Preparing for your trip

Package: Peru, Galapagos Islands & Quito

Print this page and refer to it as you prepare for your trip!

Printed Oct 20, 2021. Please visit https://static.friendlyplanet.com/before-you-go/?tourId=1508 for the latest updates.

Checklist

Item Due
Ensure you have a current passport valid for at least six months after your return date. ASAP
Complete your registration. You'll receive a link to the registration form after you complete your booking. Within 5 days of booking
Make your final payment, if any balance is due. See your invoice
Book connecting flights to your departure city, if necessary. (Please confirm your international flight schedule first!) After receiving your e‑tickets
Make advance seat reservations for your international flight, if you have a preference. After receiving your e‑tickets
Request any additions or changes you may still want to make to your trip. by final payment due date
Obtain any necessary travel visas and review any requirements for entry. See below
Print your itinerary and other final documents, which we will send you via email by 14 days prior to travel. Prior to travel
Print your policy documents, if you purchased travel insurance, and carry them with you. Prior to travel
Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), if you're a U.S. citizen or national, so the State Dept. can locate and assist you in case of an emergency. Prior to travel
Confirm your flight times and any special meal requests with the airline, and print and carry a copy of your e-ticket. 72 hours prior to travel
Check in for your flights online and download/print your boarding passes (if available). 24 hours prior to travel
Arrive at the airport, ready for the trip of a lifetime! 3½ hours prior to departure

Documents & Entry Requirements

Entry requirements are provided for your convenience. However, unless otherwise stated, it is your responsibility to determine the requirements that apply to you and your trip and to comply with them, including obtaining any necessary visas or other travel documents by the required deadlines and carrying them with you. Especially with COVID-19, requirements are subject to change, so check back for the latest before you depart.

EcuadorEcuador Entry Requirements

Advice from Friendly Planet

Additional requirements for the Galápagos Islands:

  • All visitors to the Galapagos must obtain a INGALA Tourist Control Card (TCT), which allows for tourist stays up to 90 days. We will obtain your Tourist Control Card (TCT), and the TCT fee and park entry fee are both included in your package price.
  • All travelers going to the Galápagos Islands are required to provide proof of health and travel insurance. If you purchased our policy, our operations team will provide you with the appropriate documentation prior to departure.

Advice from our partner Sherpa

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Galapagos Entry Requirements

Advice from Friendly Planet

Please see entry requirements for Ecuador.

Additional requirements for the Galápagos Islands:

  • All visitors to the Galapagos must obtain a INGALA Tourist Control Card (TCT), which allows for tourist stays up to 90 days. We will obtain your Tourist Control Card (TCT), and the TCT fee and park entry fee are both included in your package price.
  • All travelers going to the Galápagos Islands are required to provide proof of health and travel insurance. If you purchased our policy, our operations team will provide you with the appropriate documentation prior to departure.

PeruPeru Entry Requirements

Advice from our partner Sherpa

This feature requires JavaScript, which is either not enabled or not working in your browser.

General Requirements & Guidelines

  • In general, you must have a passport to travel abroad, which should be valid for at least six months after your return date. Passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible. Passports contain at least 2 blank pages for each country visited. If your passport does not have this many pages, obtain a new passport as soon as possible.
  • if your passport and visa are not in order, airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding, countries may deny entry, and your trip may be disrupted. Travel insurance may not cover such losses.
  • Any changes in names or passport information should be reported to us immediately. Airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding if the name on your passport does not match your tickets.
  • Minors (age 17 or younger) departing and/or returning to the U.S. without parents or with only one parent may be required by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to present a notarized parental consent letter and/or unabridged birth certificate (more information). Many other countries have similar entry requirements, especially for minors traveling with a parent/guardian with a different surname; check with the consulates of all countries you'll be visiting to learn more.

COVID-19 Vaccination Required

For the health and safety of all our travelers and to comply with the requirements of many of our destinations, we require all travelers on this package departing on or after Nov. 1, 2021, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to departure, except travelers who are too young to be vaccinated.

Final Documents

Your final travel documents will be sent to you via email by 14 days prior to departure. These will include your daily itinerary, hotel and emergency contact information, and other relevant information. Please print your documents and take them with you. If you're departing in less than a week and haven't received your documents, let us know immediately!

Travel Insurance Documents

If you purchased travel insurance, please print and carry your policy documents, including contact information for emergency travel assistance and instructions on how to make a claim. If you purchased the travel protection plan we offer, we recommend you print the full policy.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

We encourage all U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service allows you to receive important updates about safety and security issues in your destination, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy, as well as family & friends, to contact you in case of an emergency. To enroll or get more information, please visit the STEP website or any U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Flights, Transfers & Arrival

Questions about your flights before you depart? Read the information below first. If you still have questions, contact our air specialists at 800-555-5765 ext. 2 or [email protected].

Flights & Tickets

For this package, we generally book your flights and issue tickets after your final payment due date.

Once we have issued your tickets, we'll send you an "e-ticket receipt" which contains all of your flight information, including times, carriers, an airline booking reference number, and an e-ticket number. If you have not received this, or have questions about the flights we booked for you, please contact our air department. You will not receive paper tickets. We recommend you print and carry a copy of your flight details, including the airline booking reference number and e-ticket number, as some airports require this to enter the terminal. You do not need to reconfirm your flights with the airline prior to your departure, as we will handle this for you.

LATAM Airlines, our carrier for this tour, allows advanced seat selection. Please send us your seating preferences via email, as we cannot take seat requests by telephone. Once the airline has released the group records to us for ticketing, we will do our very best to comply with your requests. Please note that we are not able to pre-assign seats for the intra-country flights, and we are not able to guarantee seating. If you are not happy with your seating assignment, once you receive your electronic tickets, you can visit the LATAM website to select new seats. Alternatively, you can contact LATAM Airlines by phone at 1-866-435-9526 or make changes to your seating upon check-in at the airport. Otherwise, seats will be assigned at the airport when you check-in. 

Airlines may change schedules at any time, even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes. Please check for updates to your flight schedule prior to booking any connecting flights and again 72 hours prior to departure.

Want to reserve specific seats?

That depends on the airline. You can usually request a window or aisle seat, and sometimes specific seat numbers (but not exit row and bulkhead seats) ahead of time. Many airlines now charge a fee for this, and such fees are not included in your package price. If you have a seat preference, let us know when you book, in the special requests section, or email us at [email protected] after you book. Then:

If your airline does not charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll happily pass along your seat request to the airline and confirm they received it (though we cannot guarantee it will be honored).

If your airline does charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll let you know. You'll need to contact the airline directly to request your seats after we have issued your flight tickets, and fees are payable directly to the airline.

If you do not request specific seats: The airline typically assigns them within 24 hours of departure. If you do not like your assigned seats, you may be able to change them, subject to availability, when you check in online or at the counter. Learn more about Advance Seat Reservations.

Want to request a special meal?

You can enter special meal requests when you book with an agent or complete your online registration, shortly after booking. We will relay your requests to the airlines and our representatives abroad, but we cannot guarantee they will be honored. Please double check meal requests with your airline 72 hours before departure, and with our representatives upon arrival.

Looking to earn frequent flyer miles?

You may be able to earn frequent flyer points for your flights. Contact the airline directly once you receive your tickets to enter your frequent flyer number in your flight record, or enter it when you check in. As you travel, check your tickets or ask the check-in or gate agent prior to boarding each flight to ensure the number has been entered properly. And just to be safe, keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt as proof that you have actually flown the miles you want credited to your account.

Interested in upgrading to business class or premium economy?

Cabin upgrades may be available on your flights. Ask us about price and availability when you book online, in the special requests section, or contact our air department after you book. Please note that our special contracted airfare rates generally do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer points, and that upgrade requests may incur change fees if tickets have already been issued.

Flight Schedule

You may review the sample flight schedule(s) below. This information is for general planning puposes. You will receive your actual flight schedule by email once we issue your tickets.

Airlines may change schedules at any time, even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes. Please check for updates to your flight schedule prior to booking any connecting flights and again 72 hours prior to departure.

LATAM Airlines' (LA) toll-free number is 866-435-9526.

Important! LATAM has a minimum check-in of 3 hours prior to departure time. The check-in counter closes one hour prior to departure. Passengers arriving less than 1 hour prior to departure will not be accepted. Please don't risk losing your departure flight by arriving late at your international gateway.

Sample Flight Schedule for Mar 19 - Oct 1, 2020 Departures

Miami (MIA): 

IMPORTANT! Your USA departure leaves at 5:15 PM on the afternoon of the Tour Date. You must check-in no later than 2:15 PM. 

DEPART
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
LA2467 Miami (MIA) Lima (LIM) 5:15 pm 10:10 pm 5.55 hrs
RETURN
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
LA2466 LIM MIA 12:15 am 7:05 am 5.50 hrs
NOTE: Airlines, schedules, and flights are subject to change at anytime without notice. 

Sample Flight Schedule for Nov 12 - Dec 3, 2020 Departures

Miami (MIA): 

IMPORTANT! Your USA departure leaves at 4:25 PM on the afternoon of the Tour Date. You must check-in no later than 1:25 PM. 

DEPART
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
LA2467 Miami (MIA) Lima (LIM) 4:25 pm 10:20 pm 5.55 hrs
RETURN
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
LA2466 LIM MIA 12:15 am 6:05 am 5.50 hrs
NOTE: Airlines, schedules, and flights are subject to change at anytime without notice. 

Connecting Flights

If you plan to purchase connecting flights to your departure city, we strongly suggest waiting until after your final payment due date and after you receive the e-tickets for your international flights, to reduce the chances that that your departure might be cancelled or rescheduled or that your international flight times might change. Before purchasing connecting flights, verify the times for your international flights. Leave at least 3½ hours connecting time between flights, and if you're traveling within a few weeks of Daylight Savings Time changes (in March and November, when flight schedules may change even more dramatically), allow 5–5½ hours between flights. Nobody likes waiting around the airport, but missing your flight is far worse!

Airport Transfers

Scheduled group airport transfers upon arrival and departure are included with this package. When you arrive in each country, an English-speaking airport representative will meet you at the arrivals hall to direct you to the airport transfer that will take you to your hotel.

Arrival Complications

We make every effort to ensure our tours run smoothly and trouble-free. We don't expect any problems, and nor should you. But when things don't go as planned, here's what to do:

  • You miss your flights, or your flights are cancelled: Please call us immediately. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox, with a phone number at which to reach you, and we'll get right back to you.
  • Your flights are delayed and you're worried about missing your included transfers: Please contact us to let us know about the delay, and we will notify our partners in destination. They will be tracking your arrival and will plan accordingly.
  • Your package includes transfers, but you can't find our representative at your destination: Don't panic—they may have been unexpectedly delayed. Wait up to 30 minutes. Then contact our local partners in destination, listed on the emergency contact page of your final documents. If you can't reach them, call us. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox. If all else fails, make your own way to the starting hotel (or cruise port), and we'll refund you the cost of your transfer.

Packing & Luggage

Baggage allowance: Your checked-in luggage should weigh no more than 50 pounds, and each piece should not exceed 62 inches as a sum of all three dimensions (length, height and width). Your carry-on luggage should fit under your seat or in the overhead compartment. Medications and other essentials should be packed in your carry-on luggage. Porterage during your tour is covered for only one checked bag per person. Important Note! We recommend that you pack a small bag or a backpack for the overnight stay in Machu Picchu. The luggage allowance on the train to and from Machu Picchu is 11 pounds, so please ensure to limit the weight of your overnight bag or backpack to the permitted amount. Your main luggage/suitcase will be stored in the baggage compartment of the bus. The bus is locked and will be parked in a locked garage in Cusco. Please be sure to bring your passport with you, as you will not be allowed to board the train or enter Machu Picchu without your passport.

Learn more about Baggage Allowances on your international flights. Note that our baggage allowances may be less than those for your international flights. If you exceed the baggage limits, you may be subject to excess baggage charges levied by the airlines and/or by Friendly Planet.

Regardless of the limits—we recommend a smaller size and weight for both your checked and carry-on bags. It's so much easier and faster for you to get around when you have fewer, lighter bags! For your carry-on, consider a soft-sided bag such as a duffel rather than a hard clamshell-type case, which may not fit as easily into overhead compartments or under your seat, especially on buses. For your protection, we suggest your checked luggage have a TSA-approved lock.

Luggage tags: For your safety, we are no longer mailing Friendly Planet luggage tags to you. We encourage you to use your own. Fill in the luggage tags with your name and contact information and attach to each bag, including carry-ons and camera cases, so that your luggage can be identified should it get misplaced during your trip.

What to pack: Check out our blog post on our Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel. Pack smart: put your travel documents, medications, one change of clothing, and other essentials in your carry-on, in case your checked baggage is misplaced. And pack light, for your own comfort and convenience. For clothing, we suggest packing a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

What not to pack: U.S. law forbids you to carry hazardous materials aboard aircraft in your checked or carry-on baggage or on your person, including explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids & solids, loaded firearms, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Common examples include paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, mace/tear gas and oxygen bottles. Restricted materials may vary by airline and destination. Some items, in quantities of no more than 70 ounces total, may be carried within baggage, including medicinal or toilet articles such as hairspray, perfume and certain medicines that are necessary during your journey. Please check with the airline and/or visit the FAA website prior to travel if you have any questions.

While on Tour

What to Expect

This fast-paced, partially escorted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, and reaches high altitudes requiring a high level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations and may have limited rest stops.

Your Schedule: On several days during your trip, a very early departure time is required to accommodate tour schedules. Your patience and understanding are appreciated.

Health Advisory: The high altitude reached on this trip (Cuzco is at about 11,000 feet above sea level, while Quito is about 9,000 feet above sea level), as well as the considerable amount of walking involved often on uneven terrain, requires that you be in good physical condition to enjoy this trip. While the activities are not necessarily strenuous, we suggest that you consult with your physician regarding any concerns, especially if you have cardiac or pulmonary issues that might make the altitude uncomfortable for you. We also suggest that you consult with your physician regarding recommendations for prescription medications to ease the effects of the high altitude, if needed. It is advisable to stay hydrated, avoid alcohol, eat a carbohydrate-rich diet, and have plenty of rest during the first few days of the trip. Please inform your tour director (if applicable) or local guide promptly if you do not feel well!

Customs & Culture: Peruvians are polite and formal in social occasions. When entering a shop, hotel, or generally meeting people, you will elicit a smile if you use common Spanish greetings such as buenos dias (good day), buenas tardes (good afternoon) and buenas noches (good night). Similarly, the locals will appreciate it if you say adios (goodbye) or hasta luego (see you later) even to shop owners with whom you’ve had minimal contact. Locals are very appreciative of tourists who show respect for their customs and who try to use a few common words of Spanish.

Shopping: When shopping for souvenirs on the Galapagos Islands, please be aware that there are items prohibited for sale such as black coral, seashells, tortoise shells, and other species commonly seen in the island. There are several social enterprise shops on the islands where you can buy souvenirs that benefit conservation projects for the island.  In Peru and Ecuador, we visit many local markets that sell a variety of handmade items.  Payments at these stores is usually by cash, preferably in local currency. In Ecuador, the local currency is the US Dollar. In Peru, the local currency is the Sol (Soles is the plural). For some occasions, crisp new US bills in small denominations (up to $20’s) will be accepted; if there is change, it will be given in Soles.

Bargaining: Bargaining is a normal part of in the shopping experience in Peru, particularly in traditional markets and souvenir shops. Some stores don’t put prices on their items. If interested in an item, it’s best not to initially show a lot of enthusiasm. You may start by asking cuanto cuesta? (how much is it?), and be prepared to bargain or walk away.  A good bargaining policy is to start negotiating by offering half of the asking price. It is easier to ask for a bigger discount if buying multiple items from the same store. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you think the price you’re being quoted is too high. Generally, vendors will come after you and offer a lower price. Negotiations should be done in a polite and respectful manner. Kindly remember that while bargaining is expected for street shopping and markets, is not accepted at formal establishments.

Plastic Bag Ban: In an effort to curb litter and support environmental sustainability, both Ecuador and Peru have banned single-use plastic, including duty free carrier bags, general shopping bags, bin liners (used to protect luggage from the rain), and dry cleaning bags (commonly wrapped around clothing). Those arriving in the archipelago will be required to leave prohibited bags at the point of entry. Suitable replacement options for your travel needs include paper bags, durable and reusable shopping bags or totes, and/or bags made from cloth, woven grass, or sisal. 

Photography in Peru: You’ll have many opportunities to capture the vibrantly dressed locals with children and llamas in town.  In fact, they usually frequent tourist areas and posing for photograph is a source of income. Always ask for permission to photograph the locals or animals, and make sure you have some small change in exchange for the photo op. Some of the churches, convents, and museums do not allow photography, so ask your guide or look for signage indicating photography rules.  

Galapagos Islands Etiquette: The Galapagos Islands is Ecuador’s first national park and considered as UNESCO’s World Heritage Park. Due to the nature of the ecosystem in the islands, all visitors are asked to do their part to protect the wildlife by adhering to the national park rules. They request all visitors to act responsibly and treat the fragile environment with absolute respect.

Remember that you're a guest in someone else's homeland, and that you're traveling to experience their country and culture. Be sensitive to local customs and manners, as many things may be done differently than what you're used to. And while we have made every effort to secure modern and comfortable accommodations and transportation, please note that the standards in other countries may be different from those you are accustomed to at home. Overall, you will find a polite, positive, patient, and open-minded approach generally yields the best travel experience!

Please keep in mind that you'll be traveling with a group. Sharing your explorations with like-minded folks can often be a source of joy, and some of our travelers become lifelong friends. But traveling with strangers can also sometimes be challenging, especially in a foreign country. We ask that you be patient and respectful with your fellow travelers, including their needs and preferences. Also remember that you have responsibilities to the group—please be prompt for group activities so you don't keep everyone else waiting. Lastly, please defer to your tour leader, guide or manager. They are there for your safety and wellbeing, and to ensure the journey goes smoothly for everyone. If you have a problem with one of our tour guides or managers, please let us know, either while you're on tour or after you return, and we'll make sure your concerns are addressed.

Accommodations

During your stay in Peru, the hotels will be centrally located and equipped with Western-style facilities and amenities. The hotel in Cusco is set within a building from the 16th century, with modern facilities. The hotels in Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu offer views of the natural landscape and have private bathrooms and wellness or spa facilities. Please note that non-smoking rooms or rooms with queen or king-size beds may not be available. Room size will vary, and at times, rooms are rather small. 

Your hotel in Quito is also equipped with Western-style standard facilities and amenities similar to those in the U.S. The hotels on the Galapagos Islands possess modern amenities and private baths, as well as stunning views of the ocean and the island’s landscape.  In the Galapagos, you can also expect to see the beautiful wildlife and iconic flora and fauna throughout all aspects of life on the islands.  

Eating & Drinking

The meals included with your package are listed in the itinerary.

Peruvian cuisine highlights different regional indigenous ingredients with influences from the Incas, Spanish, Asians and Africans, and is now becoming popular on the international scene. The culinary experience in Peru is very diverse and vibrant. Your hotels on tour will typically have a restaurant and/or a bar or lounge. Several restaurants and cafes that offer traditional foods along with a variety of cuisines are also located near the hotels used on this tour. Among typical foods you will be offered, Peruvian ceviche is a delicious, cooked dish (unlike ceviche in other parts of the world) and is definitely worth sampling.

The Galapagos Islands are well known as a haven for fresh seafood. Some hotels and restaurants found in the major ports offer local Ecuadorian dishes and international cuisine. There are also some pizza places, bars and grills to satisfy one’s cravings.  Llapingachos are Ecuador’s most famous dish and can be eaten for lunch or as a side dish. They are potato patties stuffed with cheese and grilled until crispy!  You can usually find them made fresh in the markets or in restaurants around the islands. 

Non-included Meals: Average cost for lunch (not including drinks) in the local shops and cafes is about $15 - $20 per person per meal. Average cost for dinner is about $25 - $30 per person per meal, excluding drinks. Average cost for dinner in Peru is about $25 - $40 per person per meal, excluding drinks.  Your hotels and most restaurants accept major credit card payments for not-included meals.

Please be aware that the water in the hotel tap system is not potable. Hotels will normally provide bottled water at a small fee. On occasion, a first bottle will be provided in your room upon check-in to your hotel. Any water that you consume from the hotel mini-bar will be charged to your room, and you will be responsible for payment. As a reminder, only drink water and other beverages from sealed bottles or cans. The rule for water also pertains to ice, as it is commonly made from unfiltered, tap water. At included meals, enjoy the cooked fruits and vegetables, but stay away from raw items unless you can peel them. Most of our intestinal systems are not accustomed to the micro-organisms in the raw foods and water of many other countries. If you exercise caution, you will avoid getting sick. 

In an effort for continued environmental conservation and sustainability, the Ecuadorian Government has banned the use of single-use plastics, including water bottles. We suggest bringing non-plastic water bottles, preferably with wide rim and covered drinking spout. Otherwise, a reusable water bottle will be provided in Quito, which you can use refill with filtered water while on tour. 

Please see above for special meal requests.

Tipping

You will be traveling in the company of professionals who are very committed to making your tour the dream vacation you are counting on. These people feel great pride in being given a chance to show foreign visitors their country. If your guide, driver and others with whom you are traveling are doing a good job, please take our suggestions for tipping seriously. Naturally, tipping is personal and voluntary, and if you have not received good service, your tip should reflect this fact. 

The recommended amounts are as follows: 

  • Tour Manager: $7-10 per person per day
  • Local naturalist guide: $4-5 per person per day
  • Transfer/Tour driver in Quito: $4-5 per person per day
  • Tour guide in Quito: $6-7 per person per day 
  • Speed boat driver: $2-3 per person per day 
  • Restaurant staff: $1-2 per person per meal 
  • Hotel porters: $1-2 per bag upon arrival and departure
  • Housekeeping: $1-2 per person per day

Independent Activities

With its rich culture and history, there are many things to explore during your free time in Peru. Visit the Larcomar shopping center in Lima where you’ll find brand name stores and Peruvian jewelry and arts and crafts stores. Visit the Indian Market for typical Peruvian handicrafts and souvenirs. You’ll have some free time in Cusco to join optional activities (for a fee) or independently explore Peru’s rich ancient history and colorful culture. Sample local fusion and global cuisine at one of the many restaurants, shop for arts and crafts in the many boutiques or visit some of the museums and cultural landmarks.  

Your hotels in Galapagos are located along the main streets of Santa Cruz Island and Isabela Island, which are within walking distance of a variety of cafes, restaurants, galleries, and shops. Spend your free time experiencing the island vibe and sample the local cuisine, visit art galleries and participate in optional activities. Your hotel in Quito is near Quito’s Old Town District, where numerous churches, museums, restaurants, and shops are located. 

If you decide to not participate in the group activities and explore on your own instead, please make sure to inform your guide in advance. There is NO refund for unused group arrangements. We recommend that you ask the front desk for a business card of the hotel with the address and local phone number in both Spanish and English. Or take the name of the hotel and phone number (written in Spanish and in English) with you so that you can communicate with taxi drivers. The hotel staff will gladly assist you with these translations.

Special Needs & Requests

Please see above for special meal requests and seat requests. If you have any other special requests, including wheelchair or electric cart assistance, please mention your request when you book with an agent, or in the special requests section when you book online. We will do our best to accommodate them!

Country FAQs

EcuadorEcuador Fast Facts

Overview

Capital: Quito
Population:  16.39 million
Currency: U.S. dollar (USD)
Languages: Spanish
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: UTC -5

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

There are no official vaccination requirements for entry into Ecuador, however, inoculations against yellow fever, cholera, typhoid, polio, tetanus, and hepatitis and malaria suppressants (for the Galapagos islands) might be recommended. Consult your physician.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

This tour includes some time at high altitudes where travelers may suffer from varying degrees of altitude sickness. Please consult with your physician about any precautions before you depart. 

Weather

Ecuador's climate is very varied. There is no perfect time to go see it all.

Coast: January to April is the rainy season with the warmest water currents, making it the most popular time to visit for surfers or snorkelers.
Highlands: June-September is the dry season and most popular time to visit.
Oriente: June-September are the wettest months. Lightweight clothing recommended.
Sierras: October-April is the rainy season. Sweaters and jackets are recommended at any time.

Quito is always moderate and the Amazon is always humid. Layers and a waterproof/ breathable jacket are recommended if you will be hiking in the mountains.

Tipping

Tip 10% of the bill unless a service fee is included, additional small amounts are appreciated. Round up fare for taxi drivers.

Money & Credit Cards

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Shop in Ecuador for genuine Panama hats, pottery, filigree jewelry, wool sweaters, wood carvings, ponchos, and Amerindian weavings and handcrafts.

Electricity & Power Adapters

120/127 volts. Plugs A & B. No converters or adapters needed.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • The Galapagos Penguins are the rarest species of tropical penguins and can only be found on the Galapagos Islands.
  • The country was named after the Equator, and there is a bright yellow line that marks the Mitad del Mundo (middle of the world).  
  • The Galapagos Islands is home to nearly half of all breeding pairs of blue-footed boobies.
  • Although its name is deceiving, the Panama hat actually originated in Ecuador.
  • 2 of Ecuador’s UNESCO World Heritage sites – the Galapagos Islands and the city of Quito – are among the original sites named at the first World Heritage Committee meeting.

Galapagos Fast Facts

Overview

Capital:  Puerto Baquverizo Moreno (Mainland, Ecuador – Quito)
Population: 25,000
Currency:  US Dollar
Languages:  Spanish
Drives on the:  Right (Ecuador)
Time zone: UTC -6 (Mainland, Ecuador UTC -5)

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

There are no official vaccination requirements for entry into Ecuador, however, inoculations against yellow fever, cholera, typhoid, polio, tetanus, and hepatitis and malaria suppressants (for the Galapagos islands) might be recommended. Consult your physician.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

Ecuador is located at the Equator, but the temperatures vary little throughout the year. The average high temperature during the day is around 70°F and the average low temperature at night is around 50°F. There are two seasons, wet and dry. The wet season lasts from December through May, with varying amounts of rain during this time. The dry season lasts from the end of May to December, when little rain is expected to fall. 

 

In the Galapagos, the temperatures are similar to Quito, with the wet season lasting from December through May and the dry season lasting from June through December. The wet season is warmer and more tropical than the dry season, with temperatures ranging from the 70’s to the 90’sbut the ocean temperature is warmer, too. 

What to wear

For travel in the Galapagos, clothing ranges from informal to very informal. Essentials include sneakers, shorts, long- and short-sleeve lightweight shirts, bathing suit, a wide-brimmed hat, long pants, and a wind breaker or light jacket for evenings. Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and lots of film.

Most walking ashore is over rocky lava terrain. Tennis shoes, sneakers, or walking shoes with rubber soles are strongly recommended.

Money & Credit Cards

The official currency in Ecuador is the US Dollar. Hotels and some stores accept credit cards (Visa and Master Card mostly, but AMEX is accepted in some establishments). For “street shopping” you will need cash for most transactions. We highly recommend that you bring along crisp, new bills and smaller denominations. Stick with $1, $5. $10 and $20 notes. Old, torn, crumpled bills may not be accepted. 

 

Be sure to call your credit card providers to let them know you will be traveling abroad, the places you’ll be visiting, and the dates of your trip. This is important for your own protection. For small purchases, we recommend that you use the ATM machines to get cash to avoid using your credit card in unknown shops where there is a higher risk of having your credit card numbers “borrowed” for unauthorized purchases. Traveler’s checks are no longer accepted in Ecuador. Expect to use cash or credit cards for all your purchases.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Shopping is limited in the Galapagos Islands. The best place to purchase the quintessential “Galapagos Island” souvenir gear is at the Charles Darwin Research Station which offers high quality items and proceeds benefit the preservation efforts.

Electricity & Power Adapters

110 volts. We recommend that you bring an adapter/converter along with you as not all hotels will have 110 volt (A&B plugs) outlets.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • In 1873 British Captain James Colnett set up a post office barrel in the Galapagos Islands! Originally whalers would drop their letters in the barrel on their way out to sea and the mail was relayed to their families back home. Today, tourists often leave notes in the barrel!

  • The penguins who live in The Galapagos are the only ones that make their home north of the equator – making them the only tropical penguins on Earth!

  • There were once up to 15 different subspecies of giant tortoises on the island, of which 10 still remain today. These giant tortoises may live up to 150 years.

  • The islands were originally known as the Enchanted Islands due to the strong, shifting currents that made navigation difficult.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about The Galapagos

  1. What are the Dos and Don’ts of Environmentally friendly travel to the Galapagos Islands?

    Do:
    Listen to your guide for your safety and the safety of the wildlife
    Pack plenty of extra space on your camera card! You’ll want to take a LOT of photos!
    Keep on the designated paths as you explore the islands
    Drink plenty of water along the way 
    Consider the clothing and footwear you will use on the trip – there is a lot of walking on sometimes uneven terrain in the Galapagos Islands
    Always dispose of litter in the appropriate receptacles

    Don’t:
    Take food or plants to the islands. This might jeopardize the ecosystem. 
    Feed or touch the animals – no matter how friendly they seem! 
    Skip the detailed information provided by your guide – their expertise will enrich your experience!
    Take “souvenirs” of rocks, plants, or other natural material. 
    As a note, smoking is prohibited in the national park areas.

  2. Is snorkeling gear included?

    Snorkeling gear is included on our tours.

PeruPeru Fast Facts

Overview

Capitol: Lima
Population:  31 million
Currency: Peruvian sol (PEN)
Languages:  Spanish
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: PET (UTC -5)

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

Travelers are not at risk for malaria who are visiting the highlands of Machu Picchu or Lima. There is a risk in Cusco. Consult your physician about possible vaccinations for yellow fever, hepatitis, and typhoid.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

This tour includes some time at high altitudes where travelers may suffer from varying degrees of altitude sickness. Please consult with your physician about any precautions before you depart. 

Weather

Peru's terrain ranges from desert to jungle and mountain to coast. February and March are generally fair everywhere. Mountains tend to be rainy November to March and Highlands between October and April. Most Peruvians take their vacations from July to September which happens to be when most tourists visit Peru. June through September have the most humidity in Lima, and the Amazon is always hot and humid. Take along a sweater no matter where you are going or what season you are traveling in.

Tipping

In restaurants, an 18% service charge is included in the bill if you are paying by credit card. If you are paying in cash, there is no fee; tip 5%- 10%.

Money & Credit Cards

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

The best items to shop for are ponchos, cotton and linen, blankets, tapestries, pottery, alpaca-wool sweaters and rugs, Inca walking sticks, oil paintings, handmade statues, woven-straw items, silver, leather, and gold. Bargaining is the rule in markets. Avoid purchasing artifacts or antiques as they cannot be exported. Also avoid handcrafts made with feathers, depending on the bird it came from, it could be illegal.

Electricity & Power Adapters

220 volts. Plugs A, B & C. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • The Giant Andean Condor is the largest flying bird on Earth, and can be found in Peru. Colca Canyon is home to this bird, standing at 4 feet tall with a wingspan of up to 14 feet!
  • There are over 3,000 different varieties of potato grown in Peru.
  • Peru's national drink is a Pisco Sour, made from Peruvian grape brandy and mixed with lemons, sugar water, egg whites, ice and finished with bitters.
  • Peru is the 6th largest producer of gold, producing more than 160 tons of gold a year.
  • Of the 10 million alpacas in the world, three-quarters of the alpaca population lives in Peru.
  • The national dish of Peru is roasted guinea pig, "Cuy", and is served complete with head, eyes and legs.

Fine Print

Terms & Conditions: Please review our terms & conditions for this package.

Cancellations: If something comes up and you need to cancel your trip, please let us know as soon as possible. All cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellation fees vary by package; please see the cancellation fees for this package.

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