Haugan Cruises - Galapagos

Galapagos Luxury Cruises Redefined

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Galapagos Travel FAQs

Please find below answers to frequently asked questions about cruises in the Galapagos Islands. There are two sections: “Most Common Questions” followed by “Comprehensive Answers to Questions.”

At time of booking we will also send you a pre-trip information pack with helpful reminders and information for your trip.

If you can not find answers to your questions please do not hesitate to contact us and we will gladly assist. Contact Us

Quick Links to Questions and Answers

Most Common Questions

Comprehensive Answers To Questions

MOST COMMON QUESTIONS

When is the best time to visit the Galapagos?

The Galapagos Islands can be visited during any time of the year. The warmest season is from December to May (80°Fs to low 90°Fs (27ºC to 32ºC)). From June to November temperatures vary from low 70°Fs to high 80°Fs (21ºC to 26ºC). There is always an amazing amount of wildlife to be seen.

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What should I bring?

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect repellant
  • Small backpack
  • Hat (preferably with a brim)
  • Shorts
  • Long pants
  • T-shirts
  • Long and Short sleeved shirts
  • Wind breaker / light raincoat
  • Bathing suit
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sneakers with rubber soles
  • Outdoor Sandals
  • Camera and binoculars
  • Extra film, memory cards, discs
  • Spare batteries
  • Any medicine you may be taking
  • Insurance documentation
  • Passport
  • Money (US$ cash)
  • Major Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard)

We have wetsuits (specially for months from June to November) and snorkeling equipment on board, though some guests sometimes prefer to bring their own to ensure the perfect fit. Use of snorkeling equipment is complimentary. Please read our comprehensive packing list article

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What IS included in the tour price?

Price includes ALL of the following:

  • Top quality bilingual local guide throughout the cruise
  • Dedicated onboard cruise manager
  • All meals on board
  • Soft drinks and juices
  • Welcome cocktail
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Free use of all amenities on board (lap tops etc)
  • Free trip and planning service for all your needs in the region
  • Free airport assistance - Mainland Ecuador (Quito & Guayaquil)
  • Free airport assistance - Galapagos Islands
  • Free transfers between boat and airport
  • Free 24 hour helpline for personal assistance for your entire time in Ecuador
  • Free International flight confirmation service
  • Wetsuit
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What is NOT included in the tour price?

Unless specifically stated in promotions prices do not include:

  • Gratuities
  • Cancellation/medical insurance
  • Plastic bottled sodas
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee
  • International Airport Departure tax
  • Airfare from mainland Ecuador
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Can I combine my Galapagos Cruise with other tours?

The majority of visitors take the opportunity to combine their Galapagos cruise with other tours in the region. As part of our service we provide FREE TRIP ADVICE & PLANNING.

This may be a day trip to the Indigenous Otavalo Market, an extra hotel night, an adventure into the depths of the Amazon jungle or a trip to the mystic Machu Picchu.

Please see the Free Trip Planning section for more details. Return to top of page

COMPREHENSIVE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

Air-conditioning

There is air-conditoning throughout the boat. Air-conditioning can be adjusted for each individual cabin.

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Airport Assistance

You will always have somebody from Haugan Cruises at the airport to assist you checking onto your flight to the islands. Once you arrive in the Galapagos, our guide and a member of the crew will greet you at the airport. The crew member will take care of your luggage and your guide will escort you to the boat where your captain and cruise manager will welcome you aboard.

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Baggage

There is a luggage allowance of one piece of 44lbs (20 kilos) plus 2 small carry-ons on flights to and from Galapagos. Any additional pieces can be left at your hotel desk on mainland. Excess baggage is charged at US$ 2 per kilo if the airline chooses to do so.

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Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offsetting is the absorption of carbon dioxide which is the main gas contributing to global warming. There are many ways to carbon offsetting including planting trees. We offset all our carbon emissions through Canopyco and encourage others to do the same.

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Climate

The Galapagos Islands: are isolated so the climate is determined almost entirely by the ocean currents, which in turn are influenced by trade winds that push the currents. In general, December to May are the warmest months with temperatures of 80ºF to 90ºF (26ºC to 35ºC). June to November is cooler 70ºF to 80ºF (20ºC to 26ºC).

Mainland Ecuador - Highlands: It is spring-like most of the year. May through November is dry with an average temperature of 70ºF (20ºC). December to April is slightly cooler though still very pleasant.

Mainland Ecuador - Coast: The average temperature is 83ºF (28ºC), with a hot, rainy season from December to May and a dry season from June to December.

Mainland Ecuador - Jungle: In the Jungle the climate is hot 77ºF (25ºC), humid and rainy.

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Communications / Telephone

There is full phone and cellular phone communication in the Galapagos. In the main ports on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal islands there are plenty of internet cafes etc to make international calls. Your itinerary will include some time in at least one of these ports to use these facilities if you wish.

When cruising the islands, the boat’s cell phone is available for your use however there is only a signal when sailing close to populated areas. In more remote areas the boat maintains communications using radio.

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Cruise attire

The dress code aboard is informal.For island visits bring comfortable lightweight clothing. For the evenings bring long pants and a wind-breaker / light jacket. See also “what to bring” section for a more complete list.

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Customs

The Galapagos Islands does not have customs since there are no international airports. However to prevent the introduction of new species to the islands you are not allowed to take items such as fruit, flowers and seeds. Your luggage may be x-rayed and inspected to detect these items.

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Documents Required

According to Ecuadorian Immigration regulations, every foreign passenger entering the Country must have a passport with a time validity of at least 6 months from the day of arrival to Ecuador. Most Western European and North American passport holders do not require a visa to enter Ecuador. However please contact your nearest Ecuadorian embassy for the latest visa requirements.

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Duration of Trip (recommended)

The majority of cruises in Galapagos are for 8 days. We would normally recommend the 8 day cruise so that you can include all the very best Galapagos has to offer. However, our 5 day itineraries have been carefully organized to include excellent visitor sites.

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Electricity

On the catamaran and generally throughout Ecuador 110V AC.

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Entrance Fee

The Islands are part of the Ecuadorian National Parks system. There is an entrance fee of US$ 100 for adults and $50 for children under 12. The fee is collected on arrival in the airport in the Galapagos Islands and is ONLY payable in cash. Credit card or travelers checks are not accepted. Your guide will meet you immediately after you have paid the fee and take you to the boat.

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Flights to / from Galapagos

All Galapagos tours start with a flight from mainland Ecuador (Quito or Guayaquil) to the Islands. The flight from Guayaquil to Galapagos takes approximately 1.5 hours. The flight from Quito stops at Guayaquil and then flies on to the Islands. The total travel time from Quito to the islands is approximately 2.5 hours. Your guide will meet you at the airport and take you directly to the boat.

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Flight confirmations

There is NOT a requirement to confirm domestic flights (this includes flights from Quito/ Guayaquil to & from the Galapagos Islands). For international flights we provide a free flight confirmation service.

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Food

We always receive great reviews about the food on board. There is a varied menu onboard, including international and local cuisines, designed to accommodate a variety of dietary needs including vegetarians. There is always a choice and at least one vegetarian option. If you have any special dietary needs please let us know in advance so that we can make the necessary arrangements. All meals on board are included in the cruise price.

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Galapagos National Park & Marine Reserve

The Galapagos National Park protects 97% of the Islands´ land mass. In addition, the Galapagos Marine Reserve protects a further 138,000 square km of sea surrounding the Islands.

The Park’s mission is to protect, conserve and manage the Islands ecosystems and its biological diversity for the benefit of humanity, local populations, science and education.

We strictly adhere to the rules of the Galapagos National Park. All our cruise itineraries are approved annually by the National Park. All our passengers are always accompanied by a fully qualified Galapagos National Park guide.

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Health

Daily trips to the islands involve getting in and out of small boats known as pangas, requiring some physical effort and balance. Daily nature walks may include walking on irregular ground including boulders. Briefings will be given by your guide in advance of the landings to better help you determine levels of difficulty.

Trip members should be in reasonably good health and physical condition to fully enjoy a cruise in the Galapagos Islands. If a passenger suffers from any medical condition that might impact their travel experience they should consult with their doctor before traveling to ensure that they are capable of undertaking the trip. In addition, passengers should advise us of their condition and associated medical needs prior to travel.

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Helpline

We have a FREE 24 hour helpline for personal assistance for your entire time in Ecuador.

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Insurance

We strongly recommend passengers to buy trip cancellation insurance. In addition, we also recommend the following insurances: life, international medicine, baggage loss and baggage delay, loss of personal belongings lost or stolen personal objects during the length of the trip.

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Internet

In the main ports on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal islands there are plenty of internet cafes. Your itinerary will include some time in at least one of these ports to use these facilities if you wish. None of the boats offer onboard internet service.

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Island Visits

The catamaran will anchor at two visitor sites each day. You will be ferried to the islands in "pangas" (local name for dinghies). Once ashore your guide will lead you along marked trails explaining the natural history as you walk. Island visits are done at a leisurely pace allowing plenty of time to enjoy and photograph the amazing wildlife and scenery. There is often an opportunity to swim and / or snorkel during these visits should you wish.

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Jacuzzi

Depending on the navigation conditions and based on our itinerary, please check with your Guide or Quality Control Manager for our Jaccuzi schedules.

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Language

All our tours are conducted in English. As a minimum our guides speak English and Spanish fluently and many can offer explanations in other languages. We can arrange tours and guides in most languages. Simply ask your trip advisor for further information.

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Landings

The shores of the islands, and the access to visitor sites, can have rocky surfaces or beaches. Landings may be dry or wet. Dry landings are easily performed, as you will find a flat rocky surface for proper docking with the outing boats or sometimes a real pier as a landing place. When a beach is the only way of accessing a visitor site, it is performed as a wet landing. These are also quite simple since you just remove your shoes and socks, proceed to the front of the dinghy (or panga), and while swinging your legs out, you gently slide off the side of the panga, and will not wet yourself any higher than knee level. Afterwards, dry your feet, put your shoes on, and you will be ready to go. From time to time you may find rougher swells than the usual ones, and so the wet landing requires extra caution. At any landing, please, follow the instructions of the staff in charge.

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Money, Debit & Credit Cards

The local currency in The Galapagos Islands and throughout Ecuador is US dollars. On the Islands, most major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners) are widely accepted except in smaller stores.

There are Banco del Pacifico branches on the islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Both have ATM machines that accept MasterCard, Visa and cards affiliated with the Cirrus, Maestro, Banred and ATM system. It is also possible to change travelers checks but this is more difficult and a there is a service charge.

On board the Cormorant & Ocean Spray, we only accept US $ cash, and credit cards (Visa & MasterCard).

Important note: Most shops, restaurants, individuals, and even some banks will not accept $100 bills, we recommend taking smaller denomination notes.

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Seasickness / Motion Sickness

By global standards the seas around Galapagos are considered to be calm however passengers can be affected by seasickness / motion sickness. The Ocean Spray and the Cormorant are Catamarans and two of the largest 16 passenger vessels operating in the islands making them more stable and thus reducing the chance of motion sickness. If you do suffer from motion sickness then you should try to avoid the months when the seas are generally the roughest (August and September) and plan your trip for the months when the seas are generally the calmest (January to April). There are also various sea sickness medications and aids readily available from pharmacist and other suppliers. Please contact us if you have any further questions on this topic.

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Shopping

On board we have available for sale T-shirts, baseball caps, handmade Ecuadorian jewelry and other items. We also maintain a small stock of toiletries, basic medications, hair dryers (for loan), batteries etc. When we are in Port there will be an opportunity to browse some of the shops to purchase local crafts and souvenirs.

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Smoking Policy

Smoking is not allowed within the Galapagos National Park or within enclosed areas of the boat. Smoking is permitted on deck though we ask our guests to be considerate of other passengers who may be within the vicinity.

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Snorkeling & Wetsuits

Snorkelling equipment and wetsuit is complimentary all year round. However, some guests sometimes prefer to bring their own to ensure the perfect fit. Please advise your size in advance (XS, S,M,L, XL).

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Time Zone

The Galapagos Islands are GMT -6 hours and do not change their clocks for Daylight Savings (because they are on the equator). This means that in the summer months they are the same time as Mountain Daylight Time but in the winter months they are the same time as Central Standard Time.

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Tipping / Gratuities

In Galapagos, it is customary to leave a gratuity for the guide and crew separately. Gratuities are at the sole discretion of the passengers and should be based on the level of service received.


If you wish to leave a tip you may give it directly to the relevant staff member. Alternatively, you can put cash in the envelopes marked "CREW" and "GUIDE" that will be left in your room on your last day.


Please put the envelopes in the gratuity box that will be left in the dining area on the day of your departure.


All the money in the "CREW" envelope will be shared equally among the crew members.


Here is a guideline based on past experience. If service was excellent, the average tip has been $22 per person per day for the entire ship's crew and $10 per person per day for the guide.


Please understand that this is just a suggestion: tipping/gratuities are a very personal matter and it entirely depends on the value of the service you received.

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Transfers

Transfers on the Galapagos Islands.
All transfers from the airport on the islands to the boat are included in your cruise. Our guide will greet you at the airport and escort you to the boat where your captain and cruise manager will welcome you aboard. We will also have a crew member to personally take care of all your baggage.

Transfers in Quito or Guayaquil.
Transfers between the airport and your hotel in Quito or Guayaquil (and vice versa) can be arranged for you. We have personnel dedicated to transferring our guests between the hotel and the airport. Simply ask your reservation executive.

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Water

On board we use reverse osmosis to produce fresh water. The water from the taps is perfectly safe to drink but to be 100% safe we recommend that our guests only drink the bottled water which is complimentary.

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Water Temperature

December to May: 70ºF to 80ºF (21ºC to 26ºC)

June to November: 65ºF to 75ºF (18ºC to 24ºC)

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What is NOT included in the tour price?

Unless specifically stated in promotions prices do not include:

  • Gratuities
  • Cancellation/medical insurance
  • Plastic bottled sodas
  • US$ 100 Galapagos National Park entrance fee*
  • US$ 10 Galapagos entrance card for control of population in the islands*
  • International Airport Departure tax *
  • Airfare from mainland Ecuador

* Please note that the Galapagos National Park fee, population control card and the International Airport Departure tax are ONLY payable in cash. The international departure tax is US$ 27.15 if you are leaving Ecuador from Guayaquil. The tax is US$ 40.80 if you are leaving Ecuador from Quito. This tax does not apply for domestic flights within Ecuador - i.e. there is no tax payable when you are traveling between Quito / Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands.

These taxes are subject to change without previous notice.

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We hope that you found the answer to your question but if you couldn’t, don't worry. If you did not get the answers to your questions please do not hesitate to contact us and we will gladly assist. Contact Us