Naturalist Guides are certified by the Galapagos National Park and are a requirement for any and all tour groups to visitor sites throughout the park and marine reserve.
A group of 15 or less keeps our trips intimate and dynamic yet still affordable. We usually have a great mix of people from several countries and conversation is never in short supply. Socializing is part of the experience many people enjoy the most and you'll probably make several new friends throughout the week.
That depends. How adventurous are you? If you're keen for a last minute special or don't mind traveling in the low season (Sept, Oct., Nov.), it's possible to get a trip with less than two months before departure. It's possible, not advisable. If you want a specific date, especially over the holidays or summer months, it is best to book as far in advance as possible as these dates start filling 6 months to 1 year before departure.
An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Make sure you are healthy before you leave and be prepared for the possibility of traveler's diarrhea or seasickness. Although most people have no problems during the week, a secret stash of Imodium and Dramamine is always a good idea.
While you don't need to be an athlete, a reasonable degree of fitness is recommended. A four-six hour hike up the volcano, Sierra Negra on Isabela Island, is the most rigorous day for the majority of people. You don't have to be an avid hiker but you do need to be comfortable walking for that amount of time. Don't worry, we stop several times for water, rest breaks are frequent and the view from the top is definitely worth the walk.
We try, whenever possible, to have two people in the water with every group. All of our guides and assistants are excellent swimmers and have grown up swimming, diving and/or surfing in the islands. The first snorkel, along the coast of San Cristobal Island, is usually in a shallow, calm swimming area with ample time to get comfortable in the water and with the equipment. The hardest thing for most people is breathing through their mouth. Sinking is not an issue as you will naturally float with your face in the water and if you opt to wear a wetsuit, you'll have even more buoyancy.
No problem. All of the activities are completely optional. During the biking in the highlands of San Cristobal, a support vehicle will be available if you get tired or don't feel comfortable and you can still enjoy the great views from the highlands.
Because this is a land-based trip, there's no need to worry about being stranded on a boat if you don't want to participate in an activity. You can use your free time to relax in your room, explore the town, or head to beach with a book in hand.
First, we need to be informed in writing as soon as possible. The date the letter or email is received by GALAKIWI will determine the cancellation charges applicable. There are three different scenarios. If you cancel:
- More than 60 days before departure: lose the deposit ($500).
- 60-31 days before departure: lose 50% of tour cost
- 30 days or fewer before departure: lose 100% of tour cost
We strongly advise taking out cancellation insurance at the time of reservation.
On San Cristobal, Isabella, and Santa Cruz admission test are given to potential guides. Of the participants scoring 80% or more, the top 30 are chosen. The candidates then complete a certification course and must pass a final exam before becoming official Galapagos National Park guides. Twenty-seven courses have been conducted to date and there are approximately 320 certified guides in Galapagos.
Any time is a good time to visit the Islands. Different animals breed at different times throughout the year and there is always something to see. During the warmer months from January to June, the water is warmer and generally calmer meaning more comfortable boat crossings and snorkeling. However, the cooler waters and nutrient rich currents from July to December bring food and a flourish of activity to the underwater world of Galapagos. During this period most of the animals, which rely upon the sea for their food, will be breeding. Nevertheless, this is the wild, there is no off-season, expect to see anything, anywhere, anytime.