will linger in your memories of Galápagos. Giant chitons cling to rocks at sea level and Audubon Shearwaters nest along the cliff face. From the bluff you can see schools of Yellowtail Mullet, occasionally a shark, and lots of birds flying back and forth. (B, L, D)
Day 7 (Wednesday): Darwin Bay and Prince Philip’s Steps of Genovesa Island
On arrival in Darwin’s Bay, a protected bay in a volcanic crater that long ago broke open to the sea, we host a “welcoming committee” of juvenile Red-footed Boobies. They come on board to inspect us and perch on the railings (the crews love this!). On the beach we can observe these entertaining tree-nesting Red-footed Boobies, displaying male Great Frigatebirds, mockingbirds, Swallow-tailed Gulls and finches. At certain times of the year, the male frigatebirds sit in the green salt bushes with their great red, chest pouches all puffed up, looking skyward. Any time a female flies over, they put on a compelling show of yodeling, wing flapping, and beak waving, always with great hopes that they will be chosen by the passing lady! This season generally runs from February to May. There is always great commotion on this island as the nesting Red-footed Boobies are being constantly hassled by the kleptoparasitic frigatebirds for both their food and nesting materials.
We explore the cliffs en route to Prince Phillip’s Steps, also known as the El Barranco. We may see the white tails of the Red-billed Tropicbirds sticking out of cliff face nests. After a climb up to the plateau (it is a flat island) we see nesting Nazca and Red-footed Boobies and frigatebirds. A few white variations of the normally brown Red-footed Boobies may be roosting in the Palo Santo trees. This is one of the best places to see the Large-Beaked Ground Finch. Millions of Galápagos Storm Petrels nest here in the lava tubes. Short-eared Owls live off these petrels so you may see one or two of them. Swallow-tailed Gulls, pelicans and fur seals live along the cliffs. You may see hammerhead sharks lazing along, just below the surface, and you’ll hear Red-billed Tropicbirds shrieking as they race along the cliffs. This island is one of the most interesting to visitors. (B, L, D)
Day 8 (Thursday): Sullivan Bay and Bartolomé
At Sullivan Bay, just across a narrow channel from Bartolomé on the eastern end of Santiago, you will walk on recent, black pahoehoe lava flows. You will see some of the early colonizing plants—mollugo and brachycereus—struggling to gain a foothold in tiny cracks in the lava. Small cinder cones stand out where this black blanket flowed gracefully around them. You get a sense of the primordial, the beginnings of the planet, as you wander around on this primitive flow. Occasionally, a colorful Galápagos Grasshopper (actually a locust) flits ahead of you, over the flow. You may wonder how it makes a living out in this austere environment.
Bartolomé is an exceptional place to observe volcanic island geology and to snorkel. Among the many colorful species you will see Bi-color Parrotfish, Streamer Hogfish and Flag Cabrilla. Sometimes you get a special treat—a penguin “snorkeling” right around you in hunt of fishy treats. Most likely it will be a member of the small colony of Galápagos Penguins that nest in crevices at the base of the much photographed lava spire. The long climb up the wooden steps to the pinnacle of this cinder cone takes you through cinders and rough volcanic formations, a veritable moonscape. The lower slopes are graced with a light sprinkling of the delicate, silvery Taquilia, a ground hugging plant adapted to this harsh spot. On top you will enjoy the spectacular view of Bartolomé, Santiago, and several other nearby islands. From this height you can identify old, submerged craters at the water’s edge. (B, L, D)
Day 9 (Friday): Rábida Island and Sombrero Chino
This is a “small red island,” the color of the volcanic cinders. It is located just across a small channel from the south side of Santiago, near the center of the archipelago. The red beach is usually well populated with sea lions and pups. At times the low salt bushes are loaded with nesting California Brown Pelicans. It is amazing that pelican chicks are just as bizarre looking as their parents. Just behind the beach, in a brackish lagoon, we usually see Bahamas White-cheeked Pintail Ducks, migratory shore and wading birds, and Greater Flamingos. Flamingos need the presence of a dozen or two other flamingos to stimulate their synchronous mating dance. With some luck, we will be able to observe this highly entertaining ritual. Two species of boobies nest along the cliffs. The snorkeling is very good along the cliff face where Galápagos Penguins may swim with you; you can count on swimming with sea lion youngsters.
Sombrero Chino is a tiny island just off the southeast tip of Santiago. Its name (Chinese Hat) describes the island’s shape. Those visitors who travel to the island will find its special landscape worth the visit. Though centrally located it is one of the least visited sites in the area. The lava rock is very fragile and tends to break off when people walk over it. The sharp outcroppings caused from these breaks make it necessary to bring good shoes. Patches of pahoehoe lava, cracked lava and lava tubes can be found on the island. While the path does not lead up the striking red rust sides of the Sombrero to the caldera, it does venture high enough on the island to offer some spectacular views of the waves crashing below. White-tipped sharks frequent the area, as do the playful Galapagos Penguins and sea lions. (B, L, D)
Day 10 (Saturday): Baltra and Return to the Mainland
Bird life abounds as the morning sunrise lights up pink skies. Reality sinks in that this is our last day in this island paradise, as today we will make our way to the airport at Baltra.
Our arrival back to the Quito area includes a return transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the evening is yours to relax—perhaps you’ll need a rest from an action-packed week exploring the Galápagos Islands! Dinner is on your own. For those with a departing flight this evening, the hotel staff can assist you with arranging your transport to the airport.
Rincón de Puembo (B)
Day 11 (Sunday): Departure
OARS will arrange transport to the Quito airport for your departing flight. (B)
Included in Your Trip Cost
- Fully crewed luxury yacht with English-speaking Ecuadorian park naturalist
- 3 nights lodging (based on double occupancy): 2 nights near Quito Int’l Airport and 1 night in Puerto Ayora
- 7 nights on a deluxe yacht (based on double occupancy)
- Meals as outlined in the itinerary (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner)
- Draft beer while on the yacht
- All activities and equipment as outlined in the itinerary
- Snorkel gear (you may prefer to bring your own, wetsuit not included)
- International airport transfers: for arrivals going to our hotel only and departures from our hotel to the airport only
- 27-oz Klean Kanteen water bottle
Not Included in Your Trip Cost
- Transportation to/from Quito, Ecuador
- Roundtrip flight from Quito to Galapagos, approximately $550 (OARS will arrange for you)
- Excess baggage charges
- Galápagos Islands transit control card fee – $20 per person (arranged by OARS)
- Galápagos Nat’l Park entrance fee: $100/person; $50/children 11 and under (cash only, upon arrival in Baltra)
- Single supplement fee—by choice or circumstance
- Wetsuit for snorkeling (available for rent at Puerto Ayora on day 3, approximately $35)
- Insurance of any kind, including travel and mandatory medical evacuation insurance
- Alcoholic beverages from the boat’s inventory
- Pre- or post-trip day tours (can be arranged by OARS upon request)
- Items of personal nature
TRIP PREPARATION CHECK LIST
☐ Consider Purchasing Travel Protection: We recommend you protect yourself, your belongings, and your vacation with the purchase of a short-term Travel Protection Plan. A Travel Protection Plan may help cover your non-refundable payments should you have to cancel your trip due to a covered illness or injury. Because we begin working to prepare for your trip upon receipt of your deposit, and may be turning other prospective guests away while holding space for you, there are cancellation fees that will apply regardless of why or when you might need to cancel. The cost for the optional Travel Protection is listed on your trip invoice. All Plan Benefits are administered by Trip Mate, Inc. (in CA & UT, dba Trip Mate Insurance Agency). For a complete description of Trip Mate’s Plan online go to: http://www.tripmate.com/wpf431X or call Trip Mate at 800-888-7292 (reference Plan #F431X).
Please Note: Purchase this Plan within 14 days of the date we receive your initial deposit and the exclusion for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions will be waived, provided you are not disabled from travel at the time the plan is purchased.
Please note, we require all participants have a minimum of emergency medical evacuation coverage to participate. This coverage can be purchased as a stand-alone policy, or is typically included in a travel protection plan. If you don’t have proof of coverage at the start of the trip, you cannot take part in the expedition.
☐ Trip Forms (online): Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms within two weeks of making a booking. Refer to your confirmation e-mail for the link to the online forms. If you prefer to fill out paper forms, please let us know right away. If you are reserving within 90 days of departure, your forms must be completed immediately to ensure we can properly plan for your trip.
☐ Reserve flights, shuttles and lodging: Verify with your Adventure Consultant that your trip has met minimum numbers prior to booking flights and/or reserving overnight lodging for the night before and after your trip, if applicable.
☐ Physical Requirements: Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitation you may have as soon as possible. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip.
☐ Payments: Final payment is due in our office 130 days prior to your trip (refer to your invoice for final payment date). Please let us know if you would like us to automatically charge your credit card on file when final payment is due.
Meeting Place & Time
Upon arrival at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), OARS will arrange transport to our nearby accommodation–Rincón de Puembo.
Getting to Quito, Ecuador
American Airlines and LAN Airlines offer nonstop flights from Miami; United Airlines offers nonstop flights from Houston; Delta Airlines offers nonstop flights from Atlanta. Other carriers include Copa and Avianca.
The roundtrip flight from Quito to the Galapagos Islands is not included in your trip price. Once you have confirmed your reservation, we will arrange that flight for you. The cost is subject to change but should cost approximately $550 per person. At the time of reservation, we will secure the best rate available.
Let us know if you’d like assistance with arranging your international flight logistics. Our partners at Exito Travel specialize in Latin America destinations and we’d be happy to obtain a quote from them on your behalf.
Please do not purchase airfare until your departure has been confirmed by the minimum number of required guests.
Please note: if your flight is delayed and you arrive after our departure to the islands, the morning of itinerary day 2, we’ll do our best to get you on the next possible flight. However, you’ll be asked to pay the associated costs. It is for this reason we encourage travelers to consider arriving at least one day ahead of the OARS program.
After Your Trip
Following our nights onboard the yacht in the Galápagos Islands, we will return to our hotel near the Quito Int’l Airport where you may choose to spend one final night (included in your trip price). The following day, itinerary day 11, you may take a departing flight home or continue your adventure in Ecuador or elsewhere. Flights departing late (after 10:00 PM) on itinerary day 10 are an option.
Pre- and Post-Trip Accommodations
This trip includes accommodation near Quito Int’l Airport for 2 nights (days 1 and 10). If you plan to arrive early or extend your stay, please contact our office if you would like assistance in booking pre- or post-trip accommodation at the hotel we use. Accommodation elsewhere should be arranged directly with that hotel.
Rincón de Puembo
Manuel Burbano N6-66 y Francisco Ruiz
Day tours can be arranged for early arrivals or later departures. For day tours in and/or around the Quito area, ask your OARS Adventure Consultant for suggestions and rates.
Essential Travel Documents
If you don’t have a passport, apply for one immediately because the process can be lengthy. If you do have a passport, find it and check the expiration date to see that it is valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended date of departure from Ecuador. Make photocopies of the photo page of your passport and carry one separately from your passport while traveling and leave a copy with your emergency contact at home. If your passport is lost or stolen, a photocopy will help the local consulate expedite authorization for replacement. We request that you send us a copy to keep on file for emergencies during your trip. Also, check your passport for blank pages. If you do not have at least two blank pages in your passport, we recommend that you apply to have extra pages added. Do not pack your passport in your checked luggage.
On your flight to Ecuador, you will be required to complete a customs declaration form. Upon entry, a portion will be returned to you. Keep this with you, in a safe place, for presenting prior to your departure.
A visa is not required for U.S. citizens to enter Ecuador for visits fewer than 90 days. For non-U.S. citizens, please check with the Ecuadorian Consulate or your embassy.
As a precaution, please make copies of your important documents—passport, air tickets, visas, credit cards, vaccination card, etc. and carry them separately from the originals. These copies will prove invaluable in the event that you need to replace any of these necessary items. Bring an additional ID, such as a driver’s license.
Mandatory Evacuation Insurance
We require that you purchase emergency medical evacuation insurance to participate in this expedition. Call or visit Travel Insurance Services at 800-937-1387 for inexpensive options that cover this requirement. We strongly recommend that you protect yourself, your belongings, and your vacation through the purchase of a travel protection plan. For those unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we offer an optional Travel Protection Plan from Trip Mate, Inc. (in CA & UT, dba Trip Mate Insurance Agency) that can help protect you, your travel investment and your belongings. Should you have to cancel your trip due to illness or injury – your own or that of an immediate family member – non-refundable payments may be covered by a travel protection plan (see Cancellations and Refunds). For a complete description of Trip Mate’s plan online go to: http://www.tripmate.com/wpf431X or call Trip Mate at 800-888-7292 (reference Plan #F431X). Please Note: Purchase this Plan within 14 days of the date we receive your initial deposit and the exclusion for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions will be waived, provided you are not disabled from travel at the time the plan is purchased.
In 1835 Charles Darwin sailed on the British ship H.M.S. Beagle and visited the islands. His theory of the origin of species, which shook up the scientific world, was inspired by the evidence he found in this unique volcanic archipelago. In 1936 the Galápagos was declared a National Park to preserve its unique vegetation and wildlife. UNESCO declared Galápagos a World Natural Heritage Site in 1978 and subsequently a World Biosphere Reserve in 1985. Protection was further strengthened in 1994 with the creation of the Reserva Marina de Galápagos, which was recently extended to cover the 130,000 square kilometers within a 40-nautical mile radius of the islands making the Galápagos the second largest marine reserve in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Galápagos is one of those rare destinations where you become accustomed to being surprised. Nothing quite compares to the joy of observing animals in the wild here, or the sense of wonder and privilege felt while spending time with creatures that don’t run or fly away when humans approach. Galápagos is home to many endemic animals, most of which are fearless because of their lack of natural predators.
From the world’s only seagoing iguanas to flightless cormorants and penguins, flamingos, inflatable frigate birds, wave albatrosses, clownish boobies, patriarchal giant tortoises, and 13 species of Darwin finches, you can enjoy thrilling encounters with animals—up close and in large numbers—who are completely at ease among human visitors.
There are extraordinary opportunities to swim with marine mammals such as sea lions, dolphins and manta, eagle and golden rays, as well as thousands of the 300 species of colorful fish. The more adventurous may relish the chance to snorkel with the Galápagos sharks or even hammerheads and white-tipped reef sharks. Marine turtles and whales are commonplace and simply add to the magic.
The plants of Galápagos are equally fascinating. Many species of indigenous Scalesia (“tree daisies”) as well as bromeliads and orchids are found in the highlands. Giant prickly pear and candelabra cacti abound on the coast while tiny Brachycereus cacti grow on barren lava flows. Vivid morning glories and mats of bright red and green sesuvium blanket the shores. Galápagos also has its very own native species of cotton, tomato, pepper, guava and passionflower. Many kinds of plants, particularly those belonging to the daisy family, have evolved into whole arrays of endemic species on the different islands, providing scientists with classic examples of adaptive radiation.
The Reina Silvia, a 90-foot deluxe yacht, carries 12-16 passengers in uncompromising conform and safety throughout the Galápagos. From the swimming platform aft to the extended bow for whale and dolphin watching, every inch of the Reina Silvia was designed to enhance your Galápagos experience. All staterooms have private en suite facilities including shower, lavatory and vanity, along with individual climate controls. The upper deck offers a shaded lounge area to relax and gather for refreshments with the group. The yacht carries a fleet of kayaks, perfect for exploring the islands’ shorelines, inlets, bays and quiet coves. Two pangas (zodiacs) transport guests to and from the yacht for shore visits and snorkeling.
Accommodation on the yacht consists of three options at three price levels for you to choose from at the time of reservation, per your interest and/or availability.
Upper Deck Stateroom—the most spacious of all, it is located on the top level adjacent to the open-air lounge, bar and wheelhouse. It offers large windows for uninhibited views and plentiful natural light, a large screen TV, desk with chair and ample storage. This stateroom may be made up of a king bed or two twins. The approximate area is 160 ft².
Main Deck Stateroom—located on the middle level, it is forward of the dining area & salon. This may be a good option if you prefer not to walk up or down stairs, as the dining area & salon and swim platform are on the same deck. It offers large windows and a large screen TV. This stateroom may be made up of a king bed or two twins. The approximate area is 150 ft².
Lower Deck Staterooms—a staircase from the dining area & salon leads to the four lower rooms. Multiple large portholes provide daylight and views. Each can be configured with one king bed or two twins. Additionally, there is a Pullman-style berth in the bulkhead of each to accommodate a third person (ideal for younger guests). The approximate area of each is 140 ft².
Cabin Service on the Yacht
Your stateroom will be cleaned on a daily basis. Towels are replaced as needed, while linens will be changed once in the middle of the cruise. Soap, shampoo and a hair dryer are provided. Please do not bring any food or drinks into the cabins in order to avoid bad odors and insects.
We know food is an important part of any vacation and our talented chefs work magic in the galley creating new taste sensations and surprising twists on old favorites. Menus are varied and healthy. Special diets are accommodated to the best of our ability and children’s favorites are always available.
You will appreciate snacks after snorkeling, hors d’oeuvres with sunset drinks and espresso at any time.
Breakfasts aboard the Reina Silvia are buffet-style while lunches and dinners are individually served. A focus on the region’s seafood, along with beef, chicken, turkey and pork, vegetables and fresh fruit are all included in the menu. Pasta/rice and beans are frequently served.
We need to know as soon as possible about any dietary restrictions we should consider in planning your trip. If you have additional food allergies or necessary restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. Beyond our standard menu, we can provide options for vegetarian, vegan and many allergy-restricted diets. However, we cannot always provide the same diversity or sophistication for restricted diets as sourcing special ingredients in the Galápagos can be challenging.
Bottled drinking water will be available at our accommodation in Quito. We will provide purified water while in the Galápagos Islands, as our boat has a desalinator. Do not drink water from any tap as it frequently contains bacteria that can cause stomach problems. It is crucial that you stay hydrated while in the tropics, especially when we are hiking and kayaking. Consider bringing electrolyte powders, which replace salts and minerals lost to sweating.
There is a variety of beer, wine and liquor available for purchase on the yacht. The boat’s bartender will open a consumption card for you and keep track of your purchases. You will be asked to pay your tab at the end of the trip with cash or by Visa or MasterCard. Due to the fact that there is a bar on board, we ask that you not bring your own alcohol. Draft beer on board the yacht is included in the trip cost.
While aboard the yacht, the crew may be able to wash and dry items for you. This service depends on several factors: crew workload, water availability, motion of the boat, etc and is complimentary. Towels are provided and will be changed for you daily. We recommend you plan for quick washes with biodegradable soap in case you need to clean an essential item.
Your guide will conduct a briefing every evening. He or she will explain the following day’s activities and talk about what animals and plants might be seen.
Passengers will be transferred from the yacht to the islands on our two pangas (zodiacs). The landings may be wet or dry. Dry landings mean you step directly onto rock, while wet landings mean you step into the water and wade to shore. Your guide will tell you ahead of time what type of landing to expect. Either way, crew members will be there to assist you.
Please remember you are visiting a national park and will be expected to follow park regulations. The instructions you receive from your guide are intended for the preservation and conservation of the Galápagos.
- Stay on marked trails
- Do not touch or feed the animals
- Do not smoke on the Islands
- Clean the soles of your shoes to avoid carrying endemic seeds from one island to another
- Take only pictures; leave only footprints
The hikes on our excursions are moderate and allow you to get up close and personal with the magnificent wildlife on the islands. We recommend that your shoes be close-toed, lightweight, have sturdy soles and be broken in. If you buy new walking shoes for this trip, be sure to walk in them in advance to avoid blisters.
Our two pangas (zodiacs) transport guests; sometimes our arrival is a dry landing and sometimes a wet landing.
A mask, snorkel and fins are available on the yacht, but the quality may not be equal to those that you own. We recommend you consider bringing gear that you know fits you well, especially the mask and fins.
A wetsuit is not provided, but can be rented in Puerto Ayora prior to boarding the yacht. The cost is approximately $35 per person for a 7-day rental (a small service fee upon return may apply). The water in the Galápagos Islands is cooled by cold ocean currents. We recommend you bring or rent a wetsuit.
Snorkelers are asked to follow these simple instructions:
- Stay with the group; look up every few minutes to check that you are still near others in the group
- Be aware of the location of the panga
- When getting on and off the panga, stay clear of the outboard motor
- Have all your gear on before getting off the panga
- Take off only your fins before re-boarding the panga
- When diving under be sure to look up before resurfacing
- If you feel more comfortable in a life vest, you are welcome to wear one
For those interested, scuba diving is an option for an additional fee (approximately $200/person/two dives). The only opportunity to dive is on itinerary day 3, from Puerto Ayora. Keep in mind you’ll miss other activities offered this day. Remember to bring proof of your dive certification. This must be arranged directly with a dive operator and can be arranged during your visit in Puerto Ayora on itinerary day 2.
Your guide will thoroughly explain safety procedures once you are onboard. Please be sure to check exactly where the life vests are located in your cabin. In the unlikely event that the alarm sounds, you will be expected to gather your personal documents, put on warm clothes and bring your life vest to the lounge where the crew members will be waiting with further instructions.
Everywhere in Ecuador, including Quito, the Galápagos Islands and our yacht, people are asked not to throw anything into the toilets, including toilet paper. A wastebasket is provided for toilet paper and it is emptied often. This may seem strange to North Americans, but please obey this rule and avoid being the cause of a backed up septic system. Thanks!
Ecuador is on the 110V AC system, as is our yacht. Sockets are the standard U.S. style, either 2 flat prongs or 2 flat prongs and a round ground. There are sockets on the yacht for recharging batteries. In order to save power, please remember to switch off the light and A/C when not in your cabin.
Bringing the right camera equipment will go a long way toward determining the quality of your photographs. If you’re an avid photographer, we recommend bringing a good digital or 35mm SLR camera that can be used on land and when aboard the catamaran. In addition to this, bring a smaller and less-expensive salt-water resistant camera that you can use while snorkeling, with a lanyard or floating accessory.
Bring extra memory cards and don’t forget to pack spare camera batteries and/or a charger. You should be ready for mostly bright sunlight, so you may want to bring a polarizing filter. Zip-Lock plastic bags help protect your camera against sand and salt. You will be able to plug-in to recharge your camera on the boat. We strongly recommend you take out a rider on you homeowner’s policy to cover your camera—especially if it’s fine equipment.
Electronics & Technology
The use of electronic devices, especially music players and drones, on your trip may represent an intrusion into the wilderness experience of your fellow guests. We ask that you please be mindful of the impacts to others and respect the wilderness nature of the trip.
Many of our guests travel with their smartphone even though there is limited cell service. On a trip like this, there is always the risk of water damage to smartphones and other electronic devices. If you intend to take your phone or other electronic device with you on the water, consider investing in a small, waterproof container just for your phone.
Once you are on the boat there is limited communication with the “outside world.” Cell phone service is not available during much of the route. If you have someone that needs to contact you about an emergency at home, they should call our office (800-346-6277). If possible, we will relay the message to you. Keep in mind it could be several days or longer before the message actually reaches you. For your family at home you should define for them what you consider an emergency and provide them with instructions to call our office in the event one occurs during your vacation.
There is no internet on the yacht, however there is Wi-Fi at the hotel in Quito.
Ecuador uses U.S. dollars as their currency. Travelers should bring between $500 and $900 for the Park entrance fee, tips and other expenses. Travel with small bills, such as $1’s, $5’s and $10’s. In the Galápagos Islands, at Puerto Ayora, you will come ashore to find shops and restaurants and will likely need cash as credit cards are not widely accepted. There is an ATM in Puerto Ayora. If you visit Quito, you can use credit cards to charge purchases such as food, accommodations and clothing. MasterCard, Visa and American Express are widely accepted.
You may want to check one week prior to your trip for an up-to-date weather forecast. We recommend the following websites: www.wunderground.com.
The Galápagos Islands have a surprisingly cool, sub-tropical climate regulated by the cold, north-flowing (Humboldt) and west-flowing (Peruvian) ocean currents, which originate in Antarctica. Generally, December to April are the warmest months (75-90°F) and coolest from May through November (60-75°F), with August and September being the coolest months. The islands only receive an average of 10 inches of rain per year, so it is rarely “rainy”, though you can expect some precipitation year-round.
The temperature of the air and water varies depending on the strength of the trade winds. During periods of weak winds, December through March, the cooling currents subside and temperatures rise. The waters are warmest during this period (65-80°F). In April, the trend begins toward stronger winds and cooler temperatures (both air and water) with the strongest trade winds and coolest temperatures being customary in late September. In October the trend reverses. And so the seasons cycle endlessly through time, with the occasional appearance of El Niño and La Niña phenomena.
The larger islands with volcanic peaks have a dramatic range of climactic zones. The coastal areas are quite arid, covered with plants adapted to desert conditions, and receive infrequent precipitation. The highland parts of these islands receive moisture almost year-round in the form of garúa (thick fog, mist or drizzle), which supports a lush rainforest where all of the tortoises live.
In the Quito area, which is about 9000 feet above sea level, the elevation greatly moderates the climate. The temperature ranges from 45 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with lower temperatures from April to October. Daytime temperatures are generally warm and pleasant, while evenings are cool. Bring a warm layer for the evenings.
|Average Air Temp (F°)||Average Water Temp (F°)|
Ecuador is on the Equator so days and nights are almost equal in length year-round. The sun rises at about 6 a.m. and sets at about 6 p.m.
The Ecuadorian mainland is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. The Galápagos Islands are one hour behind mainland Ecuador. Ecuador does not observe Daylight Savings Time. When Daylight Savings Time is in effect in the U.S., mainland Ecuador is at the same hour as Central Standard Time and the Galápagos Islands are the same time as Mountain Standard Time. During the rest of the year mainland Ecuador is the same time as Eastern Standard Time and the Galápagos Islands are the same as Central Standard Time.
Health and Medical Information
Currently, if you fly direct between the USA and Ecuador, no vaccinations are required. However, regulations and recommendations change frequently, so please check with your doctor or the CDC for up-to-date information.
If you are taking any prescription drugs, be certain that you bring a sufficient supply to last through the trip, accompanied by a doctor’s prescription in case you lose your supply. Do not pack these medications in your checked luggage. You will not find common American drugs in Ecuador.
Motion Sickness: Taking precautionary measures against motion sickness should be an important part of your Galápagos travel planning. Motion sickness is a normal response to real, perceived or anticipated movement. It occurs when the body, the inner ear (a tiny structure involved in hearing and balance) and the eyes send conflicting signals to the brain. Not everyone will be affected, but prevention is the key. While on the boat, prevention is best accomplished by seeking areas of lesser movement in an interior location of the boat or by facing forward and looking outside the boat. Avoid alcoholic beverages and drink plenty of water.
Several medications are available both by prescription and over the counter that may prevent or limit unpleasant symptoms. As always, please consult with your doctor as to what would be best for you. If medications are necessary, they are best taken at least one hour before embarking.
The over the counter medications Dramamine II or Bonine can be very effective for short trips or when symptoms occur intermittently. INCA guides and past clients have found success with Meclizine, the active ingredient in both Dramamine II and Bonine. In our experience, Dramamine I is better suited for putting one to sleep rather than alleviating motion sickness. For longer relief, a prescription medication called Transderm-Scop comes in the form of a patch and can be worn behind the ear for up to three days at a time. Side-effects of these medications usually consist of sedation and dry mouth and they should not be taken by people who have glaucoma or urinary obstruction. Recent studies have shown that Ginger root may be as effective as the other drug treatments while creating fewer side effects.
Diarrhea: It is not uncommon for travelers to have a passing experience with diarrhea, mostly induced by a change in diet. The major problem with diarrhea is fluid loss leading to severe dehydration. Make sure you drink plenty of liquids. Caffeine is a diuretic and should be avoided or consumed only in small amounts. The best drinks are bottled water, weak tea, mineral water and caffeine-free soft drinks. Avoid milk. Bananas, rice, crackers, bread or potatoes will sit well on your stomach and don’t aggravate the malady.
Bring Bismuth tablets to take at the very, very first inkling of any discomfort. Bismuth, if taken soon enough, can prevent bacteria from taking over the intestinal track. Bring Cipro to treat diarrhea as once diarrhea has set in it is too late for Bismuth to prevent the takeover. Cipro is available over the counter in Ecuador, but you may not have time to purchase it there.
In hot climates, cuts and scratches can become infected and take a long time to heal. Prevent infection from coral cuts by immediately washing wounds with fresh water, then rubbing with vinegar or alcohol—painful, but effective. Use an antiseptic like hydrogen peroxide and an antibacterial ointment. Prickly heat, or salt/heat rash, is a common ailment for tropical paddlers. It is caused by salt buildup in the sweat glands. The skin becomes soggy and small red blisters appear. At first sight of the rash, wash with fresh water and apply calamine lotion, dust with talcum or medicated powder and change clothes. Until the rash improves, avoid alcohol and caffeine. The sun is very strong in the Galápagos. Reapply sunscreen often and wear your hat and sunglasses.
For Women Only
Even if you aren’t anticipating your menstrual period, come prepared for it. We recommend you bring some sandwich size zip-lock bags. They can be used during the day while you are on the water or hiking and can be disposed of later. (For tampon users: o.b.® tampons are ⅓ the size of regular tampons, tuck discreetly into pockets and have less paper wrapping). Many women suggest bringing a small supply of baby wipes.
Essential Eligibility Criteria for Hiking Trips
The following are the physical and mental eligibility criteria for all participants on any OARS hiking trip.
- Ability to walk three or more miles in a backcountry environment.
- Ability to independently navigate rough terrain, including safely maneuvering around and across boulders, rocks, and slippery and uneven surfaces, under low branches, and around vegetation. This includes the ability to maintain your balance near precipitous ledges or cliffs.
- Ability to walk and maintain your balance on backcountry hiking trails, including trails with rocks, roots and low branches. The trails are dusty, steep, and present numerous reinforced log steps, loose rocks, and animal excrement. They range in width from 1 to 3 feet with exposed overlooks.
- Ability to carry your own daypack with a minimum of 1 liter of water, rain gear, insulating layers, sunscreen and other personal items (approx. 10 lbs).
- Ability to follow both verbal and non-verbal instructions given by guides in all situations, including during stressful or dangerous situations, and to effectively communicate with guides and other guests.
- Ability to manage all personal care independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
- If taking prescription medications, have the ability to maintain proper dosage by medicating independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
- Ability to remain adequately fed, hydrated, and properly dressed so as to avoid environmental injuries such as heat related illness and sunburn.
The above criteria, if not met, will disqualify a person from participating in a hiking trip with OARS. The criteria exist for your own safety and that of all trip participants. None of the criteria are meant to discriminate on the basis of any physical or mental disability, and are applied uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability. OARS is committed to making reasonable modifications to any trip for any persons with a disability, so long as they do not fundamentally alter the nature of the trip.
Further Information About Our Expectations of Trip Participants
The following paragraphs are meant to further inform all potential participants of the expectations for all participants in order to promote a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone on a trip. There may be requirements, whether physical or mental, that are not specifically applied “essential eligibility criteria,” but that help our guests understand the reality of being on a wilderness hiking trip.
Our primary goal is to minimize the risks associated with adventure trips in a wilderness environment. The trip involves physical exertion and exposure to the elements, including heat and the potential for sun, wind and rain. We have experience accommodating people with a wide range of physical disabilities and/or health conditions. However, individuals who are overweight, lack conditioning, or have other physical limitations or ailments that interfere with the realistic encounters in the wilderness can endanger themselves, other guests, and the guides. Please consult your doctor if you have medical or health conditions that could impact your ability to participate in this outdoor adventure.
It is very important that each trip participant take an active role in their own safety. You will likely encounter wilderness conditions that you are unfamiliar with, and those conditions may change rapidly. It is critical to pay attention at all times, to be aware of your surroundings, and to avoid taking unnecessary risks. Even a non-life threatening injury in a wilderness setting can become a major emergency for you, and can endanger the entire group. Swimming alone or hiking alone is discouraged. Excessive alcohol consumption or illicit drug use is not tolerated. Using common sense, and following both the explicit instruction and the lead of your guides can go a long way towards keeping yourself and the group safe. Some obvious things to avoid on the trail (by way of example) are: walking without shoes, approaching wild animals, not paying attention to what is above or around that could harm you, not paying attention to hazards, and walking near precipitous ledges.
While the risk of a trip is part of what makes it an exciting adventure, you must be entirely respectful of the risk that such a trip poses. It is important that you are confident in your hiking ability.
Due to the physical nature of this trip, we highly recommend that you engage in regular exercise for at least three months prior to departure to ensure preparedness. For this trip you should be exercising weekly. The best way to get ready is to combine cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise, strength training and hiking. Running and exercising on elliptical machines and stair steppers are also great ways to increase your endurance and strengthen your legs at the same time. While hiking, it is helpful to carry a weighted daypack and wear the same footwear that you will be using on the trip. Check with your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program to be sure you are medically safe to participate. Starting an exercise program that is more strenuous than you are ready for may result in injury or risk exacerbating existing health conditions. Getting in shape will certainly add to your enjoyment of the trip
Packing for Your Trip
Click on this link for helpful information about packing for your trip: https://www.oars.com/video/pack-river-rafting-trip/
Much of the clothing you bring should be quick drying and breathable. During this sub-tropical adventure you will be exposed to sun, wind and water. Long sleeves, long pants and wide brimmed hats are recommended for sun protection. In general, you will need loose fitting clothes for the hotter parts of the trip and some extra layering for evenings. Keep in mind that some of what you bring may get sweaty and wet due to the humid climate. You will encounter dust, sand and salt. No fancy dress clothing is required.
Start with sunscreen, a swimsuit, shorts and long-sleeved shirt, and then add additional layers if needed. As the day warms up layers can be taken off and stored away.
After a long active day, you may want to refresh and change into clean comfortable clothing. Soft, loose-fitting shorts or pants, t-shirts, etc. will allow you to truly relax in the evening. Many women find sarongs or cotton dresses a nice change. Evenings on the boat may be cool and a mid-weight jacket can come in handy.
On shore during hikes, closed-toe footwear is highly encouraged. These shoes may get wet. It’s rocky on the islands so sandals are not always a good option unless they protect your toes and have hiking soles. Make sure you get good-grip, no-slip soles. You’ll be asked to remove your outdoor footwear when coming aboard the yacht—no street shoes are to be worn on board—therefore you may want to bring slippers or light-soled deck shoes if you dislike going barefoot while on the boat. Find professional-grade options made by Chaco®, the official footwear sponsor of OARS guides.
Please note: If you buy new shoes or sandals for the trip, make sure you break them in first!
A lightweight, hooded jacket is recommended.
Protecting yourself from the sun should be taken very seriously. A hat, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are a must. In many cases, a long-sleeve shirt is the best method for preventing sunburn on your upper body. Light-weight long pants may also be appropriate to protect your legs. Be sure to bring a good hat that offers full coverage, such as a wide-brimmed hat.
Bugs & Mosquitoes
Bugs and mosquitoes vary depending on location and time of year. It’s a good idea to come prepared with insect repellent. Long sleeved shirts and pants may be desirable at times.
Equipment and Personal Items:
☐ Daypack for shore visits: to fit a water bottle, camera and rain jacket (may double as your flight carry-on bag)
☐ Water bottle: durable and reusable
☐ Sunglasses (preferably polarized) with securing strap (consider bringing a spare)
☐ Toiletries (soap and shampoo are provided)
☐ Sunscreen and lip protection: waterproof & SPF 30 or higher (aerosol sprays not recommended)
☐ Moisturizing lotion or cream
☐ Insect repellent: Mosquitoes are generally not a problem, but it’s always best to be prepared
☐ Personal first aid kit (sea sickness medication, stomach/diarrhea medication, Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, moleskin, eye drops etc.)
☐ Spare pair of prescription glasses and/or contacts (sand can cause problems for contact wearers)
☐ Earplugs: we may motor into the night and waves slapping the hull can be loud
☐ Cash for National Park entrance fee, Transit fee, gratuities and incidentals
☐ Athletic shoes or light hikers: closed-toe, comfortable and with good tread for hikes
☐ Amphibious shoes or sandals with a heel strap (such as those made by Chaco®)
☐ Flip flops
☐ Slippers or deck shoes: the yacht does not allow street shoes to be worn on board, therefore you may want to bring if you dislike going barefoot on the boat (optional, as shoes are not required on board)
☐ Socks for hikes: 3 or 4 pair, light-weight
☐ Long-sleeved shirts: lightweight and light color for sun protection (old dress shirts work well)
☐ Short-sleeved shirts: T-shirts, collared, lightweight cotton or quick-drying
☐ Shorts: lightweight for hiking/walking
☐ Long pants: lightweight cotton or quick-drying and light color for sun protection
☐ Lightweight fleece or sweater to be worn under windbreaker (rain jacket) in the evenings
☐ Shade hat or visor with securing strap and a spare
☐ Rain gear: a lightweight, hooded jacket or poncho. Rain pants are optional.
☐ Pajamas: lightweight
☐ Casual clothes for evenings (evenings can be cool)
☐ Personal snorkel gear (mask, snorkel and fins): available on the boat, but the quality may not be equal to those that you own
☐ Wetsuit: available to rent in Puerto Ayora prior to boarding the yacht
☐ Camera and accessories. Consider a second, waterproof camera for snorkeling.
☐ Dry bag, zip lock bags for carrying valuables, such as a camera
☐ Rash guard top for snorkeling
☐ Trekking poles: collapsible
☐ Headlamp or flashlight, extra batteries and bulb
☐ Sarong: useful as a cover-up from the sun, or as a wrap
☐ Clothes pins
☐ Plastic bags to separate wet or dirty clothes
☐ Sketchbook, notebook and pen, paperback book, field book, English-Spanish dictionary
☐ Spare roll-up duffel for purchases while in Ecuador (or purchase one in Ecuador)
Find all the gear you need for your trip online in the OARStore and receive FREE SHIPPING in the U.S. + 15% of your purchase helps provide under-resourced youth with outdoor adventure experiences.
Packing Your Gear
We recommend soft luggage for the Galápagos portion of your trip, as it can be easier to handle for the crew and may fit better in the smaller space of the yacht’s staterooms. We recommend traveling as light as possible; excess baggage can be a burden to you and to support personnel. On an international flight, you are typically allowed 1-2 pieces of checked luggage at no additional fee but luggage restrictions are changing regularly and vary according to airline—please check with your specific airline to determine luggage allowance.
The flight from Quito to the Galápagos allows two checked bags weighing no more than 44 lbs. (20 kg) total, per person. The airline may refuse bags that exceed this limitation or you will be required to pay excess baggage fees. You will be required to have a luggage tag displayed on your baggage.
All luggage is inspected for organic material such as food, plants (including wood) and so on at the national departure hall for all flights to the Galápagos. For this reason we ask that if you bring your own snacks, make sure they are pre-packaged.
If you feel your naturalist and yacht crew have provided a special trip for you, a gratuity will be very much appreciated. Consider giving $120-$150 per guest for the captain and crew (consists of seven people and they will share it) and $80-100 per guest for the National Park naturalist. You will also have services provided by a guide while in Puerto Ayora and transfers for your flights to/from the islands. Tipping is entirely discretionary and varies by culture. If you plan to tip, remember to bring cash.
In reviewing your statement, you’ll note a $50 per person donation to the Galapagos Traveler Conservation Fund, administered by the International Galápagos Tour Operators Association, a non-profit association of travel companies, conservation organizations and other groups that are dedicated to a complete and lasting protection of the Galápagos Islands. One-hundred percent of these funds go directly to conservation, research and education in the Galápagos and your contribution is tax-deductible. For more information, go to www.igtoa.org. Please notify our office if you would prefer to delete the donation from your balance.
The IGTOA has produced a series of videos that are available for travelers to the islands. These videos will help you learn more about challenges facing the Galápagos Islands and how travelers can be part of the solution by following best practices. Please view these videos before your departure! www.igtoa.org/save
If you enjoyed your trip, consider donating to The Pam & George Wendt Foundation. This organization is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 organization with the express goal of providing opportunities for young people to experience the magic of the outdoors. Visit https://www.oars.com/oars-foundation/ to learn more about how a tax-deductible donation can change young lives for the better.
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Terms & Conditions
Reservations & Deposit
A $1000/person deposit is required at the time of reservation. A second deposit of $1000/person is due 190 days prior to departure. The balance is due 130 days prior to departure.
Cancellations & Refunds
If you find it necessary to cancel your trip, please notify us as soon as possible. The cancellation fee after you’ve made your deposit can range up to the entire trip cost, based upon the number of days prior to your trip that we receive your cancellation notice. We regret we cannot make exceptions for personal emergencies. For this reason, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan (see Travel Protection).
|DATE OF CANCELLATION||CANCELLATION FEE|
|190 days or more prior to your trip||$500/person, the remainder refundable|
|189 to 131 days prior to your trip||$1000/person, the remainder refundable|
|130 days or less prior to your trip||Full fare (no amount is refundable)|
Transferring to Another Trip
After you’ve made your deposit, you may transfer your trip payments to a later trip on a one-time basis for a fee equal to 25% of your payments to date. A transfer made within 130 days of departure will be treated as a cancellation.
O.A.R.S. International reserves the right to cancel any trip due to insufficient sign-ups (this trip requires a minimum of 6 guests). In such a case, you will be given a full refund of the tour cost, but O.A.R.S. International is not responsible for additional expenses incurred in preparation for the trip.
Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying this trip. People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.
We recommend you protect yourself, your belongings, and your vacation with the purchase of a short-term Travel Protection Plan. A Travel Protection Plan may help cover your non-refundable payments should you have to cancel your trip due to a covered illness or injury. Because we begin working to prepare for your trip upon receipt of your deposit, and may be turning other prospective guests away while holding space for you, there are cancellation fees that will apply regardless of why or when you might need to cancel. The cost for the optional Travel Protection is listed on your trip invoice. All Plan Benefits are administered by Trip Mate, Inc. (in CA & UT, dba Trip Mate Insurance Agency). For a complete description of Trip Mate’s Plan online go to: http://www.tripmate.com/wpf431X or call Trip Mate at 800-888-7292 (reference Plan #F431X).
Please Note: Purchase this Plan within 14 days of the date we receive your initial deposit and the exclusion for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions will be waived, provided you are not disabled from travel at the time the plan is purchased.
Please note, we require all participants have a minimum of emergency medical evacuation coverage to participate. This coverage can be purchased as a stand-alone policy, or is typically included in a travel protection plan. If you don’t have proof of coverage at the start of the trip, you cannot take part in the expedition.
Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release before the trip, acknowledging awareness that some risks are associated with the trip. Safety is of the utmost concern on our trips. However, due to the nature of the activities, a condition of your participation is that you will sign this form before the trip begins. Anyone who refuses to sign the form will not be allowed to participate and consistent with O.A.R.S. International, Inc. cancellation policy, there will be no refund of the trip fees at that time.
Responsibility – An Important Notice
O.A.R.S. International, Inc., Pacific Marine Enterprises Cia. Ltda. and cooperating agencies act only in the capacity of agent for the participants in all matters relating to transportation and/or all other related travel services, and assume no responsibility however caused for injury, loss or damage to person or property in connection with any service, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays, and expenses arising from quarantine, strikes, theft, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, and discrepancies or change in transit over which they have no control. Reasonable changes in itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well-being of the participants, including cancellation due to water fluctuation, insufficient bookings, and other factors. There is risk in boating and kayaking. Rafts and kayaks do capsize. You could be swept overboard. Your guide will make every attempt to assist, but you must be strong and agile enough to “self-help” without further endangering yourself or others. We reserve the right not to accept passengers weighing more than 260 pounds or with a waist/chest size more than 56 inches. We may decide, at any time, to exclude any person or group for any reason we feel is related to safety on our trips. We are experienced at accommodating people with various disabilities. Please give us an opportunity to make you feel welcome. We need to discuss requirements ahead of time. On advancement of deposit the depositor agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions. Prices and itinerary are subject to change without notice.
OARS trips occur in areas where unpredictable environmental conditions are to be expected. To moderate dangerous situations for our guests and guides, it is important that all travelers obey the rules and regulations as determined by the managing agencies and the Trip Leader and demonstrate reasonable consideration for other guests and OARS employees. We reserve the right to remove any guest from a trip if, in our opinion, that guest’s actions or behaviors pose a threat to the safety of her/himself or others, or if those actions or behaviors compromise the enjoyment of the trip for others. Should a guest be asked to leave a trip, there will be no refund for the unused portion, nor will OARS be responsible for additional expenses incurred by the guest for accommodations, return transport, change fees, etc.
Pacific Marine Enterprises Cia. Ltda.:
Pacific Marine Enterprises Cia. Ltda, travel partner of O.A.R.S. International, Inc., is the operator of this trip. These staff members are the very best and will strive to ensure your complete satisfaction.