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Includes info on all of our trips and a tour itinerary booklet.

FAQ

Answers to commonly asked questions

We know planning an adventure vacation is no small decision, so we’re here to make the process as easy as possible for you. We've been doing this for quite a while, so we’ve got the answers to everything you need to know! Just click on the specific question you'd like to have answered below, chat to us online, or call us on the number that suits you:

1 800 661 9073 [USA and Canada]
1 800 661 907 [Australia]
0808 234 7780 [UK]
0800 234 726 [New Zealand]
0064 3 450 0414
[from anywhere else in the world]

We'd love to hear from you!

How to book

Whenever you’re ready, it’s easy to book your Active Adventure. When you’ve done your research, driven yourself crazy with the choices and made your final decision, you can fill in the Book A Trip form, give us a call or have us call you.

Here’s how it works:

1. Hold your place

The fastest way to reserve your trip is to give the experts a call. Or, fill out the Call Me Back form and we’ll call you back..

Alternatively, fill out the Booking Request form and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. To secure your place you’ll need a $500 per person deposit (the remainder of the balance is due 60 days before your trip start date), payable by credit card, cheque or wire transfer, whichever works best for you. Once you’re all signed up, you’ll receive a confirmation email giving you access via a login on our Active Adventures Club page where you can access your booking pages and fill in your trip details online.

2. Check your international flight options

Your booking pages and trip notes will outline where you need to be and when to start your trip, so you can move forward with booking your flights. If you’re lucky enough to have time, it’s nice to arrive a few days early to settle into the new place and get used to your surroundings. If you’re on a tight schedule it’s no worries, the trip start time will be outlined in your trip information.

We recommend using a variety of methods to search for suitable flights from your own research online (e.g. Skyscanner.net), to contacting a travel agent, to see who comes up with the best fares.

3. Complete your booking pages online

By logging into your online booking information via our club page you’ll gain access to your trip notes, destination information, a detailed gear list and all the information you need for your trip. There are a few things to fill in – medical and dietary information, extra accommodation requests, gear hire requests etc. – to ensure you are well prepared for your adventure vacation.

4. You're all set

You can now start packing your bags and crossing the dates off your calendar. We look forward to seeing you soon!

What's included?

Accommodation

On your South America trip you'll stay in a variety of places depending on the destination and activities. In Ecuador you'll stay in hotels and jungle lodges and on the Galapagos Islands you'll stay on dry land, meaning you're free to walk around each evening and get to know the residents of these famous isles. 

Transport

Your transport will be a mixture of bus, plane, boat, bike and your very own two feet on our trips in South America. You'll spend most time on a boat in the Galapagos Islands as you make your way from island to island during the day. We have domestic flights included in our Galapagos Islands trips to shorten our travel times and to ensure you have the best experience possible. All your transport is included from the start of your trip and we'll drop you a the airport at the end. The details are all listed in the trip specific itineraries.

Meals

All your meals are included as described in the itinerary except on your free days. We have found that people enjoy checking out what is on offer by themselves sometimes, so you can go and see what's out there! On every other day and especially after any long hikes, we've chosen places to eat that can cater for our hearty appetites, work well with our small groups (they know we are coming) and provide us with an authentic destination specific culinary experience. There are always options for you, so you can either be brave or choose something more familiar. You can be assured that on all our trips we will make sure you are very well fed.

Trip leaders

Our trips are all led by an experienced Trip Leader. Our Trip Leaders are very proud to work with Active Adventures and often lead our trips for many years, for which we are very lucky and very grateful as it means we're able to consistently offer a fantastic level of service. They work closely with our local specialist guides to provide you with a seamless, fun, exciting and memorable trip. They will happily share with you as much or as little as you want to know about the history, culture, social aspects and lifestyle of the country you are visiting. In the Galapagos Islands you will be accompanied by a specialist Nature Guide, qualified to provide you with plenty of information about the species that make their home on the islands.

Is it OK if I’m travelling alone?

Absolutely! We welcome solo travellers onto our trips – in fact, we get many, many solo travellers and they always say how it’s a great way to travel alone, but not actually be alone, so that’s always good to hear. You’ll have an incredible adventure at the same time as meeting and sharing your experiences with a bunch of welcoming other travellers and your Trip Leader.

Is it safe to travel in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands?

Travelling in South America carries some risk, as does travelling anywhere – even in your own country! We’re very proud of our safety record and do everything we can to ensure your experience is safe, comfortable and enjoyable. We recommend taking all the precautions you would in any busy city, such as keeping valuables out of view, not carrying all your valuables in one place and travelling with your group and Trip Leader where possible. On our trips you’ll always have your Trip Leader at hand to ask questions or alleviate your concerns, so please let them know if you have any worries.

What are the Trip Leaders like?

All our Trip Leaders are highly experienced and knowledgeable, with relevant qualifications, experience and a personal interest in people and the outdoors. We're very picky when it comes to choosing people to lead our trips, and all of our Trip Leaders have great attitudes, extensive knowledge of Ecuador and its flora and fauna and a genuine interest in going the extra mile and offering our people the trip of a lifetime!

In the Galapagos Islands you'll be accompanied by a qualified local naturalist guide and their local knowledge of the flora and fauna will ensure you go home an expert. Only fully qualified naturalist guides are permitted to work in the Galapagos, so they'll be a wealth of information!

How fit do I need to be?

Our trips in the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are most enjoyed by people with a good, reasonable level of fitness. This means people who are active in their day to day life, enjoy the outdoors and love to have new experiences. You certainly don’t need to be an athlete or anything though, but if you are we’ll keep you well entertained! We generally get a mixture of all kinds of fitness levels on our trips, with some people keen to race ahead, and others happy to cruise along at a more relaxed pace - there's no hurry, this is your vacation after all.

Do I need to know any Spanish?

A little Spanish is always helpful, so bring your phrase book or learn a few words and you'll be asking for things before you know it! It's especially useful when you arrive and for ordering food in restaurants, but it's certainly not a necessity – a smile and a bit of sign language always works wonders. Our Trip Leaders are all Spanish speakers so if you don't have time to learn a little Spanish before you get there then you don't have to worry... they'll take care of everything. Adios!

What is the accommodation like in the Galapagos Islands?

Small family run hotels full of character; land based, and you could wake up with a sea lion asleep outside your door! Take an after dinner stroll, explore the islands at your leisure, no being cooped up on a boat and elbowing your way into the crowd for that photograph!

Can I go diving and snorkelling in the Galapagos Islands?

Wetsuits are provided for diving and snorkelling – SCUBA is recommended for experienced divers only because of strong swells and currents. Snorkelling is equally as good. The diving option includes two dives (add US$250). Diving is “subject to conditions” for visibility and we have a qualified dive master on the trip.

Who will be on my trip?

You’ll be travelling with up to 14 people in your group, made up of a mixture of single travellers, couples, friends, cousins, mothers, fathers, business owners, retirees, students, graduates, teachers, bankers, lawyers - you name it! You’re in for a real treat with the new people you will meet. People on our trips vary in age from down in their 20s right up into their 60s - and because of the nature of what we do down here, we always tend to attract a very cool bunch of interesting people – we often hear the social scene is a highlight of the trip!

What kind of food will I eat?

You’re in for a treat in this part of the world! You’ll find fish, shrimp and chicken on the menu, served with salad, rice or potatoes. You’ll also fill up on soups, fried rice, fruits of the season, salads, potatoes and local breads. While we’re experienced at catering for all different types of diets, options are more limited in the Galapagos Islands as they are located so far offshore. It’s a case of eating clean and simply, though you will be well fed and happy for your whole trip. We know that food is a vital part of any overseas experience and we make sure your meals are memorable and satisfying.

What vaccinations do I need for my trip to Ecuador and/or the Galapagos Islands?

We recommend the following vaccinations for travel to Ecuador. Please note that vaccination recommendations change all the time, and they also depend on how long you're travelling for. The following list will give you an idea of which vaccinations you might need but for specific, up-to-date information please consult your doctor or travel clinic prior to travel to discuss which vaccinations are the best for you. Chicken Pox & Measles - if you've never caught it/been vaccinated for it before. Rabies & Malaria medication is not considered necessary in the areas that we travel, but may be required if you are doing further independent travel.

Ecuador - mainland (Tapir trip): Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid, Chicken Pox, Measles and Yellow Fever
Ecuador - Galapagos Islands (Tortuga trip): Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid, Chicken Pox and Measles

When is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands?

Anytime! They’re a year round destination, with the busiest months being during the high season of July and August, so any time is a good time to be there! Located on the equator, the islands are subject to oceanic currents that influence the temperatures on the archipelago, however, the weather is pleasant at all times of the year. January to March is considered the hot/wet season, March being the hottest month of the year. The islands are flourishing with plant life at this time, and the water temperatures are ideal for snorkelling and diving. Because of the climate changes in July through September, there’s less rain and the islands are drier, though cooler. The water temperature drops considerably making it an ideal time of year to see the aquatic life, as the animals revel in the colder currents. The principle regulator of the climate of the Galapagos is the temperature of the ocean surface and ocean currents, creating microclimates on the islands influencing the particular flora and fauna habitats found on each island. You will have a fascinating and memorable experience at any time of year.

Here's a handy infographic that we've created, that displays a few of the highlights through the calendar year!

Best Time To Visit The Galapagos Islands

Where are the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos Islands are a unique and remote set of islands located around 800 kilometres (500 miles) off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. The area was declared a Marine Reserve in 1986, as it is home to so many unique species. There are 7 major oceanic currents that assemble in the Galapagos marine ecosystem, making it a mecca for a mixture of wildlife - 17% of Galapagos fish species are endemic to the islands.

What is the weather like in Ecuador?

In Ecuador mainland the weather remains stable all year round, making it a great place to be at any time of year. The temperature in Ecuador doesn't actually vary that much throughout the year; it's just the humidity that changes. During the summer (October - March) the weather is quite warm and dry, whereas in winter (April - September) it's a little cooler and wetter - so it’s a good idea to pack a raincoat then. We generally recommend bringing lots of layers for this trip - from long, light layers for the jungle through to some thermal and fleece layers for the highlands.

Mainland Ecuador is only about the size of Colorado and has a variety of climates and it’s this unique geography that makes the weather patterns very localized. It can also change quite quickly.

In the eastern Sierras (mountains) the wet season is from June to August with average temperatures of around 20°C (68°F). Meanwhile, in the middle of the dry season, the western Sierras will be struck with strong winds, little rain and higher temperatures. This pattern is reversed for the rest of the year with the exception of December when fine weather is present in the drenched western Sierra.

The Amazon region has a rainy season from September to April and average temperatures of around 28°C (84°F). The Amazon basin is what you’d expect of a tropical rainforest… it’s wet! From May to August the average temperature increases to around 32°C (90°F) along with the frequency of the rainfall.

On the much drier coast, the dry season runs from June to December with a temperature drop to about 26°C (79°F). Then in January to June temperatures go up and despite the occasional rain, the days are bright and sunny.

What is the weather like in the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos Islands get generally pleasant weather all year round. January to March is the hot/wet season, with March considered to be the hottest month of year. The islands are flourishing with plant life at this time and the water temperatures are ideal for swimming, reaching 25°C (77°F) in February to April. The period from July to September is the drier/cooler season, where the water temperature drops to around 22°C (72°F). It’s an ideal time to see the marine life as they love these cooler currents.

What is El Niño?

Every three to seven years, for a period of anything from 6-18 months, the normal climatic pattern is dramatically disrupted. There is no 'sea of confusion' about temperature zones when El Niño swells into Galapagos waters. The sea becomes uniformly tropical, which for most creatures reliant on phytoplankton-rich oceans is a catastrophe of dire proportions. The cool Cromwell and Humboldt currents that nourish life vanish, replaced by warm, clear waters that are almost entirely devoid of phytoplankton. Starvation hits whole populations, often whole species, with astonishing mortalities. In the last 40 years there have been 5 big El Niño events in the Galapagos, the last one in 1997-8.

Why travel with Active Adventures?

Legendary Kiwi Hospitality

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

Expert LOCAL Guides & Trip Leaders

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

Everything is Included

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

A Sense of Achievement

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

Small Groups

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

Diverse Experiences

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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