COVID-19 & Your Holiday Plans

LAST UPDATED: September 22, 2021

Here, you will find an exhaustive overview of all matters pertaining to COVID-19 and your travel plans.  We provide information related to deciding whether to travel or not while COVID-19 remains a concern, all the way to what to watch out for on your return home.  

It is indeed rather exhaustive!  But please refer to the handy TABLE OF CONTENTS on this page to facilitate your access to those section that may be most pertinent to your needs at this point.  

Since June 16, 2021, the US State Department relaxed its travel advisory for Ecuador to “Level 3: Reconsider Travel”.  

PLEASE NOTE:  While we try to ensure that the information in this page is updated to reflect changes in requirements,  please note that these may change without notice at any time.   Contact us for the latest information.  

VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS ON SHIPS

Currently (22 September 2021), there are no mandatory vaccination requirements for entry into Ecuador or Galapagos, but this can change at a moment's notice. 

Proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to taking your domestic flight to Galapagos is currently required.  Most ships rely on this screening as their way to reduce the risk of COVID transmission on board. However, some ships do require proof of vaccination for boarding.  

Our latest information indicates that the Celebrity ships, the Evolution, the Grace and the Samba all require proof of vaccination for boarding. There may be more. 

Please confirm with us if your ship requires such proof before traveling to Ecuador.  

 

Should I Even Consider Traveling Now?

Leaving home on a trip to any destination, be it to the corner store or to a far away land incurs risks that you would not normally be exposed to by just staying at home.   It is incumbent on any person considering such trips to be as fully aware as possible on those risks so that they may decide, with as much foreknowledge as possible, whether or not to embark on that trip.  

While the vast majority of us were comfortable with the usual risks related to international travel, the onset of COVID-19 presents us all with an additional risk.   However, since it first affected international travel earlier in 2020, we have learned a lot about who is most at risk and how the virus affects us.   We have learned how it is usually transmitted and how to best reduce the chances of contracting it. 

With this additional knowledge, a growing number of more risk-tolerant people have decided that they can assume that risk and are embarking on international travel.   

Should you be among that group, and decide that traveling to Galapagos is something you can consider, you will be rewarded by a much diminished human presence while in the islands.   

It's important to know that those people willing to travel in the time of COVID-19 will be asked to explicitly recognize such risks and agree to assume full responsibility for the repercussions they may have on their trip by signing our CNH Tours Covid-19 Travel Waiver, as well as either directly in terms of their health, or indirectly in terms of trip logistics challenges.  

The adult population of Galapagos has been fully vaccinated since the end of June 2021; the Government of Ecuador is aiming to fully vaccinate the adult population of continental Ecuador by the end of September 2021. 

CNH Tours recommends that if you feel the least bit uncomfortable with the idea of traveling at this time, it is best to wait until your comfort level has improved - perhaps until you have been fully vaccinated.   

Nothing ruins the enjoyment of a trip more than an ever-present feeling of anxiety over the risk of things going wrong.  

 

Before Departing from Home

The Galapagos Archipelago was closed from March 17th to June 1st, 2020 in response to the declaration of the Coronavirus 19 (Covid-19) pandemic. Travel to the Province of Galapagos resumed with the first international guests arriving in mid-August 2020. Like so many other places, travel to the Galapagos Islands has changed dramatically in light of the pandemic. CNH Tours advises all of our current and potential guests to: 

  • Monitor current travel advisories related to Covid-19 that may impact your decision to travel,
  • Evaluate travel planning considerations,
  • Take proactive steps to minimize risks prior to travel such as acquiring your full complement of Covid-19 vaccine, and self-isolate prior to travel,
  • Anticipate what to expect upon entry to the Country of Ecuador,
  • Understand the current requirements for Safe Passage to Galapagos, and that these may change without notice at any time,
  • Familiarize yourself with the health, safety, and biosecurity protocols you can expect onboard your Galapagos cruise ship (we take the Samba as an example in this document),
  • Take proactive steps to minimize risks upon return home.

Travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel, including non-essential travel, to Ecuador.

The following resources are suggested by CNH Tours to help you monitor this evolving pandemic:

          World Health Organization Travel Advice

Current updates on travel advisories (Canada and USA):

          Government of Canada Travel Advisory (Ecuador) 

          US CDC Travel Advisory (Ecuador)

          US State Department Travel Advisory (Ecuador) 

Please see the World Health Organization latest advice and guidance about the current outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19) disease here.

For Government of Ecuador resources, please see the links below1

As you consider when would be best for you to travel to Galapagos, it is worth doing your due diligence as travel conditions fluctuate in response to the evolving Coronavirus 19 pandemic.  Examples of Covid-19 related challenges you could encounter include (this list is not exhaustive): 

  • In-country movement may be restricted,
  • International, national and evacuation flight options may be limited/unavailable, unreliable and pricey,
  • Travel restrictions may change at any time,
  • Travel, medical and emergency evacuation insurance may be null and void during a pandemic, 
  • Quarantine measures may be imposed with a little or no notice,
  • Availability of medical attention may be limited,
  • Borders may close with little or no notice (stranding travelers in a foreign country). 

Only you can assess your risk tolerance. For those who would be more comfortable travelling outside of pandemic conditions, now is a great time to reserve your Galapagos cruise for 2022, or even 2023. Booking conditions are generous and designed to build confidence in a post-pandemic world. Please contact us for more information.

For fearless travelers, please read on!

 

                  1Government of Ecuador Resources:

                              Coronovirus Ecuador: Official information about how the pandemic is affecting Ecuador (in Spanish)

                              Situation Reports on the State of Covid-19 in Ecuador (to present): Official infographics concerning the impact of the pandemic on the Country of Ecuador, including Galapagos, can be found listed                                    with the most recent at the top of the list (in Spanish)

                              For the latest Quito Airport News: Lists the  National Emergency Operations Committee  (COE) updates for specific provisions regarding the transport of passengers by air, among other issues, as                                      well as requirements and protocols that govern air passenger transport.

 

Travel Planning

As per the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) advisory for Ecuador:

  • CDC recommends that travelers Do Not Travel to Ecuador at this time. Travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to Ecuador.
  • COVID-19 risk in Ecuador is high.
  • If you get sick in Ecuador and need medical care, resources may be limited.
  • Check with the Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health of Ecuador or the US Dept of State Travel Advisory page for Ecuador for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine.
  • If you must travel, we recommend that you register your presence in Ecuador with your country's emergency contact program. 
  • Local policies at your destination may require you to be tested for COVID-19 before you are allowed to enter the country, quarantine upon arrival, isolate for a period of time if you show symptoms or test positive for Covid-19 during a random test. You may even be prevented from returning to the United States, as scheduled. You might consider getting tested before your trip. If so, see Testing for COVID-19 webpage for more information.

 

Covid-19 Test (with a negative result) or Vaccine

To enter the Country of Ecuador all travelers over the age of 2 years must present one of the following, performed in the country of origin, in compliance with biosecurity measures: 

  • Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination (full dose) completed no more recently than 14 days prior to your arrival date, or 
  • A negative result from a PCR test taken no later than (72 hours) prior to entry to Ecuador 

To mitigate the arrival of Covid-19 variants, the Government of Ecuador requires travellers from Brazil and India to present a Covid-19 PCR test with a negative test result and quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Ecuador. 

 

Flight Essentials

The following FLIGHT ESSENTIALS are required for international travel: 

  • A three-layer mask

We recommend that you also bring along with you: 

  • Hand sanitizer (check limits on quantities with your carrier prior to travel)

  • Alcohol wipes

  • Latex gloves

 

Travelling to Ecuador

 

  • Masks are required to enter airports (we recommend 3 layer), which must remain in place while in the airport.
  • Hand sanitizer is ubiquitous and expected to be used at each step of your journey (from entry to the departures hall to your gate).
  • Social-distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) is expected. Where social-distancing is not possible, expect glass or plexi-glass barriers to protect the essential workers serving you.
  • Contactless interactions (to check in and scan your passport as well as check your luggage) is now the standard.

Before proceeding to Security, you will likely receive a mandatory temperature check and have to disclose whether you have any Covid-19 symptoms. If you are deemed unwell, you will be required to obtain medical clearance prior to travel.

Security is much the same as we are accustomed to, however, you will find social-distancing and barriers more pronounced in the more enclosed spaces of the security areas. You may also find that liquids (hand sanitizer specifically) is now permitted in larger quantities than we are accustomed to. Other liquid restrictions remain unchanged.

 

 

On Board Your Flight to Ecuador

It is at your airline’s discretion whether to socially distance travellers on board your airplane. Mask-wearing is mandatory onboard commercial flights during the pandemic (fines can be applied upon arrival at your destination for non-compliance).

Please be aware that the high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters installed on airplanes

“have similar performance to those used to keep the air clean in hospital operating rooms and industrial clean rooms. These filters are very effective at trapping microscopic particles as small as bacteria and viruses. HEPA filters are effective at capturing greater than 99 percent of the airborne microbes in the filtered air”1.

Onboard dining service may be unavailable on your flight due to Covid-19. You may be able to bring your own picnic with you (please check with your carrier).

 

Entry to Ecuador

The following biosecurity protocols are mandatory for entry to the Country of Ecuador for all travelers over 2 years: 

  • Original passport (valid for a minimum of 6 months after your expected departure from Ecuador)
  • Medical insurance (required)

Additionally, all passengers must demonstrate proof of one of the following: 

  • PRINTED, ORIGINAL COVID-19 Vaccination Card (proof of full vaccination - you are fully vaccinated two weeks after your final shot), OR
  • PRINTED, ORIGINAL Negative PCR test (taken within 72 hours of your arrival into Ecuador) for all travellers over 2 years of age. 

A Negative COVID-19 Antigen test without presence of symptoms of Covid-19 (taken within 3 days of arrival into Ecuador) is no longer an acceptable test for entry to Ecuador. 

NB. *All passengers flying from India and Brazil, either as a point of origin or stopover during their trips, must present a negative RT-PCR test carried out up to 72 hours before arriving in Ecuador, this requirement is mandatory regardless of whether the passenger has his or her vaccination. All passengers flying from Brazil, either as a point of origin or stopover during their trip, must comply with a mandatory preventive isolation of 10 days in a government authorized establishment. All costs to be borne by the guest. 

With the presentation of the ORIGINAL DOCUMENT (a copy or electronic version is not acceptable) of one of the above, mandatory isolation is currently not required. This may change without notice. 

Passengers presenting symptoms related to COVID-19 upon arrival at the Quito or Guayaquil Airport will be evaluated by Ministry of Health representatives who are authorized to perform an obligatory COVID-19 Antigen testAdditionally, a rapid antigen test will be carried out randomly on passengers on international arrival flights, which will be taken at the international airports of entry. 

If the rapid antigen test is negative, the passenger may carry on with their travel plans.

Compliance with Mandatory Preventive Quarantine

If the test result is positive, the passenger will enter mandatory isolation for ten (10) days from the date the sample is taken. Residents in Ecuador will do so at the address they declare upon entry; and, in the case of passengers who do not reside in Ecuador and do not have an address to declare, they will be isolated in any of the accommodations regulated by the Ministries of Tourism and Government. Accommodation, food and transportation costs will be covered by each passenger.

Other mandatory documentation - YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO COMPLETE AND PRESENT THE PRINTED ORIGINAL DOCUMENT AT CHECK-IN FOR YOUR FLIGHT TO ECUADOR:

  • Passenger's Health Declaration: Filled out and signed prior to disembarking from international flight; Presented by the passenger to Ministry of Health personnel.  

Regulations pertaining to entry to the Country of Ecuador are constantly reviewed and subject to change, in accordance with the behavior and advancement of COVID – 19 in the country and the world.

Sanitary security at the airport

In order to avoid crowds, there is a control of the capacity of the various areas of the airport: public halls, boarding lounges, shops and restaurants. Family members or companions are asked to avoid going to the airport as much as possible.

To guarantee the health safety of travelers, Corporación Quiport has installed:

  • Thermal cameras to measure body temperature.
  • Footbaths (for disinfecting footwear and luggage wheels).
  • Protective screens to avoid direct contact between airport personnel and passengers.
  • Safety bands for restricted seats.
  • 500 hand sanitizer dispensers.
  • Floor signage to facilitate the reference of the required social distance.

 

 

Entry Requirements to the Safe Tourist Corridor for Travel to Galapagos

A Safe Tourist Corridor for travel to Galapagos was established by the Government of Ecuador on September 11, 2020.  It currently consists of the following elements (may change without notice):

  1. Prior to travel to Galapagos, each traveler must be in possession of the following:

  • Photo ID (card or passport)

  • Return air ticket to and from the Galapagos Archipelago

  • Baggage inspected by the Agency for Regulation and Control of Biosafety and Quarantine for Galapagos (ABG)
  • Transit control card: Secured in person only

  • Galapagos National Park Entrance fee: Prepaid or paid in cash on site upon arrival in Galapagos
  1. In addition to these, you must present:

  • For travelers 2 - 16 years of age:  A negative result of a PCR test, taken within 72 hours prior to entering the islands  
  • For travelers over 16 years: A negative result of a PCR test, taken within 72 hours prior to entering the islands. 
  • For tourists who start their trip in Ecuador, Traveler's Health Declaration Form with the final destination and accommodations while in Ecuador must be filled out. For tourists who start the trip abroad this form will be filled in upon arrival in the country.
  • Mandatory proof of international medical insurance (that covers Covid-19-related infection). Applies only to foreign tourists.

In the event that a passenger's PCR test result has exceeded it's validity (72 hours), the passenger must perform a new PCR test (at their hotel on the continent) and quarantine in place until they receive their (negative) test result. Only then may the passenger travel to Galapagos.  

Should a positive test result be returned, the passenger must quarantine in continental Ecuador for 10 days. If after that time, the passenger shows symptoms of COVID-19, they wil have their quarantine extended for3 more days or until a negative test result. 

Passengers who present symptoms or are suspected cases of COVID-19 may not enter the Galapagos Islands (and must return to continental Ecuador) to follow National Sanitary Authority protocols.

 

While official travel advisories are in effect, CNH Tours recommends that if you have to travel abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, check with your travel insurance provider (whether you have a group, an individual or a credit-card type of insurance) and verify the terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and requirements of your insurance policy before you leave home:

  • Ensure you are covered for COVID-19-related medical expenses, other non-COVID-19 emergency-related expenses, as well as trip cancellation and interruption. While some insurance companies may offer COVID-19 related medical expenses coverage, they may not include protection for other non-COVID-19 emergency-related expenses.

  • Find out if you are covered for quarantine costs should you become infected with COVID-19 during your trip.

  • Make sure you have travel insurance coverage for your entire trip as some insurers may limit options to extend policies after departure.

  • Find out if you are covered for extended stays outside of your home country.

  • Consider buying a “Cancel For Any Reason” option for your trip. This is offered by some insurance companies for an additional cost.

Be aware that if you need to return home for medical care, your options may be limited due to decreased availability of flights; borders may be closed. National governments may not be planning repatriation flights to bring their citizens home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check-in at the airline counter is mandatory, even if you have the boarding pass issued and no baggage to check in. Symptoms and signs related to Covid-19 (fever, cough, joint pain, anosmia, general discomfort, headache) will also be monitored.

 

 

 

Travel from Your Hotel to Quito Airport to Catch your Flight to Galapagos

CNH Tours recommends that only members of your travel bubble journey together in the same vehicle from your accommodation on the continent to catch your flight to Galapagos. This is an aspect of your tour that CNH Tours would be delighted to assist you with upon request.

 

 

Protocol for Safe Travel to Galapagos from the Mainland

CNH Tours and the Samba adhere to the World Travel and Tourism Council Safe Travel Protocols to help safeguard your health and safety. The Safe Travel protocols take into account current WHO and CDC guidelines and may be updated as new information becomes available about COVID-19.

Provincial and National authorities in Ecuador have established a complementary set of guiding principles designed to permit ship owners/operators, their guides, and crew to implement a COVID-19 Protocol for Galapagos with your safety and security in mind. CNH Tours and the Samba are applying these combined biosecurity protocols with a view to ensuring your health and safety during the new Galapagos experience that awaits you.

Guests are asked to protect themselves by following CDC Guidelines.

 

 

Arrival in Galapagos

 

Upon arrival in the province of Galapagos, every tourist must:

  • Perform immigration control of entry to the province of Galapagos

  • Pay your Galapagos National Park Entrance fee1 (US$ 100 per adult; US$ 50 per child under the age of 12 years - cash only)

  • Pass through Inspection and Quarantine for the prevention of introducing alien species

  • If not immediately embarking on a ship, purchase your ground transfer ticket for Baltra Airport, Itabaca Canal, or Baltra Pier

  • Remove your checked baggage

  • Board your Galapagos cruise ship or journey to your first terrestrial visitor site, or to town (by taxi or bus)

1 Please note, Galapagos National Park Entrance fee and Transit Control Card rates may change without notice.

 

 

 

COVID-19 Safety Aboard your Ship

A return to travel requires the restoration of traveler confidence.

Your well-being and safety is our top priority. Small ship travel in Galapagos is unlike a cruise in most other destinations:

  1. Your crew is fully vaccinated and tested regularly. 

  2. The crew is based in Galapagos or mainland Ecuador only.

  3. Our guests come from a small number of countries; typically 2 – 3 nationalities are onboard at any one time.

  4. Most ships carry 20 or fewer passengers.

  5.  

    The Samba requires all guests to be fully vaccinated*.  Proof of vaccination will be required prior to receiving your final trip documentation.  

 *Not all ships require their guests to be fully vaccinated in order to participate in a Galapagos cruise. 

While our suppliers in Ecuador have always maintained very rigorous cleaning procedures, all of our partners have enacted enhanced cleaning protocols to safeguard your health and safety. CNH Tours rigorously follows the relevant guidance of all health authorities and follows best demonstrated practices in the prevention and handling of communicable diseases.

Ships adhere to the World Travel and Tourism Council Safe Travel Protocols to help safeguard your health and safety. The Safe Travel protocols take into account current WHO and CDC guidelines and may be updated as new information becomes available about COVID-19. Provincial and National authorities in Ecuador have established a complementary set of guiding principles designed to permit ship owners/operators, their guides, and crew to implement a COVID-19 Protocol for Galapagos with your safety and security in mind.  Ships are applying these combined biosecurity protocols with a view to ensuring your health and safety during the new Galapagos experience that awaits you.

Guests are asked to protect themselves by following CDC Guidelines.

 

Covid-19 Pre-Cruise Ship Boarding Screening

While most ships rely on the COVID protocols in place for travel to Galapagos as the only screening required for boarding (i.e. if you can make it to Galapagos, then you can board), some ships continue to require proof of full vaccination for boarding.  These include the Celebrity ships, the Grace, the Evolution and the Samba.   

Please confirm vaccinations requirements with us, if any, for boarding the ship on which you will be travelling.

 

Land Transfers from Baltra Airport, Galapagos

As you exit the airport, you will be heading by bus to Baltra Harbour to board your ship (US$ 5 per person - payable in cash on site), or to Canal Itabaca, where you will take a ferry to Santa Cruz Island, and from there, travel on to your first site visit.  Regardless of your destination, there are new protocols in place to protect your safety and security while in transit:

Passengers will be required to be physically-distanced and wear a mask while lining up to enter the bus.  Prior to entering the bus, each passenger must:

  • Have their temperature taken, verifying that it is less than 38°C.,
  • Walk over a foot sanitizing mat,
  • Sanitize their hands with antiseptic alcohol,
  • Disinfect their hand luggage.

Entry to the bus is permitted only by the front door.  On board the bus, windows will be fully open to allow for air flow.

Physical-distancing and mask wearing are required while on board the bus, and when disembarking from the bus.

An orderly manner will be maintained while disembarking from the bus in order to maintain the corresponding distance and avoid crowds.

 

Transfer from the Dock to your Ship

  • Passengers will be physically-distanced, 1 metre (3.82 feet), as they await their turn to travel by panga (the Galapaguena word for a zodiac) to the ship.
  • Panga on board capacity will be diminished to respect physical distancing.
  • Prior to boarding, all passengers must have their temperature taken, verifying that it is less than 38°C. They must then pass across a foot sanitizing mat, and have their hands sanitized with antiseptic alcohol.

 

 

Pre-boarding Information

In accordance with the Safe Tourist Guidelines for the Galapagos Islands, on board your expedition cruise ship, you can expect to encounter the following hygiene and sanitation measures:

  • Maintain a physical-distance of at least 1 metre (3.82 feet)whenever possible on board the ship.

  • Wear a mask (or protective screen), except in water activities or when eating, at all times while on board the ship (outside of your cabin). You will be instructed how to discard a disposable mask and personal hygiene waste in dedicated bins, and asked to disinfect your reusable mask properly after each use.

  • Wash hands your hands with soap and water or use a disinfectant solution such as alcohol gel 70% regularly throughout your time on board the ship and be asked to frequently disinfect objects for personal use with soap and water and, if not possible, with a disinfectant solution, according to the manufacturer's recommendations. For the disinfection of electronic work equipment it is necessary to use disinfectant products applied with a cloth, or disinfectant wipes. To aid with this, sanitizing gel dispensers will be located throughout the yacht.

  • Beyond your Health Status Questionnaire (completed prior to boarding the ship), you can expect to have your health monitored daily for signs and symptoms of Covid-19. This together with your Safe Passage document will be used in contact tracing should this become necessary.

  • Only with guests who are part the same travel bubble will be permitted to share a cabin.

 

 

Hygiene and Sanitation Measures On Board the Ship

 

Pre-Boarding

Prior to your boarding, the ship will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.  All cabins and other spaces will be cleaned, disinfected, and ventilated.

 

 

Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols

  • Hand luggage, backpacks and bags will be gently sprayed with a disinfecting mist at the airport before brought aboard the ship.

  • Footwear disinfection trays are located at each point of entry to the yacht.

  • During your cruise, as per CDC and World Health Organization operational considerations for preventing COVID-19, public areas and surfaces in high transit areas such as stair railings, door knobs, coffee station, water dispensers, deck chairs, dining and bar surfaces, social areas, and deck areas. will be cleaned and disinfected twice daily (morning and afternoon) using Galapagos National Park Service approved products, which are effective against viruses, bacteria and other airborne and blood borne pathogens.

  • You will find hand sanitizing stations throughout all social areas of the ship reminding both guests and staff of the importance of health and hygiene protocols, such as hand washing, wearing face masks, and physical distancing.

  • The air conditioning recirculation filters will be cleaned weekly, to guarantee proper operation of the system, prior to each cruise.

In Your Cabin

Cabins will be cleaned and disinfected twice daily (morning and afternoon) during your cruise.

Each cabin will include a bottle of alcohol for disinfecting your personal items. Cleaned and disinfected bed, bath and beach linens will be provided for each departing group for your personal use.

 

Bar & Dining:

  • Dine in a ventilated dining room on board (avoiding more than one family per table).

  • Snacks will be served individually to minimize contact.

  • Food hygiene protocols will be reinforced with individual formats; meals will be served to you plated by the chef at the dining tables to minimize he number of staff/guests in contact with the food service implements.

  • Different mealtimes/seating areas may be implemented, depending on the occupancy of the vessel, to a minimum of 30% capacity.

  • To reduce capacity in the dining room during meals, the deck area will be open for meals weather permitting.

  • Snacks will be served individually.

  • Welcome drinks will be served individually.

  • The dining room will be disinfected prior to and after each meal.

  • All tableware, glassware and cutlery, as well as utensils used during the service will be disinfected after each use.

  • The water dispenser will be disinfected after each use.

  • The kitchen will be disinfected daily and only authorized crew members will be allowed to enter the kitchen during their working hours.

  • Bar service accounts will be handled in a safe and sanitary manner.

 

Your Excursion Experience

  • Covid-19 Biosecurity Protocols will be reviewed upon arrival onboard.

  • Expedition briefings will be presented in mask by your naturalist guide

  • Natural history briefings and talks will be organized over shifts, depending on occupancy rate.

  • The dining room, where briefings take place, will be disinfected before and after each session.

  • All excursion accessories (e.g. life jackets, masks, kayaks, snorkels, etc.) will be disinfected before and after each activity.

  • Snorkeling equipment and wetsuits will be available for guests, but guests are encouraged to bring their own if they would feel more comfortable.

  • Guests who wish to bring their own snorkel and mask will have their personal equipment disinfected before and after each use as well.

  • Wetsuits will be fully cleaned and disinfected prior to your cruise. Guests will be responsible for hanging up their own wetsuit between uses.

  • Sea kayaks will undergo deep cleaning and disinfection after each use.

  • Binoculars will no longer be available for shared use during expeditions.

  • Our packing list will suggest guests bring certain accessories for their expedition, such as masks and snorkel tubes, light wetsuits and binoculars.

  • Site visits will be coordinated with any other ships on site by your Captain to minimize the risk of congestion/contact with other groups at visitor sites.

  • Guests will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing during their site visits.

  • Guests requiring assistance to embark and disembark from their panga will be required to sanitize their hands bother before and after physical contact with their naturalist guide or crew member.

 

In summary:

All guests are required to wear masks and disinfect their hands while inside enclosed areas on board the ship and keep a 1 metre (3.82 feet) distance between one another if they are not members of the same family or traveling together before the cruise.

While your crew will be consistently disinfecting the dining and lounge area, you are kindly asked to do your best to be outside as much as possible.

There will be less physical contact and keeping a distance to keep you safe, your guide and crew will work hard to ensure your wildlife adventure is as entertaining as possible!

These protocols and measures are constantly being reviewed and adapted according to the latest information about COVID-19.

 

Contactless Galapagos

Implementation of Technology to create a Contactless Galapagos cruise:

The following items will be handled digitally:

  • Travel information

  • Cruise vouchers

  • Boarding passes

  • Health questionnaire forms

  • All information related to operations, schedules, pick-ups, etc.

  • Additional services information

  • Release forms for activities

 

 

 

Crew Protocol

  • Ship staff will be continuously encouraged and reminded about hygiene measures and respiratory etiquette at all times.
  • The health status of your guide, the crew and Captain will be regularly monitored.
  • Each 15 days, all on board staff will received a Covid-19 PCR test.
  • Staff quarters will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfect twice per day.
  • Crew members will be drawn from the Galapagos Islands only, and tested for Covid-19 every 15 days.
  • Crew will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment based on roles and responsibilities and will maintain a social distance of at least 3 feet between themselves and guests.
  • While on their disembarkation period, crew members have been recommended to self-isolate.

 

Management of Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Covid-19

The Protocol for Biosecurity on Tourist Ships in Galapagos in the event that a passenger and / or crew member suspects that he/she has contracted the Virus, or someone is suspected of carrying Covid-19[1] is as follows:

 

[1] Biosecurity Protocol for Transport Vessels: https://www.gestionderiesgos.gob.ec/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/protocolo-embarcaciones-GPS.pdf  (in Spanish)

 

 

Protocols for Passengers who believe they have been infected with Covid-19

  • Maintain the established distance of 2 m with other passengers and / or crew of the boat,
  • Wear a mask at all times,
  • Inform the guide or captain of the vessel of the possible suspicion, and
  • Isolate yourself in a well-ventilated place or cabin of the boat and take individual isolation measures until transfer to the nearest port.
  • Centralized ventilation will be turned off

Actions to be taken in case a Passenger is suspected of being a carrier of Covid-19 

  • If the ship does not have a doctor on board, it must immediately request the support of the nearest vessel with a doctor on board.
  • The captain of the ship must communicate with the crew members and land administration office to organize a speedboat with personnel from the Health authorities, to the site where the boat is located for the transfer of the person suspected of Covid-19 to the nearest health center for isolation and proper medical treatment. The Operator must coordinate the transfer of the MSP personnel to the boat.
  • The personnel of the Health Authorities will do an evaluation to the rest of passengers and crew members, to verify the existence or not of other suspect cases.
  • In case the suspected case is confirmed negative with a PCR Test, the Health personnel will complete their report, leave the boat and it can continue with its itinerary.
  • The ship land office staff must also support the authorities in coordinating the possible air transfer of the patient to a medical center in Quito or Guayaquil, or to their place of origin.
  • All the expenses that arise (land, sea and air transfers, medical assistance, etc.) for this situation, must be covered by the passenger using their mandatory health insurance. 
  • The ship's land office staff must also ensure that the authorities respond immediately to calls for attention to cases of Covid-19, or another type of disease, and that they take the measures that they have already established.
  • Any passenger suspected of being a carrier of the disease must comply with the provisions that are issued through the representatives of the boat, and the competent authorities.
  • The Captain of the vessel must ensure that once the suspected infected passenger departs from the ship, the immediate cleaning and disinfection of the cabin where the passenger was staying, as well as of all public areas of the boat.

 

Protocols for Crew who believe they have been infected with Covid-19

  • Immediately inform the captain of the possible suspicion,
  • The captain must immediately notify the authorities competent authorities (MSP and Harbor Master) on the possible suspicion of a person with Covid-19 on board the boat.
  • Ensure the immediate isolation of the suspect in a cabin or ventilated place.
  • The crew of the ship, who should be very well protected and designated by the Captain, must always be aware of the situation of the case suspect, to give him all the necessary help.
  • In addition, keep a record or report of the evolution of the case until its transfer to the nearest port or until the MSP staff intervene.

 Actions to be taken in case a Crew Member is suspected of being a carrier of Covid-19

  • The captain must immediately notify the competent authorities of a possible suspicion of a crew member with Covid-19 aboard the boat.
  • Immediately isolate the suspected case in a cabin or ventilated room assigned for crew members.
  • If the ship does not have a doctor on board, it must immediately request the support of nearby vessels that have a doctor on board, to provide support with the medical contingent on board.
  • The captain must communicate with the land administration office, so that they can organize a speedboat with personnel from the Health authorities, to the site where the boat is located for the transfer of the person suspected of Covid-19 to the nearest health center for isolation and proper medical treatment. The Operator must coordinate the transfer of the MSP personnel to the boat.
  • The personnel of the Health Authorities will do an evaluation to the rest of passengers and crew members, to verify the existence or not of other suspect cases.
  • In case the suspected case is confirmed negative with a PCR Test, the Health personnel will complete their report, leave the boat and it can continue with its itinerary.
  • The captain must ensure that once the Covid-19 suspect crew member leaves the boat, cleanup is done and immediate disinfection of all public areas of the ship, and places where the employee may have been in contact.
  • The Health authorities will determine if the crew member can move to his place of residence to complete his isolation there, or if applicable, they will determine whether to remain in the Health center where he was transferred, to receive medical attention if necessary.
  • Once the crew member is recovered, they can return to work as long as he proves, with a medical certificate, not to be positive for COVID-19 or another contagious disease.
  • The captain will manage, if necessary, the replacement of the evacuated crew member, taking into consideration the minimum number of crew members the boat needs.

 

Post Tour

To leave the country, the Government of Ecuador does not request any type of requirement or test for COVID 19, however, the passenger must inquire about the requirements for entering the country of destination. The information is available with the respective airline or in foreign diplomatic delegations in Ecuador.

There is always a small chance that you will have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels (domestic and/or international).  You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can be contagious without symptoms and spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may pose a risk to your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus. Regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip, take these actions to protect others from getting sick:

  • When around others, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who are not from your household. It is important to do this everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are outside of your home, and including when using public transportation.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Watch your health and look for symptoms of COVID-19. Take your temperature if you feel sick.

Follow your local recommendations or requirements after travel[2]. Citizens of Canada require a negative RT-PCR test before boarding their flight to return to their country of origin and must quarantine for three days in a government approved hotel; Americans require an antigen test only. For current American requirements, we recommend that you consult the CDC website. It is possible to obtain these tests in both Galapagos and on the continent, however, we recommend that you allow time for the test results (current wait times can be up to 72 hours; this may change without notice).

Please check for requirements with your country of origin before travelling and note that such requirements may be implemented without notice. 

The Government of Canada has initiated ArriveCAN for Canadians returning from abroad: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/arrivecan.html

 

[2] For more information, please see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html