Frequently Asked Questions
How long does the flight from Quito or Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands take?
The flight from Quito to Guayaquil takes 30 minutes. The flight from Guayaquil to the Galapagos takes one hour and a half. Flights to the Galapagos are generally scheduled in the morning; return flights around noon. Read more about the special procedures on departure and arrival.
What is the best season to take the cruise?
If you would prefer not to be on a fully booked yacht, your best chances might be in June, and from the last week of August to the first week of November, as well as the first two weeks of December. The busiest seasons are generally Christmas and New Year departures.
No matter what time of year you visit the islands, you will always find pleasant holiday weather and wildlife activity.
During the ‘hot’ season the islands are generally much greener and sunnier, and land birds are most active (nesting and nurturing). It is also during this period that the ocean is calmer and water temperature is warmer for swimming and snorkelling.
During the ‘cool’ season seabirds and sea mammals are most active. This is the best time for observing courtship displays, breeding and nurturing of seabirds.
Will I encounter rough seas or bad weather?
Due to sea currents and depending on the winds, there will be light to moderate movement of the vessel while navigating (mainly at night; see Day-to-Day descriptions for schedules). Galapagos internal waters are mostly calm, but open-ocean crossings can sometimes provoke discomfort during a ‘rocking’ night, especially in August and September. Seas are generally at their calmest from January to April. Read more: Galapagos climate.
Most passengers are not affected, or just during a short period. However, if you are prone to seasickness we recommend you use a patch (these work very well) or take a pill before the anchor is lifted. Consult your doctor to see which medicine works best for you, and see our Packing list for some suggestions. Sooner or later your body will adapt to the motion of the ship and any discomfort will diminish. Faster cruise ships will reach quieter waters at the anchorages earlier and leave more quiet sleeping time. Smaller speed boats used for day tours or island hopping (both less comfortable alternatives to a cruise) are bumpy and noisy, and cause much earlier symptoms of seasickness than catamarans, stable yachts and bigger vessels.
Is the cruise itinerary subject to change?
On occasions Galapagos National Park commands can oblige the yacht to modify the itinerary, for example when certain species need a resting period and a landing site is temporarily closed to visitors, or when trails or facilities are under maintenance. The captain can also decide to change the itinerary for weather, safety or unforeseen reasons.
Do you cruise between islands in the daytime or at night?
The days are normally spent anchored at one of the islands, although there are times when you will sail short distances between islands during the day. Unique to Galapagos Odyssey is that we try to reach relatively quiet anchorage sites before midnight instead of long overnight crossings (which will end before sunrise). See our itinerary map and day-to-day descriptions for average navigation times.
What does the day programme of a typical cruise-day look like?
Before dinner your on-board naturalist guide will present the next day’s programme. The hours and programme mentioned in the following time-schedule are just indicative*, but you can be sure that the programme is always varied and well-provided, without rushing, and with time to recover as well.
3 – 6 AM: Arrival at the new anchorage while you are still asleep.
6:00 – 6:30 AM: Wake-up call
6:30 – 7:00 AM: Call for the breakfast buffet.
8:00 AM: Call to gather at the landing area at the stern of the Main deck, and boarding the inflatable dinghies (or ‘Zodiacs’, or locally called ‘pangas’).
8:15 AM: Dry or wet landing at the visitor’s site and start of the morning activity, generally a guided nature walk, which lasts 1-3.5 hours. A guide will always be with you, frequently making stops to explain or show you things, the pace is gentle and never rushed. Sometimes 2 shorter activities are combined.
10:00 PM: By this time the crew has cleaned your cabins, prepared your lunch and maintained the yacht, while the pilots that navigated at night have rested. Your naturalist guide order the dinghies by walkie-talkie, for the pick-up from the landing place.
10:30 PM: Extra activity (in case of a shorter island visit). For example: snorkelling or an alternative panga-ride.
11:30 PM: Return to the yacht by inflatable dinghy. Warm welcome with a juice and snack, and time to freshen upup and get changed for lunch.
12:00 PM: Call for the warm lunch buffet. After lunch, siesta or sunbathing during the hottest hours of the day, while the yacht navigates to the anchorage of the afternoon visitor’s site
2:00 PM: Extra activity (in case of a shorter island visit; otherwise you will start your excursion about this time). For example: snorkelling or an alternative panga-ride.
3:00 PM: Return to the yacht by inflatable dinghy. Warm welcome with a juice and snack, and time to freshen up.
3:30 PM: Call to gather at the landing area at the stern of the Main deck and boarding the inflatable dinghies again for the afternoon-island visit.
3:15 PM: Dry or wet landing at the visitor’s site and start of the morning activity, generally a guided nature walk, which lasts 1-2.5 hours. A guide will always be with you, frequently making stops to explain or show things, the pace is gentle and never rushed. Sometimes 2 shorter activities are combined.
6:00 PM: Return to the yacht by inflatable dinghy. Warm welcome with (for example) a juice and a snack, and time to freshen up and get changed for the cocktail hour (or to archive your pictures).
6:45 PM: Call for briefing by the naturalist guide in the living room.
7:00 PM: Cocktail.
7:15 PM: Dinner buffet.
9 PM – 12 AM: The yacht raises the anchor after dinner and starts to navigate (time depends on the length of the stretch that has to be navigated tonight). Passengers leave one by one to their cabins for a well-deserved sleep.
* The time schedule depends on many variables. Every visitor’s site is different, with different hikes and activities. Besides that it depends on the wildlife you meet, the season, the weather, water temperature, high/low tide, the type of activity, the group, the guide, and so forth.
What is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
On-board our cook will pamper you with our exquisite cuisine; generally a combination of international and Ecuadorian dishes, served in buffet style. The last night of each route (A, B or C) will be concluded with a cosy barbecue event.
In case you have vegetarian or other dietary requirements, you can have different meals at no extra cost. Please let us know in advance so we can take care of it. In case you have booked last-minute (or if you have forgotten to let us know one month before departure), we cannot guarantee this service, but our chef will do what he can with the present ingredients aboard.
Can I drink the water on-board?
We convert salt water into fresh water on-board (desalination). The desalinated water from the taps aboard (and in your cabin) is NOT suitable for drinking. Please fill your water bottle with the bottled water that is provided 24 hours in the Lounge for free.
Water conservation is always a concern of ours, because fresh water is scarce on the Galapagos Islands. The desalination process uses valuable natural resources, so we ask you to please help us save water while taking a shower and washing your hands.
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