Birdwatching Tour in the Galápagos Island, Cloud Forest & Andes
Our 15-Day Birding Galápagos, Cloud Forest and Andes Wildlife Tour is moderately paced offering a special escorted group trip to Ecuador and Galapagos led by one of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands top naturalists. For up to a maximum of 15 guests, this birdwatching tour is oriented towards people who want to observe, experience and learn as much as possible about Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
You will stay here in the multi-award-winning Napo Wildlife Centre 100% owned and run by the Kichwa Añangu people. The setting of the lodge is stunning by a beautiful late and Andes wildlife viewing here is exceptional. The lodge has access to clay licks which are teeming with macaws and parrots with an impressive bird list of some 568 species. The lodge also offers some wonderful mammal sightings, with upwards of six species of monkey observed from the dining hall tower area in a single afternoon. Giant Otters are also seen frequently. What makes Napo really special to are the small group sizes and the expert bilingual naturalist guides.
All the proceeds from the lodge are reinvested into community programs such as education, health care and renewable energy. The lodge itself is beautiful with local architecture and well-considered amenities providing as much luxury as you would ever want in the Amazon.
After four days exploring the creeks and trails of around the lodge, you return back to Quito, before taking your flight the next morning to the Galapagos islands, for eight days cruising some of the most spectacular islands in this remarkable archipelago onboard one of the very best yachts in Galapagos in its price category.
A Galapagos cruise is one of the most unforgettable nature experiences in the world. The islands truly are a living laboratory of evolution where the bird and animals have no fear of humans. The fearlessness and unique adaptations of animal life here is quite astounding.
Onboard a small yacht is undoubtedly the best way to experience Galapagos. With comfortable cabins and private bathrooms for up to a maximum of 16 guests, they take you sailing gently between the islands providing an intimate and authentic experience with nature.
Most of your travel onboard a Galapagos wildlife cruise is done at night. This means each morning you wake up in a different visitor site and can enjoy the best parts of the day to enjoy the resident fauna and unique natural features that each site has. From diving marine iguanas to breeding boobies to giant tortoises and the iconic flightless cormorants, each day brings something new.
This is truly an exceptional wildlife holiday. Our friendly local team with bilingual guides will look after you from the moment you arrive in Quito until the moment you depart for your flight home and every step of the way in between.
Andes Wildlife, Amazon, and Galápagos Island Tour Highlights include:
- Experience Galapagos and the Amazon two of the worlds top wildlife destination
- Explore Ecuador's capital city Quito nestled high in the Andes
- Stay in a multi-award winning lodge in the most biodiverse place on Earth
- Enjoy an 8-day Galapagos wildlife cruise itinerary visiting some of the best and most remote islands in Galapagos
- Looked after every step of the way with a highly experienced local team
Fancy taking a cruise during your wildlife holiday? If so, check out the Galápagos Wildlife Cruise Tour.
Alternative Tour Name: Andes to Amazon and Galapagos
Arrive in Ecuador's capital Quito nestled high in the Andes where you will be met by one of our team of bilingual guides and taken to your Casona de la Ronda, a charming heritage boutique hotel in the heart of Quito's old town and your home for the next two nights.
This morning you will be picked up from the hotel by one of our team of expert local guides and taken on a private guided tour of the old town of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its beautiful colonial architecture. The option for those who would prefer for today would be to visit Quito's botanical gardens with your expert guide. The afternoon is free to relax and explore on your own. Overnight Casona de la Ronda.
You will be picked up from the hotel and taken to the airport for your short flight across the Andes to Coca. Here you will be met by the team from the Napo Wildlife Centre and your Amazon adventure will begin with a canoe ride along the Napo River for about 2 hours with a lunch box en route.
Along the way birds like Herons, Kingfishers and others can be spotted. After arriving at NWC’s entry dock you then take a majestic and peaceful 1 hour dugout canoe ride surrounded by trees overhead, paddling along a narrow creek that connects to the lake where the lodge is located.
Good possibilities of seeing monkeys of various species as well as large birds like Toucans, Parrots or even Macaws. Late afternoon arrival to the NWC lodge on the shores of the Añangu Lake, welcome drink on arrival. After dinner optional Caiman (alligator) observation around the lake and natural sounds at night.
Early wake up to reach one of the best and most easily accessible parrot clay licks in Ecuador, about 1 hour away from the lodge. You arrive just before parrot activity kicks off at between 7:30 to 8:30. A total of 11 species of Parrots, Parakeets and Macaws can be seen. A visit that depends on weather conditions but usually successful. Later, hike along forest trail to visit to the Quichua community of Añangu which will provide an insight into the way the community here lives. Return to the creek and hike through a Terra Firme Forest for about 30 minutes until we arrive to the second parrot clay lick where if the weather conditions help will be able to find different species of Parrots, Parakeets and Macaws.
After early breakfast, depart from the lodge visit the 36m high canopy tower which is a great way to experience the life above the forest floor. The canopy tower is located about 20 minutes from the lodge deep within the terra firme forest. As you ascend the 12-story tower, you pass through different levels of the forest and emerge on top of a huge Ceiba tree. Here you cross onto a wooden platform that is actually built into the tree and experience the view formerly reserved only for the birds.
Flocks of colourful Tanagers pass right through the canopy of the tree, Blue-and yellow Macaws fly past, in nearby trees Spider Monkeys search for fruit, two species of large Toucans call in the early mornings and afternoons, and the life of the forest canopy opens before you. Birds that are virtually impossible to see from the forest floor far below are suddenly right beside you, oblivious to your presence. The canopy tower opens a whole new world to guests of the Napo Wildlife Centre.
Afternoon visit to a terra firme trail, hike along primary forest to discover the forest interior, possibilities of finding lizards, colourful Manakins or the unique and endemic Golden Mantle Tamarin monkeys. After the hike, explore the lake and creeks by dugout canoe with great possibilities of running into a Giant Otter family on the way…
Early departure and last excursion canoeing back to the Napo River, the creek may reveal new sights of Giant Otters, Monk Saki monkeys or many other rare birds. Enter docking area, use of restrooms and embarking on motorized canoe in order to return back to Coca, arrival approximately after 2 hours boat ride up river, in order to check for Coca – Quito flight. Arriving in Quito at noon.
Upon arrival to Quito airport you will be met by one of our drivers and taken to your home for tonight, the charming La Jimenita, a country house hotel just 15 minutes from the airport. The hotel has beautiful views of Quito and the surrounding mountains as well as hummingbirds in the gardens. You have the afternoon to relax and this is a great chance to take advantage of the hotels laundry service which can turn around laundry in a matter of hours ready for the next stage of your trip!
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel by one of our team of bilingual guides and taken to the airport in Guayaquil for your 2 hour flight to Galapagos. Our guide will help you pass through the migration controls required to enter Galapagos and check in for your flight. Upon arrival to Galapagos, once you have paid your US$100 Galapagos National Park entrance fee and collected your luggage, as you exit the airport your guide and a crew member from the yacht will be there to greet you and you will set off on your Galapagos adventure.
Your first visit will be in the highlands of Santa Cruz island, which are home to fascinating geological features, like lava tubes and the twin sinkhole craters of Los Gemelos. This site is home to over 300 different fern species as well as a forest of Scalesias, a relative of the daisy. The highlands of Santa Cruz are one of the best places to see Giant Tortoises in the wild in one of the privately owned ranches here. The area is also excellent to look for some elusive endemics like the Woodpecker Finch (one of only a few bird species in the world to use tools), Small Tree Finch, Vegetarian Finch and Galapagos Rail if time allows.
From here you head down to the town of Puerto Ayora where you visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, which gives you a great chance to learn about some of the conservation work being done in the islands and makes the perfect introduction to your visit. After this a little time to explore on your own before meeting up with your guide at the main dock where you will be taken in a panga (dingy) to the yacht and the next stage of your Galapagos trip.
This little island is located just off the southeastern tip of James (Santiago) Island, and is named after its shape! A really beautiful island surrounded by crystal clear waters and a great location for sea lions and if you are lucky Galapagos Penguins. Perhaps more than any other site this gives you a sense of the Galapagos Islands volcanic origins as the beautiful white beach gives way to a landscape of volcanic rubble and lava.
This red sandy beach with sea lions and nesting pelicans which if we are lucky offers a rare glimpse of a chick feeding. This is the mosts geologically diverse of all the Galapagos islands, a chance to snorkel with sealions here and a great diversity of near-shore and pelagic fish.
Accouting for over half the land surface of Galapagos measuring over 1800 square miles, the seahorse shaped Isabela Island is by far the largest in the Galapagos. The island is formed from six separate volcanoes (Wolf, Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Darwin, Sierra Negra and Ecuador). As the largest island, it has lots of different visitor sites, with a diversity of ecosystems ranging from barren lava flows to lush evergreen forests. Our yacht will be docked today in Puerto Villamil a small town on the southeast coast of Isabela so we can explore some of the sites from here. Our first visit this morning is before breakfast to Las Tintoreras or Shark Reef Canal. With completely calm turquoise waters, Las Tintoreras is a great place to see Sea Lions, Sea Turtles and Marine Iguanas as well as other Galapagos wildlife however the site gets its name thanks to a large lava crevice where White-tipped Reef Sharks are found resting or swimming at low tide. The area is also home to a small colony of Sea Lions and a nesting site for Marine Iguanas. After breakfast we set off in a bus heading up to the highlands of Isabela for our visit to Sierra Negra Volcano. This volcano has one of the largest caldera’s in the world measuring over 6 miles across. You will walk for around 1 hour to get to the rim of the caldera, from where you can see the lava flow from the most recent eruption in 2005. Along the way you will be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of Sierra Negra and the chance to seeVermillion Flycatchers, Galapagos Martins, and Galapagos Hawk. The final visit today will be to the Tortoise Breeding Centre. The Galapagos has 11 different species of Giant Tortoise of which five species are endemic to Isabela. This breeding facility, built just outside of town by the Galapagos National Park Service is helping to increase the populations of these populations of Tortoises, which were on a severe decline until the 80´s.
Punta Moreno Today we walk, snorkel and have a dingy ride to allow us to explore this site in full with its dramatic seascapes and one of the best sunrise areas in the Galapagos. The visit begins with a dinghy ride along the beautiful rocky shores where shore birds, penguins, cormorants and herons can be spotted. The barren lava fields host a surprising amount of wildlife due to the presence of many sink holes which are home to Flamingos, Stilts and Pintail Ducks. After this a walk to explore further before those who want to can take to the water. Elizabeth Bay Located on the far west coast of the Isabela, no landings are permitted here, but it makes for a beautiful dinghy ride and is arguably the best place to see Glapagos Penguins. Other endemic species such as Flightless Cormorants and Marine Iguanas are common and often seen basking in the sun on rocks along the shore. As you then enter a narrow cove lined with large Red Mangrove trees, you will see Marine Turtles, Rays and shore birds.
Urbina Bay Back in 1954, almost 4 miles of coastal seabed dramatically uplifted about 4.5 m (15 ft) exposing the sea floor. Since this time vegetation has largely taken over the the area but many signs of the uplift can still be observed. This area is now a nesting site for Land Iguanas and occasionally, giant tortoises coming from the moist uplands. The trail here also is a good place for seeing Darwin Finches and it isn't rare to see Galapagos Hawk here. To explore this area again we have a dingy ride, a short hike and the chance to snorkel for those wh want. Tagus Cove Spectacular views of the northern lava fields of Isabela are seen from the top of this walk which takes you up the slopes of the Darwin Volcano, along the edge of a salt water lagoon. Most of the wildlife in this visit is seen during a dinghy ride along the coast, with dramatic colours and beautiful tuff formations, Blue-footed Boobies, Penguins, Marine Iguanas, Pelicans and shorebirds. Another opportunity for some snorkelling also at this site and the option of kayaking for those who wish.
This is a truly spectacular visitor site and is a highlight for any visitor to the Galapagos. Compirsed of a narrow strip of land extending from the base of the Fernandina Volcano, the area has the largest colonies of Marine Iguanas in Galapagos. This is also the best chance to see Flightless Cormorants, along with sea lions, and Galapagos Hawks which often perch on the mangrove trees looking for prey. As you walk long the coast here, tidal pools provide a perfect environment for shorebirds, such as Whimbrels, Oystercatchers, Plovers and Turnstones.
Isabela Island - Vicente Roca Point
Returing once more to Isabela Island this afternoon, this is a site of really beautiful volcanic scenery with amazing lava intrusions and huge sea cliff. No landing is permitted here, but the visit will be in a dingy as you see Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies sit along the cliffs whilst Flightless Cormorants stay along the shoreline and if you are lucky you will see Penguins in the water. The visit here provides excellent snorkelling too as the upwelling of cold water currents creates an abundance of marine life.
James Bay (Puerto Egas)
James Island, also known as Santiago Island was the place where Charles Darwin spent the majority of his land visits in Galapagos. The visit this morning to the Fur Seal Grottos provide great chances to get close views of both Fur Seals and Galapagos Sea Lions in a series of rocky pools. This mornign also gives us some of the best tide-pooling in the Galapagos with chances to see shore birds such as Plovers, Sandpipers, Herons and Oystercatchers. For those who don't like deep water snorkelling and prefer it from the beach, this is arguably the best site for a beach snorkel with the chance to see Reef Sharks, Turtles, Rays, nice underwater formations.
Home to the most iconic scenery shot of Galapagos, Bartolome island is just off the eastern shore of Santiago Island. The landscape here looks almost lunar which gives a real sense of the volcanic origins of the island. As well as the striking scenery and famous view from the top on the way up you will observe good examples of pioneering plants, including some beautiful strands of lava cactus. More good snorkelling here from the beach and if you are lucky with Galapagos Penguins.
A very early start this morning as the yacht must then return to Baltra where the cruise will end in time for guests to take their connecting flight back to Guayaquil (or Quito).
The last visit though is a great one, this island has a great variety of Galapagos wildlife in a relatively small loop trail. The highlight here is undoubtably the largest colony of Magnificent and Great Frigatebirds in the Galapagos as well as a colony of Blue-footed Boobies. In addition, there are Sea lions, Marine Iguanas, Lava Lizards, Swallow-tailed Gulls, and a few secretive, but very large Land Iguanas.
After this visit, you will head to the airport in Baltra and take your flight back to Quito Upon arrival there you will be met by one of our drivers and taken to La Jimenita, your home for tonight.
Some time to day to enjoy the lovely setting of La Jimenita and its beautiful gardens before one of our drivers picks you up and takes you to the airport where you will take your international flight back home.
In the Amazon here are just a small selection of some of the mammals and birds you can expect to see:
Golden-mantled Tamarin, White-fronted Capuchin Monkey, White-bellied Spider Monkey sloths, marmosets, Red Brocket Deer, Equatorial (Monk) Saki, Large-billed Tern, Great Egret, Russet-backed Oropendolas, White-lipped Peccary, Giant Otter, Hoatzin, Black-capped Donacobius, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Boat-billed Heron, Squirrel Monkey, Woolly Monkey, Red Howler Monkeys, Short-tailed Swifts, Neotropical Palm Swifts, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatcher, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, White-necked Puf1ird, Monk Saki, T Cocoi Heron, Boat-billed Heron, Capped Heron, Zigzag Heron, Dusky-headed Parakeets, Mealy Amazons, Blue-headed Parrot, Cobalt-winged Parakeets, many-banded Aracari, Ivory-billed Aracari, Channel-billed Toucan, White-throated Toucans, Piratic Flycatcher, Black-faced Hawk, Great Black Hawk, Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Boat-billed Heron, Rufescent Tiger Heron, Plumbeous Antbird, Silvered Antbird, Rufous-tailed Flatbill, Rufous Attila, Sungrebe.
Then in Galapagos, you will have the chance to see:
Galapagos Giant Tortoise (geochelone spp), Galapagos Land Iguana (Chonolopus subcristatus), Marine Iguana (Amblyrynchus cristatus), Galapagos Lava Lizard (Microlophus spp.), Galapagos Snake (Aslophis dorsalis), Green Sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus), Waved Albratoss (Phoebatria irrorata), Galapagos Petrel (Petrodroma phaeopygia), Galapagos Shearwater (Puffinus subalaris), Red Billed Tropic Bird (Phaethon aethereus), Blue footed Booby (Sula nebouxi), Nazca Booby (Sula granti), Red Footed Booby (Sula sula), Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor), Galapagos Hawk (Buteo galapagoensis), Galapagos Rail (Laterllus spilonotus), Lava Gull (leucophaeus fuliginosus), Swallow Tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus), Galapagos Mockingbird (Mimus parvulus), Espanola Mockingbird (Mimus macdonaldi),Warbler Finch (Certhidea olivacea), Woodpecker finch (Camarhynchus pallidus), Cactus Finch (Geospiza scandens), Large ground Finch (Geospiza magnirostris), Small ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa), Galapagos Sea Lion ( Zalophus wollebacki), Galapagos Fur Seal (Arctocephalus galapageonsis) and if we are lucky we may see Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), Minke whale (Baleonoptera acutororostrata )
What is included?
- Private transfer on arrival with bilingual guide
- 2 nights B&B at Casona de la Ronda Heritage Boutique Hotel
- Half day private city tour of Quito with bilingual guide including transport and entrance fees
- Private transfer with bilingual guide and assistance to take flight to Coca
- Flight Quito - Coca - Quito
- 4 days/3 nights at Napo Wildlife Centre with all meals, services of bilingual naturalist guide, native guide, all transport and entrance fees in the Amazon, accomodation in a double cabin, unlimited tea, coffee and water
- Private transfer on arrival from Amazon flight back to Quito
- 2 nights B&B in double room at La Jimenita
- Private transfer with assistance from bilingual guide to pass through Galapagos Migration Controls and check for flight
- US$20 Galapagos Migration Card
- Flight Quito - Galapagos - Quito
- 8 days/7 nights on board the Cachalote Explore in a main deck cabin, with all meals, unlimited tea, coffee and water, services of bilingual Galapagos National Park guide, snorkel gear, all transport in Galapagos
- Private transfer on arrival from Galapagos
- Private transfer for international flight home
What is not included?
- International flights
- Meals in Quito except breakfast
- US$100 Galapagos National Park entrance fee
- Tips and personal expenses
- Alcholic and bottled soft drinks in Galapagos and Napo Wildlife Centre
- Services not detailed
- Anything not mentioned in "What is included"
The trip is designed for people who want to experience as much as possible of the wildlife and experiences of Ecuador's Amazon and the Galapagos as possible. Although being packed with activities, experiences and exceptional wildlife, the trip isn't very challenging physically and we have guests doing a version of this trip from 5 years to 85 years. Always if you do have any mobility issues or health conditions which may be a concern and we encourage guests to discuss these with us so we can amend the program accordingly or take actions to mitigate any potential issues. If you would to include more of Ecuador's Andes in the trip, or would like to extend the time in the Amazon, or include some time in the wonderful cloud forests of Ecuador please do get in touch and we can help put together a trip that exactly matches your interests, budget and travel timeframe.
We have an unrivaled network of local contacts that have been developed over two decades of creating exceptional wildlife trips to Ecuador and the Galapagos. Our aim is simple, to offer each of our guests an extraordinary trip with memories that will last a lifetime. In this case we have had a close working relationship with the community that owns and runs the Napo Wildlife Centre and when they first took over sole control of the lodge we helped support them with marketing activities and attending the Rutland Bird Fair. For Galapagos, we have known and worked with the owners of the Cachalote Explorer for many years too, as well as the owners of the two hotels we use in this program. This really makes a difference in the quality of service and experience our guests have and we think really sets us appart. For most of our guests, this is the trip of a lifetime. It is a responsibility that we take personally. Personal service is at the heart of everything that we do and we like to get to know each of our guests individually before each trip to ensure you really get the most out of your experience.
Whilst all your services in mainland are provided on a private basis so it will be just the size of your group, for the Amazon and Galapagos you will be joining other groups of guests. At the Napo Wildlife Centre the groups are for a maximum of 8 guests. What we do suggest for the Napo Wildlife Centre is taking the option of your own private group which costs just US$100 more per day for the whole group. For example if you are a party of 4 guests - to have your own private group, with your own bilingual naturalist guide and native guide and canoe would cost US$25 per person per day. We think it is worth it, especially if you have a particular interest in birds or mammals as this allows you to set your own program and set of priorities of what you want to see with your guide. For Galapagos the group size is up to a maximum of 16 guests. This is determined by the size of the yachts. Under Galapagos National Park regulations there must be a naturalist guide for every 16 guests, which means that most of the small yachts have a capacity for 16 guests to fit with this. Some of the larger yachts do have smaller group sizes in relation of the number of guests per guide, however the overall group you are always with is much larger, so on balance much better to be on a small yacht.
Yes, we can organise this trip for single guests with a single supplement. On paper the single supplement is around 50%, however we always try and find options to negotiate with yacht owners to try and reduce the single supplement to as low as possible. Also there are several yachts in Galapagos that regularly offer single cabins with no supplement. So the answer is yes, although we don't give a percentage or set single supplement rate as we always will try and find ways to bring this down as much as possible, but it is always on a case by case basis as it depends on spaces on the yacht etc.
We include as part of the trip price your internal flight from Quito to Coca and back again and also for the Galapagos from Quito to Galapagos and back again. We don't include your international flights. We have found over the years that international flights really is a specialist area and we can't compete on price or on industry contacts as we don't have the volume of business. For guests who would like our help with international flights we work with a flight specialist that we have worked with for over a decade and we can help co-ordinate the best international flight options or many guests are happy to organise their flights completely independently. We can help as much or as little as you would like for this.
Absolutely! We would be delighted to help you with this. This tour is very much a suggestion to show what is possible and is one of our most popular trips, but no two guests are ever the same and no two trips that we organise are either. We can add extra time in Quito before, or include experiences in the Andes to allow you to see more of the wildlife there, or you may wish to spend extra time in the Amazon or on one of the inhabited islands in Galapagos. The possibilities are endless so please do let us know if you would like to find out more options for this and we would be delighted to help.
No. We request that guests purchase this independently on booking the trip and send us over the details of their policy so we have a record of this. Galapagos now requires that any guests travelling have medical insurance.
To make a booking, you must complete one of our online booking forms (we will send you a link). We also require a 20% deposit on booking with the balance payable 90 days prior to travel. Payment of the deposit is either to our account based in the USA or our account in the UK depending which is easiest for you. Should you need to cancel your holiday once it has been confirmed, you must immediately advise us in writing. Your notice of cancellation will only be effective when it is received in writing by us at our offices. As we incur costs from the time we confirm your booking, the following cancellation charges will be payable. If you cancel 70 days or longer the cancellation charge is your deposit, 35-69 days 50% of the tour cost and 35 days or less 100%.
Absolutely. Over the years we have had many and varied requests. The chefs at Napo Wildlife Centre, the hotels and on board the yachts we work with hare very experienced and used to dealing with special dietary requirements.
We provide a detailed pre-trip information document for each of our guests booking with us - but hopefully this gives you an idea: Clothing Ecuador is divided into 3 distinct regions, Andes, Amazon and Coast (including Galapagos) each of which has its own climate, and so requires slightly different clothing. • For all 3 regions a sunhat and sun cream of at least SPF 50 are recommended as the equatorial sun can be very strong. • A protective sun hat/ cap is also good to have for all regions, in particular in Galapagos as the equatorial sun can be very strong. Also for Galapagos it is good to have a hat with straps as guests have been known to lose them with the hats blowing off whilst on the motorised dingy rides that take you from the yacht to the island! • Towels will be provided in all the hotels, lodges and on the yacht so you don’t need to bring any. Andes Climate: Quito is at an altitude of 2,800 metres (9,500 feet) and most places you visit in the Andes will be around that altitude. Daytime temperatures range between 10-22 degrees C and evening temperatures between 4 - 10 degrees C. A lightweight wind/rain jacket and fleece will come in handy year-round. Clothing: In the Andes layers work well, with a warm layer for morning and evening. Although warm in the daytime the temperature at night in Quito and Andes can get as cool as fresh spring or autumn day in the UK. In general for your time in Quito and the Andes we recommend wearing long trousers and layers on top so you can respond to changing temperatures! T-shirts, a long sleeved jumper and light fleece jacket is usually enough. Attire is very informal, though some people do like to bring a lightly smarter change of clothes for the occasions when you eat meals in restaurants, though it is still casual. Amazon Climate: The temperature will be approximately 27°C during the day, falling to around 10° C at night. It will be quite humid and not surprisingly you may experience some heavy rain downpours during your stay. Clothing: We recommend long trousers and long sleeved cotton shirts for the Amazon – though in the Amazon a short sleeved shirt can also be worn as well with a light dousing of insect repellent. Full waterproof clothing isn’t needed for the Amazon – you will probably get wetter with sweat than with rain! Rain Ponchos along with rubber boots are provided at the Napo Wildlife Centre so you don’t need to bring them along. Galapagos Daytime temperatures are similar to those in the Galapagos ranging between 27° and 22°C. Rain during your stay is very unlikely though there is often light wind in the evenings. Clothing T-shirts and shorts or light trousers are the best clothing for the Galapagos. For those with very fair skin, it is probably best to wear long-sleeved shirts in Galapagos as the sun can be very strong. It’s nice to have something to get changed into for an evening, but everything is very casual in Galapagos. We would also recommend a lightweight wind break jacket and a sweater as it can often be cool and breezy in the evenings. It’s also useful to bring along a couple of swim suits so you can alternate whilst one is drying. For those who will be snorkelling we DEFINITELY recommend a ‘shorty’ wetsuit. They can be hired for the week on the yacht for around $40 for the week, but if you have your own you should bring it along. As well as keeping you a bit warmer they give you protection from the sun and some buoyancy. We also recommend that people have their own personal snorkel mask and tube – though these will be provided either free on the yacht and they are fine, if you can we think it is better to have your own that you are used to and it is comfortable for you.
Sturdy, properly fitting footwear can make your trip much more pleasurable and this is the area we get asked most questions on. If you’re buying new boots for this trip, please break them in by wearing them as often as possible before the trip. A combination of the two kinds of footwear recommended below is sufficient for any of the trips we organise. Comfortable rubber-soled walking shoes with good traction or lightweight hiking boots with good ankle support are the best for the trip. These are suitable for Andes, Galapagos and Amazon. At the Napo Wildlife Centre (and all the Amazon lodges we work with) they provide rubber boots for you to walk with when you are walking on trails in case it is muddy. The best footwear for the Galapagos and for in and around the lodge in the Amazon are sports type sandals (with a trainer like base) that can be purchased in most outdoor shops, good brands are Merrell, Teva (shown above), though most shops have a good selection. These sandals are very comfortable, have a very good grip and you can get them wet without any problems. We prefer those with open toes, but some guests prefer those with a toecap to avoid stubbing their toes on lava. For Galapagos it’s good to have a comfortable pair of shoes to wear whilst in the yacht as you can’t wear any of your shoes that you use for visiting the islands inside (or barefoot is a good option too!)
Ensure you bring enough digital memory for your cameras. You invariably will take more photographs than you expect. For video, bring extra batteries just in case. It is useful to have a waterproof bag that you keep your equipment just in case. These are available in all outdoor shops. Electricity for recharging batteries available on the yacht, at the rainforest and the Andes is 110V (American style – adaptors are the same as those you need for the US). For keen photographers, our advice on lenses is that a range of a wide-angle zoom (16-70 mm) and an 80-200mm zoom lens will be enough. (Some 70-300mm are now available in the market which would completely cover any needs you have in terms of a zoom lens). For the Amazon portion of the trip, although some of the wildlife will be a considerable distance away, much of the time you will be in the canoe which makes it hard with a very large lense and they are difficult to carry. The Amazon can be fairly challenging from a photography point of view, so if you would like more guidance from us on that aspect do let us know.
Ecuador’s own currency the Sucre was suspended in 1999 following rampant inflation. Today US dollars are the only accepted currency in the country. Whilst you will need to have US$ in cash with you on arrival, you can draw money from ATM’s at any major bank in Quito or Guayaquil (BUT please ask your guide to accompany you to do this for security). You must pay US$100 in CASH when you enter Galapagos to the Galapagos National Park authorities as you pass through the migration control process. They don’t take any card payments – and although there is the option to pre-pay this service is very erratic with people who have pre-paid not appearing on lists etc – so best is to pay in cash on arrival. How much do I need to take? For Quito and the Amazon, you can pay for many things by card. For Galapagos although they can in theory take cards on the yacht, this is very erratic and sometimes doesn't work due to issues with the signal so we always recommend guests definatley have enough cash with them for what they need during their Galapagos cruise. As for how much to bring this is very much down to personal preference. For your meals in Quito that aren't included you will be able to pay for most of those by card, and then in the Amazon and Galapagos all your meals and are included, as is all your transport. Costs per person not covered on your trip include: alcoholic drinks and bottled soft drinks, $100 Galapagos National Park entrance fee, and tips for your crew in Galapagos and the guides that look after you on various parts of the trip.
You’ll enjoy your trip so much more if you are well informed about the places you’ll visit and the wildlife you’ll see. General introduction to the Natural History • Galapagos: a Natural History by John C.Kricher • Galapagos: the Islands that Changed the World by Paul D.Steward • Evolutions Workshop by Edward J. Larsson • The Galapagos: a Natural History by Henry Nicholls • Lonesome George by Henry Nicholls • Michael Jackson’s Galapagos, A Natural History Background reading • Jonathan Wiener’s The Beak of the Finch, A Story of Evolution in Our Time • Johanna Angermeyer’s My Father’s Island for background reading. Field Guides Your naturalist guide will have a selection of field guides but you may want to bring your own. We especially recommend • Collins Safari Guide to The Wildlife of the Galapagos by Julian & Daniel Fitter & David Hosking (available in Ecuador) • A Guide to the Birds of the Galapagos Islands by Isabel Castro • Reef Fish Identification Galapagos by Paul Humann. For a great historical novel giving an account of Darwin’s journey to Galapagos – This Thing of Darkness – Harry Thompson (it was long listed for the Man Booker Prize) Special Interest Books: For those with a special interest in birding, The Birds of Ecuador (Field Guide) by Robert R Ridgley and Paul Greenfield is a great book with beautiful plates, though is very heavy and relatively expensive, and you will have access to a copy whilst at most lodges (you can double check with us if it will be at the lodges you visit).