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Ecuador FAQ

Do I need a Visa for Ecuador?

You only need a valid passport issued by your country of residence, except for some countries that need a special visa. For more information, take a look at Visas.

What is Galapagos' currency?

The currency in Ecuador is the U.S. dollar. For more information, check Money.

Do I need to learn Spanish?

Even though Spanish is the official language, the crew members and guides are fluent in English, and some in French and German too. English is spoken in hotels, tourist shops, and in major visitor centers. However, local people will appreciate any attempt you make to speak a bit of Spanish.

Is the water safe to drink?

We recommend you drink bottled water while in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

How much to tip?

The quality of the service should determine the amount of any tip. Based on average tipping, you may use the following chart as a guideline:

Restaurants and coffee shops   10% of the bill
Hotel/airport portage  US $1 per suitcase
Guides in Ecuador mainland US $10/day/person
Driver in Ecuador mainland US $8/day/person
Guides in Galapagos   US $8 /day/person (if excellent, US$10/day/person)
Cruise crew in Galapagos US $15/day/person for all crew members

These are only a suggestions as gratuities are a very personal matter.

When to tip?

On the last evening of your cruise you will find, in your cabin, two envelopes for tips. At the reception you will find two boxes, one for the crew and one for the guides, where you can deposit the envelopes.

Galapagos FAQ

How big will my group be?

The maximum group size on an excursion to the Galapagos is 16 people per guide.

When should I go?

There is no "best time" to visit the islands as there is an abundance of unique flora and fauna year round. Take a look at Weather.

What are the National Park Fees and the Tourist Card?

All tourists are required to pay the Galapagos National Park fees of $100/adult or $50/child. The fees are payable in cash only.

All tourists visiting the Galapagos are required to have a $20 INGALA Transit Control Card, payable in cash only. If you are booked on a cruise, check with your tour operator. Many cruise tour operators include the card in their services.

What time zone is used in Galapagos?

Local time in Galapagos is GMT -6 (one hour earlier than in Ecuador's mainland). However, some of the yachts and vessels work with Ecuador's mainland time.

Is there any physical condition required for the cruise?

We recommend that passengers be in reasonably good physical condition as some trails are difficult. Therefore, the elderly and disabled people may have difficulties.

What is the electric current on board?

Many of the cruise ships will have 110/220 volt outlets or 110 outlets.

Can I drink the water?

The cruise ships provide bottled water and/or purified water for you to drink.

Is Internet access available aboard the ships?

Unfortunately, many of the ships do not offer Internet access. On some of the boats, satellite Internet is available, but is expensive. Mmany of the bars and restaurants, however, in the port towns you may visit, like Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island, will have WiFi available if you are dining there.

Can I pay my on-board expenses by credit card?

Only a few cruise ships take credit cards, so we recommend you take enough cash with you to cover your expected expenses, like gratuities for your crew and guide and alcoholic and other drinks.

What happens if I get seasick?

We hardly ever get a seasick passenger onboard, however there is seasick medication on board all our ships. If you are particularly sensitive you can bring your own medication. Take a look at Health.

Are there any park regulations?

Galapagos National Park regulations are a way to keep the islands intact for your enjoyment and for future generations. The most important rules are

  • Do not disturb or remove any plant, rock or animal.
  • Do not take "natural" souvenirs from the islands (bones, pebbles, feathers, etc.).
  • Be careful not to transport any organic material from island to island.
  • Do not touch or handle the animals.
  • Do not feed the animals.
  • Do not startle or chase any animal.
  • Stay on marked trails, doing so will avoid damage to vegetation and prevent erosion.
  • Do not leave or throw any litter on or off the ship.
  • Please, do not buy souvenirs made from native Galapagos products (except from wood)
  • Do not smoke on the islands.
  • Always stay together with your group.
  • Clean your shoe soles before disembarking on the islands. You may carry seeds from one island into another.
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