GALAPAGOS NATIONAL PARK RULES
In order to help us preserve this unique paradise, please follow these simple rules:
- Stay with your group and naturalist guide at all times. Always follow the directions given by your naturalist.
- Walk only on the marked trail and be careful and quiet as you move through the islands.
- Be careful not to transport any live material (animals or plants) to the islands or from island to island (insects, seeds, soil). To reduce the risk of moving living organisms between islands we are not allowed to take any food to our visits.
- No plants, rocks, animals or their remains, such as bones, pieces of wood, feathers, rocks, sand, corals, shells, or other natural objects should be collect, moved or disturbed. You may damage the islands ecological conditions.
- Nothing may be removed from the islands. Take back home great memories and pictures only.
- Animals should not be touched or handled. Do not disturb or pursue any animal from its resting or nesting spot. The best is always to be passive with wildlife, if you blend in as much as you can you will have a better experience and generate less impact on the animals.
- Keeping a distance of at least to 2 meters (7 feet) from all animals. Please remember that they are not pets and we must respect their space.Clean your shoes, snorkel equipment, or before and after the visit at the islands.
- When photographing animals turn off your flash.
- Do not litter visitors sites or ocean. Please, do not hesitate to show your conservation attitude and pick up any litter you encounter.
- Building fire or smoking within the areas of the Park is not allowed.
BEFORE THE DISCOVERIES
The naturalist guide gives briefings every evening after or before dinner. He/She will give you information about the activities of the following day. The briefing is designed to prepare you for your visit, to learn the times of disembarking, guidelines of what to bring to the activities, terrain and weather conditions, as well as the animals and plants you will be able to see.
DO NOT FORGET
In preparation for our daily excursions, please make sure you carry the following items:
- Comfortable and informal clothing such as shorts, light pants, cotton t-shirts, sweaters and windbreakers, according the season of the year.
- Cap/hat and buff
- Sunglasses (must be polarized!)
- Insect repellent
- Sun Screen
- Water bottle
- Appropriate walking gear (Good walking shoes/walking sandals)
- Cameras, batteries and memory cards
When you return to the Samba please make sure to leave your excursion shoes at the stern. Use other sandals or comfortable shoes for walking in all outside areas of the Yacht. This will help prevent carrying alien microorganisms from island to island. Shoes are not allowed inside the boat.
To have a pleasant journey we have made your safety our number one priority. The boat has approved strong national and international regulations to prevent and respond on any emergency scenario. All crew members are trained to assist you in case of any emergency. As a mandatory regulation you will be part of a safety drill exercise in order to know what to do in case an emergency occurs. Your naturalist guide will instruct you with safety procedures.
Please make yourself familiar with the location of the life vests and fire extinguisher in your cabin, as well as the quickest way to get to safety. Should you have any questions, please approach our naturalist on board or our Captain.
SNORKELING SESSIONS AND OUR GEAR
The water in the Galápagos is quite cool considering the archipelago straddles the Equator. The cold Humboldt current flowing north from Antarctica and northwest from South America account both for this cold water and the productivity of the islands.
Snorkeling is highly suggested to get a vision of the underwater world. To relax and refresh you will often have the opportunity to swim and/or snorkel after or before the landings on most days.
The snorkeling equipment on board is included on the price of your trip. Our gear is of excellent quality. The masks, snorkel, wet suits and fins are in excellent conditions. We ask you kindly to take good care of all the gadgets provided on the Samba. We supply 3mm full-length suit is essential for all but the most warm-blooded of us, giving better protection from cold, sunburn, rocks, and the occasional jellyfish.
Any damage or loss of the equipment will be billed to you at the end of the cruise at the following rates:
Mask: USD 70.00
Fins: USD 60.00
Snorkel: USD 55.00
Wet suit: USD 220.00
We regard damage as the impossibility of reutilizing the equipment again. Normal wear and tear are not considered damage. We appreciate your understanding and rely on your best intentions.
SMOKING ON BOARD
It is not allowed to smoke inside the boat. The crew will be willing to provide you with an ashtray to smoke on the only space allowed to smoke.
An individual A/C works in each of our cabins. Please ask the guide or one of the crew members about its use.
We have a fresh water tank, with enough for our entire trip but we would like to ask you to save as much as possible, because there is little additional water on the Islands. A simple effort from you might mean a great contribution…
Be kind to take short showers in this way you will be helping to save energy used in the production of it. Please use your bath towel more than once. Please make this decision: Hanging your towels back on the holders tells us: “I will use them once more”. This is a suggestion made to protect our Planet.
Potable and drinking water is provided on board. We produce it with a reverse osmosis plant. In order to limit the amount of waste produced while in Galapagos, we ask you kindly to reuse the plastic bottle give to you on the first day. This bottle can be refilled with fresh water from the dispenser placed in the lounge. If you can bring your own refillable bottles is best!
The Samba have electricity outlets of 110 and 220 volts on every cabin. Extra electricity outlets are found at the dinning room.
Keep in mind that yacht plumbing is different from the one at the mainland or home. Please do not throw any toilet paper, sanitary napkins, plastic, etc, into the toilets. Use the basket inside your bathroom only for toilet paper; our crew will clean it every day. Don’t forget to close the valve after flushing the toilet. Thank you!
Your room will be ready when you return from the morning excursion. If you need towels to go ashore, the crew will be pleased to provide them.
MEALS AND DINNING SERVICES
Our chef offers fine cuisine ranging from international to local specialties, served in our dining room with a perfect environment. Please let our chef know if you have any restrictions concerning your diet, so we may serve you the best we can. The regular schedule for meal service is the following:
Breakfast: This meal will usually be served between 05:00 and 08:00. Many of our first outings take place before breakfast to catch the best light! Expect to land just before 06:00 in some locations.
Lunch: This meal will normally be served between 11:30 – 13:00
Dinner: This meal will usually be served between 18:30 – 20:00
Snacks are served twice a day.
Note: Times of the meals are flexible and may vary to meet nature at its best!!
We offer a variety of table games, videos, books and other Galapagos related information in the Main Lounge for your enjoyment under the tables. Be sure to return the books you borrowed to the lounge at the end of your cruise. Returning them will offer enjoyment to passengers arriving after you.
In the fridge you will find a variety of, beer, soft drinks, wines, cocktails and liquors onboard the Samba. The barman will open a consumption card with your name without which no liquor or soft drinks can be expended.
Prices on board are competitive enough the passengers do not need to bring their own liquor to the ship.
Your purchases will be kept on record on your bar card and tallied at the end of your voyage. Your account must be settled prior to disembarkation in cash (US dollars). We cannot accept credit cards or traveller’s checks.
The yacht is equipped with two UHF/VHF/Motorola radios, satellite and a cellular phone. The satellite phone on board can be contacted by dialing +870 7733 05450 or 008 70 7733 05450. Guests can use the SAT phone on board at $4 per minute to call out. Internationally enabled cell phones should get reception some places in the Galápagos. Communication with the coast guard and office in Puerto Ayora is possible at any time.
Your opinion and comments are very important to us. That is why at the end of the cruise you will receive a comment sheet. We really appreciate any comments and suggestions that will help us to improve our service.
TIPPING & GRATUITIES
Tipping is a frequently asked question by our guests. We understand that this is a very sensitive issue, since tipping is a voluntary gift given by you in recognition to the service provided by our crew. If you are happy with the service provided and based on past experiences on board the average tip for the entire crew, except the guide, has been of USD 300 per person for a week cruise (this amount will be divided amongst the crew equally).
For the naturalist guide the average tip has been of USD 200 per person for a week cruise. Please remember that this is a mere suggestion as tipping is a very personal gesture. You may wish to use two envelopes, one for tips for the crew and the other for the naturalist guide. Gratuities can be handed personally or as a group the last evening of the trip. Be generous J!
Please make sure to do most of your packing the night before leaving the Samba. Since we do an early morning dinghy ride on the date of departure and the check out is after breakfast, you will have very little time to pack that morning.
Health and Medical: No immunizations are required and malaria pills are not needed on this itinerary. In the Galápagos, the water onboard is desalinated and very safe to drink. Please bring a water bottle that is comfortable to carry to refill onboard. The meals will be very carefully prepared, so you need not worry about hygiene standards during the tour.
In mainland Ecuador, we recommend drinking bottled water. If you are extending your stay on the mainland, a small water filter, such as the steripen (http://www.steripen.com), is great to bring to save the plastic and money from buying bottled water. In the Galápagos, use plenty of sunscreen, wear a hat, polarized sunglasses (to have a better filter to see through water) and bring good boots or walking shoes for walking on
lava . Bring an adequate supply of any medications you take regularly or might need; nothing will be available in the Galápagos. Seasickness is not a large problem in the Galápagos as we are near the islands most of the time and the seas tend to be calm. Nearly all of the open sea passages, when the boat could rock a bit more, will be at night. If you do experience motion sickness, you should bring medication or other preventative measures (electronic “Relief bands” seem to work well also).
Please feel free to contact us for recommendations. Eating well, avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol, and getting a good night sleep are also key in preventing an over-active stomach. Please be sure you have listed any medical problems, special dietary requests, food allergies, or food preferences on your registration form and update us if there are changes before the trip.
Climate: From May until September the weather is typically very pleasant in the Galápagos with an average daytime temperature of 75 to 85°F (usually on the warmer side in May). It is pleasantly cool at night out on the deck and on early morning landings; you will want a sweatshirt or fleece for these times. Rain is a possibility, more so in early May, while late May and June there is more chance of heavy mist (called “garúa”), particularly in the highlands.
From December to April the weather is typically very hot in the Galápagos with an average daytime temperature of 85 to 95°F (usually on the warmer side in January). It is pleasantly cool at night out on the deck and on early morning landings; you will want a sweatshirt or fleece for these times. Rain is a possibility, more so in early January, because we start the transition between “cold-dry” and the “warm-wet” season. It can be particularly wet in the highlands.
Insects: Insects are not usually a problem in the Galápagos, though there are wasps at a few landing sites. Please let us know if you are allergic to stings. In general, use insect repellent if you use it at home on field outings in the summer. Mosquitoes are not generally a problem even on the mainland and there are almost no mosquitoes in the Galápagos. Long, lightweight cotton or nylon pants are the most practical for protection from sun, scratchy bushes along the trails, and insects.
Walking and Trail Conditions: Galápagos walks vary from short to a couple of miles long over broken and uneven terrain. If you are not accustomed to walking distances, especially over rocky and uneven terrain, you will still be able to join in most activities as we travel at a pace that allows us to see, appreciate and photograph the unique nature of the Galápagos.
There are some basic walking sticks onboard that you can borrow or you may prefer to pack your own for stability on rocky terrain (stepping up and down over large rocks). If you anticipate struggling with the walks, we strongly urge that you get out and do some good forest walking and hiking beforehand to get yourself in good condition for the trip. The more fit you are when the trip begins, the more you will enjoy your time in the field!
Important Packing note: Please carry any essential items, such as travel documents and prescription drugs, plus fragile items such as cameras and binoculars, aboard the plane in your carry-on luggage. You may also wish to include in your carry-on a change of clothing, toiletries, in case of the regrettable lost baggage syndrome. Airline restrictions can change frequently so we recommend that you check the website for the airline you will be flying shortly before your departure to get their most up-to-date luggage restrictions.
Packing List Suggestions: Please remember that this list includes general recommendations only, is not all-inclusive, and each individual should personalize their own packing list according to her or his needs and preferences.
- Passport, airline tickets/confirmation, and money
- Sturdy walking shoes and/or boots ~ Many of the trails are uneven and rocky, so while some will do all in sturdy sandals, most prefer shoes or light boots. High-top boots help support ankles.
- Water shoes or sandals ~ If you are uncomfortable with landing on beaches barefoot.
- Deck shoes or slippers ~ To keep the interior clean, we will never use our landing shoes on the ship, typically living barefoot while onboard. If you are uncomfortable without shoes onboard, bring a pair of deck shoes or slippers that do not go ashore.
- Three pairs of pants and shorts. For women, a lightweight skirt, if you like.
- One long-sleeved cotton shirt
- Two short-sleeved shirts, plus T-shirts
- Pajamas or nightclothes
- Socks and underwear
- Fleece or sweater for cool times
- Lightweight water-resistant jacket ~ Rain is possible, and highlands may have heavy mist (“garúa”).
- Shade hat and a cap
- One or two buffs/bandanas!
- Polarized Sunglasses!
- Day by day reusable water bottle!
- Dry bags to protect camera gear, phones and other devices on our landings!
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Insect protection if you are sensitive to bites
- Toiletries and washcloth (bath towels are provided)
- Personal first aid kit
- Prescription medications and favorite remedies ~ whatever you usually need (consult your physician). Remember we will be isolated from stores and pharmacies most of the trip, so stock up on your usual meds for headache, insect bites, seasickness, etc.
- Extra pair of prescription glasses or contacts (if you wear them)
- Camera, under water camera, digital storage solution, camera bag ~ Check out your equipment beforehand. Dry bag to protect your camera and other gear for when we do wet landings.
- Waterproof camera or housing
- A good pair of BINOCULARS, at least 7 or 8 power, with a wide field of view
- Mask, snorkel, and wetsuit (see details above and below)
- Two Bathing suits
- Field guides (optional) to birds and other wildlife and plants (a good library is available aboard)
- Walking stick or cane ~ There are several walking sticks onboard, but if you need one for walking on uneven terrain, you may prefer to bring your own.
- Writing material, pens and pencils
- Flashlight or head lamp and extra batteries
- Laundry bag, biodegradable detergent and a few clothespins (if you plan to do wash onboard)
- A few items that you may NOT need to pack:
- Mask, snorkel, wetsuit and fins for snorkeling ~ Our yacht has excellent quality snorkel gear, though if you have gear you prefer, feel free to bring your own.
- Towels ~ Bath towels are provided. Towels to use on shore or on deck are available upon request.
- Clothesline ~ There is room on the top deck to hang clothes and they will dry faster outside. Be sure to secure them very well (clothespins are not always enough when the boat is moving).