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ECUADOR

Galapagos Family Adventure

Highlights

Amazing Wildlife & Birdlife

Land-based Hotels

Santa Cruz and Isabela Islands

Hike, Snorkel, Kayak, Bike Fun

Naturalist Guides

Summary

Be part of an educational and inspirational journey of a lifetime in one of the most fiercely protected marine wilderness areas in the world! What better classroom than the enchanted Galapagos Islands. Our Galapagos Family Adventure offers endless opportunities to explore a unique abundance of life in a setting unlike any other on earth. Children age 8 and older are welcome and will enjoy activities such as volcano and forest hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, exploring lava tubes and more.  This land-based adventure offers comfortable hotels on two different islands. The trip also benefits to local communities and is socially and environmentally responsible.

Ecuador and Galapagos Map

At-a-Glance

Days: 8

Choose your own private dates for families/groups of 4 or more.

Land Cost: $2,975 (airfare extra)
– Children 8-12 Save $200
+ Galapagos Flight (~ $500)
+ Park and port fees (~ $100)

Single Supplement: $850

Group Size: 3-10

Minimum Age: 8

Level: Easy – Moderate

Overview

Day 1: Arrive Quito Ecuador

Day 2: Fly to Galapagos, Isabela

Day 3: Hike Sierra Negra Volcano

Day 4: Bike Flamingo Lagoon. Kayak Tintoreras

Day 5: Charles Darwin Station and El Chato Highlands

Day 6: Santa Cruz Free Day

Day 7: Fly to Quito

Day 8: Transfer to airport

Day 1 - Arrival into Quito, Ecuador

Welcome to Quito, the ‘Cultural Capital of South America’! This well-preserved colonial city sits right on the Equator and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Depending on arrival time, you can spend your day exploring the old town of Quito and the surrounding area. Evening orientation with the guide at 6 pm.  Accommodation:  Swissotel or similar.  Meals included: none.


Day 2 - Fly to Galapagos, Baltra to Isabela

Board a morning flight from Quito to  Baltra in the Galapagos Islands.  Take a fast boat to Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago and one of the most volcanically active places on earth.  Accommodations: Casita de la Playa or similar.  Meal included: Breakfast.


Day 3 - Isabela, Hike Sierra Negra Volcano

Strap your daypack on for a hike through a young forest ecosystem to the rim of Sierra Negra Volcano, an active volcano which last erupted in June 2018. Take in breathtaking views and explore the circumference of the massive, lava-filled crater, a caldera that is over six miles across at its widest point.  A free afternoon offers some fun options: go snorkeling at Concha Perla Bay to search for sea lions and turtles; Or, perhaps a surfing lesson?  And don’t forget, lying on the beach is ALWAYS a great option!  Accommodations:  Casita de la Playa or similar.  Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.


Day 4 - Isabela, Flamingo Lagoon & Tintoreras

Explore the coastline on a bike-exclusive trail, through an incredible ecosystem with varied wildlife. Visit the Wall of Tears, a massive wall built with lava rocks by prisoners in the 1950s when Isabela was used as a penal colony.  Continuing,  explore pristine, white sand beaches, mangrove forests and lagoons. We’ll see birds such as American oyster catchers, herons, flamingos, finches and shore birds, as well as the ubiquitous sea lions and marine iguanas.  In the afternoon we’ll visit Tintoreras Islet by kayak. Its turquoise, crystalline waters are host to a remarkable array of marine life - reef sharks, Galapagos Penguins, marine turtles, marine iguanas and sea lions.  Enjoy a breathtaking sunset from the beach of Puerto Vilamil.  Accommodations: Casita de la Playa or similar.  Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch


Day 5 - Santa Cruz, Charles Darwin Research Station & Highlands

Motor to Santa Cruz Island, check into our hotel and then visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about many of the endemic species seen in the wild, as well as the ongoing conservation and management efforts on the Galapagos Islands. In the afternoon, we will head to the 'El Chato' reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to the famous Galapagos tortoises. Hiking through El Chato's beautiful landscape with these lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience! We will also see other highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, finches and frigatebirds. Afterwards, return to Puerto Ayora to spend the evening in Galapagos' most populous town.  Accommodations: La Casa de Judy or similar.  Included meals: Breakfast


Day 6 - Santa Cruz Free Day

Today, you can experience the Galapagos at your pace! As an option, you can go on a self-guided exploration walk through a dry forest to Tortuga Bay (about 3 ½ miles long), a beautiful white sand beach and nesting side to thousands of marine turtles. This beautiful place invites for swimming or snorkeling. Alternatively, you can join any of the optional activities (at an extra cost), such as a trip to Floreana Island, Bartolome Island or a scuba-diving day trip, just to mention a few.  Accommodation: La Casa de Judy or similar.  Meals included: Breakfast.


Day 7 - Flight Back to Quito

After our final breakfast on the Galapagos Island and the last photos taken of sea lions, we will have a transfer to Baltra's airport in time to catch the flight back to the mainland. Hotel: Swissotel or similar. Meals included: Breakfast.


Day 8 - Departure Day

Pack your memories and head to the airport as you plan your future return visit to this enchanted land.  Meals included: Breakfast

Note on Itinerary:

Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Additional Information: 

Please be sure to scroll through website tabs for information on:

  • Pricing,
  • What’s Included,
  • General Information,
  • FAQ’s
  • How to Reserve.

Your Meaningful Trip awaits. Space is limited. Click to reserve today.

$2,975 land price.

International airfare is NOT included. (Rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double hotel).

Child Discount:

Children between 8 and 12 years old, SAVE $200 each.

Additional Costs:

– Galapagos Flights, approximately $500

– Galapagos National Park Fee, $100

Single Supplement: $850

Galapagos Familiy Adventure is sold as a private trip to either families or any friends group of 2-10 persons. If there is an odd number of persons, which necessitates one person having their own room throughout, then the Single Supplement of $850 is charged. (For families with 3 persons total, you can forgoe the Single Supplement by having the child stay in your room throughout the trip)

SAVE Big!

– Children between 8 – 12 SAVE $200 each.

– With Family/friends groups of 6-10, children ages 8-12 save $200 and each adult saves $100.  (Land Price only, Airfare is not included)

 

Payment Schedule and Cancellation Policy:

Payment

Deposit of $500 due at time of reservation. Final balance due 90 days prior to trip departure.

Cancellation
Any deposits made in 2020 for tours in 2021 can be cancelled for any reason and receive a full refund. As of Jan 01, 2021, if you cancel prior to departure (we need written notice), cancellation fees are:

91 or more days… $0
61 to 90 days… $500
31 to 60 days… 50% of Trip Cost
0 to 30 days… 100% of Trip Cost

INCLUDED

  • Transportation: Airport transfers (national flights), sea transportation Santa Cruz – Isabela islands round trip, comfortable land transportation.
  • Accommodation based in double occupancy:  5* hotel in Quito, 4+ star hotels in Galapagos.
  • Meals: 7 breakfasts and 2 box lunches.
  • Activities: Biking to Flamingo Lagoon; kayak & snorkel in Tintoreras islet;  Hike to Sierra Negra Volcano;  visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, hiking in Santa Cruz highlands.
  • Outdoor gear: Snorkeling mask and fins, life vest.
  • Trip Leader: Certified English-speaking adventure Trip Leader and naturalist local guides in Galapagos National Park.

NOT INCLUDED

  • International Airfare
  • My Own Room Single Suplement USD $850.
  • Airfare Quito – Galapagos – Quito round trip.
  • Airport transfer (international flights).
  • Travel insurance (required).
  • Meals not described in the itinerary (estimated budget USD $180)
  • INGALA transit card: USD $20 per person, cash only
  • Galapagos National Park fee: USD $100 per person, cash only (subject to change).
  • USD $10 pier-use fee at Puerto Villamil.
  • Wetsuit rental: USD $10.
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Guide gratuity

In Quito and Galapagos, we use modern, comfortable hotels with wifi, buffet breakfast, all amenities, and friendly staff.   Here are several of the hotels we use:

Quito – Swissotel (or similar)

Swissotel Quito exterior  Swissotel Quito bedroom  Swissotel Quito dining

Swissotel is a luxury hotel in Quito’s Floresta district. It has all modern amenities as well as a spa, full gym, and several different restaurants.

 

Isabela – Casita de le Playa (or similar)

Casita de La Playa Isabela exterior   Casita de La Playa Isabela room  Casita de La Playa Isabela dining

Casita de la Playa is a beautiful, 12-room, family-friendly hotel.  The lounge opens directly onto the beach, and the second-floor breakfast area offers majestic views of the Isabela coast. The rooms are a pleasant balance of modern and local Island design and offer amenities such as AC, in room safe, and Wi-Fi.  A short walk on the boardwalk will bring you right into Isabela’s small town square.

 

Santa Cruz – La Casa de Judy (or similar)

La Casa de Judy Santa Cruz pool  La Casa de Judy Santa Cruz room  La Casa de Judy Santa Cruz patio

La Casa de Judy began as a guest house for scientists studying at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Today, the charming 20-room hotel offers AC, Wi-Fi, swimming pool, dining area and an observation deck with awe-inspiring ocean views.

 

Visa and passport

Must have a US Passport valid for 6 months from the tour end date. Visa is not required for USA citizens.

 

Safety

Ecuador is a safe South American country.  As with all trips, do not leave cameras or valuables lying around, be mindful at ATM’s, and don’t travel alone at night.

 

Trip Insurance

Travel Insurance is REQUIRED for the Galapagos Islands and should cover: trip cancellation, delays, medical matters, and emergency evacuation. See our Link for Travel Insurance

 

Flights to Ecuador

Our starting and ending airport is Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport  (UIO), (20 miles, 40 minutes, $25 by taxi). Please do not purchase any airfare until you have received word form Meaningful Trips that your trip is confirmed with the necessary minimum number of passengers.

 

Weather

The Galapagos is beautiful year-round, and as it’s near the Equator, the temperatures remain between low 70’s to mid-80’s. The best time to visit the Galápagos Islands is from November to June months offer bright, sunny days, with an occasional brief rain shower. Between July and October, the Humboldt Current ushers in cooler temperatures and nutrient-rich water that attracts rare fish and birds. Albatrosses and penguins are just some of the species you’ll spot this time of year. Longer rain showers, however, occur during these months, and winds tend to be stronger, resulting in rougher seas.

 

Lodging

This trip includes 7 nights in comfortable hotels with all amenities.  See ‘Hotels’ tab.

 

Activity Level:  Easy – Moderate

This is an active trip offering a mix of activities including hiking, easy sit-on-top kayaking, snorkeling and bicycling. The duration of activities ranges from 2 – 4 hours.  The hike on Sierra Negra Volcano is 6 miles roundtrip, starting from 950′ elevation and going to a max of 3,687′. It will take 6 hours and on uneven terrain. All activities are suitable for  active novices. For snorkeling, participants should be able to swim and be comfortable in the water.  Minimum age: 8.

 

Food in Ecuador

The food on this trip is fresh and amazing!  Hotels offer bountiful buffet breakfasts.  A typical lunch (almuerza) and dinner consists of Locro (potato soup with corn, cheese and avocado) and then a rice plate with beans or lentils topped with preferred protein and accompanied by fried plantain.  Island cuisine is dominated by seafood. Other ubiquitous dishes are: Empanadas, Llapingachos (cheesy potato cakes), Ceviche, Aji (hot pepper sauce), Encocados (seafood in coconut sauce) and tons of fresh fruit. Vegetarians will enjoy all of Ecuador’s variety. 

 

Additional Trip Information

Prior to reserving your tour, please carefully review our ‘Pricing’, ‘How to Reserve’ and ‘FAQ’ sections for helpful information on topics such as cancellation penalties, inclusions, food, water, and more.

 

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the Meaningful Trips Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully. Additional pre-departure information including a Packing List, Medical Form, and Liability Release Form is emailed upon sign-up.

 

Your Meaningful Trip awaits. Space is limited. Click to reserve today.

Some answers to common questions. Upon Sign-up, travelers receive a Packing List, Pre-Departure Info and Important Forms

Do I Need a Passport for Ecuador?

Yes, a passport is needed and must be valid for 6 months after your trip date.

Do I Need a Visa for Ecuador?

No. As a tourist with a US Passport. No visa required.

Are any vaccinations required for Ecuador?

No.

We highly recommend that all persons who travel internationally should be current on these three routine immunizations: Annual Influenza (flu) shot; Tetanus Booster (Tdap) (good for 10 years); and Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR). Additionally, Hepatitis A is highly recommended for all international travelers. Meaningful Trips are not medical experts. Always consult your own doctor and always refer to the CDC website for updated vaccination and country-specific information.

Is Ecuador Safe?

Ecuador is a safe South American country.  As with all trips, it is always prudent to check with US Dept of State for country-specific safety information. And, follow these basic safety precautions: make copies of important documents, be wary of public Wi-Fi, use caution when using ATM, use hotel safes when available, do not walk alone at night, and be aware of your surroundings.

Do I need Travel Insurance?

Yes, Galapagos trips do REQUIRE Travel Insurance. Meaningful Trips always highly recommends the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance that covers trip cancellation, delays, medical matters, and emergency evacuation.

When is the best time to go to the Galapagos?

The Galapagos is beautiful year-round, and as it’s near the Equator, the temperatures remain between low 70’s to mid-80’s.  Quito, at 9,350′ elevation, is 10 degrees cooler. The best time to visit the Galápagos Islands is from November to June months offer bright, sunny days, with an occasional brief rain shower. Between July and October, the Humboldt Current ushers in cooler temperatures and nutrient-rich water that attracts rare fish and birds. Albatrosses and penguins are just some of the species that may be seen this time of year. Longer rain showers, however, occur during these months, and winds tend to be stronger, resulting in rougher seas.

How active is this Galapagos Adventure?

The focus of this trip is nature and wildlife. This trip offers a mix of activities including hiking, easy sit-on-top kayaking, snorkeling, and bicycling. The duration of activities ranges from 3 – 4 hours.  The hike on Sierra Negra Volcano is 6 miles roundtrip, starting from 950′ elevation and going to a max of 3,687′. It will take 6 hours and on uneven terrain.  All activities are suitable for active novices. For snorkeling, participants should be able to swim and be comfortable in the water. For families, the minimum age for children is 8 years old.

What are hotels like in Ecuador?

In Quito and on the different Galapagos Islands, we use modern, comfortable hotels with wifi, buffet breakfast, all amenities, and friendly staff.

What is the food like in Ecuador?

The food on this trip is fresh and amazing!  Hotels offer bountiful buffet breakfasts.  A typical lunch (almuerza) and dinner consists of Locro (potato soup with corn, cheese and avocado) and then a rice plate with beans or lentils topped with preferred protein and accompanied by fried plantain.  Island cuisine is dominated by seafood. Other ubiquitous dishes are: Empanadas, Llapingachos (cheesy potato cakes), Ceviche, Aji (hot pepper sauce), Encocados (seafood in coconut sauce) and tons of fresh fruit. Vegetarians will enjoy all of Ecuador’s variety. 

 

Is the water safe to drink in Ecuador?

Hotel water and juices are safe for drinking. It is fine to brush your teeth with tap water.

How high is Quito?

Quito sits at 9,350′ elevation. Some guests arriving from sea level may feel the effects of altitude… rest, stay well-hydrated, and refrain from alcohol.

STEP 1 – Click ‘Book Now’ and Complete Reservation Form to Hold Your Space(s)

STEP 2 – Mail $500 Deposit via Check.

Reservation is guaranteed upon receipt of a $500 deposit per person. Deposits are held in Trust Account. Deposits are fully refundable for any reason if you cancel before Dec 31, 2020.  After Jan 01, 2021, regular cancellation policy applies.  Final Payment is due 90-days prior to departure and payable by Check, Zelle, Stripe, ApplePay, Visa, Mastercard.

Mail Check Deposit to:

Meaningful Trips
1416 NW 46th St
Suite 105-343
Seattle, WA 98107

 

Upon reserving a trip and submitting a deposit, each traveler will receive:

  • A Confirmation email
  • Invoice
  • Pre-departure Information
  • Trip Application with Liability Release and Assumption of Risk
  • Travel Insurance Information
  • Packing List
  • Medical Form

Terms & Conditions and Liability Release
At the time of Deposit, participants must read and agree to Meaningful Trips Terms and Conditions and Liability Release Form. Please read this information carefully.

Your Meaningful Trip awaits. Space is limited. Click to reserve today.