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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How is the economical situation in Ecuador?
Thanks to the diversity of the agriculture in Ecuador with its different climate and culti-vation areas, the country has a wide range of export possibilities. Bananas, flowers, shrimps, coffee, cacao and fruits are exported. But the most important source of in-come is the petroleum export. Furthermore, Tourism gets more and more important for the economy.

2. Which visa restrictions are there?
A visa is not required if you are planning to stay less than 90 days. Citizens from most of the European countries, Canada, and the United States of America don't need a visa in order to enter Ecuador. If you are from a country outside of North America or Western Europe, you should check with the appropriate consulate in your country.

3. Which medical issues are there?

Unless you enter Ecuador from a country where yellow fever is a risk, vaccinations are not mandatory when entering Ecuador. However, we advice you to get the following vaccinations:
• Tetanus and Polio
• Yellow Fever and Typhoid (if you stay for longer periods in the jungle)
• Hepatitis A+B
• Malaria prophylaxis (if you stay in the coast areas and Amazon Basin)
• Choler
Please contact your doctor to make all the necessary arrangements before coming to Ecuador!

4. Is Ecuador a safe country?
Ecuador is one of the safest countries in the Andean region. However, you should consider some useful tips to avoid having a bad experience. Leave copies of your important documents, such as your passport, as well as travelers check and credit card numbers, with someone who can fax them to you if they are stolen or lost, and/or give a copy to a trusted traveling companion.
The urban centers of Ecuador, specially Quito and Guayaquil, are generally more dangerous than in the rural areas. Don't take strolls around the city alone at night. If you get mugged, it is usually best not to resist, unless you are sure you can take (or evade) your attacker. Usually the ladrones are only interested in your valuables which, unlike your life, can be replaced.

5. What is the climate like in Ecuador?
On account of Ecuador's varied regions and because of its location directly atop the equator, it is an excellent travel destination year-round. Rather than rotating through four seasons, most of Ecuador experiences oscillating wet and dry periods.
The general weather trends for each region are as follows:
El Oriente (Amazon region)
Amazon Region has a warm, humid and rainy climate. The average temperature varies from 23 to 26 oC (72 to 80 F). The drier season is generally November to February but varies by region.
La Sierra (Andean Highlands)
Is generally cooler than most people would expect. The cli-mate in the Andes varies according to the altitude and the time of the year. In Quito the temperature ranges from 7 degrees C (55 F) at night, to 26 C (78 F) at noon, av-eraging 15 C (64 F).
La Costa (Coastal lowlands)
Climate is usually very warm with temperatures averaging 25 degrees C (76 F) to 31 C (90 F) during the year. The rainy season (December to May) is warm and very hu-mid. The dry season is less humid but still a little muggy.
The Galapagos Islands
Enjoy warm and dry weather year-round, with an average temperature of 28º C. (85 F).

6. What about altitude?
Quito is located in an altitude of 2.850 meters. The highest mountains in Ecuador are more than 6.000 meters high. You should be aware of this fact while traveling around. Your body must get used to the altitude slowly and you should give him the time! If you tend to a high blood pressure or problems with circulation, it is recommendable to talk to you doctor in advance

7. What are the main tourist attractions and destinations of Ecuador?
The Galapagos Islands, Chimborazo and Cotopaxi in the Andean region, the Ecuadorian Coast, Guayaquil and the Sunshine Route, the Amazon region, and the colonial churches of Quito and Cuenca are all highlight destinations of this beautiful. There are hundred of places that will leave you in awe.


8. How to get there?
Your international flights to Ecuador arrive at Quito or Guayaquil. It is normal to spend at least one night in a hotel, and then take a do

mestic flight in the morning with Tame or Aerogal to the Galapagos, landing at Baltra or San Cristobal. These domestic flights always start from Quito, stop at Guayaquil 30 minutes later, and then continue to the Galapagos after refuelling. The Galapagos Islands are about 600 miles west of the Ecuadorian mainland, and flying time is around 1 hour 40 minutes.

9. Which rules to follow on Galapagos concerning nature protection?
The beauty of nature of Galapagos can only be preserved if the visitors follow these 12 rules, which have been drawn up by the administration of the National Park.
1. Do not touch any animals
2. Do not feed the animals - it will disturb them in their natural comportment
3. Do not scare away nesting birds
4. Do not take away animals, plants or parts of them as a souvenir
5. Do not buy souvenirs consisting in parts of animals or plants
6. Do not bring any animals or plants from the mainland - otherwise the Islands' ecosystem could be destroyed
7. Do not bring any food to the Islands
8. Throwing away litter is not allowed
9. Do not write or carve your name in trees or rocks
10. Follow the instructions of your guide
11. You are not allowed to leave the marked trails
12. Point out the rules of the National Park to inattentive visitors

10. Should I organize the flights separately from the Galapagos trip?

This only makes sense if you want to arrive in Galapagos and then arrange your stay at the last moment. Otherwise your flights need to tie in with the itinerary of the selected cruise, so it is normal to book the flight and cruise at the same time. Note that these domestic flights cannot be purchased by travel agents using normal airline reservation systems such as Sabre.

11. When should I make my reservation?
Due to demand, Galapagos yachts historically have been reserved well in advance, particularly for the high seasons. Although shorter timetables are feasible, it is normal and recommended that you book your trip 3-6 months prior to your intended date of departure, and 6-12 months prior to the holiday seasons.

12. What to bring?
You will need your passport, US Dollar in cash and should bring your credit card.
The Galápagos Islands are situated right on the equator so the weather is usually nice and warm. So bring mainly light clothes and just a few warmer ones for the evenings or when it starts raining. For this case you should bring also rain gear and for swim-ming two bathing suits.
You might want to bring a small bag for the excursions, a water bottle and at least two pairs of walking shoes (one might get wet when you have to step into water to get ashore). The sun on the equator is really strong, so make sure to bring suntan lotion (at least #15) and sun block, as well as sunglasses and a hat. As it is difficult to buy things on the islands, you should not count on being able to buy things there. Espe-cially bring enough films and batteries for your camera because on the islands they are more expensive and the films are often not a very good quality. Do not forget your camera, you will really regret it!
Useful are also insect repellant, a travel alarm clock, binoculars, flashlight, snorkeling equipment and wet suits (some boats offer the last two but there is only a certain quantity available and usually it is "first come - first serve").

13. What types of guides are there?
There are 3 levels of naturalist guide, although you are most like to come across II and III who are allowed to guide up to 16 people. All must pass various courses applied by the Galapagos National Park authorities. The basic differences according to the regulations are not entirely clear in places:-
Level III: Ecuadorians or foreigners with work permits, academic title in biology, tourism or related subject, speak Spanish, English, French or German, & pass Natural Guide course 2.
Level II: Ecuadorians, secondary or intermediate university studies in biology, tourism or related subject, speak English, French or German, & pass Natural Guide course 3.
Level I: Residents of the area, high school diploma, basic English, have wide knowledge of the zone & pass Natural Guide course 1.

14. What are land visits like?
These vary. Most last 1 ½ - 3 hours, and the terrain varies. Visits from the yachts are in their small boats or pangas, and either are dry or wet landings (the latter means the panga pulls up on the beach and you take off your shoes before jumping out). For some there may be climbing up natural steps. You are always accompanied by the guide. As he frequently stops to explain or show things, the pace is gentle and never rushed.

15. What restrictions are there for children?
Children with an interest in nature usually thoroughly enjoy a trip to the Galapagos, but bored or misbehaving children can at worst be the bane of a boat and, on smaller yachts, cause serious tensions with other passengers. Child restrictions depend on the boat, as also the facilities for looking after children. Although the Park recommends that children be over 7 years, there is no prohibition and mothers could even bring babies in their arms on land visits. Large cruise ships are better equipped for children, and may have nurseries and child-minders so that mothers can make land visits and leave their children onboard. Smaller yachts generally have no facilities, and some will not allow young children below 5-7 years. Those that do accept younger children usually make it clear that the parents have full responsibility to accompany and look after the child(ren) throughout the cruise, and require the signing of a waiver. Chartering a yacht has the advantage of enabling dedicated care to be organized. To note that recently some operators have been offering family departures on an occasional basis.

16.What can I buy during the trip?
Only when you stop at Puerto Ayora will there be an opportunity to buy anything apart from what may be available on the boat. Puerto Ayora is small, and likely to be more expensive than the mainland, but basics are available in the shops and pharmacies as well as souvenirs, t-shirts, films, sun lotion, etc.

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