Frequently asked questions

Galapagos

Travel

Ecuador

Travellers arriving in Ecuador from any country must be in possession of a negative RT-PCR test certificate for COVID-19 issued no more than 72 hours before travel, or a Vaccination Card issued at least 14 days prior to arrival. If you have received the full vaccine then you do not need the PCR test for entry to Ecuador, unless travelling from or via Brazil or India.

 

Passengers who are unable to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative RT-PCR test certificate will be subject to testing on arrival and will be required to self-isolate until the test results have been received. In cases where the results show positive for Covid-19, guests will be placed in quarantine, at their own expense for up to 14 days.

 

Travellers whose point of origin is Brazil or India must provide a negative RT-PCR Test taken within 72 hours before their flight, even if they have been fully vaccinated and must complete a 10 day mandatory quarantine at any accommodation of their choice, at their own expense.

 

Galapagos Islands

All passengers travelling to the Galapagos Island must be in possession of a negative RT-PCR test certificate for COVID-19 issued within 72 hours prior to arriving in the islands, or a vaccination card showing complete vaccination has been received no less than 14 days before arrival. 

 

NOTE: Passengers who have a negative RT-PCR test issued in their home country no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in the Galapagos Islands do not need an additional test. Should guests not be able to obtain an RT-PCR test within this time frame then Master Liveaboards are able to organise testing in Quito and Guayaquil. Please contact our reservation team for more information on this.

 

IMPORTANT: Guests should be advised there are  extremely rigorous checks undertaken before flying from either Quito or Guayaquil to San Cristobal or Baltra. An airline representative will meet all passengers outside the terminal building to check COVID certificates. The certificate alone is not sufficient, passengers will also need to present the email showing either the attachment or a link to the lab results website. This information is then sent elsewhere, before permission to enter the airport is given. The process can take around 30 minutes, after which passengers will be allowed entry to the terminal. Several more checks may be made on the COVID test before boarding the plane. All luggage is ozone treated at the entry points to the airport. Upon arrival in the Galapagos, luggage is further sprayed with a liquid disinfectant, and passengers required to stand in a disinfectant tray.

Visa Information

Ecuador operates a visa exemption scheme for US, UK, EU, Australian and Canadian passport holders which allows stays of up to 90 days without a visa. Nationals from other countries need apply for a visa to enter Ecuador, before travelling. To check the latest requirements and to find out if you need a visa to enter Ecuador, please contact your nearest Ecuadorian embassy/ consulate, or refer to the IATA Travel Centre website: www.iatatravelcentre.com/EC-Ecuador-passport-visa-health-travel-document-requirements

A Transit Control Card (also referred to as TCT card) is required for travel from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands. The cards are obtainable from the INGALA booths at Quito and Guayaquil Airports before checking in for your flight to the Galapagos, and cost 20 USD.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of arrival in Ecuador; this is a strict legal requirement from the Ecuadorean government. Without this minimum validity entry to the country will be denied.

Proof of onward travel and funds

You may be asked about your reason for travel and to provide evidence of a return or onward flight ticket when you arrive.

Health

Insurance

Travel health insurance is a mandatory requirement for entry into Ecuador. All foreign tourists are required to have travel health insurance which covers the entire duration of their intended stay in the country. Travellers who are unable to provide proof of insurance may be denied entry.

Vaccinations

There are no obligatory vaccination requirements for Ecuador. However, we advise all guests to ensure that general vaccinations such as those for Measles, Mumps and Rubella, and Diphtheria, Polio and Tetanus are up-to-date before you travel. Vaccinations are recommended for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Typhoid.
All travellers are advised to use insect repellent and keep their skin covered where possible to prevent insect borne diseases.

Yellow fever certificate requirements
Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from infected areas. It is also recommended for those intending to travel east of the Andes. Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the

We recommend our guests arrive in Ecuador at least one day before their liveaboard embarkation and spend the night on the mainland or in San Cristobal to ensure they are well rested for the diving ahead. Most international flights arrive into Guayaquil or Quito after the domestic connections to San Cristóbal have departed, making an overnight stay a necessity. However, the domestic departure from San Cristobal on disembarkation day is in the morning usually allowing time for guests to make their international connection, although flights are often delayed. Therefore an additional night is also recommended after your liveaboard. We advise allowing plenty of time for transfers, check-in and potential flight delays.

Flights to the Galapagos Island originate in Quito, making a quick stop at Guayaquil, then carrying on to the islands and do the reverse on the way back. The flights are often delayed which is why it is strongly advised to arrange an overnight stay at the end of your trip in order not to miss your international flight home.

There are two companies operating daily flights to San Cristobal; LATAM & Avianca. Both of these airlines use San Cristobal (SCY) and Baltra (GPS) airports in Galapagos so, should the National Park authorities request a change of itinerary, we will not have a problem flying you to another other airport.

We primarily use Avianca as we have a strong relationship with them and preferential rates. Flight seats on Avianca flights are held in bulk for our guests by our ground agent and the tickets will usually only be issued a week before the liveaboard’s departure.

The schedule, availability and prices of these flights can change at short notice which, unfortunately, is beyond our control. Should the price increase after you’ve paid your balance, the difference will have to be paid by you.

Country Information

UTC-6 in the Galapagos and UTC-5 for mainland Ecuador

Spanish is Ecuador's official language and the coutnry is is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.

The local currency in Ecuador is the US Dollar (USD). Larger hotels, resorts, shops and restaurants will normally accept Visa and Mastercard for which a charge of 4 – 10% may be levied.

While in major cities, cell and internet covers are excellent. If you go into more rural areas, there may not be any cover or it will be slow.

he Galapagos Islands straddle the equator and weather is roughly divided into two seasons; ‘warm’ and ‘dry’. The warm season, generally begins in December has average daytime temperature of 23°C (75°F) with daily rain showers and cloudier skies. The dry season, typically begins in May/June, bringing cooler temperatures with an average of 21°C (70°F) with local rain showers generally confined to the highlands of the larger islands. Evening temperatures can drop to just 15°C (59°F) therefore we advise guests to bring warm clothing for the cooler evenings.

There are limited facilities on the Galapagos Islands. If you travel to the Galapagos make sure your insurance includes evacuation by air ambulance. San Cristobal island has a well-equipped public hospital, but Santa Cruz island only has a basic hospital. Mainland health facilities in major cities (like Quito and Guayaquil) are better equipped.

The nearest Recompression Chamber is actually on the Galapagos Islands, located in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz and can be reached within 5 minutes by car from the harbour.

During Your Trip

While night dives are permitted in the Galapagos, due to conditions it is not often possible. The 4th day dive may be substituted for a night dive, but as this is only possible within a sheltered cove with minimal current, this averages about 1 night dive per itinerary.

Decompression dives or technical dives are not allowed due to the remoteness of the Galapagos, local diving regulations and insurance requirements.

For every dive, you will use the “pangas”. They are tenders from where you will roll backwards in to the water. After your dive, your tank will be lifted back into the “panga” and you will board via its stern ladders or with assistance from the side. All the dives will be guided by an instructor/naturalist guide and due to Galapagos National Park regulations, all divers must dive with a guide at ALL TIMES.

Our vessel has Type B power outlets (US) and runs on 110/220v. Please do bring any adaptors you may need to charge your electronics.

Mobile phones that have a roaming option will likely function while you’re on board the M/V Galapagos Master. However, some remote areas may have very weak coverage or no coverage at all. Due to the remote locations that the M/V Galapagos Master sails, Internet connection is not available on board. A satellite phone which is present on board can be used in case of any emergency.

The Taxes and Fees are to be paid locally and cannot be pre-paid. These are: • 20 USD Tourist Card (payable at the INGALA Booth in Quito or Guayaquil Airport prior to domestic flight check-in) and • 100 USD Galapagos National Park Fees (payable in USD CASH ONLY upon arrival in San Cristobal)

We accept payment in cash USD on board Galapagos Master. We can take payment in Euro, GBP, and AUD but be aware that due to poor local exchange rates in the Galapagos, we strongly suggest that you bring cash USD into Galapagos with you for any payments on both land and boat. Please note that we cannot accept any card payments on Galapagos Master. Guests are advised to bring sufficient cash USD for any optional extras and tips.