CNH Tours - Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours Galapagos
COVID-19 & Your Holiday Plans
LAST UPDATED: October 20, 2022
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, this page is designed to provide guidance on subjects you may wish to take into consideration as you make your holiday travel plans.
You will find the latest travel advisories for Ecuador here:
Government of Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/ecuador
US State Department: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/ecuador-travel-advisory.html
As of October 20th, 2022: The Government of Ecuador will have no further requirements for entry to Ecuador or the Galapagos Islands.
Please note: This protocol may change without notice subject to an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Ecuador. Entry requirements for residents of individual countries may be revised subject to an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in your country of origin.
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.
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 (including a booster since January 2022).
CNH Tours recommends that you travel only if your feel comfortable doing so.
Before Departing from Home
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 travel 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.
CNH Tours suggests that you consult the World Health Organization for the latest advice and guidance about the current outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19).
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 2023, or even 2024. Booking conditions are generous and designed to build confidence in a post-pandemic world. Please contact us for more information.
For those who are ready to travel, please plan your airport arrival time for your International Departure to take into consideration potential delays, as travel ramps up with a vengeance at airports still dealing with understaffing problems and legacy COVID-19 requirements. It is very important to arrive at the airport even earlier than usual these days, or risk missing your flight.
Entry to Ecuador
The following protocols are mandatory for entry to the Country of Ecuador for all travelers over 3 years:
- Original passport (valid for a minimum of 6 months after your expected departure from Ecuador)
Additionally, all passengers must demonstrate proof of the following:
- Passenger's Health Declaration: You may complete your form here. You will be asked for this document when you check in for your flight to Ecuador.
- Please note procedures may change at any time. For the latest entry guidelines to Ecuador, including exceptions, contact your closest Ecuadorian Embassy or Consulate (https://www.cancilleria.gob.ec/2021/05/11/embajadas-y-consulados-en-el-exterior/).
Compliance with Mandatory Preventive Quarantine
If a travellers test positive for Covid-19 in-country, the passenger will enter mandatory isolation for five (5) 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.
Entry Requirement for Travel to Galapagos
As of October 20, 2022, for travel to the Galápagos Islands the rules for entry are as follows:
- The Galápagos Transit Control Tax Card—this will be provided by our associates
These entry requirements will be reviewed periodically, and the requirements may change at any time.
NB. If COVID-19 RT-PCR tests are reintroduced for entry to Ecuador and the Galápagos, they will likely have had to been issued no more than 72 hours before your departure for Ecuador and Galapagos.
- Proof of international medical insurance (that covers Covid-19-related infection and emergency evacuation, while not required, is strongly recommended).
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.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend that you 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.
Protocol for Safe Travel to Galapagos from the Mainland
CNH Tours, the Samba (Active Galapagos), the Integrity (Ocean Safari) as well as the many other ships plying the waters of Ecuador 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 its partners in Ecuador and Galapagos are applying these combined biosecurity protocols with a view to ensuring your health and safety during the new Galapagos experience that awaits you.
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:
Your crew is fully vaccinated and tested regularly.
The crew is based in Galapagos or mainland Ecuador only.
Our guests come from a small number of countries; typically 2 – 3 nationalities are onboard at any one time.
Most ships carry 20 or fewer passengers.
Many ships in Galapagos continue to require their guests to be fully vaccinated or provide proof of an RT-PCR test with a negative result within 72 hours of travel to Galapagos.
CNH Tours recommends that all travelers bring N95 masks for their health and safety, and that of those around them.
Hotels and ships in Galapagos 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.
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.
Please confirm vaccinations requirements with us, if any, for boarding the ship on which you will be travelling.
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.
Should you be required to obtain a COVID-19 antigen or PCR test (with a negative result) prior to boarding your international departure flight, please be aware that should you return a positive test result you will be legally obligated to enter a period of quarantine. Presently, there are no guidelines on where you must quarantine, but you will be asked to confirm where you will be and there may be spot checks. It is the responsibility of the traveler to make all arrangements (both logistically and financially). Once the quarantine is complete, you may to return home with a proof of recovery of a prior covid-19 infection (assuming you are no longer symptomatic) and a letter issued by a health authority stating that the passenger has been cleared for travel.
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 up to 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.
Please check for requirements with your country of origin before travelling and note that such requirements may be implemented without notice.
 For more information, please see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html