Ultimate Galápagos Exploration Ecuador's Amazon Wilds by vow16147

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									             Ultimate Galápagos
               Exploration &
             Ecuador's Amazon
                   Wilds
                    Plus, optional extensions in
              Machu Picchu and Cuzco, Peru &
            Ecuador: The Andes & the Devil’s Nose
                           Train

                              2010




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                          A Word about Adventure Travel
Welcome! Thank you for choosing Overseas Adventure Travel. Whether you’ve traveled with OAT
before or are joining us for the first time, we know this will be one of your most rewarding adventures.

Overseas Adventure Travel, founded in 1978, is America’s leading adventure travel company. OAT trips
have been recommended by The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, The Los Angeles Times, Travel +
Leisure, The Wall Street Journal, US News & World Report, and others. But our most impressive reviews
come from our customers: Thousands of travelers have joined our trips, and 96% say they’d gladly travel
with us again.

Preparing for your trip and learning about your destination are part of the joy of travel. The Handbook
you are holding is designed to be your central information resource as you get ready. It contains
information on your trip, your air travel arrangements, packing tips, travel protection plan, and much
more.

Most travelers are particularly concerned about what to bring on their trip. Here’s where you really
benefit from OAT’s years of adventure travel experience. We asked our customers and Trip Leaders from
past trips about the gear and clothing they carried with them. They told us what worked, what didn’t, and
what they wished they had. When you read our gear lists, you are consulting not just one experienced
adventure traveler, but hundreds!

The more you know before you go, the more you’ll appreciate your time there. To ensure that this trip is
right for you, please pay close attention to the “Are You Fit for Adventure?” and “Physical Activities”
sections of this Handbook.

Your Handbook includes some suggestions for books. Pick one or two, according to your own interests.
Your efforts will be handsomely rewarded with a deeper understanding of this exceptional destination.
We’ve also provided a section about what to expect on the trip itself. This includes suggestions for
staying healthy, for preserving the natural and cultural environments, even tips on bargaining and
shopping.

All our suggestions and requirements have the same purpose: to help you get the most out of your trip.
After you’ve read the Handbook, please contact OAT’s Traveler Support Team if you need clarification
of any point.

Have a great trip!




                             Overseas Adventure Travel
                                  1-800-221-0814
                             WWW.OATTRAVEL.COM




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                         Overseas Adventure Travel
          Ultimate Galápagos Exploration & Ecuador's Amazon Wilds
                                 Handbook
                             Table of Contents
1. IMPORTANT INFORMATION................................................................................................................ 5
   TRAVEL DOCUMENTS ..................................................................................................................................... 5
     Passport...................................................................................................................................................... 5
     No Visa Required ....................................................................................................................................... 6
     Emergency Photocopies ............................................................................................................................ 6
   AIRLINE INFORMATION .................................................................................................................................. 6
     When to Expect Your Flight Itineraries and Airline Tickets................................................................... 6
     A Word about Air Routing......................................................................................................................... 6
     International Flight Reservations............................................................................................................. 7
     Airport Departure Taxes ........................................................................................................................... 7
     Arranging Your Own International Flights ............................................................................................. 7
     Arranging Your Own Domestic Flights.................................................................................................... 7
     Advance International/Domestic Flight Seat Reservations .................................................................... 7
     A Word about Internal Flights in Ecuador .............................................................................................. 8
     Breakaway Travel ...................................................................................................................................... 8
     After You Receive Your Tickets................................................................................................................. 9
2. GET READY TO GO ................................................................................................................................ 10
   VISIT YOUR DOCTOR ................................................................................................................................... 10
     Medical Checkup ..................................................................................................................................... 10
     High Altitude ............................................................................................................................................ 10
     Vaccinations............................................................................................................................................. 10
     Prevention of Malaria ............................................................................................................................. 11
     Prescription Medications ........................................................................................................................ 11
     Dental Exam............................................................................................................................................. 11
     Are You Fit for Adventure? ..................................................................................................................... 11
   LEARN ABOUT YOUR DESTINATIONS .......................................................................................................... 12
     Ecuador at a Glance................................................................................................................................ 12
     Peru at a Glance—Optional Extension .................................................................................................. 14
     Suggested Readings ................................................................................................................................. 16
     Spanish Phrase Guide ............................................................................................................................. 18
   USEFUL WEBSITES........................................................................................................................................ 20
   JET LAG PRECAUTIONS ................................................................................................................................ 21
3. PACKING JUST WHAT YOU NEED .................................................................................................. 22
   A WORD ABOUT THE WEATHER .................................................................................................................. 22
   YOUR LOCKS & LUGGAGE .......................................................................................................................... 24
     TSA locks .................................................................................................................................................. 24
     SPECIAL LUGGAGE LIMITATIONS .................................................................................................... 25
   CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS ............................................................................................................................. 25
   TRAVELER’S CHECKLISTS ............................................................................................................................ 26
     Packing Your Carry-On Bag................................................................................................................... 26
     Luggage Checklist.................................................................................................................................... 26
     Recommended Clothing Checklist .......................................................................................................... 27



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      Other Essential Items............................................................................................................................... 27
      Medicines.................................................................................................................................................. 28
      Optional Gear .......................................................................................................................................... 28
   TIPS ON PHOTO GEAR ................................................................................................................................... 28
4. WHILE YOU ARE ON YOUR TRIP ..................................................................................................... 30
   MONEY MATTERS ......................................................................................................................................... 30
      How to Carry Your Money ...................................................................................................................... 30
      ATMs......................................................................................................................................................... 30
      Credit Cards............................................................................................................................................. 30
      Currency in Ecuador ............................................................................................................................... 31
      Currency in Peru—Optional Extension ................................................................................................. 31
   TIPPING .......................................................................................................................................................... 31
   STAYING HEALTHY ON YOUR TRIP ............................................................................................................. 31
   CELL PHONES ................................................................................................................................................ 33
   PHONE CALLING CARDS .............................................................................................................................. 33
   A WORD ABOUT ELECTRICITY .................................................................................................................... 33
   RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL IN ECUADOR ........................................................................................................... 34
      Conserving the Natural Environment..................................................................................................... 34
      Cultural Interaction................................................................................................................................. 34
      Safety & Security ..................................................................................................................................... 35
      Shopping in Ecuador ............................................................................................................................... 35
      Souvenirs .................................................................................................................................................. 35
      Bargaining................................................................................................................................................ 35
      U.S. Customs Regulations ....................................................................................................................... 35
5. SOME FINAL THOUGHTS ................................................................................................................... 37
   CONTRIBUTIONS TO LOCALS ....................................................................................................................... 37
   A REAL ADVENTURE.................................................................................................................................... 37




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                                          Important Information



1. Important Information
Travel Documents
Passport
You need a passport for this itinerary. Please ensure that your passport is valid until at least six months
after the end of your trip.
                                                   Note

    Your passport must be valid for at least six months following your scheduled return to the
    United States. You will also require blank pages available in your passport. The number of
    pages you will need varies according to the options you have selected, as we have listed
    below. These pages must be labeled “Visas” at the top (blank “Amendments and
    Endorsements” pages are not acceptable). If both of these requirements are not met, you
    may be refused admittance to a country and, consequently, required by that country’s
    government to return to the U.S. immediately.

    Main trip only: If you are taking only the main trip, you will require 1 blank passport page.

    Pre-trip extension to Machu Picchu & Cuzco,Peru: In addition to the 1 pages required for
    the main trip, you will need 1 more page for a total of 2 blank passport pages.

    Post-trip extension: Ecuador: The Andes & the Devil’s Nose Train: The post-trip extension
    does not require any additional pages beyond the 1 needed for the main trip.

    Both the pre- and post-trip extensions: You will need a total of 2 blank passport pages.


Contact the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) at 1-877-487-2778 or visit their website at
www.travel.state.gov for information on obtaining a new passport, renewing your existing passport, and
for general tips on traveling abroad. You can renew your passport by mail if it is not damaged, you
obtained it within the last fifteen years, and it’s in the name you want on your new passport. Many local
post offices carry forms for renewing by mail or obtaining extra pages. Allow several weeks for
processing your passport.




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                                         Important Information

No Visa Required
For U.S. citizens, visas are not required for entry into any of the countries on the itinerary of your main
trip or of the optional extensions. If you are staying longer than 90 days, you should check with the
consulate for the applicable regulations.

                  Ecuador:     1-202-234-7166         or www.ecuador.touristboard.com
                  Peru:        1-202-462-1084/5       or www.peru.info/perueng.asp


Important note for non-U.S. citizens or non-U.S. passport holders: If you are not a U.S. citizen or if you
possess a passport from a country other than the U.S., it is your responsibility to check with your local
consulate or embassy about possible visa requirements.

Emergency Photocopies
The smartest and easiest security precaution you can take is to carry photocopies of the personal
information pages of your passport, your air ticket, traveler’s check serial numbers (if you’re carrying
these checks), and your credit cards. Add phone and fax numbers for reporting lost credit cards, for your
travel protection plan if you have purchased one, and for your medical emergency network. Store the
copies separate from the originals. This can save you immeasurable time, money, and bother if your
documents are lost or stolen during your trip.



Airline Information
When to Expect Your Flight Itineraries and Airline Tickets
You will receive a preliminary flight itinerary approximately 100 days prior to departure. Please examine
it carefully to ensure that your name appears exactly as it does on your passport. If the airlines make a
change in your flight times, we’ll adjust your reservation accordingly and, if time permits, send you an
updated flight itinerary before you receive your tickets. You will receive your tickets with a finalized
flight itinerary and final trip documents by 14 days before you depart. Depending on your airlines, you
may receive electronic tickets (e-tickets) for some or all of your flights. Your Trip Leader will give you
your Amazon and Galápagos flight tickets onsite.

Please note that all flight arrangements are subject to change at any time for many reasons beyond
OAT’s control.

A Word about Air Routing
Every effort will be made to arrange the most direct flight schedule for you. OAT reserves the right to
choose the air carrier, routing, and city airport from each gateway city. In some cases, your routing may
involve connections and layovers, and may not be the most direct, requiring an overnight en route at your
expense.

Your return to the U.S.: Due to the flight schedules of most South American airlines, it is likely that
your return flight to the U.S. will depart from Lima very late in the evening (near midnight) and arrive in
the U.S. early the following morning. As we are limited by the schedules that airlines operate by, we are
generally unable to avoid this.




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                                          Important Information

International Flight Reservations
OAT will make the necessary reservations for the air arrangements that are included in your Adventure
program. You will fly economy class on regularly scheduled airlines. We base our program prices on low
promotional airfares, determined in conjunction with domestic and international carriers, and subject to
airline restrictions.
• Tickets are issued as a group for your departure. If you book your reservation after the group has been
     ticketed, we will try to ticket you at the best available fare.
• If you change your return reservation following departure, you may be charged a higher airfare or a
     penalty by the airline. Payments can be made by cash (U.S. currency) or credit card directly to the
     airline.

Airport Departure Taxes
Please note that this tour has international and internal airport departure taxes that cannot be included in
your airline ticket price because you are required to pay them onsite. All taxes are subject to change
without notice and can be paid in cash (either U.S. or local currency). You will receive these tax amounts
with your final documents.

Arranging Your Own International Flights
If you arrange your own international flights, plan to buy your tickets approximately 60 days before your
trip. Check with us at that time about any changes in the trip operation, particularly if you are buying a
ticket with cancellation penalties. Send us a written copy of your flight itinerary as soon as you have it
(see our fax number in this handbook). We relay this to our overseas operations office before your
departure. Please note that you must arrange your own transfers between the airport and the hotel
at the beginning and end of your trip.

Arranging Your Own Domestic Flights
If you have chosen to make your own domestic flight reservations, we recommend that you refrain from
purchasing tickets at fares that carry high penalty charges for changes. International schedules are subject
to change, and OAT cannot be responsible for domestic airfare penalties or any loss resulting from
unexpected changes in your international flights, cancellations, or changes in travel dates. Some airlines
will charge fees anywhere from approximately $50 per person to $200 per person to change your
reservation. In many cases, tickets are nonrefundable. Make certain you are aware of all change and
cancellation fees.

Frequent Flyer Programs
Due to special group airfares, we cannot guarantee that any frequent flyer miles will be earned, and the
granting of any frequent flyer credits is the airline’s decision, not OAT’s. For your best chance of
claiming any credit that the airline may choose to grant, present your frequent flyer membership card
upon check-in. It is always a good idea to keep copies of your boarding passes and your passenger receipt
(from your airline ticket package) as proof of flight, just in case the airline does not properly credit your
account. You can submit the boarding passes and passenger receipt directly to the airline for any
applicable mileage credit.

Advance International/Domestic Flight Seat Reservations
Although OAT will forward your request for preferred seating to the airline, many airlines do not assign
seats in advance, and your request is not guaranteed. If the airline is able to pre-assign seats, your
assignment will be indicated on your final air itinerary. If the airline does not assign your seat in advance,
you can check in early at the airport to request the seating you prefer.




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                                          Important Information

Note on Internal Foreign Flights: We cannot make seating requests for internal flights in foreign
countries, as those tickets are received from our representatives onsite. The Trip Leaders will do their
best, but often the local airline assigns seats in advance for the entire group.

Flying with a Traveling Companion
If you’re traveling with a companion from a different household, and both of you are beginning and
ending your trip at the same airport on the same dates, let us know you’d like to travel together and we’ll
make every effort to arrange this (please note, however, that this is not always possible). If you request
any changes to your flights, please be sure that both you and your companion tell us that you still want to
fly together.

If you and your companion are starting or ending your trip at different airports, we are unable to book you
together on the same flights. To provide each of you the best combination of price, availability, and
connections, we must make your air arrangements individually.

In-Flight Meals
Most flights within the U.S. and to destinations in North America (Canada & Mexico) or Central America
(Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala) no longer provide complimentary meals. On some flights food may
be available for purchase on board. Meal prices, quantity, and quality may vary. For this reason we
recommend that you bring your own food.

Complimentary meals continue to be provided on most international flights to destinations outside North
America. If you prefer a special airline meal on your international flight (salt-free, low-calorie, kosher,
etc.) please call the airline directly to reconfirm your requests after you receive your airline tickets.


A Word about Internal Flights in Ecuador
In Ecuador, it is simply a fact of life that schedules for internal flights often change on short notice. When
this happens, our air travel experts strive to get you on internal flights as close to the original schedule as
possible, but limited availability of seats may require us to use early-morning flights or change the day of
the flight. If schedule changes make it necessary, we may have to rise before dawn on some days where
early-morning wake-ups are not mentioned in your printed itinerary. Though travel in South America can
be unpredictable, we have considerable experience at responding to changing circumstances on the spot.
We appreciate your understanding that we cannot always follow your published itinerary to the tee.

Breakaway Travel
On certain Overseas Adventure Travel vacations, you have the option to enjoy Breakaway Travel at the
end of your stay, subject to flight availability. This option enables you to travel on your own wherever
you choose. Your total travel time cannot exceed 30 days from the original date of departure from the
U.S. On the date of your ticketed return to the U.S., return to the airport of your departure for your flight
home. You will be responsible for confirming your international flight back to the U.S. and for your own
transfers to the airport. There is a $50-$150 per-person, nonrefundable fee to request Breakaway Travel.
Additional air charges may also apply. All arrangements for Breakaway Travel must be requested no later
than 71 days prior to departure. Confirmation information will usually be available approximately 45 days
before your departure. Consult our Travel Counselors for details.

Please note: Overseas Adventure Travel does not assist in making travel arrangements during
Breakaway Travel and does not assume any liability for any activity or trip you take independently while
on this program and not under the direct supervision of OAT.




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                                          Important Information

If Overseas Adventure Travel provides your air flight arrangements to and from an OAT tour or cruise,
and you have purchased the Passenger Travel Protection Plan, you are covered for Accidental Death,
Medical Expense/Emergency Assistance, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss, and Baggage Delay while traveling
on your own. The plan will not cover any travel arrangements that are not provided by Overseas
Adventure Travel.

As soon as you receive your airline tickets, we ask that you verify their accuracy.


After You Receive Your Tickets
      Check your tickets carefully to ensure they reflect the city and departure/return dates that OAT
         has confirmed to you.
      Make certain your name is spelled correctly and that your first and last names appear as shown
         on your passport or other identification.
      If you have made a request for special seating, see if your ticket reflects that assignment. If it
         does not, you can plan to arrive early at the airport and request your preferred seating at check-
         in.
      Confirm that you have received your:
             o International tickets departing from and returning to the U.S. (You will receive your
                airline tickets for the internal Galápagos and Amazon flights from our local
                representatives onsite.)
             o Lima-Quito tickets, if you are taking the optional Machu Picchu & Cuzco pre-trip
                extension.
      We regret that we cannot change air reservations inside of 45 days from departure. Changes
         requested 70 to 45 days prior to departure will incur a service fee of $50 per person plus any
         applicable charges imposed by the airlines.
      If for any reason you do not use an airline ticket provided by OAT, please return it to us as soon
         as possible. However, remember that domestic tickets are generally based on nonrefundable
         fares; the airline determines whether you can change the ticket or receive reimbursement due to
         illness or other emergency.

Please remember that your airline ticket is a valuable, negotiable document for which you are responsible.
Lost tickets should be reported to OAT immediately. While OAT will assist in replacing lost tickets, we
may not be able to replace them at the original cost. You may be subject to additional expenses. In
general, if you lose your ticket, you must pay for a new ticket pending a refund from the airline, not OAT.

If you must cancel your trip after you have received your airline tickets, you are required to return the
tickets to OAT before we can process any refunds that may be due to you.




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                                              Get Ready to Go


2. Get Ready to Go
Visit Your Doctor
Medical Checkup
We strongly recommend that you have a medical checkup at least six weeks before your trip. This is a
must if you have any medical conditions or physical limitations. Let your doctor know about any
medical condition you have, particularly cardiac or respiratory disease or diabetes, and discuss the details
of the trip itinerary as it pertains to your health. Your trip will take you into remote areas, with no nearby
medical facilities. Please notify us in writing about any medical condition that may require special
attention. If your report is normal, you don’t need to send it to us. If you send us a medical report, we
don’t use it to determine if you should take this trip, or if you are likely to enjoy it. Those decisions are up
to you and your doctor.

High Altitude
Discuss with your doctor medication for altitude sickness. If you are prone to altitude sickness or have
not been to high altitudes, we recommend medication to alleviate altitude sickness. Quito (during the
main trip) is at an altitude of 9,252 feet, and if you are taking the optional extension in Machu Picchu &
Cuzco, you spend time in Cuzco at 10,909 feet. At these altitudes, almost everyone feels some of the
symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). These symptoms include headache, nausea, loss of
appetite, trouble with sleep, and lack of energy.
We recommend that you discuss with your doctor whether a trip to that altitude is advisable for you and if
you should obtain a prescription for the prevention and treatment of altitude sickness.

As you visit Quito and Cuzco, you will notice people drinking coca tea. It is reputed to be a local remedy
for alleviating the effects of altitude sickness. Bringing along a prescription for Diamox is a good idea,
but part of the excitement of traveling means you can decide for yourself if coca tea truly works!

Vaccinations
Yellow fever vaccine—RECOMMENDED: This vaccine is not required for visitors to the Ecuadorian
Amazon (unless you are coming directly from another area where yellow fever is present), but it is
currently recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. When you receive this vaccine, your
doctor will give you a Yellow Fever Card (an international Certificate of Vaccination, valid ten days
after your vaccination and good for ten years) that you should carry with you.

Check with the CDC: To ensure you receive any needed vaccinations we suggest that you check the
current recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for your
destination. You can contact them at:
       Online — if you have access to the Internet, we suggest you visit the CDC’s website at
                  wwwn.cdc.gov/travel, where you will find comprehensive information about
                  preventing illness while traveling.
       By phone—at the CDC’s International Traveler’s Hotline toll-free at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-
                  877-394-8747) 24 hours a day. Please note that automated information is
                  arranged topically by disease, rather than by country or region.
Consult your doctor: After checking the CDC’s recommendations we strongly suggest that you
consult your family physician or visit a Travel Medicine Clinic concerning any vaccinations or
medications that you may need on this trip.




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                                             Get Ready to Go

Prevention of Malaria
The CDC recommends that travelers to the Amazon basin take an anti-malarial medication. The most
important steps you can take to prevent malaria are to use insect repellent (preferably containing DEET at
30-35% strength) to prevent mosquito bites and to wear clothing that keeps your arms and legs covered.

Please consult your health care professional well in advance of your trip to discuss which regimen, if any,
you will follow. For further information, you or your health care professional can obtain the CDC
document “Prescription Drugs for Malaria” (available on the CDC website).

Prescription Medications
If you take prescription medications regularly, be sure to pack an ample supply that will last your entire
trip. Pack these medications in your carry-on bag, and keep them in their original, labeled containers. To
be prepared for any unforeseen loss of your medications, you should also bring copies of the
prescriptions, written using the generic drug name rather than a brand name.

Also, when you visit your doctor or Travel Medicine Clinic, get a prescription for an antibiotic
medication for gastrointestinal illness. In addition, you should ask for a prescription for a pain
medication, such as Tylenol with codeine. You might need this in the unlikely event of an injury in a
location where medical attention would be delayed. You may also consider brining allergy or cough
medication. Our Trip Leader does not carry prescription medications.

As prescriptions in other countries may vary and you may not always have access to pharmacies during
your trip, we suggest you bring any prescriptions with you from the U.S.

Dental Exam
A loose filling or developing cavity would be difficult to remedy in a remote area of South America. You
may want to have a dental exam before your trip.

Are You Fit for Adventure?
Is this adventure right for you?
We’ve worked closely with our local Trip Leaders and regional associates to identify the aspects of this
adventure that you should be aware of when you join this trip, from physical requirements to cultural
factors. Please carefully review the information below.

Physical requirements This adventure is not appropriate for travelers using wheelchairs or other
mobility aids. You must be able to walk approximately 3 miles unassisted each day and be comfortable
participating in 6-8 hours of daily physical activities. Agility is required for embarking and disembarking
canoes in the Amazon and small motor dinghies in the Galápagos.

Pacing 5 locations in 15 days with 2 one-night stays. There are several overland drives and 4 internal
flights of 1-4 hours each. Some international flights to Ecuador arrive late in the evening, and internal
flights are scheduled early.




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Climate & terrain We spend a total of 4 full days at high altitudes of 9,000-10,000 feet. Check with your
doctor to determine whether your physical condition allows you to make this journey.
In the Amazon rain forest portion, high humidity and frequent rain is common. The climate is warmer and
dryer in the Galápagos Islands.

In the Amazon, we’ll explore outdoors even when it is raining, so trails can be muddy and slippery. And
in the Galápagos, we’ll hike on uneven, volcanic trails with boulders. Be prepared to make wet landings
on sometimes-rocky beaches.

Transportation We travel via minibus (no toilet on board) and train. We travel to our Amazon lodge and
explore by airplane and canoe. Canoes require agility for boarding and disembarking.

Accommodations Hotel rooms in Peru and Ecuador are smaller than you may be accustomed to in the
U.S. and offer simple amenities. In the Amazon, we’ll stay in thatched-roof cabins equipped with private
baths offering hot water showers and solar-powered electricity. All of our hotel rooms and cabins aboard
our small ships feature private baths with hot showers.

Group size & leadership 16 maximum with 1 Trip Leader.

Cultural insight Peru’s complex, multilayered cultural traditions, stunning natural geography, and
fascinating local people who live in the Amazon make this destination perfect for an adventure. Due to
the fragile ecology of the Galápagos Islands, we file our cruising itinerary with the conservation
authorities of the Galápagos National Park, who reserve the right to make changes based on prevailing
ecological and climate conditions. To get the most enjoyment out of your adventure, remember that Peru
and Ecuador are still considered developing nations, and be aware that you will likely be approached to
buy crafts or solicited by children to take photographs.



Learn about Your Destinations
We encourage you to start learning about Ecuador before your trip. The ancient and contemporary
cultures of this region are rich and complex. Even a small amount of background reading can help you
make sense of the kaleidoscope of facts and impressions that will come your way. Having some
knowledge in advance can complement and enrich what you can learn from your resident Trip Leader.


Ecuador at a Glance

Historical Overview
There is archaeological evidence of settlements established by hunter-gatherer groups as early as 10,000
B.C. along Ecuador’s southern coast and in the central highlands. Agricultural societies that followed
produced the famous Valdivia ceramics, the oldest pottery in the Western Hemisphere. These ancient
peoples traded with others in Peru, Brazil, and the Amazon Basin, building a civilization sophisticated
enough to construct large coastal cities by 500 B.C. These city dwellers worked metal and had
navigational skills sufficient for them to trade with cultures as far away as the Maya in ancient Mexico.

The Inca ruler Tupac-Yupanqui invaded from the south in A.D. 1460, but could not conquer the territories
of three strong groups in Ecuador: the Canari, Caras, and Quitu. It fell to his son Huayna Capac to
accomplish this in the next generation. The Incas brought their language, Quechua, to Ecuador, where it is
still widely spoken today in the highlands and the rain forest.



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Huayna Capac celebrated his conquest by building the monumental Inca city of Tombebamba, whose
ruins near Cuenca remain impressive today. This Inca city in Ecuador rapidly became as large and
important in the empire as Cuzco in Peru. When Huayna Capac split the empire between his two sons at
his death in 1526, he made Tombebamba the capital of the northern half. It was here that the last Inca
ruler, Atahualpa, began his reign. Later, he defeated his brother Huascar in a civil war that weakened the
empire just before the Spanish conquistadors arrived.

After Francisco Pizarro and his conquistadors conquered the Inca Empire in 1532, Pizarro made his
brother Gonzalo the first Spanish governor of Quito, Ecuador. A few years later, Francisco was killed in a
dispute among the Spanish conquerors, and Gonzalo Pizarro rebelled against Spain. He ruled Ecuador
independently for over seven years, until Spanish forces defeated his army and executed him in 1548.

Spanish governors ruled Ecuador from Lima, Peru, until the 18th century, after which Spain moved the
seat of authority to Bogotá in New Granada (now Colombia). In 1822, Simon Bolivar’s chief lieutenant
Antonio Jose de Sucre, brought an end to Spanish rule in the area, though it was not until 1830 that the
nation adopted the name “Ecuador” and gained complete autonomy.

Following independence, civil war broke out between the conservatives of Quito and more liberal
elements in Guayaquil, initiating a pattern of conflict between right- and left-wing groups that has
persisted in Ecuador’s political life ever since. Dictators ruled the nation for the remainder of the 19th
century. Ecuador’s 20th-century history was an intricate series of alternating periods of democratic and
military rule.

The last period of military rule in Ecuador ended with the presidential election of 1979. In 1984,
conservative businessman León Febres Cordero Rivadeneira was elected president, and he succeeded in
putting down military rebellions to finish his term in office. He was followed in 1988 by Rodrigo Borja
Cevallos of the Democratic Left, who in turn was succeeded by U.S.-born Sixto Durán Bellén in 1992.
Then, in 2006, Econ Rafael Correa was elected president.

Ecuador Today

Area: 176,196 sq miles
Capital: Quito
Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua and dialects
Population (2007 estimate): 13,755,680
Religion: Roman Catholic (95%)
Time zone: UTC/GMT -5 hours (same as EST, New York and Miami)

Native Americans (“Indians”) make up about 40 percent of Ecuador’s present population. Their cultural
traditions include the Quechua language, the ruana (shawl), and a social focus on their local communities,
which are largely located in the mountains.

Mestizos, called “cholos” in Ecuador’s lowlands, are people of mixed native and European ancestry. They
constitute another 40 percent of Ecuador’s people, and form the bulk of the labor force for the rice,
banana, and cacao plantations in the country’s coastal region.

About 10 percent of Ecuador’s people have black African ancestry. They are the descendants of Africans
who were brought as slaves to work on plantations along the seacoast. Today they live mostly along the
northern section of the coast.




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The remaining 10 percent of the population is of Spanish descent and is concentrated in Ecuador’s largest
cities. People of primarily Spanish background tend to hold the positions of highest social and economic
status in the country.

Geography
Ecuador is roughly the size of the state of Washington and straddles the equatorial line. Because of this
geographical feature and combined with its different altitudes, Ecuador has a striking diversity of
landscapes for a country of its size. Tropical rain forests in the Amazon Basin dominate its eastern
section, the Oriente. The Eastern and Western Cordilleras of the Andes make up the Sierra region that
bisects the country, topped by the towering peaks of Cotopaxi (19,347 feet) and Chimborazo (20,702
feet). The costa is the Pacific tropical coastal plain, which constitutes about one-quarter of the country.

The Galápagos Islands
Ecuador’s fourth distinct region is the Galápagos Islands (“Archipielago de Colon”), on the equator 600
miles offshore, which are like a world of their own. Like the Hawaiian Islands, they were created by
volcanic activity that continues to create new islands to the west of the present group of 60. Most volcanic
cones on the islands are extinct, but there was a significant eruption on Isla Isabela in September 1998.
Fernandina, Isabela, Baltra, James, Santa Cruz, and San Cristobal are the major islands in the group.

In 1535, Spanish bishop Fray Tomas de Berlanga named the islands “Galápagos,” or tortoise, because the
shells of the giant land tortoises he saw there reminded him of the Spanish horse saddles that the
Spaniards called “Galápagos.” Naturalist Charles Darwin’s 1835 visit on the H.M.S. Beagle, during
which he saw how unique flora and fauna had developed here, had a significant impact on his
development of the theory of evolution. About 20,000 people live on a few of the large islands today,
with many smaller islands uninhabited and reserved for nature study in what is now an Ecuadorian
national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Peru at a Glance—Optional Extension

Historical Overview
Although Peru is well known as the land of the Incas, its rich ancient history pre-dates the Inca Empire by
thousands of years. The earliest evidence of indigenous societies goes back to the eighth millennium B.C.
There are indications that organized village life was present as long ago as 2500 B.C.

By 1200 B.C., several groups had begun moving from the north into what is now Peru. These included
the Chavín, Chimú, Sechìn, Nazca, and Tiahuanaco. The ruins of the Chimú city of Chanchan, which they
built around A.D. 1000, still exist today. Another legacy of these early peoples is the striking religious
iconography of the Chavín, who had great influence in the coastal area. They portrayed animals,
particularly the jaguar, in a distinctive and impressive style.

New regional cultures arose following the decline of the Chavín and Sechìn around the 5th century B.C.
The Saliner and the Paracas made artistic and technological advances including kiln-fired ceramics and
sophisticated weaving techniques. The Nazca, creators of the huge, cryptic Nazca Lines, were successors
to the Paracas culture.

The Inca Empire had a surprisingly brief reign at the end of this long pre-colonial history. In less than a
century, the Incas expanded their domain from the river valley around Cuzco to the whole region from
northern Argentina to southern Colombia, including much of present-day Peru and Ecuador. In addition
to their military skill, the Incas had a knack for assimilating the best features of the peoples they
conquered. They built their entire empire between the early 1400s and 1532, when the Spanish
conquistadors arrived.



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In its prime, the Incan capital at Cuzco was the richest city in all of the Americas, dominated by gold-
plated temples. Though only fragments of Cuzco’s Incan architecture remain, the renowned ruins at
Machu Picchu, an Incan ceremonial center, have survived to astonish the world.

By the time Francisco Pizarro landed with his band of Spanish conquistadors, the Inca Empire had been
divided and weakened by a dispute over succession to the throne. Pizarro’s possession of horses and
cannons gave him a military advantage, and he also used deception to exploit the situation. Concealing his
true intentions, he arranged a personal meeting with the Inca ruler Atahualpa, then proceeded to
assassinate him. The conquistadors sacked the city of Cuzco and took control.

Though Inca resistance continued for several years, Atahualpa’s death ended the Inca Empire. Francisco
Pizarro established a new capital city at Ciudad de los Reyes, now Lima, in 1535. It was there that a rival
conquistador killed Pizarro during a factional dispute six years later.

For 200 years, Spanish officials ruled Peru using native intermediaries as go-betweens to deal with the
indigenous population. In 1780, some 60,000 native people rose up in revolt against Spanish rule, led by a
Peruvian patriot who used the Inca name of Tupac Amaru. This revolt and another in 1814 were
ultimately put down by the Spanish.

Peru finally broke free from Spain in the 1820s as wars of independence swept across South America.
Jose de San Martin of Argentina and Simon Bolivar of Venezuela played key roles in driving the Spanish
military out of Peru, which declared independence in 1821.

A series of Bolivar’s lieutenants known as the “marshals of Ayacucho” governed Peru in the following
decades. One of the most able of these, Ramon Castilla, presided over the adoption of a liberal
constitution in 1860.

Since then, Peru’s history has been a dramatic alternation between democratic and dictatorial
governments, each of which has faced pressing social and economic issues. Opposition to dictatorship has
played a prominent role in Peruvian politics since the 1920s, when Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre founded
the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA).

Peruvian democratic reformers have long advocated guaranteed civil liberties and improved living
conditions for the nation’s Native Americans. There have also been radical and violent opposition
movements, including the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), whose leaders were captured in 1992.
Peru’s last five heads of state have been democratically elected presidents: Fernando Belaúnde Terry in
1980, Alan García Pérez (an APRA candidate) in 1985, Alberto Fujimori in 1990, Alejandro Toledo in
2001, and Alan García Pérez once again in 2006.

Peru Today

Area: 798,122 sq miles
Capital: Lima
Languages: Spanish, Quechua (both official)
Population (2007 estimate): 28,674,757
Religions: Roman Catholic
Time zone: UTC/GMT -5 hours (same as EST, New York and Miami)

About half of Peru’s people are of Native American ancestry, many of them direct descendants of the
Incas. Another third of the population is mestizo (of mixed Native American and European ancestry).
Roughly one-tenth of the population is of primarily European heritage, and there are smaller but still
significant African and Asian minorities.




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Peru’s people are almost equally divided geographically between the Andean highlands and the Pacific
coast. Subsistence agriculture and poverty (by U.S. standards) are common in the highlands, where many
indigenous languages are still spoken. Most of the country’s material wealth is concentrated in the more
cosmopolitan coastal cities, where Spanish is the dominant language.

Geography
Peru is the third-largest country in South America. Topped by towering Andean peaks, its landscape also
includes a portion of the Amazon River Basin and an extension of Chile’s Atacama Desert along the
coast. Three of Peru’s largest cities—Lima, Trujillo, and Chiclayo—are in the coastal desert region. The
city of Iquitos (population 400,000) is the capital of Peru’s Amazon region on the eastern slope of the
Andes. It is accessible only by airplane and Amazon riverboat.

Suggested Readings
We’ve listed a few of our favorite books about the region where you’ll be traveling. Most of these are
available in large bookshops (especially those that specialize in travel or international books), by mail
order, and from Internet sites.

Amazon, Galapagos Islands & Ecuador

At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen (Fiction) A wild tale about the impact of outsiders
on an indigenous tribe, set in the department of Madre de Dios in the Peruvian Amazon. Told in
alternating chapters by mercenary Lewis Moon and missionary Martin Quarrier, this novel features
vividly realized characters and an intense interplay between them, with the Amazon rainforest and its
native people much in the foreground.

The Beak of the Finch, A Story of Evolution in Our Time by Jonathan Weiner (History/Natural History)
An accessible take on the ongoing debate on evolution that garnered the Pulitzer Prize.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (Fiction) A fictional account of life in colonial Peru,
widely regarded as an international masterpiece, by an author who is also famous as the playwright of
Our Town. As a monk investigates deaths resulting from a bridge collapse in Peru in 1714, the story
acquires broader implications for the human condition.

The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming (History) The classic account of the dismantling of the
Inca empire. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Hemming vividly describes pre-conquest Peru, the
Inca’s struggle against Spanish invasion, and their eventual integration into Spanish society. Although the
book deals mainly with Peru, there are a few chapters on Ecuador.

The Enchanted Amazon Rain Forest, Stories from a Vanishing World by Nigel J.H. Smith
(History/Anthropology) A fascinating introduction to the people, culture, and georgraphy of the rain
forest.

Galápagos: A Natural History by Michael H. Jackson (Natural History) Jackson details the natural
history of the plants and animals found in the Galápagos Islands and discusses the ecology and geology of
the Islands. Numerous photos, tables, and graphs accompany the text.

¡Gracias! A Latin American Journal by Henri J. Nouwen (Travel Account) A Dutch theologian recounts
life among the people of Bolivia and Peru during a six-month stay in the two countries.

Incas: People of the Sun by Carmen Bernand (History) The story of the rise and fall of the Inca
civilization. Excerpts from the writings of conquistadors, travelers, and the Incas themselves are included.
Illustrated.



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Lost Cities & Ancient Mysteries of South America by David Hatcher Childress (Travel Account)
Adventurer and archaeologist David Hatcher Childress takes readers on an unforgettable journey deep
into deadly jungles, windswept mountains, and scorching deserts in search of lost civilizations and
ancient mysteries, with many Peruvian sites mentioned.

A Neotropical Companion by John Kircher (Natural History) An extraordinarily readable introduction to
the American tropics, the lands of Central and South America, their remarkable rain forests and other
ecosystems, and the creatures that live there.

The Secret of the Incas: Myth, Astronomy, and the War Against Time by William Sullivan
(History/Anthropology) Sullivan decodes the myths of the Incas to reveal that they embody an
astonishingly precise record of astronomical events. He also shows that the Inca rituals of warfare and
human sacrifice were attempts to stop time, to forestall a cataclysmic event that would destroy their
world.

Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice by Mark Plotkin (History/Anthropology) An ethno-botanist recounts his
work documenting the use of medicinal plants among remote Amazon tribes.

Tropical Nature by Adrian Forsyth and Ken Miyata (Natural History) This book features 17 engaging
essays about the flora and fauna of tropical rainforests in Central and South America by two keen-eyed
biologists with a literary flair. It also has many practical details for the tropical traveler.

Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin (History/Natural History) First published in 1839, this classic
tale of Darwin’s five-year voyage changed our way of thinking about the world.

Machu Picchu & Peru (Optional Extension)

Ancient Kingdoms of Peru by Nigel Davies (Archaeology) An archaeologist and Inca expert analyzes
recent findings and reassesses the latest scholarly theories surrounding the ancient Inca kingdom.

The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming (Culture) This compelling, authoritative account removes
the Incas from the realm of prehistory and legend and shows the reality of their struggle against the
Spanish invasion. Drawing on rediscovered sources and a firsthand knowledge of the Incan terrain,
Hemming vividly describes pre-conquest Peru and the integration of the Incas into Spanish society. Text
is complemented by line drawings, maps, and illustrations.




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                                  Spanish Phrase Guide


Basic words and phrases
Yes                                            Sí
No                                             No
Thank you                                      Gracias
Thank you very much                            Muchas gracias
You’re welcome                                 De nada
Please                                         Por favor
Excuse me                                      Discúlpeme
Hello                                          Hola
Goodbye                                        Adiós
So long                                        Hasta luego
Good morning                                   Buenos días
Good afternoon                                 Buenas tardes
Good evening                                   Buenas noches
Good night                                     Buenas noches
What is your name?                             ¿Cuál es su nombre?
Nice to meet you                               Encantado de conocerle
How are you?                                   ¿Cómo estás? ¿Qué pasa?
Good                                           Bien
I do not understand                            No entiendo
How do you say this in Spanish?                ¿Cómo se dice esto en Español?
Do you speak English?                          Habla usted Inglés
Where is the bathroom?                         ¿Dónde está el baño?
Ticket                                         el boleto, el ticket

Getting around
Where is the ...?                              ¿Dónde está ...?
… Airport                                      … el aeropuerto
… Train station                                … la estación del tren
… Bus station                                  … la estación de autobuses
… Subway station                               … la estación del metro
… Hotel                                        … el hotel
… Post office                                  … la oficina de correo
… Bank                                         … el banco
… Police station                               … la comisaría
… Hospital                                     … el hospital
… Pharmacy                                     … la farmacia
… Restroom                                     … el baño,
How much is the fare?                          ¿Cuánto cuesta el boleto?
One ticket to ..., please.                     Un boleto (ticket) para ..., por favor.




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Shopping
Store, Shop                             la tienda
How much does this cost?                ¿Cuánto cuesta? ¿Cuál es el precio?
I’ll buy it                             Lo compro
I would like to buy ...                 Me gustaría comprar ...
… Stamps                                … Los sellos, las estampillas
Do you have ...                         ¿Tiene usted ... ?
Do you accept credit cards?             ¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?
Discount                                Rebaja


Dining out
Restaurant                              el restaurante
Breakfast                               el desayuno
Lunch                                   el almuerzo
Dinner                                  la cena, la comida
I would like ...                        Me gustaria …
… Coffee                                … el café
… Tea                                   … el té
… Juice                                 … el jugo, el zumo
… Water                                 … el agua
… Beer                                  … la cerveza
… Wine                                  … el vino
… Salt                                  … la sal
… Pepper                                … la pimienta
Vegetarian                              vegetariano (m), vegetariana (f)
Kosher                                  comida judia
Please bring the bill.                  la cuenta por favor


Numbers
One                                     uno
Two                                     dos
Three                                   tres
Four                                    cuatro
Five                                    cinco
Six                                     seis
Seven                                   siete
Eight                                   ocho
Nine                                    nueve
Ten                                     diez
Twenty                                  veinte
Fifty                                   cincuenta
One hundred                             cien
One thousand                            mil




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Useful Websites
The following Internet sites offer good travel information and resources:

Overseas Adventure Travel Store
http://www.oatshop.com

International health information: CDC (Centers for Disease Control)
http://www.cdc.gov/travel

Electric current and plug types
http://www.kropla.com/electric2.htm

Foreign exchange rates
http://www.oanda.com/converter/classic

ATM locators
http://www.mastercard.com/atm for Cirrus ATMs
http://www.visa.com/pd/atm for PLUS ATMs

Tourist information
http://www.ecuadortouristboard.com/ Ecuador
http://www.peru.info/perueng.asp Peru
http://www.andeantravelweb.com/ecuador/ecuador_destinations/galapagos/index.html Galapagos

Travel books
http://www.amazon.com
http://www.barnesandnoble.com

World weather
http://www.intellicast.com
http://www.weather.com
http://www.wunderground.com

Foreign languages for travelers: basic terms in more than 80 languages
http://www.travlang.com/languages

Travel tips: packing light, choosing luggage, etc.
http://www.travelite.org

Net café guide: 100s of locations around the globe
http://www.cybercafes.com

U.S. Customs & Border Protection: traveler information
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel

Transportation Security Administration (TSA): agency that screens luggage in U.S.
http://www.tsa.gov/public

National Passport Information Center (NPIC): for passport information
http://www.travel.state.gov




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Jet Lag Precautions
You will feel better on the first days of your trip if, shortly before you leave home, you start to adjust to
the different time zone of your destination. Since you will cross several time zones to reach your
destination, you may lose many hours of regular sleep. On arrival, your body then will have to suddenly
adjust to new sleeping and eating patterns. The result is jet lag. Its symptoms are fatigue—often
compounded by insomnia and general restlessness—irritability, and vague disorientation. You cannot
totally avoid jet lag, but you can minimize it. Here’s how:

      Start your trip well rested. Try to begin a gradual transition to your new time zone before you
       leave.
      Switch to your destination time zone when you get on the plane. Attempt to sleep and eat
       according to the new schedule.
      Try to sleep on overnight flights.
      Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before—and during—your
       flight.
      Drink plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying.
      Stretch your legs, neck, and back periodically while seated on the plane, and make an effort to get
       up and walk about the cabin a few times to keep your blood circulation normal.
      After arrival, avoid the temptation to nap.
      Don’t push yourself to see a lot on your first day.
      Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner.




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3. Packing Just What You Need

A Word about the Weather
Ecuador: The climate in Ecuador is warm and subtropical in the lowlands but distinctly cooler, especially
at night, at higher elevations. In the lowlands, the seasons are defined more by rainfall than temperature.
A warm rainy season lasts from January to April. From May through December the weather is cooler and
drier. Temperatures vary widely between the Andes Mountains, the Amazon rain forest, and coastal
regions. For example, on a trip in June or July, you may experience temperatures in the high 80s in the
Amazon, near-freezing in Cuzco (optional Machu Picchu & Cuzco extension in Peru) the very next night,
then again in the 80s in the Galápagos three days after that. Rainfall is high in coastal and jungle areas,
low in the “desert island” climate of the Galápagos.

In the Galápagos Islands, temperatures are comfortably mild throughout the year. From December
through June, high temperatures are in the mid-to-upper 80s. This is the rainy season, even though there
are more hours of sunshine during these months. In the desert climate of the Galápagos the amount of
rainfall is miniscule compared to the Amazon rain forest! From July through November, high
temperatures are in the upper 70s to low 80s.

Important note on the Galápagos climate: From July through November, the Humboldt Current cools
the ocean water to about 68 degrees and the mist and soft rain called garua often occurs. Strong southeast
trade winds and the cold Humboldt Current can combine and create choppy seas and cool weather on the
islands as well as in the water. Cold, choppy water is particularly likely from July through October. For
those who are looking forward to snorkeling, please be prepared for these conditions. Some boats will
have some wetsuits available for rental; however, there may not be enough for all passengers in all sizes.
You may want to consider bringing your own wetsuit jacket for snorkeling. If you are prone to
seasickness, you may want to pack an anti-seasickness medicine.

Quito, located in the Ecuadorian Andes, has a climate that is often described as one of “perpetual spring,”
with warm days and chilly nights and little variation of temperature around the year. Much of the rainfall
in this mountainous region comes in the afternoon and evening as clouds build up over the mountains and
thunderstorms develop.

The cool dry season along the equator has its positive side. The temperature during the day is usually in
the 70s with low humidity and quite comfortable, making the nature hikes you take even more pleasant.
And the breeding season for many of the seabirds you encounter, such as albatrosses, penguins, frigate
birds, and brown pelicans, occurs during this time when the cold ocean currents bring nutrient-rich
seawater to the beaches. The seabirds will be breeding and raising their offspring on and near the beaches,
and you’ll have a good opportunity to see the young of these fascinating birds.

In the Amazon, the temperature ranges form 73-96 degrees. The climate is rainy and humid throughout
the year, with between 9-13 feet of rain falling annually. October through December are the drier months.




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Peru (optional extension): Peru’s climate varies considerably by region, although the months of January
through March are the wettest in the highlands (Cuzco). Coastal areas are hot and humid during those
months, but are cooled during the rest of the year by the fog from the ocean known as la garua. The
western slopes of the Andes are clear, warm, and dry most of the year. Up in the mountains, the
temperature drops considerably at night. The eastern slopes of the Andes and the Amazon basin get very
heavy rainfall during their wet season, which lasts from January through April. Because of its high
altitude, Cuzco experiences a broader fluctuation of temperatures on a daily basis. The mercury can drop
quite low at night, and during the dry season nighttime frosts are common.

Midday temperatures in Lima will be in the low 80s from January through April, cooler the rest of the
year. If you take the optional extension to Machu Picchu, you will travel to high-altitude areas with much
cooler climates. For example, on a trip in June or July, you may experience temperatures in the 90s in the
Amazon, but near-freezing temperatures in Cuzco.

www.weatherbase.com is a good Internet site for checking current weather conditions.


Here are the data from the weather observation stations closest to our destinations.

         Average Daily High/Low Temperatures (°F), Humidity & Monthly Rainfall

 MONTH              GALÁPAGOS, Ecuador                            QUITO, Ecuador
                Temp.    % Relative Monthly                Temp.     % Relative Monthly
               High-Low   Humidity    Rainfall            High-Low   Humidity    Rainfall
                         (1300 hours) (inches)                         (avg)     (inches)
   JAN           88-74        71         2.4                66-50       74          4.5
   FEB           87-75        76         4.6                66-50       74          5.1
   MAR           89-76        84          4                 66-50       76          6.0
   APR           89-75        77         2.9                66-51       78          6.9
   MAY           87-74        66          .6                66-51       76          4.9
   JUN           87-72        60          .2                67-49       68          1.9
   JUL           85-70        42          .3                67-49       63          0.8
   AUG           84-69        38          .2                67-49       61          1.0
   SEP           86-70        44          .2                68-49       68          3.1
   OCT           85-71        57          .2                67-49       75          5.0
   NOV           86-72        61          .2                67-49       75          4.3
   DEC           88-73        65          .3                66-50       75          4.1




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 MONTH            CUZCO, Peru (extension)                    LIMA, Peru (extension)
               Temp.   % Relative Monthly                Temp.     % Relative Monthly
              High-Low  Humidity      Rainfall          High-Low   Humidity      Rainfall
                          (avg)       (inches)                       (avg)       (inches)
   JAN          64/45       61            0              79/68         66           5.9
   FEB          64/46       62            .1             80/69         66           4.5
   MAR          65/46       65            .2             80/69         66           3.8
   APR          66/43       70            .5             76/66         64           1.5
   MAY          67/39       78           2.3             72/63         62            .3
   JUN          66/35       81           3.1             69/61         62            .1
   JUL          66/34       81            3              67/60         60            .1
   AUG          66/37       80           2.1             66/60         59            .3
   SEP          67/41       76           1.1             67/59         60            .9
   OCT          68/44       71            .5             69/61         59           1.9
   NOV          67/45       67            .2             72/63         61           2.7
   DEC          66/45       63            .2             76/66         63           4.3

Please note: The data cited here reflect climate as opposed to weather conditions, and serve only as
general indicators of what can reasonably be expected. As your departure approaches you may wish to
monitor current overseas weather conditions through major newspapers, various Internet sites, or the
Weather Channel.



Your Locks & Luggage
TSA locks
For flights that originate in the U.S.:
To reduce the risk of damage to your luggage, please do not lock your bags when checking in for flights
that originate in the U.S. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has the responsibility for
screening every piece of checked luggage at commercial airports throughout the U.S. According to the
TSA, baggage-handling agents may require access to the contents of your luggage and will break locks as
required. There are some locks available from retailers that are “accepted and recognized” by TSA. TSA
screeners have tools for opening and re-locking bags using those locks, thus avoiding damage to the lock
or bag if a physical inspection is required. For a list of TSA-accepted locks, visit their website at
www.tsa.gov/public.

For flights outside the U.S.:
On all flights outside of the U.S., we strongly recommend you lock your luggage.

Also, remember to pack extra rolls of film in your carry-on bag, as screening equipment will cause film
damage. Placing film in a lead-lined bag will only subject luggage to further scrutiny, as baggage-
handling agents will not be able to see the bag’s contents. For more suggestions from the TSA, visit
www.tsa.gov/public.




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                                                  Note


                          SPECIAL LUGGAGE LIMITATIONS
          The weight of your luggage is restricted to 50 pounds on flights within Ecuador.
          Keep your bags light—you’ll be better off if you can tote your bags yourself for
          short distances, and you’ll have room to bring souvenirs home.

          In addition, restrictions on what can be included in your carry-on bag vary by airline.
          To verify these restrictions, please contact your airline directly when you receive
          your final air itinerary.




Clothing Suggestions
Functional Tips
As you will experience a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions, our list suggests several
layers of clothing. You’ll want fairly good-quality rain gear for your jungle visit and for Quito. Most of
your clothing can be made of cotton or cotton-synthetic blends. If you like to hand-wash your clothes,
bring socks and underwear, and even shirts and pants, made of silk, synthetics, or a cotton-synthetic blend
that will dry out overnight. You can buy clothing designed especially for travel. Look for clothes that
offer adequate sun protection. Also, when traveling with a companion we recommend “cross-packing,”
i.e. pack 2 outfits of your clothing in your companion’s luggage and vice-versa, in case one bag is
delayed.

Camouflage: For the Amazon especially, we recommend bringing earth-colored clothing (shades of
greens, browns, and grays). These colors will camouflage your presence in the jungle and afford you a
better opportunity to spot wildlife.

Footwear: You’ll be on your feet a lot during the trip, and walking over some rough and slippery
surfaces. The soles of your shoes should offer good traction. In the Galápagos, the shoes you wear for the
water landings or to walk on the paths will be rinsed by crewmembers before boarding the ship to avoid
cross-contamination of the islands’ ecosystems.

Walking sticks: Many past travelers have recommended bringing a folding walking stick, sold in most
camping stores. An alternative is a folding ski pole. This is very useful when exploring areas without
handrails, such as Incan ruins, jungle trails, and the Galapagos Islands. Our Amazon lodge supplies
walking sticks for all guests, but you may want the use of one when exploring other sites as well. In
Machu Picchu, walking sticks are not permitted. However, our Trip Leaders are often able to negotiate
with park employees to allow walking sticks with rubber tips (as they cause less damage to the ground of
the ancient sites). Therefore, we highly recommend this type of walking stick.

One-time laundry service: At the end of your Amazon journey, you will have the option to have laundry
done by a service that delivers your clothing to your hotel.




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Style Hints
Dress on our trip is functional and casual. Women may want to bring one dress and a pair of dressier
sandals for our occasional restaurant dining.

Traveler’s Checklists
Traveling in foreign countries brings you into new and strange situations, and though it’s often fun to do
things as the locals do, it can be frustrating when simple daily habits, taken for granted at home, are upset.
An ample supply of your favorite toiletries and health remedies are crucial for your personal comfort. To
help make your vacation as convenient and pleasant as possible, please review our lists of suggested
travel gear on the following pages, and pack accordingly. You might want to visit the website
www.travelite.org for more packing and luggage tips.

What not to pack: Do not pack aerosol cans, as they tend to leak during air travel. Also avoid packing
glass bottles; use plastic containers instead. Leave at home checkbooks and any credit cards not essential
for your trip, valuable jewelry, and anything that you would hate to lose.

Packing Your Carry-On Bag
Use your daypack as your carry-on bag for your flights. We strongly urge you to pack in your carry-on
case at least one full change of clothes, your camera gear, all medications, changes of socks and
underwear, your important travel documents, and other irreplaceable items, in case your checked bags are
delayed. Store camera gear and important papers in plastic bags to protect them from dirt and moisture.

NOTE: Restrictions on what can be included in your carry-on luggage change frequently. To avoid
inadvertently packing any restricted items in your carry-on luggage, we strongly suggest that you consult
the Transportation Security Administration website, at www.tsa.gov, which keeps a current list of
restricted items. From the main website click on Our Travelers, then Air Travel, and then you will see a
link for Prohibited Items.


Luggage Checklist
 Daypack or small backpack: to carry your daily necessities, including a water bottle, camera gear,
    sunscreen, etc. As noted above, use this as your carry-on bag on your flights, and keep it with you
    during driving excursions and walking trips. A backpack-style bag or waistpack keeps both hands free
    and distributes the pack’s weight onto your back or hips. Store camera gear and important papers in
    plastic bags to protect them from dirt and moisture.
 One duffel bag or soft-sided luggage: You are only allowed one piece of checked luggage. Look for
    one with heavy nylon fabric, wrap-around handles, built-in wheels, and a heavy-duty lockable zipper.
    Space is limited on our mini-buses, so please do not bring a rigid suitcase.
 Small, lockable duffel bag with a luggage tag and small lock (fold this empty bag inside your large
    bag). This small bag is a necessity for certain portions of your trip and should hold enough gear for
    2-3 nights. Due to limited storage space on the Amazon riverboat during the main trip and on the train
    during the optional Machu Picchu & Cuzco extension, we stow your large duffel in our hotel before
    boarding the boat or train. You’ll carry enough gear for one to three nights in this small duffel, which
    should be waterproof to protect your things from rain or wet landings.




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 Inner bags: Use plastic shopping bags, nylon stuff sacks, small zipper duffels, or special mesh bags to
    separate clothing and gear inside your suitcase, and for dirty laundry. Isolate liquid toiletries in heavy-
    duty Zip-Loc bags.
 Locks and luggage tags for all bags. At some times, however, it may not be possible to check locked
    bags on trains and at airports because of security screening—you may be asked to leave your bag
    unlocked until after the security check.

Recommended Clothing Checklist
Our Trip Leaders compiled the following lists, with many suggestions from past adventure travelers. You
won’t need much else, and you won’t have room for much else in your duffel. Your lodges will provide
you with wooden walking sticks and rain ponchos as well as rubber boots for walking in the Amazon.
Please remember that earthy colors (browns, tans, greens, and grays) are best.

 Short-sleeved cotton shirts—4 or 5.      Polo-            Sport sandals—1 pair (with secure ankle
    style shirts are more versatile than T-shirts.              strap, such as Tevas or Merrell) —
 Long-sleeved cotton or cotton-blend                           perfect for Amazon and Galápagos
    shirts—3.                                               Socks—7 pairs (2 pairs should be
 Trousers:     2 or 3 pairs, comfortable and                   medium- to heavy-weight for hiking)
    loose fitting. Avoid tight-fitting jeans.                   and aqua socks for Galápagos

 Walking shorts, long-cut for modesty—2                    Optional: Dress-casual outfit for dinning
                                                                out in larger cities
 Wide-brim sun hat or visor for sun                        Optional: comfortable walking or
    protection
                                                                running shoes with arch support
 Light rain jacket/windbreaker with hood                   Optional: sleeveless shirts
 Light wool or fleece sweater, as motorcoach               Optional: swimsuit, for activities in the
    air conditioning can be cold
                                                                Amazon and snorkeling in the Galapagos
 Polartec fleece jacket                                    Optional: handkerchiefs or bandanas
 Underwear—7 or 8 changes                                  Optional: sun hat or cap for protection
 Hard-bottom hiking shoes with soles that
    offer good traction

Other Essential Items
 Daily essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste,                 Travel laundry soap and plastic hang-up
    floss, hairbrush or comb, shaving items,                    clothespins
    deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, shower                  Photocopies of passport, air ticket, credit
    cap, body soap, etc.                                        cards
 Spare eyeglasses/contact lenses                           Extra passport-sized photos
 Sunglasses, 100% UV block                                 Moisturizer and sun-blocking lip balm
 Sunscreen, SPF 15 or stronger                             Packets of pocket-size tissues or small
 Insect repellent with DEET (30-35%                            roll of toilet paper
    strength)                                               Moist towelettes (not individual packets)
 Travel money bag or money belt                                and/or anti-bacterial hand cleanser
 Light folding umbrella                                    Flashlight or headlamp, extra
 Water bottle or canteen (disposable bottles                   batteries/bulb (some overnight stays
    are not allowed at archeological sites)                     offer no electricity)



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Medicines
(Your Trip Leader will have a small first-aid kit on hand as well.)
 Your own prescription medicines                          Moleskin foot pads
 Cold remedies: Sudafed, Dristan, etc.                    Prescription antibiotic for diarrhea
 Ibuprofen or aspirin                                     Prescription medicine for altitude
 Laxatives                                                   sickness

 Pepto-Bismol or Mylanta                                  Optional: motion sickness medication
 Benadryl or other antihistamine                          Optional: Prescription medicine to
                                                              prevent malaria
 Anti-diarrhea tablets, like Imodium                      Optional: Tylenol with codeine, or
 Neosporin or bacitracin                                     another strong pain medication for rare
 Band-Aids, several sizes                                    emergency purposes
 Talcum powder                                            Optional: Allergy medication or cough
                                                              suppressant




Optional Gear
 Camera gear                                              Electrical converter & plug adapter: see
 Travel alarm or travel watch with alarm                     “A Word about Electricity” for details

 Lightweight binoculars (essential if birding)            Photos or postcards from home, small
                                                              gift for home-hosted visit
 Folding walking staff, sold in most camping              Small donation of a school item for local
    stores (preferably rubber-tipped)
                                                              school
 Hanging toiletry bag (with hook to hang on               Phrase book
    doorknob and pockets to organize items)
 Basic sewing kit                                         Pocket-size calculator for exchange rates
 Hair dryer                                               Packets of decaffeinated coffee and/or
                                                              sweetener
 Wash cloth                                               Your own snorkel gear
 Reading materials                                        July-November: lightweight wetsuit
 Travel journal/note pad and pens                            jacket or vest for lengthy swims
 Favorite snacks
 Home address book



Tips on Photo Gear
One of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling to new places is the chance to photograph and thereby
capture and bring home some of the wonders of that experience. You will be able to share them with
others, relive some of the moments, and savor them for years to come. So please remember to bring
enough film. Bring film of both high speed and moderate speed—ASA 400 for the interiors of dimly lit
buildings and ASA 200 for the bright light of midday. In the case of digital cameras, bring enough



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memory cards. In many countries film can easily be purchased as needed, but in others the film will be
expensive or difficult to find on short notice. Black and white film can be very difficult to find, if not
impossible. The same is true of the proper memory cards for your digital camera.

Always be sure to bring enough batteries as well. Recharging your video camera while on safari is not
always possible, due to a lack of outlets and electrical shortages or brief outages. If your camera uses
rechargeable batteries, it is handy to carry a spare set, and be sure your camera’s battery charger will work
with the local electrical current. Protect your lens with a UV filter. When traveling it is easy to get dirt or
moisture on the front of your lens, which could permanently damage it. A simple screw-in filter can
protect the lens, and if the filter were to be damaged, it is much less expensive to replace. Bring lens
paper in case your lens does get dusty. And bring a waterproof bag to protect your camera—a simple
Ziploc is sufficient. If your camera’s flash is detachable, don’t forget to pack it. Be sure to bring a camera
whose flash can be turned off, and learn how to turn off the flash when it’s not needed, so as not to
frighten wildlife.

For wildlife photography, a 35mm single reflex camera with a telephoto lens of 200mm to 300mm is
recommended. Larger lenses that require a tripod, or double reflex cameras, are generally impractical. A
wide-angle lens is good for panoramic shots. Or simply bring a disposable panoramic camera. They are
inexpensive and can take perfectly acceptable photos in the right light—not too dim or overly bright.
Most compact cameras, though useful for people shots, are impractical for taking wildlife photos, as the
zoom lens typically is not of sufficient magnification. A few compact models have a zoom lens of up to
120mm, which is usable.

A video camera is excellent for capturing the day’s scenes, especially if it has a feature for taking still
photography. One with a replay screen makes for great fun when you’re back at the hotel discussing the
day’s events with other travelers.

Security at airports has become much more stringent and some of the x-ray machines are potentially
powerful enough to fog or damage film. You can ask that the film be hand-inspected, but the film must be
removed from the canister—so Ziploc plastic bags are vital. You can use one for exposed film and one for
unexposed film. X-rays do not damage the data of digital cameras.




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4. While You Are on Your Trip
Money Matters
How to Carry Your Money
Traveler’s checks—not recommended: We urge you not to rely on traveler’s checks for your personal
expenses. They can be difficult to exchange and the commission fee for cashing them is quite high. It’s
most practical to view any traveler’s checks you might bring as a last “cash” resort in the event of a
special situation.

U.S. dollars have an advantage. Cash is more readily exchanged and accepted than traveler’s checks, and
sometimes commands a better exchange rate. You might also consider using a debit card, another reliable
payment method. Having small denomination bills is most helpful, as many vendors will not be able to
make change for larger bills.

There is no need to obtain local currency before your trip. You can change money at banks, most hotels,
and money exchange offices. Please note that torn, dirty, or taped bills may not be accepted.

ATMs
When traveling, typically PLUS, Cirrus, and other bank networks are available throughout large cities and
some small towns, but please don’t rely on their availability. The Galápagos Isles have only one ATM
and one bank, and waiting in line can take up to two hours. Plan to carry enough cash for your expected
expenses, plus a small reserve. Use your credit card as your financial emergency kit. ATM machines are
accessible in Quito, Lima, and Cuzco, so it might be a good idea to obtain a store of cash in those cities to
prepare for your travel in more remote areas.

Always notify your bank before you leave home that you are going abroad so that they may remove any
blocks on your account and also ask them about the number of withdrawals you may make abroad. For
cash withdrawals, don’t forget to memorize the actual digits of your card’s 4-digit PIN number (many
keypads at foreign ATMs do not include letters on their numeric keys, they only display digits).

Note: Many banks have begun imposing a fee ranging from $1 to $5 every time you use an ATM in a
foreign city. You may want to limit the number of withdrawals that you make. Your Trip Leader can
advise you on locations but when to exchange money is left to your discretion.

Credit Cards
Though major American credit cards are accepted abroad, always inquire if your type of credit card is
accepted before deciding on your purchase. It is also wise to notify the credit card company that you will
be using your cards abroad so that they may remove any security block. When using a major credit card
you may receive a different exchange rate than if you pay with cash; inquire about the rate first. Please be
aware that credit cards might not be accepted for small amounts. DISCOVER credit card does not operate
outside the U.S. Keep your receipts in case you have questions about the conversion or exchange rate.
Also, keep your receipts as proof of purchase for items to be shipped home.

Please note that optional tour payments made by credit card may take up to 3 months to process. For this
reason we ask that you use a credit card that will not expire until three months following your trip.

Credit card charge in Peru: Stores in Peru may charge you up to 8% for the use of a credit card.



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Currency in Ecuador
United States currency is legal tender in Ecuador, although Ecuadorian coins of equal value to U.S. coins
are still minted and circulate.


Currency in Peru—Optional Extension
The official currency of Peru is the Nuevo Sol, which is divided into 100 céntimos.
              bills come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Nuevo Sols
              coins come in denominations of 1, 10, 20, and 50 céntimos and 1, 2, and 5 Nuevo Sols

For current exchange rates, please refer to our website, or the financial section of your newspaper. From
our web address below, select the Travel Tips & Tools link on the left, then click on Currency Converter.
From here you may select the currency you want to convert.
                                        www.oattravel.com/awg

Tipping
For those of you who have asked for tipping suggestions, we offer these guidelines. All tips below are
quoted in U.S. dollars; tips can be converted and paid in local currency (this is usually preferred) or in
U.S. dollars (do not use personal or traveler’s checks for tips). Of course, whether you tip, and how much,
is always at your own discretion.

OAT Trip Leader: It is customary to express a personal “thank you” to your OAT Trip Leader at the end
of your trip, especially if he or she has provided you with individual assistance. As a guideline, many
travelers give $7-$10 per person, per day.

Included Meals: Your Trip Leader will tip waiters for included meals.

Shipboard: Shipboard gratuities to the cruise personnel are not included in the cost of your Galapagos
Cruise. The ships’ tipping guidelines recommend a flat tip of $10-$12 U.S. per person, per day, which
will be pooled among all cruise staff. For your convenience tips for the crew can be paid in U.S. cash,
local currency (no credit card payments are accepted for tipping).



Staying Healthy on Your Trip
Safe Water
Tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water or treated drinking water is readily available. Inspect each
bottle before you buy it to make sure the cap is sealed properly. Carry a bottle in your daypack at all
times. Bottled drinks and juices, and hot drinks that have been boiled, are safe to drink. Avoid drinks with
ice in them. Carry a handkerchief to dry the tops of bottled drinks before and after opening.

Safe Food
We’ve carefully chosen the restaurants for your group meals. Be very careful with food sold from vendors
on the street, and with uncooked fruit and other foods. Fruit that you peel yourself is usually safe—avoid
lettuce and other unpeeled produce.




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Hygiene
Wash your hands frequently: before meals, before snacks, when brushing your teeth, after visiting the
bathroom. Carry your own handkerchief to dry your hands thoroughly each time. You won’t always find
running water, so bring moist towelettes (in a box, not individually wrapped) or anti-bacterial “water-
free” hand cleanser. Avoid touching your face, biting your nails, and putting things in your mouth out of
habit. Don’t share your water bottle with others.

Don’t Push Too Hard
One of the most important parts of staying healthy on an active trip is to not push yourself too hard if you
feel tired. Respect your own limits. Your trip schedule offers some degree of flexibility. If your energy
level is low on a certain day, you can sit out a walking tour or a road excursion. Be particularly
conservative when you first arrive at a high altitude. Your Trip Leader can tell you about the distance,
time, and terrain of our walking excursions in advance, and can usually suggest rewarding alternative
activities.

Drink Plenty of Liquids
When you travel, you can easily become dehydrated without knowing it. If your fluid balance is low, you
are more susceptible to fatigue and illness. Air travel will dry you out, so drink liquids and avoid alcohol
on your flights. During the trip, don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink—this is especially important at
high altitudes. Instead, drink by the clock: drink one to two quarts of water or juice each day, in addition
to drinks at meals. If you find yourself tired or unwell, and don’t know why, it may be that you simply
need to drink more. Note that tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages are diuretics, and do not help maintain
hydration.

Sun and Heat Exposure
Be sure to wear your hat and use plenty of sunscreen. Be aware of the signs of heat exposure. Be
especially concerned if you feel hot, but are not perspiring. Let your Trip Leader know if you are not
feeling well. Most importantly, you must drink plenty of liquids when temperatures are high.

If You Have Stomach Trouble
Despite your best efforts, you may get diarrhea at some point. It is usually limited in duration, and will
often go away without medication. Immediately and consistently, drink more liquids to make up for the
fluids you are losing. The best initial treatment is to chew two Pepto Bismol tablets; repeat three to four
times a day. This may be all you need to do. You can, and probably should, eat when you get hungry, but
avoid dairy products and fried foods for a while.

If your symptoms persist for more than 12 to 24 hours, you may decide to take a course of a prescription
antibiotic. Most antibiotics are taken twice a day, for about three days. Once you start the course, it’s
important to continue for the full duration of treatment. Don’t stop if your symptoms subside sooner.

Anti-motility agents, like Imodium and Lomotil, treat the symptom rather than the cause. You may want
to take Imodium before a long bus ride or a city tour. You can take it along with an antibiotic. But
because these medications interfere with your body’s natural attempts to rid itself of the infection, many
specialists recommend that you not take them when you are in a place with convenient access to a
bathroom. Specifically, don’t take Imodium, Lomotil, or a similar medication if you have a fever, or if
you have bloody diarrhea.

Altitude Illness (optional trip extensions)
Quito is approximately 9,252 feet above sea level; and Cuzco (visited during the optional Machu Picchu
& Cuzco extension) is at 10,909 feet. You will probably feel some effects of altitude when you first
arrive. Even if you’ve been to high elevations previously, you could have a different reaction this time.
For most people, the symptoms are mild and will pass in a day or so.




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The most common symptoms of altitude sickness are lightheadedness, shortness of breath, headache,
nausea, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite. You should take it easy, avoid smoking and alcohol, and drink
plenty of fluids. Some people take the medication Diamox, starting when they arrive or one day before.
Don’t take sleeping medications, as they suppress respiration. Even though you may experience a
decreased appetite, force yourself to eat soups and some foods.

If these normal altitude symptoms become unmanageable, it is critical that you inform your Trip Leader.
Please let the leader know if you experience any of the following: serious difficulty breathing, mental
confusion, a severe and unremitting headache, continued difficulty breathing after a period of rest, or poor
physical coordination (ataxia).

Cell Phones
If you want to use a cell phone while traveling overseas, be sure to check whether your own phone will
work outside the U.S. or if you’re better off renting an international phone. The websites
www.travelcell.com and www.globalcellularrental.com have good information on rentals. You may also
want to consider buying an inexpensive local phone for your stay.

To use your own phone, it’s best to investigate the options and fees your plan offers for international use.
Consult your service provider (www.verizon.com, www.t-mobile.com, etc.) for details. U.S. service is
dominated by the CDMA technology standard, while most of the world uses the incompatible GSM
standard. Some U.S. providers do offer GSM, but in either case you may incur high international roaming
fees. With GSM, however, you can often choose to have your phone “unlocked” and then add a local SIM
card for lower fees. If you can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a
Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value.

Phone Calling Cards
When calling the U.S. from a foreign country, consider using a prepaid calling card, because the only
additional charge you’ll normally incur (besides the prepaid long distance charges) is a local fee of a few
cents and possibly a connection fee if you are using your card at your hotel. It is best to check with the
hotel’s reception desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges.

Calling cards purchased locally are typically less expensive than those purchased in the U.S. and are more
likely to work with the local phone system. Do not call U.S. 1-800 numbers outside the continental
United States. This can result in costly long distance fees, since 1-800 numbers do not work outside the
country.

A Word about Electricity
You’ll need plug adapters (two or more) to use American appliances in Ecuador. Ecuador’s voltage is 110
volts, 60 AC. Aboard the Galápagos boat, you’ll find the electric supply to be the same as in the U.S. so
you will not need an electric-current converter, only a plug adaptor. If you are taking the optional Machu
Picchu & Cuzco extension, we recommend you bring an electric-current converter as well as plug
adapters, as Peruvian electricity is generally 220 volts, 60 cycles AC.

A constant electricity supply cannot be guaranteed during overnight stays. Passengers dependent on
electricity supply (as in the case of those with sleep apnea) should consider a different OAT vacation or
ensure their apparatus has back-up battery power. In some places—like your jungle lodges—a generator
may supply electricity for a limited period of time (6pm-10pm), and lighting may not be as bright as you
are used to.




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Responsible Travel in Ecuador
We do our best to have a minimum negative impact on local cultures and the natural environment in every
country where we operate trips. In 31 years of travel, our travelers and staff have learned techniques that
encourage rewarding cultural exchange. Our goal is to leave no trace on the natural environment, or to
leave places better than we find them. Here’s what we ask of you as part of this effort:

Conserving the Natural Environment
•   Minimize the disposable items you bring on the trip. Leave film boxes, wrappings from new clothes,
    and other unneeded items at home.
•   Dispose of your trash properly. Instead of disposing of trash at roadside rest areas or restaurants, keep
    a small trash bag in your day bag and empty it in your hotel each night.
•   Ask whether plastic drinking water bottles can be recycled. Most days, it’s better to keep your empty
    bottles with you until you reach your hotel.
•   Stay on established trails to avoid damaging plants.
•   Don’t pick any vegetation or remove any item of biological interest.
•   Don’t take flash pictures inside churches or temples, or near wildlife.
•   Try not to brush your shoulder or bag against ancient walls or columns.
•   Where other foreign visitors have littered film boxes or candy wrappers, consider picking them up.
    Local people will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
•   In the Galápagos, refrain from disposing of items in the toilet, even toilet paper, as they could damage
    the whole system or contaminate the sea. Instead, please dispose of toilet paper in the wastebasket.

Cultural Interaction
You can have some great “conversations” with local people who do not speak English, even if you don’t
speak a word of the local language. Indeed, this non-verbal communication can be a highly rewarding part
of travel. To break the ice, bring along some family photographs or a few postcards of your hometown. If
you want to meet kids, bring a puppet or other interactive toy. Your Trip Leader can help get the ball
rolling. Keep in mind that it is polite to know a few words in the local language.

Your attire is a key part of your non-verbal presentation. Your clothing should show a respect for local
tradition. This means you should dress in a relatively modest style. Avoid revealing or tight-fitting outfits.

The etiquette of photographing most people in the countries on your itinerary is about the same as it
would be on the streets of your hometown. You need permission to take a close-up, but not for a crowd
scene. Be especially polite if you want to photograph older women or young children. If you want to
shoot a great portrait, show interest in your subject, try to have a bit of social interaction first. Then use
sign language to inquire if a picture is OK. Your Trip Leader can help.




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Safety & Security

Common Sense and Awareness
As you travel, exercise the same caution and awareness that you would in a large American city. Don’t be
overly nervous or suspicious, but keep your eyes open. There have been thefts in Quito. If you are
venturing out after dark, go with one or two other people.

Carry a one-day supply of cash in your pocket. Carry most of your money, and your passport, in a travel
pouch or money belt under your shirt. Replenish your pocket supply when you are in a safe and quiet
place, or in our vehicle. Almost all of our hotel rooms provide a complimentary electronic in-closet safe
(for which you can set a personal pin number), or offer use of a hotel safe at the front desk. Please utilize
them. Do not leave valuable items unattended in your room.

Pickpockets may create a sudden distraction, especially in crowded airports, train stations, and markets. In
any sort of puzzling street situation, try to keep one hand on your money belt. If an encounter with a local
turns out to be long and complicated and involves money or your valuables, be very careful. Con artists
sometimes target travelers.



Shopping in Ecuador

Souvenirs
Ecuador offers many fine craft items at good prices. Traditional souvenirs include jewelry and sculptures
created from Tagua vegetable ivory (using the nut of the Tagua palm tree), old and new weavings,
ceramics, paintings, woolen clothing, hand-knitted alpaca sweaters, Panama hats, gold and silver jewelry,
and leather goods.

Your purchase decisions are very personal. If you plan a major purchase, we strongly recommend that
you research the prices and quality available at home before your trip. Just one visit to an import shop or
gold dealer will put you way ahead when you go shopping. This is the only way to know if you are
getting a good price. It is Overseas Adventure Travel’s goal to identify and provide you with shopping
opportunities that highlight unique, locally made products with good value from reliable vendors. You
must use your best judgment when deciding whether an item is worth the price being asked. Overseas
Adventure Travel cannot be responsible for purchases you make on your trip or for problems you may
have with shipment of your purchases.

Bargaining
Some shops have fixed prices. In other places, merchants enjoy negotiating over prices. If this is your first
experience at bargaining, don’t worry—you’ll quickly find your own style. Your opening offer should be
well under the asking price. The only rule is that, if you make an offer, you should be prepared to buy at
that price. And remember, whatever price you pay is okay, as long as the item is worth that price to you.

U.S. Customs Regulations
Articles totaling $800, at fair retail value where they were acquired, may be imported free of charge if you
bring them with you. A flat 10% rate of duty will be applied to the next $1,000 worth (fair retail value) of
merchandise. The U.S. Customs Inspector determines the value of your items when you enter, and is not
bound by your bill of sale. In almost every case, however, a genuine bill of sale will be honored.




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                                       While You Are on Your Trip

Items shipped home are always subject to duty when received in the U.S. There will also be charges for
clearing the shipment through customs. The U.S. Customs & Border Protection service states: “The most
cost-effective thing to do is to take your purchases with you if at all possible.”

U.S. Customs & Border Protection will seize products made from endangered animal species, as well as
most furs, coral, tortoise shell, reptile skins, feathers, plants, and items made from animal skins. Trade of
these products contributes to the extinction of wildlife in the rain forest. For more information on what
you may or may not bring back into the United States, you can obtain the publication “Know Before You
Go” from the agency below or from their website:

                               U.S. Bureau of Customs & Border Protection
                                     1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
                                         Washington, DC 20229
                                          Tel. 1-202-354-1000
                                      www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel




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                                          Some Final Thoughts



5. Some Final Thoughts
Contributions to Locals
We strongly discourage the distribution of money, pens, candy, and leftover food to children or adults you
meet along the way. There are beggars at many traditional tourist sites. We suggest you make eye contact,
smile politely, and keep moving. If you give to one beggar, your entire group may be harassed.

When you walk near homes or schools, children may solicit you most charmingly, as they do all over the
world. But consider how you would feel if you were a parent or a teacher, and every time foreigners came
by, your children ran off and got things you couldn’t supply. Candy promotes tooth decay, and small
villages have few dentists. If you give out pens randomly, some kids get them and some don’t, and this is
disruptive in class.

We actively encourage you to make contributions in ways that support community institutions. Here’s
one example (although a visit to a local school is not planned, it may be happen if time and schedules
allow): Bring a large box of pens or pencils, a package of notebooks, or a couple of educational books for
children ages 7-14. For those staying at Yachana Lodge, the staff has kindly requested (in lieu of pens,
pencils, and erasers that they have graciously received in abundance from generous travelers) that you
bring other school supplies such as puzzles, small poster board, blackboard erasers, etc. With your Trip
Leader as a translator, make a semi-formal presentation to a teacher in a local school. Tell the teacher how
much you appreciate his or her efforts, and how education is valued highly in the U.S. Ask the teacher to
distribute the items in class. These small gestures have a huge, positive impact for the local students.



A Real Adventure
Traveling in Ecuador (and Peru, if you take the optional Machu Picchu & Cuzco extension) is quite
different from a vacation in North America or Europe. This is an adventurous trip in a developing
country. Most days are great fun. But some aspects of the countries or the experience can be disagreeable,
and it may be useful to know about them in advance.

Our hotels are comfortable, but not luxurious. There can be occasional problems with electricity, hot
water, and air conditioning. At our rain forest lodge, creature comforts are basic. (Remember to bring a
flashlight.) The boats we charter in the Galápagos provide basic accommodations. Cabins are small and
bathrooms can be cramped. The Galápagos is a remote location and facilities are limited. During your
trip, there can be occasional problems with electricity, hot water, and air conditioning. In restaurants,
hotels, and at cultural sites, everything works according to a slower sense of time than what you are used
to. It’s best to wind down and adjust to the local pace and philosophy. As mentioned earlier, flight
schedules internal to Ecuador (and Peru) may be very early in the morning, and boarding times often
change suddenly—a fact of life in this country that it is best to accept with a flexible attitude.

You’ll be traveling each day with people you don’t know. By the end of the trip, you’ll know them fairly
well! Many OAT travelers form lasting friendships and return to travel together again. But you probably
won’t enjoy every person every day. The evergreen qualities of patience, flexibility, humor, and mutual
consideration will help everyone have a good time.




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                                          Some Final Thoughts

We work hard to ensure that your trip runs smoothly, but things don’t always go according to plan. And
we’ve deliberately sought out non-traditional travel settings and unusually adventurous experiences. The
unplanned moments are the often the most memorable, but, to be frank, they aren’t always the most
rewarding.

Your Trip Leaders are experienced in dealing with unexpected hitches, and will often work discreetly,
behind the scenes, for the good of the group. But we’ve also developed a calm acceptance that some
things are simply beyond our control. Weather and local road conditions might affect your trip. Your
activities could be different from those described in your itinerary. There could be inexplicable delays. At
such times, you’ll have a better trip if you can draw on your sense of humor and your most adventurous
travel spirit.




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