Frequently Asked Questions - Galapagos Islands
When is the best time to go?
Both seasons are equally as good but following are the differences:
June - November: The water is cooler, 16-24C
Whale shark sightings are greater. It can be windy and choppy in July to October.
December - May: The water is warmer, clearer 21-30C
Larger schools of hammerhead sharks, manta rays and eagle rays. Visibility tends to drop during the rainy months of February to April.
Where are the Galapagos Islands?
The "Enchanted Islands" of Galapagos are found in the Pacific Ocean 600 miles west of Ecuador. Made famous by the studies of Charles Darwin that became his "Theory of Evolution," the volcanic islands of Galapagos have been declared a National Park of Ecuador.
What is included in the trip?
Accommodations aboard the yachts, diving, compressed air tanks, weights and weight belts, airport transfers on day of arrival and departure, meals and snacks, beer and wine with dinner, fuel surcharge, port fees and flights are include.
How many days is the charter and how many dives can I make?
A Galapagos charter is eight days and seven nights, Sunday afternoon to Sunday morning, with five and one-half days of diving. Most guests make up to three dives a day. Diving begins on Sunday afternoon and ends about midday on Saturday.
When must I arrive in Ecuador?
You MUST arrive in Ecuador at least one day prior to the yachts departure in order to meet the flight schedule to Galapagos from the mainland. If you do not make this flight schedule, you will not meet the yachts's departure time. Your travel arrangements should include a one night stay-over (prior to the yacht departure) in either Guayaquil or Quito, which are on the mainland. A stay in Guayaquil is recommonded prior to the trip.
Are there any taxes or fees not included in the charter price?
Yes. The Galapagos Park Entry fee is $100 USD, the chamber fee is $35 USD and the Control Visitors Card is $10 USD. The International Airport Departure Fee, due at check-in to flights departing from Guayaquil is $26 USD and departing from Quito is $41 USD. These fees are not included in the charter rate and USD are the preferred payment. They are levied by the Ecuadorian government and are subject to change, so please check with your travel agent before your trip. There is a 12% sales tax on all onboard services.
How do I get to the boat on the day of departure?
Once you arrive at the airport in Galapagos, you will be asked to pay the National Park fees. A representative from the boat will be there to welcome you, take care of your luggage, and drive you to the vessel. It is important you use your luggage tags to assist the baggage handlers in identifying your bags and which boat they will go to.
What is unique to Galapagos diving?
Lots of large pelagics, particularly the schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks. White-tip reef sharks and Galapagos sharks, are also abundant, as are manta rays, eagle rays, golden rays, turtles, sea lions, fur seals, schools of tuna, jack and snapper. Whales sharks and dolphins are frequently sighted. There is also the opportunity to snorkel with penguins and marine iguanas.
What is the diving like in Galapagos?
Diving around the Galapagos Islands is more difficult due to its ruggedness, currents and slightly cooler temperatures. Diving from the dinghies has advantages, but can be physically challenging for some. The opportunity to see great numbers of sharks on virtually every dive, along with other large pelagics, makes it all worthwhile.
What is the water temperature? Will I need a wet suit?
The water of the Galapagos Islands are a unique mixture of warm and cold water, ranging between 18C and 29C, with thermoclines about 618C. We recommend a 5-7mm wetsuit with hood and booties year round. The water conditions are constantly changing. Check the Captains Log for current information.
Do we dive from a RIB?
Yes, all dives are made from a RIB.
Is there night diving?
No, The National Park Service of Galapagos has prohibited night diving in Galapagos due to extreme conditions on most dive sites.
Are there any land tours?
Yes, your vacation includes fabulous land tours lead by highly-trained, multi-lingual naturalist guides. There is an average of 2 land tours per week.
What type of topography can I expect to see in Galapagos?
The islands are volcanic in origin and are therefore mountainous. Some volcanos are still active.
Is it customary to offer a crew gratuity?
We believe gratuities should be voluntary and based upon the quality of the service the crew has provided. When setting your account, the Captain will have an envelope for gratuities to be divided equally among the crew. Gratuities may be left by cash or credit card.
What is planned for Sunday afternoon and evening after we return to port?
Sunday afternoon the Galapago Sky dock in San Cristobal—(Land Excursion) visit the Interpretation Center where an interesting human history of Galapagos is presented, town walk (last chance for shopping). Late morning departure.
When is check-out time on the yachts?
Check-out time is 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning. The crew will transport you and your luggage, with the group, to the local airport, and assist you with the check-in.
Where is the nearest recompression chamber?
The nearest recompression is in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos.
As a single traveler, can I book my own cabin?
Yes, the cost is a 65% addition on the cabin rate.
If I book as a single traveler, who will I room with and who will I dive with?
As a single traveler, you will be booked in a stateroom with someone of the same gender. If you are traveling as a group, the group leader determines the rooming list. If you need help finding a dive buddy, the Captain and/or crew will gladly assist you or you can find one once onboard. Normally, there are many other single travelers.
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