COVID-19 & Your Galapagos Holiday Plans

LAST UPDATED: January 11, 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.  

 

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.  

 

 

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 very low prices on cruises and a much diminished human presence among 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, either directly in terms of their health, or indirectly in terms of trip logistics challenges.  

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 with the arrival of a widely available vaccine.   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

In response to the declaration of the Coronavirus 19 (Covid-19) Pandemic, the Government of Ecuador closed the Province of Galapagos to the public from March 17th to June 1st, 2020.  Travel to this remote oceanic archipelago has since resumed with the first international guests arriving in mid-August 2020 however, 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,
  • Anticipate what to expect upon entry to the Country of Ecuador,
  • Understand the current requirements for Safe Passage to Galapagos,
  • Familiarize yourself with the health, safety, and biosecurity protocols you can expect onboard your Galapagos cruise ship (we take the Samba as an example),
  • Take proactive steps to minimize risks upon return home.

CNH Tours recommends that all potential travelers to Galapagos review current travel advisories before embarking on international travel at this time.

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

The following resources are offered 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)

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.  For example,

  • Flight options may be limited, unreliable and pricey,
  • Travel restrictions may change at any time, and
  • Travel, medical and emergency evacuation insurance may be null and void during a pandemic.

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

The Government of Ecuador requires all travelers to reserve their services prior to arrival in country. With your reservation(s), CNH Tours will issue a Safe Passage document for all accommodation contracted with registered establishments located in both mainland Ecuador and the province of Galapagos (including your Galapagos cruise).

As per the US CDC advisory for Ecuador:

  • CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential international travel to Ecuador. 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.
  • Local policies at your destination may require you to be tested for COVID-19 before you are allowed to enter the country. If you test positive on arrival, you may be required to isolate for a period of time. 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.

 

RT-PCR Test (with a negative result)

Local policies at your destination currently require you to be tested for COVID-19 before you are allowed to enter the country. This means that prior to departing from home, each traveler must possess:

  • A negative RT-PCR test with a validity of up to ten (10) days before entry to the country of Ecuador[1] (this same test can also be used for adults 18 years + to enter Galapagos as long as it is taken within 96 hours of traveling to the Galápagos Islands), and
  • Be without Covid-19 symptoms upon arrival.
  • Should you be unable to get a RT-PCR Test prior to departing from home, the test is available in Ecuador and time should be allocated between arrival and when your Galapagos cruise is scheduled to begin for your RT-PCR test result, a copy of which must be forwarded directly from the national laboratory to the emails indicated by the Governing Council of Galapagos: 

 [1] If you are unable to access a RT-PCR test at home prior to travelling to Ecuador, it is possible to do the test upon arrival in Ecuador. If you must do this, please allow time to take the test and receive the results. Travelers with a positive RT-PCR test result will be required to enter quarantine, seek medical treatment, or evacuation depending on the symptoms. Travelers must comply with the mandatory isolation established in the regulations approved by the National Emergency Operations Committee of Ecuador including being prepared to bear the costs of mandatory isolation in temporary accommodation and/or medical treatment should they present symptoms of Covid-19 or a positive RT-PCR Test result upon arrival in Ecuador. You may be prevented from returning home, as scheduled, if you are infected with Covid-19.  

 

 

Flight Essentials

CNH Tours recommends that you bring the following FLIGHT ESSENTIALS with you in your carry-on:

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

  • Alcohol wipes

  • A protective face covering (currently a requirement for most airlines)

  • Latex gloves

 

Travelling to Ecuador

 

You will most likely be required to don a protective mask before you can enter the airport, 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 Ecuadorian Emergency Operations Committee has instituted the following biosecurity protocols for entry to the Country of Ecuador1:

  • All passengers arriving in Ecuador from abroad must submit a negative PCR test result to board their flight to Ecuador. The test must have been carried out within ten days prior to boarding for the trip to Ecuador. With the presentation of the negative PCR test, mandatory isolation will not be required.
  • Additionally, 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. The Ministry of Public Health is responsible for this test. If the rapid antigen test is negative, the passenger may carry on with their travel plans. 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.
  • Passengers under fourteen years of age and aircraft crew are exempt from taking the antigen test.
  • For passengers presenting symptoms related to COVID-19 (high temperature, cough, general malaise, loss of smell, loss of taste, etc.) upon arrival in Ecuador, regardless of the result of the PCR test and the rapid antigen test, the traveler will be evaluated by the Ministry of Public health personnel upon arrival at the airport and they will be transferred to the nearest health unit to complete the clinical evaluation.
  • Passengers must fill out and sign, prior to disembarking, the Passenger's Health Declaration, which will be delivered to the MSP's health personnel in the room established for this purpose at the arrival airport.
  • Every passenger upon arrival at the airports in Ecuador will go through a thermal sensor that will allow identifying temperatures above 37.5 ° C.

Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-192.

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.

1 August 15th, 2020, Ecuador’s National Management Service for Risks and Emergencies, Updated, December 27, 2020

 

 

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

  1. In addition to these, you must present:

  • For travelers over 17 years of age,  the negative result of a PCR test, taken within 96 hours prior to entering the islands. Children 17 and under require a Safe Conduct authorization only. Tests conducted in Ecuador must come from a laboratory recognized by the Agency for Quality Assurance of Health Services and Prepaid Medicine (ACESS).
  • A Safe Conduct authorization issued by the hotel or yacht via CNH Tours that will provide the service. Tourist services must be contracted in establishments with tourist registration and established biosecurity protocols.

  • 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.

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:

  • Make sure 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, it 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. 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 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 iis locally based and works on only one, ship.

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

  3. Most ships carry 20 or fewer passengers.

  4. The crew is tested for Covid-19 every 15 days, and monitored for symptoms of Covid-19 daily.

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

As with your entry to the Province of Galapagos, before boarding the your ship, you will be required to demonstrate proof of:

  • A RT-PCR test with a negative result for all travellers 18 years and over, taken within 96 hours of arrival in Galapagos,
  • Medical insurance (CNH Tours recommends that you ensure that you have emergency evacuation insurance as well),
  • Safe Passage (issued by your ship owner), and
  • A Health Status Questionnaire.

 

Land Transfers from Baltra Airport, Galapagos

As you exit the airport, you will be heading by bus to Baltra Harbour to board your ship, 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; 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 48 hours; this may change without notice). Please check for requirements such as this 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