CHARTING THE GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS
CHARTING THE GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS

Have questions about the nitty-gritty for this trip? Look no further—here's everything you need to know.


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Physical rating

Active: 3 (out of 3)

Moderate walking and may include high-altitude hiking, rafting, swimming or more strenuous activities in high heat and humidity.

Tour pace

You will walk for about 2 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including cobblestone streets, unpaved trails, and sandy paths, with some hills at high altitudes.

Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.

You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage.

EF Tours for Girl Scouts and the Tour Director who accompanies your group are unable to provide special, individual mobility assistance to travelers on tour. 

If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Traveler Support Team.

Passport & visa

In order to enter Ecuador, U.S. citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.

We recommend having at least two blank passport pages for entry stamps.

There is no visa required for U.S. citizens.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage allowance

We highly recommend that travelers do not check a bag due to storage limitations, airline fees and lost luggage. We suggest one carry-on suitcase and one personal item.

Contact your airline(s) for baggage size and weight restrictions for your flights. 

Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & packing tips

We recommend lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.

A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.

It is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling to the countries on this tour.

At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov.

Take proper care with sun exposure, as the sun can be especially strong in this region.

Drink bottled water only. Refrain from ingesting tap water, including when brushing your teeth.

Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless washed in clean water and peeled.

Travelers prone to seasickness should note that this tour includes several boat transfers.

If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.

If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify us at least 70 days prior to departure by calling our Traveler Support Team.

Cuisine

Breakfast and dinners are included on tour and are pre-set with some local traditional food - don't worry picky eaters, there will be some familiar options too. 

If you want to be adventurous for lunch try some authentic staples.

Ecuadorian cuisine is diverse, reflecting the availability of ingredients across the country. At higher elevations, meat-based dishes are more popular, while along the coast you’ll find seafood in abundance. Traditionally, meals are served with soup and rice, and many feature starches like potatoes and yucca root. Bananas and plantains are also a major Ecuadorian export, appearing in many recipes. You might try patacones, a fritter made with mashed plantains, which is a popular Ecuadorean side.

Electricity & air conditioning

Ecuador operates on 120 volts and uses Types A or B plugs with two flat pins or two flat pins and one round pin, respectively.

We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.

The strength of the air conditioning in some hotels in this region may not be as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.

Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.

Connectivity

Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply.

There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.

Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.

Time zones

Mainland Ecuador is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the same as Eastern Time (ET). Ecuador does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

The Galápagos Islands are six hours behind GMT.

From November through March, when it’s noon in New York City, it’s noon in Ecuador.

From April through October, when it’s noon in New York City, it’s 11am in Ecuador.

Currency

You will use the U.S. dollar in Ecuador.

Please note that U.S. bills in denominations higher than $20 may not be accepted in some areas of Ecuador.

Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive.

We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed.

You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees.

Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

It's customary to offer your drivers and your Tour Director a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind. 

We recommend tipping the equivalent of $10 USD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3 USD per person per day for your drivers.

If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2 USD per local guide. 
Tips can only be paid in cash.

Girl-led opportunities

There are plenty of ways that girls can take the lead throughout their experience before, during, and after their tour. Here are a few examples below, many of which could help them earn a badge as well:

Before tour:

  • Lead pre-departure meetings
  • Organize activities to earn money
  • Do destination research
  • Learn the local language
  • Cook local cuisine

During tour:

  • Navigate public transportation
  • Speak the local language
  • Lead others during free time
  • Initiate friendships with the other girls on tour who they don't know
  • Get to know a local

After tour:

  • Take action in the community in regards to something learned on the tour
  • Continue to study something learned on the tour
  • Present experiences from tour to others
  • Research or apply for volunteer opportunities abroad