Ecuador and the Galapagos September 17 to October 2, 2017

Rabida Island from Chinese Hat snorkeling lagoon  


For Quito:

For the Galapagos:

For the Amazon:,%20ecuador

What to pack

You've heard this before-- we encourage you to pack lightly. We strongly suggest you bring only 1 carry- on sized bag and your day pack. The maximum weight allowed for checked bags on the flight to the Amazon is 44 pounds (the airline won't load bags weighing more than that). We will have to haul our own bags through airports or at least through customs, though we will, of course, have help with bags at hotels and on and off the boat and buses. The cabins on the boat are tiny, with little room for luggage. We will not need any dressy clothes as Ecuador is casual. The Galapagos and Amazon will be warm and humid. Quito and the mountains will be cooler, especially at night.
Bring quick-dry pants, shorts and shirts as they may get wet and you may want to wash them out (no laundry on the Majestic).

Here is a suggested list of what to take:

  1. 1 pair casual, very comfortable, shoes for sightseeing--closed toes are best-shoes that will also be good for walking in the mountains and on the islands, including over lava beds
  2. 1- 2 pairs sandals, including a pair you can wear in the water (we'll have some "wet" landings in the Galapagos), or 1 pair lightweight sneakers plus "water" sandals
  3. 2-3 pairs hiking pants or similar (zip-off legs are great because you'll have both long pants and shorts)
  4. 2 pairs shorts
  5. 3 casual short-sleeved shirts or T-shirts.
  6. 1 fleece jacket or pullover
  7. 1 warm, wind proof rain jacket (preferably Gore-tex)
  8. 2-3 long-sleeved shirts (these are better sun protection than sunscreen for our island walks instead hiking shirts are great) for hiking, sightseeing in the sun or cooler evenings (we will wear these in the Amazon and in Quito, so "breathable" is best)
  9. 1 pair slightly dressier pants for evening (not really necessary, but a nice change from hiking pants)
  10. Sleepwear
  11. Shorty wetsuit (you can also use the ones provided by the boat, but we take our own)
  12. Snorkeling gear (optional-the boat will also provide these, including masks, snorkels and fins-they do wash them between cruises)
  13. small flashlight
  14. 2 swim suits
  15. sunglasses
  16. plastic poncho-nice, but not essential, the backpack variety that folds up into a small package
  17. umbrella
  18. underwear and socks (bring a couple of pairs of extra long socks for the Amazon)
  19. travel alarm clock (or use your phone)
  20. all your standard medications
  21. Imodium or similar in case you get a stomach bug
  22. standard toiletries (hotels and boat will have hair dryers)
  23. hand wipes and hand sanitizer
  24. sunscreen (lots-highest protection you can find)
  25. mosquito repellant (lotion, no spray repellants allowed)
  26. several zip lock plastic bags
  27. broad-brimmed sun hat for sightseeing and hiking
  28. camera with extra disk and batteries and battery charger
  29. small, waterproof bag for your camera
  30. binoculars
  31. adaptor kit including 3-to- 2 prong adaptor if you use a 3-pronged plug for any device (Ecuador uses the same sockets as the US, but sometimes you won't find a 3 pronged socket-see: https://www.power-plugs-
  32. lightweight water bottle (the boat has purified water where you can fill your bottle when you need to)
  33. whatever you like to read
  34. small travel pillow (optional)
  35. copy of information page of passport
  36. 2 passport photos (just in case)
  37. phone and charger (check with your mobile provider about international packages - no phone service while cruising in the Galapagos, only in San Cristobal and Santa Cruz)
  38. iPad or tablet if you use them for internet access (there will be no internet access while we are cruising in the Galapagos, only in the 2 towns of San Cristobal and Santa Cruz)
  39. spare pair of prescription glasses if you use them (optional)
  41. day pack
  42. $100 in cash for the Galapagos National Park entrance fee we'll each pay at the airport in San Cristobal


    Jonathan Weiner, The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time,
    On a desert island in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago, where Darwin received his first inklings of the theory of evolution, two scientists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, have spent twenty years proving that Darwin did not know the strength of his own theory. For among the finches of Daphne Major, natural selection is neither rare nor slow: it is taking place by the hour, and we can watch. Jonathan Weiner follows these scientists as they watch Darwin's finches and come up with a new understanding of life itself.

    Carlos de la Torre and Steve Striffler, editors The Ecuador Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The Latin America Readers) Paperback, 2009
    Encompassing Amazonian rainforests, Andean peaks, coastal lowlands, and the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador's geography is notably diverse. So too are its history, culture, and politics, all of which are examined from many perspectives in The Ecuador Reader. Spanning the years before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 1500s to the present, this rich anthology addresses colonialism, independence, the nation's integration into the world economy, and its tumultuous twentieth century. Interspersed among forty-eight written selections are more than three dozen images.

    Russell Maddicks, Ecuador - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture, 2014
    One of the Culture Smart! series that introduces readers cultures and customs in countries around the world.

    Joe Kane, Savages, 2014
    Savages is a firsthand account, by turn hilarious, heartbreaking, and thrilling, of a small band of Amazonian warriors and their battle to preserve their way of life in the face of corrupt politicians, U.S. and Ecuadorean oil companies and inept environmentalists. Includes eight pages of photos.

    Andres Vasquez Noboa and Pablo Cervantes Daza,, Wildlife of Ecuador: A Photographic Field Guide to Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, and Amphibians, 2017
    Mainland Ecuador's spectacular wildlife makes it a magnet for nature tourists. With this handy and accessible guide, visitors now have everything they need to identify and enjoy the majority of birds and animals they are likely to see. Written and illustrated by two of Ecuador's most experienced nature guides and photographers, this book covers more than 350 birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. It features over 400 stunning color photographs and includes a range map for each species, as well as a brief account of the country's natural history and biogeography.

    Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle,
    When HMS Beagle sailed out of Devonport on 27 December 1831, Charles Darwin was twenty-two and setting off on the voyage of a lifetime. His journal shows a naturalist making patient observations concerning geology, natural history, people, places and events. Volcanoes in the Galapagos, the Gossamer spider of Patagonia and the Australasian coral reefs - all are to be found in these extraordinary writings. The insights made here were to set in motion the intellectual currents that led to the theory of evolution, and the most controversial book of the Victorian age: The Origin of Species. A fascinating story of scientific discovery.

    Edward J. Larson, Evolution's Workshop, 2001
    Evolution's Workshop tells the story of Darwin's explorations there; the fabulous Gilded Age expeditions, run from rich men's gigantic yachts, that featured rough-and-ready science during the day and black-tie dinners every night; the struggle for control of research on the Galápagos; the current efforts by "creation scientists" to use the Galápagos to undercut evolutionary teaching; and many other compelling stories.

    Paul D. Stewart, Galapagos: the Islands that Changed the World, 2007
    Rocky, fragile, beautiful, strange-the Galápagos archipelago is unlike any other place on earth. Its geology, its unique flora and fauna, and its striking role in human history intersect in surprising and dynamic ways. This book is the most wide-ranging and beautifully illustrated book available on the famous islands. Stewart describes how tragedy and murderous pirates curtailed settlement of the islands and how the islands' pristine nature, spectacular geology, and defining isolation inspired Darwin's ideas about evolution. The book explores the diverse land and marine habitats that shelter Galápagos species and considers the islands' importance today as a frontier for science and a refuge for true wilderness.

    Tui DeRoy, Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire, 2010
    Tui De Roy has spent her life exploring the Galapagos and recording their secrets. Here, in spectacular full-color images and in her own words,De Roy takes readers from vibrant coastlines to sheltered interiors, photographing penguins, turtles, and marine iguanas. She visits active volcanic calderas, where life hangs in the balance each time the volcano remakes itself. De Roy follows the seasons of the giant tortoise, dives into the twilight world of sperm whales and hammerhead sharks, and treads on still-steaming volcanic crust. She also makes an impassioned plea for conservation.


    The most important thing you can do to stay healthy is to avoid any water that is not bottled (the Galapagos' boat purifies its own water daily and is safe) and uncooked or unpeeled fruits and vegetables, including salads.

    Culture and Customs

    See these websites for information on Ecuadorean culture and customs. Since there are large numbers of tourists in Quito, the Galapagos and the Amazon, they are used to American customs, but the villages are more traditional.


    American tourists do not need visas to visit Ecuador.

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