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Absolute Galapagos (Daphne)

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highlights
  • With over two weeks spent on the archipelago, this trip takes a more leisurely pace. Spend more time on each island, soaking up the sun and the sea (lions).
  • Hike, snorkel, sleep, repeat – this isn’t your average cruise. Get active in the rugged and isolated Galapagos Islands.
  • Sea lions are like the dogs of the ocean: playful, goofy and curious. And while you can’t pat them, you’re bound to fall in love with these furry frolickers.
  • Pink flamingos, red-throated frigates and blue-footed boobies will have you craning your neck, snapping photos and contemplating a career in ornithology.
The Absolute Galapagos (Daphne) trip starts from and ends in Quito. It is a sailing, yachting and motor boating trip that takes 17 days taking you through Quito in Ecuador. Absolute Galapagos (Daphne) is a guided small group trip that includes accommodation in hotels, transport, meals and others.

Discover the endemic wildlife, bizarrely beautiful landscapes and underwater treasures of the Galapagos Islands on this immersive 17-day cruise. Explore both the traveller’s favourites and quieter parts of the archipelago, all with a passionate local naturalist on hand to guide you over pahoehoe lava and through marine iguana colonies. Snorkel in clear waters off the coast of Isla Espanola, paddle through a green turtle breeding grove on Isla Floreana, look out for mottled Galapagos hawks on Isla Fernandina, and wander between sea lions lounging on beaches with red, black and white sand.
customer reviews about Intrepid Travel
4.5 - Excellent Based on 71 reviews
Yong's review for another Intrepid Travel tour
5 - Excellent
“Excellent”
Mabel's review for another Intrepid Travel tour
4 - Very Good
“Very Good”
Anonymous' review for another Intrepid Travel tour
5 - Excellent
“Full intinerary with touristy and off the beaten paths places.
Plenty to see and greatly organized.
Incredible guide who took us through a lot of the culture, history and day-to-day of this unique country.
Some infrastructure limitations, but nothing too bad when it comes to these unusual territories.”
The adventure gets under way in Quito, Ecuador’s sprawling but refined capital city. A welcome meeting will be held this evening at either 5 pm or 6 pm, but aside from that you are free to check out the city on your own today. If you arrive with time to spare, perhaps head to Quito’s Old Town and pick one (or more) of the 30 churches to explore.
Accommodation
  • Hotel La Cartuja, Quito
Rise and shine! An early start is necessary this morning to make it to the Galapagos with time to play today. This could mean leaving as early as 4.30 am, and an Intrepid representative will confirm the exact departure time during the welcome meeting on Day 1. Transfer to Mariscal Sucre International Airport (aka Quito Airport), enjoying a boxed breakfast en route.

Fly to the Galapagos (approximately 3.5 hours). On arrival, collect your luggage and meet your naturalist guide in the arrival hall. Follow your guide on a public bus for a short distance (approximately 5 minutes), then board the public ferry and head across the Itabaca Channel (approximately 7 minutes). All public transport fees are included in your trip price. Once you reach Isla Santa Cruz, board a private bus to the highlands.

After a short journey (approximately 10 minutes), arrive at Los Gemelos – twin sinkholes created by the collapse of surface material in underground fissures and chambers. They are surrounded by the unique scalesia cloud forest, so be on the lookout for the abundant birdlife including different species of Darwin finches, woodpeckers, warbler finches and vermillion flycatchers. Continue further into the highlands (approximately 30 minutes) and explore a rancho farm, where you will take a walk and later enjoy lunch. The approximately 2-kilometre walk around the area will likely reveal giant tortoises in their natural habitat.

After lunch, travel to Puerto Ayora (approximately 45 minutes) where Le Grande Daphne and her crew will be waiting for you. Once on board, you’ll be assigned a cabin and have a chance to settle in for your first night on the islands before a safety briefing.
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Discover the quirky maritime history of Post Office Bay, home of the oldest postal system in the Americas. There’s a post box here that was first built by 18th-century whalers and is still in use today. Perhaps leave a letter to be collected by another traveller or look for one you can deliver. Snorkelling and a Zodiac ride are also included in this outing. Afterwards, head ashore at Punta Cormorant where the sand is made up of fine olivine crystal, a glassy volcanic mineral that gives the beach an olive-green colour. Take a 1-kilometre walk in search of sea lions, flamingos, pintails and stilts. Finish at a sandy beach where Eastern Pacific green turtles nest.

Just offshore, the famous Devil’s Crown waits for those who want a special snorkelling experience. The partially-submerged remains of a volcanic cone, Devil’s Crown is now a unique swimming hole and home to rays, sharks, sea lions and turtles.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Puerto Ayora to Isla Floreana: 4 hours (32 nautical miles)
Punta Comorant to Punta Suarez: 6.5 hours (52 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Wake up and take a hike on Isla Espanola, the southernmost island of the Galapagos. It is the breeding site for almost all of the estimated 24,000 waved albatrosses on earth. If you’re lucky (and the timing is right), you might spot the elaborate courtship rituals performed by albatrosses before the female chooses her lifelong mate during your walk. Hike through booby colonies to the rocky trails of beautiful Punta Suarez. This 3-km hike culminates at a clifftop viewpoint. Gaze out over views of rugged cliffs framed by swooping frigate birds, watching while albatross use the cliffs as their ‘runway’, getting airborne on the southeast winds.

Next, head to Bahia Gardner for a walk along the beach. Dodge lounging sea lions on this 1-kilometre walk, then cool off with a spot of snorkelling. The rocks off the coast are rich with reef sharks, turtles and many species of tropical fish (such as surgeon and angelfish). Small white-tipped reef sharks can also be spotted resting under the rocks.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Punta Suarez to Bahia Gardener: 45 minutes (5 nautical miles)
Bahia Gardener to Kicker Rock: 5 hours (8 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Shake off any early morning doziness with a trip to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock). This basalt crater rises 150 metres above the water and is divided into two parts by a narrow channel. Cruise through the channel as nesting seabirds flank the boat, tropicbirds soar overhead, marine iguanas swim about and sea lions lounge on the water. Snorkelling here gives you the chance to see Galapagos sharks, sea turtles and an incredible biodiversity of invertebrates living in the rock.

Later, sail to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the island of San Cristobal. Some passengers will be leaving and others joining the group today, so you have some free time to explore the town of San Cristobal. In the afternoon you will visit the San Cristobal Interpretation Centre, which brings the history and geography of the archipelago to life, from its volcanic origins to the present day. If there’s time, your guide may be able to organise an optional visit to the highlands of San Cristobal, for a chance to see giant tortoises in the wild. The price of this optional activity depends on the number of passengers attending. Relaxing on the beach is a great option for those who don’t wish to partake in this excursion.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Leon Dormido to Isla San Cristobal: 1 hour (8 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Sea lions, iguanas and hawks – oh my! Isla Santa Fe is home to all three, plus Galapagos mockingbirds, marine turtles, frigate birds, Galapagos doves and lava lizards. This stunning island boasts one of the most attractive coves in the whole archipelago. Take a hike along the coast into the opuntia forest (approximately 1.5 hours). The trail is rocky, so mind your step and make sure you’re wearing good walking shoes.

Afterwards, continue to Isla Plaza Sur, a small, picturesque island. Take another walk (approximately 1.5 hours), getting close to sea lions and passing one of the Galapagos’s largest land iguana populations. The southern cliffs are great for spotting tropicbirds and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as ‘the Gentlemen’s Club’ – a gathering of male sea lions. Today there may be an extra stop on the way to Plaza Sur to restock the provisions for the boat.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Isla San Cristobal to Isla Santa Fe: 3.5 hours (26 nautical miles)
Isla Santa Fe to Isla Plaza Sur: 2 hours (16 nautical miles)
Isla Plaza Sur to Bahia Darwin (Isla Genovesa): 7.5 hours (59 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Explore Isla Genovesa, the archipelago's north-eastern outpost. The island’s varied landscapes are a twitcher's paradise, with all three kinds of boobies, including the rare red-footed booby, nesting here. Next, Bahia Darwin (Darwin Beach) is another superb birding site with large breeding colonies of seabirds, frigates, lava herons, swallow-tailed gulls, mockingbirds, and vampire finches.

Enjoy a moderate walk (approximately 2.5 hours) that passes tide pools, sea lions and diamond stingrays. This walk involves sand and some rocky sections. The steep Prince Philip's Steps lead you to the heart of the seabird rookeries, with birds swirling overhead and nesting among the cliffs. Look out for storm petrels on the island’s rocky plains – Genovesa is the only place in the world where these birds can be seen flying during the day. Afterwards, perhaps cool off with a snorkel, during which you could encounter manta rays, sharks, turtles and moray eels, plus many species of fish.

Later tonight, depart Isla Genovesa for Isla Santiago.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Prince Philip's Steps (Isla Genovesa) to Bahia Sullivan (Isla Santiago): 8 hours (48 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Explore Bahia Sullivan, a beach along Santiago Island's eastern coast. Take a walk along pahoehoe lava (approximately 1 hour), which was created by an eruption that occurred here in 1897. With some luck you might see some marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, finches, turtles, sharks and penguins. During your walk, as always, your naturalist guide will take you through the geological history of the island.

Travel to Isla Rabida, known for its gorgeous red-sand beach (coloured that way due to rusting iron). This is one of the most striking islands of the archipelago. Starting at the shore, follow a walking trail (approximately 45 minutes) through to one of the finest lagoons in the Galapagos for viewing flamingos. Rabida is also a wonderful place to spot nesting pelicans. Elsewhere, pintail ducks, marine iguanas and sea lions are present. Here you will find opuntia cactus forest, which suggests previous existence of land iguanas and possibly flamingos, Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds, doves, finches and lava lizards. You’ll have the chance to snorkel among sea stars, damsels, gobies and surgeon fish, and take a Zodiac ride in search of wildlife.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Bahia Sullivan (Isla Santiago) to Isla Rabida: 2 hours (16 nautical miles)
Isla Rabida to Caleta Tortuga Negra (Isla Santa Cruz) 2 hours (16 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Explore Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove) on a Zodiac. This red mangrove wetland is located on the north shore of Isla Santa Cruz. Cruise through this peaceful cove and look out for mating green turtles, as well as golden cow-nose rays, eagle rays and Galapagos sharks.

Head to Las Bachas, where the soft sand made of decomposed coral is a nesting site for the Pacific green turtle. Marine iguanas are also commonly spotted along the beach. The rocks make for excellent snorkelling and are populated by Sally Lightfoot crabs which are plentiful on the island. A saltwater lagoon just near the beach is home to flamingo and whimbrel – you might also see a great blue heron. Remnants of a floating pier, a testimony to the US presence in the Galapagos during World War II, can also be seen.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Caleta Tortuga Negra (Isla Santa Cruz) to Las Bachas: 30 minutes (4 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Sail from Isla Baltra to North Seymour, one of the most visited islands of the Galapagos. First up is a solid walk, the highlight of which may well be blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. As you walk, look out for land iguanas, marine iguanas, sea lions and the endemic incense tree. Strap on a snorkel and explore a different side of the island, looking out for white-tipped reef sharks, rays and sea lions.

The next stop is Bartolome, one of the most spectacular volcanic landscapes in the Galapagos, full of parasitic spatter cones, lava flows, Galapagos penguins and lava lizards. Make sure you’ve got cool clothing and sturdy shoes, because there is a challenging walk ahead. Climb over 360 wooden steps to the island summit, where an amazing view of Pinnacle Rock awaits as reward. This is one of the photographed sights in the Galapagos: an abrupt jag of rock protruding from the earth like a tooth, near two back-to-back golden bays. If you’re in luck, you might catch a glimpse of the Galapagos hawk. There’s also the opportunity to go snorkelling among the colourful tropical marine life to cool off afterwards.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Isla Baltra to North Seymour: 45 minutes (5 nautical miles)
North Seymour to Bartolome: 2.5 hours (18 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Head to Puerto Egas, a black-sand beach on Isla Santiago. Take a stroll along the beach where marine iguanas, pelicans, finches, mockingbirds, oystercatchers, Galapagos sea lions and Galapagos fur seals are known to frolic. Along the way you can see the amazing tidal pools, formed from ancient lava flow, providing a home for sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish.

Later, sail to Espumilla Beach, located on the northern coast of Isla Santiago. Kick off your shoes and feel the flour-soft sand beneath your toes while you take in the vivid green vegetation that lines the coast. Not only is this island a nesting site for marine turtles, it’s also a fantastic place to see ghost crabs, blue-footed boobies (often plunging for fish) and brown pelicans. There’s also the chance to see Galapagos hawks up close.

Finally, pay a visit to Buccaneer Cove. Volcanically active, steeped in myth and flanked by gorgeous cliffs, the old pirate haunt has something for everyone, from birdwatchers to history buffs. If conditions are favourable, you can enjoy some more snorkelling around the cove.

Estimated travel time/distances:
Bartolome to Puerto Egas (Isla Santiago): 4.5 hours (35 nautical miles)
Puerto Egas to Espumilla Beach (Isla Santiago): 45 minutes (5 miles)
Espumilla Beach to Buccaneer Cove (Isla Santiago): 15 minutes (2 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Visit Tagus Cove, where pirates and whalers used to collect tortoises for their stews (and occasionally, to keep as pets). Enjoy a short visit here (approximately 2 hours), perhaps snorkelling or checking out the ancient graffiti on the walls (the oldest of which is from 1836). Witness flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies and a variety of waterfowl and penguins (the most northerly penguins in the world). Walk to a lookout point for a stunning panorama of the north of Isla Isabela and the Wolf volcano.

Visit nearby Isla Fernandina, the youngest of the Galapagos Islands. It’s also volcanically active and the most westerly island, making it one of the least visited. The third-largest in size, it erupted most recently in 2018. The absence of introduced mammals gives it a unique landscape, and it boasts the highest concentration of marine iguanas on the archipelago. Take a walk around the beautiful peninsula, which boasts such wildlife and plant life as lava cacti, marine iguanas, barking sea lions, tiny penguins and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Keep a lookout for that marvellous predator hunting from the treetops – the Galapagos hawk. Top-notch snorkelling opportunities await in the clear waters, and turtles and sea lions can be seen swimming around and feeding on the shore.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Buccaneer Cove (Isla Santiago) to Espinoza (Isla Fernandina): 45 mins (6 nautical miles)
Espinoza to Elizabeth Bay (Isla Isabela): 4.5 hours (37 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Today you will land at the archipelago's largest island – Isabela. Take a Zodiac ride along Elizabeth Bay, keeping your binoculars and camera at the ready to photograph the second-smallest penguins in the world. You might also spot blue-footed boobies perched on the islets or diving for their next meal.

Next, cruise into the mangrove forest to see sea turtles, sea lions, penguins, lava herons, rays and plenty of colourful fish like pompanos, dorados and mullets. Your destination is Punta Moreno on the south west coast, a delightful place to spend the afternoon. This coastline has some of the most beautiful blue lagoons and rocky terrain in the Galapagos, with a backdrop of three active volcanoes, myriad flamingos and incredible lava formations. Go for an amazing walk on top of the black lava field with the majestic view of Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul in the background. Depending on the season, you can see brown pelicans nesting on top of the mangroves, lava and candelabra cactus, plus lava lizards. You’ll pass brackish water lagoons, covered with several different plants, where pink flamingos, ducks and black neck stills rest. Then jump aboard once again and head out for a snorkel and look out for the elusive sea horse.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Isla Isabela to Punta Moreno (approximately 2.5 hours, 18 nautical miles)
Punta Moreno to Puerto Villamil (8 hours, 64 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Visit Las Tintoreras, a narrow channel that’s home to a colony of white-tipped reef sharks. You can watch them swimming and sleeping from a viewing platform – and spy the occasional sea lion among them. Blue-footed boobies, penguins, marine iguanas and crabs also make their home here. Enjoy a leisurely, long walk on a gravel path, heading through lava flows and spotting plenty of marine iguanas.

Eat breakfast, then take a bus up to Sierra Negra Volcano. Explore the area and take in views of the crater – this volcano last erupted in 2018! In the afternoon, pay a visit to the local wetlands. You’ll reach them via a complex trail which winds around for some six kilometres. Upon arrival you’ll find an intriguing spread of flora and fauna (including flamingos) and some spectacular scenery.

Estimated travel time/distance:
Isla Isabela to Cerro Dragon (Isla Santa Cruz) (5 hours 45 minutes, 45 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Wake up this morning on Santa Cruz's north coast and visit Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill). Enjoy a dry landing then walk to a brackish lagoon that’s frequented by birds such as stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings and occasionally flamingos. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago. This area is a nesting site for land iguanas (hence the name) and is constantly monitored by the Charles Darwin Research Station. The arid-zone vegetation also makes for some fine birdwatching. Darwin's finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, Galapagos flycatchers and yellow warblers are all regulars here. The path can be challenging, but the reward is a spectacular view of the bay.

Sail to the Baltra dock to refuel, then to Punta Carrion (approximately 1 hour; 6 nautical miles). This is a shallow and protected cove, ideal for snorkelling and swimming. Wildlife is plentiful here – keep your eyes peeled for blue-footed boobies, Galapagos herons and great blue herons. Go swimming among the rays and white-tipped reef sharks.

Afterwards, sail from Punta Carrion to Puerto Ayora


Cerro Dragon (Isla Santa Cruz) to Isla Baltra: 2.5 hours (18 nautical miles)
Isla Baltra to Punta Carrion (Isla Santa Cruz): 2.5 hours (18 nautical miles)
Punta Carrion to Puerto Ayora (Isla Santa Cruz): 4 hours (30 nautical miles)
Accommodation
  • M/Y Daphne
Flights to the mainland from Galapagos depart mid-morning, so it’s an early start for your last day on the islands. Visit the Santa Cruz highlands, into the misty forests where you can see the unique Scalesia cloud forest and get your last chance to see giant tortoises in the wild. Take in the serene atmosphere of the highlands before bidding farewell to the archipelago.

Head to the airport for your mid-morning flight back to Quito. This flight takes approximately 2.5 hours with a stop in Guayaquil. Upon arrival at Quito Airport, at about 4 pm, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel for an overnight stay. A local Intrepid representative might stop by the hotel this evening to get your feedback on the trip.

Estimated travel times/distances:
Bus from Isla Santa Cruz highlands to the Itabaca Channel: 45 minutes
Public ferry across the channel: 5 minutes
Public airport bus from the dock to Isla Baltra airport: 15 minutes
Accommodation
  • Hotel La Cartuja, Quito
There are no activities planned for today, and your tour finishes after breakfast. Of course, that doesn’t mean your adventure has to end! Why not stay on in Quito for a few days and discover the charms of the city. Don’t know where to begin? Try an Urban Adventure, the perfect way to get under the surface. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/destination/Quito-tours.
what’s included
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights), Overnight boat (14 nights)
Meals
  • 16 Breakfast, 14 Lunch, 14 Dinner
Transport
  • Boat , Plane , Bus , Zodiac (Panga)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Floreana - Post Office Bay snorkelling (45 mins)
  • Isla Floreana - Punta Cormorant walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Floreana - Devil's Crown snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Espanola - Bahia Gardener - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Espanola - Bahia Gardener - Snorkel (1 hour)
  • Isla Espanola - Punta Suarez - Walk (3 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla San Cristobal - Kicker Rock - Snorkelling (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center Visit (1 hour) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Plaza Sur - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Fe - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Santa Fe - Panga ride (45 mins)
  • Isla Genovesa - Bahia Darwin - Walk (2 hours) Wet Landing
  • Isla Genovesa - La Barranco - Walk - Dry Landing
  • Isla Genovesa - Snorkelling (45 min)
  • Isla Rabida - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Rabida - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Santiago - Sullivan Bay - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santiago - Sullivan Bay - Snorkelling (45 mins)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Black Turtle Cove - Panga ride (1.5 hours)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Bachas Beach Walk (1 hour) - Wet Landing
  • Isla North Seymour - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla North Seymour - Snorkelling (1 hours)
  • Isla Bartolome - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Bartolome - Snorkelling (1.5 hours)
  • Isla Santiago - Puerto Egas - Walk (1.45 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Santiago - Puerto Egas - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Sanitago - Espumilla Beach - Walk (1.5 hours) - Wet Landing
  • Isla Sanitago - Espumilla Beach - Snorkelling (45 mins)
  • Isla Sanitago - Buccaneer's Cove - Sail (15 mins)
  • Isla Isabela - Tagus Cove - Walk (1.45 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Isabela - Tagus Cove - Snorkel (1 hour)
  • Isla Fernandina - Punta Espinosa - Walk (2 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Fernandina - Punta Espinosa - Snorkel (1 hour)
  • Isla Isabela - Elizabeth Bay - Panga Ride (2 hours)
  • Isla Isabela - Punta Moreno - Walk and Panga ride (2 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Isabela - Punta Moreno - Snorkel (45min)
  • Isla Isabela - Las Tintoreras visit (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Isabela - Sierra Negra Volcano Crater Walk (3.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Cerro Dragon - Walk (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Punta Carrion - Snorkelling (1 hour)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (1 hour) - Dry Landing
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to/from Quito are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Absolute Galapagos (Daphne) tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Absolute Galapagos (Daphne)
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Good to know
Payment

A deposit of 1348 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 57 days before departure. For any departures within 17 October 2019 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Absolute Galapagos (Daphne) tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Absolute Galapagos (Daphne) tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Absolute Galapagos (Daphne) tour. You can cancel the tour up to 58 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 57 days of departure.
Trip Details
  • Last modified (date)

    25 Jul 2019

  • Trip title

    Absolute Galapagos (Daphne)

  • Trip code

    GMDE

  • Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2018 to 29 Jun 2020

  • Introduction

    Discover the endemic wildlife, bizarrely beautiful landscapes and underwater treasures of the Galapagos Islands on this immersive 17-day cruise. Explore both the traveller’s favourites and quieter parts of the archipelago, all with a passionate local naturalist on hand to guide you over pahoehoe lava and through marine iguana colonies. Snorkel in clear waters off the coast of Isla Espanola, paddle through a green turtle breeding grove on Isla Floreana, look out for mottled Galapagos hawks on Isla Fernandina, and wander between sea lions lounging on beaches with red, black and white sand.

  • Style

    Original

  • Themes

    Sailing,Wildlife

  • Transport

    Boat,Plane,Bus,Zodiac (Panga)

  • Physical Rating

    3

  • Physical preparation

    Galapagos Voyage

    We don't ask travellers to complete a physical participation form for this trip however we do ask you read through the trip notes carefully to ensure that this trip is the right trip for you. This applies to the included activities and moving around the boat. You will also need to enter and exit a zodiac during wet and dry landings and when returning from snorkelling - please note crew members will be on hand to assist you.

    The cabins and communal areas of the Daphne are spread over 3 decks. The steps between the decks are steep however, there are hand railings to hold on to.

    Snorkelling

    There are many opportunities to go snorkelling on our voyages. Confident swimming skills are required to take part in this activity. Depending on the weather conditions and park regulations, you could be snorkelling twice a day. If you take part in the snorkelling, you will not miss out on any land activities. For those not wanting to snorkel, there will be time to relax on the boat.

    Altitude

    Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level. At this altitude you may experience some of the milder effects of altitude sickness, such as dizziness, insomnia and a shortness of breath. If so, we recommend you avoid any strenuous activity.

  • Group leader

    Our local representative will meet you in the evening of day 1 of the trip and conduct the group briefing. They will then also transfer with you to the airport on day 2 for your flight to the Galapagos. On arrival in the Galapagos you will be met your Guide. Our Guides are registered and trained in conservation and natural sciences by the Charles Darwin Foundation and licensed by the Galapagos National Park Service. The Guide will be on board with you for the duration of the trip and will accompany you on all excursions. Our boats are also staffed by highly experienced shipboard staff and crew.

  • Communications

    Electricity in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is 110 - 120V and requires US plugs so you may need to take an adapter.
    Wi-Fi is not available on the boat at all whilst in the Galapagos Islands. There is limited access on the bigger islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela and there may also be internet cafes for you to use if there is time.
    Like Wi-Fi, mobile phone coverage is pretty non-existent whilst travelling around the islands. Again, you may find that you have limited service when you are closer to the bigger islands.
    There is a radio on board, for the use of shipboard staff, in case of emergency.

  • Visas

    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

    Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, Canadians and British do not currently require a visa for Ecuador. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.

    Visa requirements for Galapagos Islands are the same as Ecuador.

  • Is this trip right for you

    The Galapagos Islands are a largely untouched natural paradise. In order to experience the splendour of the diverse landscapes and waters, the included activities on this trip often require a moderate level of fitness. We ask that you read the trip notes and itinerary carefully to ensure that you will be able to participate fully.

    Our small ships make cruising from island to island a breeze, so you can spend more time exploring the gorgeous surrounds than stuck onboard. Compact size means that the steps between the decks are steep, and as they are designed to maximise living area space, sleeping quarters are cosy.

    For getting to small islets, coves and prime snorkelling spots, it is sometimes necessary to use a Zodiac boat (panga). You will need to be comfortable climbing in and out of one during wet and dry landings.

    The waters of the Galapagos are generally calm and serene. However, there is always the possibility of choppy water at sea. Steady sea legs (and a sturdy stomach) will be needed when walking around the boat during bad weather. Rain or shine, your trusty crew will always be on hand to assist you.

    Things are never set in stone when you’re travelling on island time. A sense of humour and flexibility will ensure you have a fun, relaxing trip through this beautiful part of the world no matter what happens. While the crew will do their best to follow the itinerary, variations may occur due to weather or under direction from local authorities.

  • Food and dietary requirements

    All meals are included onboard the Daphne, this includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Tea, coffee and cold water is available at any time during the day [or night].

    Most meals are served buffet style. Here is an example of the typical meals served

    Breakfast
    Toast, spreads, muesli, eggs with fresh fruit and fruit juices

    Lunch
    A mix of hot and cold dishes plus salads or vegetables and fruit salad and juice

    Dinner
    Fresh seafood, chicken or pork, pasta, rice, vegetables, salads and dessert.

    If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies please notify us at the time of booking so we can determine the extent to which your dietary requirements can be met. We will endeavour to accommodate all requests but please note that we have limited refrigeration and storage space on board the Galapagos boats and there is very limited (if any) access to shops or supermarkets.

    Vegans, coeliacs or those with specific meal requirements might choose to supplement meals with supplies bought from home, e.g. protein bars. Please note that the Galapagos does have strict quarantine laws when it comes to bringing in goods from the mainland.

    The airline we use to and from the Galapagos Islands is unable to provide gluten free snacks. If you require a gluten free diet, we recommend you carry your own snacks for these flights.

  • Money matters

    The official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar (USD).

    Please note that in Ecuador automatic money machines often limit the amount you can withdraw. This can be $100 or $200 per day depending on your card.

    ATM's are available in Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Isla San Cristobal however there are no ATM's in Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela.
    Credit cards are accepted in some shops and stores in Puerto Ayora, Puerto Baquerizo and Puerto Villamil.
    For boat trips only:
    On board the Galapagos voyage, alcoholic [beer and wine] and soft drinks are available to purchase in cash and if you wish to tip the crew this will also be paid in cash.

    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some  travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than others, others prefer to visit more optional sites. Remember that alcoholic beverages are expensive compared to other foods locally. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities.

    We recommend you carry at least US$100 to allow for additional meals and snacks. There is a bar on board where the settlement of the bill is by US$ cash only. The Daphne doesn't have credit card facilitites.

    Please make additional allowance for bar expenses, however you will find the drinks to be moderately priced.

    All prices are quoted in US$.

    Cocktails: $6 - $8
    Wine*: $30 - $40
    Spirits: $6 - $10
    Beers: $3 - $5
    Softdrink: $1.50 - $3
    *Red, white and sparkling wines are available by the bottle only.

    It is not possible to take your own alcohol onboard the Daphne.

    Please refer to the tipping section for additional information with regards to recommended amounts for tipping.

    During stops in Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela Islands, you will have the opportunity to visit souvenir shops and internet cafes.

    NATIONAL PARK AND TRANSIT CARD FEES:
    Before you check-in for your flight from Quito to the Galapagos Islands you will need to purchase a US$20 transit card [which you will need to hold on to as you will need to present it on your return from the Galapagos].
    On arrival in the islands you will purchase the Galapagos National Park entry fee, US$100.

    Please make sure you  have clean, unmarked notes to pay these fees.

    WETSUIT HIRE:
    Wetsuit hire is not included on the Daphne and can be organised on the boat at an additional cost. Depending on the length of time you spend on the boat, the cost will be as per below:
    17 day trip (GMDE): US$75
    10 day trip (GMDD/GMDA): US$40
    8 day trip (GMDP) US$40
    7 day trip (GMDC): US$25
    6 day trip (GMDB): US$20

    TIPPING
    If you are happy with the services received, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate.  While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations.

    Boat Crew:
    If you have enjoyed the services provided by your guide and crew, a tip would be very much appreciated by them. As a guideline we recommend each passenger consider US$12-14 per day for the crew (there are 7 crew members) and US$8-10 per day for your guide. You can leave tips in envelopes that are placed in your cabin on the last day of your journey.

    Restaurants:
    Please check the bill and if there's an addition of 10% service charge, there's no requirement for tipping.  Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropiate.

    Markets & local shops:
    At local markets, shops & basic restaurants, leave loose change.

    Hotel porters/local drivers:
    We suggest US$1 - US$2

    Please use the amounts listed above as a guide. Tipping is entirely a personal preference; of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip.

    WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:
    Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
    Passport and visa expenses.
    Government arrival and departure taxes.
    Galapagos National Park fee and Galapagos transit card.
    Isabela island port fee (if applicable).
    Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance.
    Excess baggage charges.
    Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified.
    Telecommunications charges.
    The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew.
    Wetsuit Hire.

    CONTINGENCY FUNDS:
    We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

  • Climate and seasonal

    Being located on the equator, Ecuador is a year round destination. In Quito temperatures do not fluctuate that much throughout the year with average temperatures around 19°C to 24°C during the day with lows of 9-10°C in the evening. There are two 'seasons', the wet and dry. The dry season runs from June to September and the wet season is from October through to May. The surprisingly thing with Quito is its altitude and proximity to the equator means that the sun has a little more kick to it so it can feel like it's warmer than it actually is. Even on cooler days, if the sun comes out make sure you use sunscreen.
    The Galapagos weather is pretty reasonable all year round, so it is never freezing cold but it can get very hot [February-May being the hottest months]. The seasons are not exactly fixed and weather conditions are changeable around the ends of the seasons. Note that the "wet" season is still drier than many places in the world.
    Daily temperatures range from 22°C to 25°C with overnight temperatures dropping to around 10°C. Up in the highlands [which you will cross on your way from Baltra to Puerto Ayora] it is cooler and the garúa mist hangs about as a kind of permanent dampness, and sometimes descends to the coast as well.
    The waters surrounding the Galapagos are influenced by the Humboldt Current. Water temperatures sit around 20°C to 24°C from January through to May and drop to 18°C to 20°C from June through to October. Although you may be required to wear a wetsuit at this time of year the same currents that bring the cooler water temperatures also bring nutrients which means wildlife are very active at this time of year.

  • Accommodation notes

    The Daphne features en suite cabins all with air conditioning and a safety box. The airconditioning is a centrally controlled system for the lower deck cabins and the upper deck cabins have individually controlled systems. The upper deck cabins have large windows and the lower deck cabins have portholes. Due to the lower deck cabins being close to the water, the portholes cannot be opened. There are 4 lower deck twin bunk cabins, 2 upper deck twin bunk cabins, 1 upper deck double cabin (couples only) and 1 upper deck twin cabin.

    The length of the berths are:
    Lower deck bunk 198cm
    Upper deck bunk 200cm
    Upper deck twin/double 200cm

    Please note that single passengers cannot be booked/confirmed in the double cabin unless a single supplement is paid.

  • Transport notes

    The Daphne is a motor yacht. She has a comfortable lounge and dining area, as well as a sun deck where you can view the wildlife or just kick back and relax. She has eight well-appointed, air-conditioned cabins each with en-suites.
    Cabins:
    4x lower deck twin bunk cabins
    1x upper deck queen cabin
    2x upper deck twin bunk cabins
    1x upper deck twin cabin
    Specifications:
    Built: 1997
    Re-furbished: March 2017
    Length: 21 m
    Beam: 6 m
    Engines: 2
    Speed: 10 knots
    Passengers: 16
    Crew: 7 + 1 English speaking naturalist guide

    Zodiacs (locally known as pangas) are modest-sized, open, outboard-powered boats which are very common throughout Galapagos. The boats are used to get you to and from the Daphne when you do activities. Depending on the type of activity, this could either be a wet or dry landing. The boat crew are there to assist you getting into and out of the zodiac.

  • Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

    This trip is a package tour and is therefore made up of a combination of shorter trips. This can mean you will have other travellers joining at different times of your tour.



    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and if you are willing to share a twin cabin there will be no compulsory single supplement [this also applies to the first and last night in the hotel in Quito]. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in either Lower Deck Twin Bunk cabins or Upper Deck Twin cabins. The Double cabin is set aside for couples or friends/family who are willing to share a bed.
    If you are a single traveller and wish to have a room to yourself a single supplement is available for this trip.
    Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

  • Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES:
    Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

    The maritime component of this trip is operated by a fully licensed Ecuadorian shipping operator. The Captain of the vessel will do all that is possible to adhere to the outlined itinerary however it may be changed without notice due inclement weather or changes to the Galapagos National Park's regulations. We ask you for your patience and understanding with any changes outside our control. Any changes to the itinerary will be undertaken with your safety and comfort in mind.

    There may be some early starts to the day for the scheduled activities to be conducted as per the itinerary due to specific visiting hours for some sites.

    All travel distances/times and durations for the activities listed in the trip notes are a guide only and are subject to change.

  • Accommodation

    Hotel (2 nights),Overnight boat (14 nights)

  • Joining point instructions

    If you have pre- booked and pre-paid for an arrival transfer [this must be done at least 2 weeks prior to departure] please proceed to the arrivals area. An Intrepid Customer Service representative will be waiting for you as you exit – they will be wearing an Intrepid branded shirt and holding a sign with your name on it. The transfer to the airport will take approximately 1 hour depending on the time of your arrival. If you need to exchange money at the airport there are several ATM’s and foreign exchange booths however please contact the driver before you head off so they are aware you have arrived. Our Customer Service team constantly check the flight arrival times so they will be aware if flights are delayed however if your flight is cancelled and you are rebooked on an alternative please contact our team in Quito on the provided emergency contact number with the new arrival details. If your flight is delayed and is arriving into Quito after 2am [on day 2 of the trip] our Customer Service team will advise you to stay at the airport rather than transferring to Quito. The transfer from Mariscal Sucre Airport to the centre of Quito can take up to 1 hour and by the time you make it to the hotel the group will be departing for the airport for the early connection to the Galapagos.

    If you have not pre-booked a transfer, taxis, Uber, Cabify, Easytaxi and public transport are an alternative option. Taxis can be found waiting outside the arrivals area. Look for an official/registered taxi, they should display a sticker that has their taxi number on the windshield and have their company name noted on the side of the vehicle or on their number plates. Most taxis operating out of the airport are official and registered and will have a meter. The cost will range from US25 to US50.
    A public bus is available from the Mariscal Surcre Airport to Rio Coca Terminal [located in the north of Quito] and Quitumbe Terminal [located south] however the buses only operate between 5.30am and 10pm or 5.30am and 7pm. The cost of a ticket starts at US2.

    If you cannot locate our Customer Service representative at the airport or need to advise us of a flight change or cancellation please contact our team in Quito on +593 (0) 9 94014877. If you are calling within Ecuador please drop the 593 and dial 0 9 9401 4877. If you are calling from outside Ecuador you need to dial +593 9 94014877.

  • Important information

    GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD:
    Before checking in for the flight from Quito to the Galapagos, there is a US$20 transit fee that needs to be paid. On arrival in the islands you must pay the US$100 national park fee to enter Galapagos National Park.

    PASSPORT DETAILS:
    When booking, please make sure that your name is spelt correctly, and that you book using the name in your passport (particularly if you are recently married). If you are issued a new passport with a different number between the time that you book and the time you travel, please take both the old and new passports with you.

    DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:
    Should you have a special diet requirement (for example vegetarian, celiac, vegan, severe food allergies) it's essential that you inform us or your agent of the specific details at least 10 days prior to departure, in order to make sure the chef on board the boat or on the island can request the necessary food supplies.

    MINIMUM AGE:
    The minimum age on this trip is 15. Please note that triple cabins are not available. If travelling with a child, the child will need to share with one of the adults, and the other adult will share with another adult passenger, or pay a single supplement.

    SEA SICKNESS- GALAPAGOS:
    Please note that from June to August the water is rougher than usual. Consequently travel times will be longer than usual. If you suffer from seasickness you may want to reconsider travelling during this period.

    ELECTRICITY, WI-FI & PHONE COVERAGE IN THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS:
    Electricity in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is 110 - 120V and requires US plugs so you may need to take an adapter.
    Wi-Fi is not available on the boat at all whilst in the Galapagos Islands. There is limited access on the bigger islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela and there may also be internet cafes for you to use if there is time.
    Like Wi-Fi, mobile phone coverage is pretty non-existent whilst travelling around the islands. Again, you may find that you have limited service when you are closer to the bigger islands.
    There is a satellite phone on board, for the use of shipboard staff, in case of emergency.

    DIVING IN THE GALAPAGOS:
    We do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to our internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.

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  • Secure Online Payment and Financial Guarantee Each and every trip is required to go through Bookmundi's secure payment platform, powered by Stripe and supported by SSL. All payments are therefore carried out in secure manners. We are furthermore member of the Danish Travel Fund which gives you a 100% financial guarantee for any money you pay on Bookmundi, even if we went bankrupt (which we we will not!).
  • Trip Replacement or 100% Reimbursement Bookmundi has hand-picked your local travel expert. Our role, as your trusted third party, is therefore to make sure that your entire experience runs as seamless and secure as possible. We guarantee to you that in the unlikely event where a local travel expert cancels your trip after your deposit or full payment has been made, we commit to replacing these services with another equally qualified agency so that your trip can go ahead as planned, or failing to replace it, we will give you a 100% reimbursement.
New customised trip enquiry by {{getFirstName(activeuser)}}:
  • Title: {{myRequest.title}}
  • Country: {{!!tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].geoLocation?tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].geoLocation:myRequest.country}}
  • Destination: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].destinations.join(', ')}}
  • Activity: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].activity.join(', ')}}
  • Custom Destination: {{tripPlannerCustom[myRequest.id].destination}}
  • Custom Activity: {{tripPlannerCustom[myRequest.id].activity}}
  • Group Size: {{myRequest.no_of_adults > 0 && myRequest.no_of_children > 0?',':''}} {{myRequest.group_type=='Single'?'1 Person':myRequest.group_type=='Couple'?'2 People':''}}
  • {{myRequest.departure_month || myRequest.duration?'Approx. Dates':'Travel Dates'}}: {{myRequest.start_date | readableDate}} to {{myRequest.end_date | readableDate}} {{myRequest.departure_month}}, {{myRequest.duration}} Not decided yet
  • Tour Type: {{myRequest.tourtype | tourtypefullName}}
  • Age Group: {{myRequest.age_group}} yrs
  • Type of Tour: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].type_of_tour}}
  • Accommodation Option: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].accommodation_option}}
  • Budget Per Person: USD {{myRequest.approx_budget_amount}}
  • Budget Flexibility {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].budget_flexibility}}
  • Trip Planning Stage {{myRequest.trip_planning_stage}}
""
Can you handle {{getFirstName(activeuser)}}'s enquiry? Rejection Reason
{{myRequest.reject_reason?myRequest.reject_reason:'Sorry, Your trip request has been rejected.'}}
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