Frequently asked questions Formalities & services
Do I need a passport or visa to go to the Galapagos?
A passport is required. Your travel agency can advise you of any visa requirements when travelling to Ecuador.
Before checking-in at the airports of Quito or Guayaquil, every visitor to the Galapagos Islands must purchase a Galapagos Transit Control Card (US$ 20 per person in cash, since March 1, 2015), separate from the Galapagos National Park entrance fee (for international passengers this is generally US$ 100 per person in cash). This visum-like ID card helps INGALA restricting migration and visits to the islands. Please keep this ticket carefully with your passport as you will need to show it again when you leave the Galapagos Islands.
Are there any luggage restrictions?
Domestic airline regulations permit 20kg (44 lbs) per person for your luggage excluded small carry-on flight bags. See also the Packing list with our suggestions. We recommend not bringing access luggage when you have booked a cabin on the sailing catamaran Nemo I. The storage space in these cabins is limited, but there is some additional storage room available on-board.
What time zone is used on the Galapagos?
Ecuador is in the Eastern Time Zone (GMT-5). The Galapagos Islands are one hour behind mainland Ecuador (GMT-6).
Can I pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee with my credit card or travel checks?
Unfortunately the payment can only be in cash.
Where does my Galapagos National Park entrance fee go?
The park entry fee collected upon a visitor’s arrival to the Galapagos Islands is used to help fund park management and community and conservation projects in the islands. The beneficiaries are as follows:
Galapagos National Park Service (40%)
Municipal Governments (25%)
The Galapagos Provincial Board (20%)
Galapagos Marine Reserve (5%)
The Quarantine and Inspection System (5%)
and the Ecuadorian Navy (5%).
How much should I tip?
Tips are not included. On the last day of your tour you will find two envelopes in your cabin. You can leave your tips/gratitude in one envelope for the guide and in the other for the crew.
We prefer that our guests reward the crew based on their effort and performance. The amount is personal and you are free to leave how much you think is appropriate. For those guests that would like to know an average, we suggest the following guidelines:
Crew: US$ 10-12 per day per guest
Guide: US$ 5-7 per day per guest
How can I pay my expenses on-board?
Incidental expenses on-board and suggested tipping fees can only be paid in cash (US Dollars).
Are there ATMs on the Galapagos?
Yes, there are cash machines in Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz, in the harbour and 3 more sites) and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal, in the harbour), but just a few. In Puerto Villamil (Isabela) and on Floreana there are NO ATMs. Until 2014 the airports did not have ATMs, but as of December 2014 there is a cash machine in the check-in hall of the airport of Baltra.
Please don’t rely fully on them and also take your National Park Entrance fee in cash. Consider ATMs only for individual land-based extensions (before or after your cruise), or for emergency situations. These might be empty, or there might not be enough time during your land visit.
Is there Wi-Fi or Internet on-board, and can I make mobile phone calls?
The Galapagos is a remote destination, and mobile phone and Internet-connections are still erratic and expensive. In and around Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz), Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal) and Puerto Villamil (Isabela) you can use your mobile devices to communicate with the outside world. These settlements also have Internet cafes, which you might visit during a town visit.
Certain providers might have connection on one of the uninhabited islands (including Española!), while others do not. The most remote islands such as Fernandina, northern Isabela and Genovesa are NOT covered by these communication networks, so over there you still can enjoy the Galapagos fully undisturbed.
We don’t have Wi-Fi or Internet on-board, nor a satellite telephone. In emergency situations the crew can always communicate to the outside world by using our HF radio or VHF radio (marine telephone).
Can I charge my batteries and equipment on-board?
Yes you can. In your cabin you will find US-style electrical outlets (110V/220V). Don’t forget to bring adapters when you come from a country where different outlets are used.
Do you have a dress-code on-board?
No, we don’t have a special dress-code on-board like on Luxury Class cruise ships. After the excursions there is time to freshen up and change from your outdoor clothes into casual wear. We just ask you to take shoes off after boarding (you can bring indoor-shoes with rubber soles or slippers for yacht-use, if desired). On the Galapagos Islands we have an extra reason for this policy. We have to do our utmost to avoid seeds under our shoes getting dispersed onto other islands and introducing new species.
See the Packing list for which clothing is practical during your cruise, for the different activities and climate zones.
Do you have laundry service on-board?
No we don’t. But occasionally you can wash some clothes with biodegradable washing powder in your bathroom.
Are there smoking areas on-board, or is it strictly forbidden?
For your own health and safety, a non-smoking policy is enforced in the indoor areas aboard. Smoking is only allowed on the Sun Deck (not on the islands)
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