Ultimate Galapagos

July 17, 2014 - July 29, 2014
July 16, 2015 - July 28, 2015

Activity Level

To fully enjoy the wildlife-viewing opportunities this exciting program offers, participants should be fit and in good health. Our yacht’s schedule includes morning and afternoon shore excursions each day. To visit the islands you will need to board Zodiacs; there will be landings directly onto the beach (wet landings) or onto a dock or rocks (dry landings). You must be able to climb easily into and out of Zodiacs and walk up to three miles at a comfortable pace over uneven terrain, with frequent stops for nature viewing.  Should you have any physical limitations, please notify us in advance of your departure.

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Climate

On the equator, the Galápagos Islands are in a subtropical zone with temperatures determined by the almost constant ocean currents and trade winds. Please come prepared for warm, sunny conditions, and bring adequate sun protection. In July, temperatures should be in the 75°F to 85°F range with minimal rainfall, while water temperatures will be between 70°F to 80°F. GuayaquÍl will be between 75°F to 90°F, with wetter (humid) conditions.

If you wish to do your own research on the region’s climate, you may want to check local weather conditions on the Internet, the Weather Channel, or Accuweather shortly before departure. 

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Currency

The U.S. dollar is the standard currency used throughout Ecuador and on board the Isabella II.  Your voyage includes most necessities; therefore, we strongly recommend that you carry most of your spending money in smaller denominations. When bringing U.S. currency into Ecuador, please avoid bringing bills that are torn, stained, written on, or otherwise damaged in any way. At the end of your voyage, you may settle your onboard account with your credit card. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit cards are accepted for payment on board the Isabella II

Credit and debit cards are now increasingly accepted at Ecuadorian ATMs in the larger cities and are a good source of obtaining funds when traveling.  If you wish to obtain cash with your debit or credit card, please ensure that you have a four-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number).  Major credit cards are accepted as payment in well-established shops and in the hotels we use on our expedition. They are accepted less frequently in smaller stores and with street vendors. 

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Documentation

You will receive your Pre-Departure Packet—including a Personal Information Form that will need to be returned to Zegrahm, a complete packing list, reading list, and gift certificates—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior to your departure.

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Electricity

Electricity in mainland Ecuador and the Galápagos, including the Isabella II, is 110v/60hz, the same as in the U.S. and Canada. Converters and adapter plugs are not necessary for standard North American appliances. 

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Extending Your Stay

Interested in extending your stay? Speak with one of our Expedition Advisors to find out how easy it is for you to stay an extra night or two. Or, our Private Travel department is available to design customized extended stays for individuals, families, and groups of friends—the same horizon-broadening adventures and life-changing experiences as our group expedition, but on a flexible, intimate, and personalized scale. Call 800.628.8747 or 206.285.4000 for more information. 

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Flight Information

Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements.

You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Guayaquíl/Baltra and Baltra/Guayaquíl/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.

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Internet and Phone

The Isabela II has computers with internet access as well as Wi-Fi throughout the ship. Please note that internet connections aboard the ship are low-bandwidth and intermittent.

All suites are equipped with a telephone. Rates will be provided onboard.

Your final documentation will include contact information for the ship, including phone and fax numbers as well as email addresses. 

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Local Time

Mainland Ecuador operates on Eastern Standard Time but does not observe Daylight Savings Time; therefore, the time will be one hour behind the east coast of the United States during our expedition. The Galápagos Islands are on Central Standard Time, two hours behind the mainland. The ship, however, normally remains on Eastern Standard Time to simplify matters.

Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 5:00a.m. on the North American west coast:

5:00a.m.

Seattle, Washington (PDT)

8:00a.m. New York, New York (EDT)
7:00a.m. Mainland Ecuador
6:00a.m. The Galápagos Islands
7:00a.m. Isbaela II (ship stays on mainland Ecuador time)

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Meals

Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form included with the Pre-Departure packet, and we will do our best to prepare for them.  Unfortunately kosher meals cannot be accommodated. 

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Packing Suggestions

General Information

It is essential to maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and personal tastes and adjust accordingly.

There are no laundry facilities on board the Isabela II, but there will be the opportunity to send laundry out (no dry cleaning) once during the trip. Rates are available onboard.

Clothing on Board

Comfortable and casual clothing, in the expedition spirit, is recommended.

Typically there are two occasions on board when you may wish to wear slightly more formal attire: the captain’s welcome aboard and farewell cocktail parties followed by dinner. On these two occasions, women may choose to wear a dress or other appropriate, dressy attire, and men, possibly a jacket and tie. The degree of dress is in accordance with one’s personal preference.

Wet Landings

Sport sandals with a sturdy sole are the best type of footwear for frequent wet landings, especially where there are rocky and/or coral covered beaches. They provide excellent protection and dry quickly. Other footwear you may wish to bring includes aqua socks and/or canvas sneakers that you don’t mind getting wet or dirty. You will want to wear pants that are easy to roll up, shorts, or a sarong for wet landings.

Clothing Ashore

Sporty summer-weight clothing is a good basis for your wardrobe. Loose, lightweight, wash-and-wear slacks, skirts, shorts, blouses, shirts, and T-shirts made of natural fibers are recommended. For protection against insect bites, long pants and long-sleeved shirts are useful as well. The sun can be strong, so bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear, wear hats, and use sun block, as we will be out in the sun for extended periods of time. Also, keep in mind that we may encounter a rain shower or two on our excursions.

Shore excursions will involve a moderate amount of walking over beaches and rough terrain. Comfortable walking shoes, preferably hiking shoes, are a must. Sturdy walking shoes with thick soles or light hiking boots are recommended. If you have weak ankles, high-top hiking boots will provide better support. Make sure your shoes or boots are well broken-in before your trip.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling is an integral part of the Galápagos experience, and there are many opportunities to participate on this expedition. Please note that the majority of the snorkeling will be done in open waters from our Zodiacs, with only a few opportunities for snorkeling off the beach. Masks, flippers (up to size 13), snorkels, wetsuits, and inflatable vests are available on the Isabela II, but you may wish to bring your own for best comfort and fit.

The water temperatures in the Galápagos are generally between 70 to 80°F in July. Depending on your personal sensitivity to cold, you may or may not need a wetsuit or hood. A variety of sizes of wetsuits are available on board (Small – XXL). These are 3 mm, shortie suits (cut off legs and sleeves) without hoods. However, if you are sensitive to cold, we recommend you bring a lightweight wetsuit (1 or 2 millimeters), or if you do not get cold quickly, a Lycra or PolarTec suit may be adequate.

Weights may also be desired when snorkeling with a wetsuit should you wish to free dive below water to see the fish, sea lions, etc. However, please note: We must be notified at least one month prior to departure if you need a weight belt and/or weights (they are free of charge, but we need to know prior to departure how many will be needed, so we can be sure they will be available for you on board).

Additional snorkeling information will be included with your final documents approximately one month before departure. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly should you have further questions in order to maximize your snorkeling experience.

No scuba diving will be offered on this expedition.

You will receive a complete Packing List with your Pre-Departure Packet, approximately five months prior to departure. 

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With Our Compliments

We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. Gift certificates to our Zegrahm Store and Longitude Books will offer you the opportunity to choose one of several specially selected items from our store along with books or maps suggested in the highly recommended titles sent. The certificates will be sent in your Pre-Departure Packet approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificates for more details.

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