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UPDATE: Ongoing Suspension of Snorkeling on Santa Fe Island
- September 28, 2018

In April of this year, the Galapagos National Park Directorate decided to suspend all snorkeling activities at Santa Fe Bay until the summer of 2018.

The Directorate has stipulated that the monitoring process in Santa Fe Island’s waters will continue, and that the suspension is to be prolonged until 31st July 2019.

The alternative snorkeling sites that have been authorized are the following:

  • Expedition Cruisers: Bahia Pescador (eastern shore of Santa Fe).
  • The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel’s Yacht Sea Lion: La Encañada (northern shore of Santa Fe).

( Information supplied courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

NOTICE: Ecuador Eliminates the Mandatory Health Insurance for International Travelers
- August 23, 2018

Foreign tourists entering Continental Ecuador will no longer need to take out health insurance, according to the recent Organic Law for the Promotion of Production, Attraction of Investments, Employment Generation and Fiscal Balance that came into force this Tuesday, 21 of August 2018, after its publication in the Official Register. 

Number 1 of Article 44 provides for the repeal of the fifth paragraph of Article 56 of the Organic Law on Human Mobility, which established the compulsory nature of insurance for migratory tourist status as a requirement for entry into Continental Ecuador. 

The elimination of health insurance, promoted by the head of the Ministry of Tourism, Enrique Ponce De León, and fully supported by the President of the Republic, Lenin Moreno Garcés, seeks to maintain the country's tourism competitiveness without increasing costs for the people who come to enjoy Ecuador.  In this way, there is increasing support for the receptive tourism industry of the country.

 ( Information supplied by Latin Trails )

UPDATE: Insurance Not Needed to Visit Ecuador
- July 11, 2018

Dear friends and colleagues,

As your dedicated partners in travel and tourism, we wanted to properly inform you on the status of existing health insurance requirements for visitors arriving to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

The health insurance requirement for all visitors entering Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is regulated by two separate laws.

The first law required all tourists to present proof of health insurance upon arrival. This requirement, which is part of the Human Mobility Law, or “Ley de Movilidad Humana”, has been terminated by the Congress of Ecuador. That means that tourists entering Ecuador or visiting the Galapagos Islands WILL NOT need to show proof of insurance.

Originally that article was to be activated on July 24th, 2018 and all tourists entering Ecuador would have to prove they had a registered health insurance.  Due to the President of Ecuador’s urgent request to remove the health requirement, the Congress of Ecuador accepted the termination of the proposed article and therefore it has been removed and will not be presented again in the future.

The second law we wish to clarify is the Organic Law of the Galapagos Region or “Ley Orgánica del Régimen Especial de la Provincia de Galápagos”.  This particular law required visitors to the Galapagos Islands to also show proof of health insurance.

This law has been in force since 2015, but in order to apply it, regulation of said law is still required.  This regulation has not been created and according to official sources, there are no plans to create the regulations needed in the near future.  This means the application of the health insurance requirement to enter the Galapagos Islands is not active, still undergoing the processes needed to be applied, and may never be applied as the requirement may be revoked.

In conclusion, no tourists or visitors to Ecuador and/or the Galapagos Islands will need to show proof of insurance upon their arrival, which gives no reason to continue asking for this requirement.

( Information courtesy of Andando Tours )


UPDATE: The Galapagos Lightshow: From Fernandina to Isabela
- June 28, 2018

Volcanic eruptions on Isabela Island, GalapagosTen days ago, our dynamic archipelago gave us a show with the powerful and impressive week-long eruption on Fernandina Island.  Guests on board Yacht La Pinta witnessed the complete eruptive process, even sailing down to the location where the lava was emerging… An impressive lightshow, courtesy of the Earth’s mantle.

Not too far, on Isabela Island, some increased seismic activity had been rocking the Sierra Negra Volcano for the past 3 months, resulting yesterday in another eruptive event!  The last time the Sierra Negra - Volcan Chico complex erupted was back in 2005.  We are fascinated and awed to see it back in action.

This area is a visitor site where our Island-2-Island Hopping program explorers normally have a chance to walk along the rim of one of the world’s largest craters.  To safeguard guests’ wellbeing, the Galapagos National Park and the Emergency Operations Committee have placed the volcano on orange alert, proceeding to cancel all on-site activities, including all expeditions.  Additionally, 250 locals have been evacuated from the highlands of Isabela as a precaution.

Eruptions of Sierra Negra VolcanoHowever, just as was the case for the Fernandina eruption, lava flows are visible from our expedition vessels, particularly when sailing along the southern section of the Bolivar Channel, between Isabela and Fernandina Islands.  Within the next 5 days, Yacht La Pinta will be right in this area.  The Santa Cruz II and Yacht Isabela II will sail these same waters about a week from now.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that our guests will be treated to this natural lightshow, just like those on Yacht La Pinta about ten days ago. We are happy to welcome our guests to Galapagos as these astounding natural phenomena showcase the geological forces of our planet.

We will keep you updated on further developments. Please do not hesitate to contact your Destination Expert for more information.


Map shoing proximity of Fernandina and Isabela IslandsFAQs

Will this eruption change vessel itineraries?

No, as it is not necessary.

Will this eruption change the Island-2-Island Hopping program (Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel + Scalesia Lodge)?

Only to the extent that the walk along the rim of the volcano will not be possible.  Everything else is to remain the same.

Which itineraries take us past the site of the eruption?

The La Pinta Western, Santa Cruz II Western, and the Isabela II Northern.

Why are these eruptions non-threatening?

The volcanoes in the Galapagos have a number of fissures through which lava and pressure can easily escape. For instance, the Sierra Negra Volcano’s magma chamber received intermittent injections of molten rock, thus causing a morpho-geological phenomenon called “tumescence”.  In other words, the volcano’s innards became swollen with magma.  When the volcano filled to the brim, this magma found many fractures and weak points through which to release the liquid rock and its contents.  Additionally, Galapagos volcanoes are not as explosive as continental volcanoes.

Quito, 27th June 2018

( Information and photos supplied courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )


ANNOUNCEMENT: Mashpi Lodge Chosen Best in South America in 2018 Luxury Lifestyle Magazine Readers' Travel Awards
- June 28, 2018

Luxury Lifestyle Readers' Travel Awards 2018A few months ago we proudly announced that Mashpi Lodge had been selected as a finalist in the prestigious 2018 Luxury Lifestyle Magazine Readers’ Travel Awards, competing in the “Best Hotel in South America” category.

After wowing over 65,000 well-traveled readers, we are happy to announce that Mashpi Lodge has again received the prestigious accolade of best hotel in South America, and eighth in the world!

Luxury Lifestyle Magazine is a major publication for five-star travel and fine dining that rewards the travel industry for excellence in a number of categories. It is known for shining a spotlight on the finest hotels and travel destinations in the world, with an affluent, high-net readership.

Mashpi Lodge works passionately to ensure that its guests live transformative experiences in the mysterious lower-mountain tropical rainforests and cloud forests of Ecuador.  This commitment is also part of its mission to protect the environment and provide opportunities for local communities.

We are happy to share the news with you.

Quito, 27th June 2018
( Information courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )


NEWS: Important information about Sierra Negra Volcano Eruption
- June 27, 2018

Located on Isabela Island in the Galapagos, Sierra Negra begun eruptive activity 26th of June 2018.  Eruption took place in the caldera’s North-East with lava flowing towards the Pacific Ocean, far away from populated areas.

Isabela Island continues welcoming visitors, however excursions to Sierra Negra Volcano have been suspended by the Galapagos National Park Authorities for the duration of the event.

Its important to emphasize that all our guests in Isabela or any other island in the Archipelago are safe and our operations have not been affected in any manner by the volcanic eruption. The Galapagos National Park continuously monitors the situation and offers permanent updates.

Guests who are due to visit Sierra Negra volcano as part of their itinerary will be offered alternative activities.

Galapagos Safari Camp is located 53 miles away from Isabela, in Santa Cruz Island.

If you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

 (Information courtesy of Galapagos Safari Camp)

UPDATE: The Ecuadorian government has delayed the health or travel insurance requirement for 90 days
- April 25, 2018

We would like to inform you that *the Ecuadorian government has delayed the health or travel insurance requirement for visitors coming to Ecuador for 90 days.

This means that visitors will NOT BE REQUIRED to present proof of insurance to enter Ecuador until July 22nd, 2018.

Ecuador’s tourism industry is requesting the Government to abolish this requirement and are hopeful that this will happen.

We will keep you informed about any changes in the matter.


NOTICE: Snorkeling Suspended at Santa Fe Island
- March 14, 2018

We wish to inform you that as a result of a recent shark incident at Santa Fe Island, the operator of the vessels Santa Cruz II, La Pinta, and Isabela II have suspended snorkeling activities at the site, pending the results of an investigation by Galapagos National Park authorities.  This will not affect other normal activities such as panga rides, glass-bottom boat rides and kayaking.  This was likely an isolated incident and we expect snorkeling activities to resume soon.

UPDATE: Ministry of Tourism Officially Announces 90-Day Extension to Health Insurance Requirement
- February 09, 2018

Earlier today, the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador published an official press release in which it announced that all tourists
entering the country as of 1 May 2018 will be required to present proof of health insurance that will provide
coverage while they visit Ecuador. 

This announcement represents a 90-day extension to the original 6 February 2018 start date for the health insurance
requirement established in the Organic Law on Human Mobility. 

 ( Information courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

UPDATE: Casa Gangotena is getting ready for the full reopening of the Plaza
- February 09, 2018

As we had announced at the end of November, the contractor for the work on the Plaza San Francisco Metro Station has advanced significantly and is now moving full steam ahead on the replacement of the Plaza's heritage paving stones. It has been a fascinating process to watch, as each numbered stone returns to its home thanks to the talented hands of
skilled local artisans. We sent our "man-on-the-street", Francisco "Pancho" Dousdebes to gather
video footage with the latest happenings.

Casa Gangotena is getting ready for the full reopening of the Plaza, set tentatively for the end of February, with exciting new Cocina Mestiza menu items and delicious signature cocktails at the ready for a great celebration.

Come join us! 

Best regards,

Paola Carpio
Sales Manager
Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel


NOTICE: Tax Increase to Quito International Airport
- February 02, 2018

Please note, there will be an airport tax increase to the New Quito International Airport to adjust for inflation.  This tax increase will be applied to both international and domestic flights.  An increase of .29 cents will be applied to domestic flights, and an increase of $1.04 will be applied to international flights.  The collection of these fees will be applied to all passengers traveling after February 20, 2018 regardless of the date the ticket was issued.

 ( Information courtesy of Enchanted Expeditions )

NOTICE: Yellow Alert for Increased Volcanic Activity in Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela Island
- January 20, 2018

The Ecuadorian Geophysics Institute has informed that the activity of Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela Island in the Galapagos archipelago has increased in the past few months due to the intrusion of magma into the interior of the volcano at a relatively superficial level. Because of this increase, the Institute has decided to declare a “yellow alert” for the volcano. 

The Galapagos National Park has restricted the access to the areas known as: Volcán Chico, Erupción 2005, and Amarradero de caballos in the nearby area.  The only areas currently open for visitors are: Mirador 1 (Lookout 1: the pedestrian path around the volcano), Mirador 2 (Lookout 2: located between the pedestrian path and the equestrian path), and the circuit that joins these two viewpoints.  Experts are monitoring the situation around the clock, receiving the scientific information generated by the instruments installed on the volcano.  For those interested in learning more about Sierra Negra’s fascinating geology, please consult the Smithsonian Institute’s Global Volcanism Program’s website

 ( Information courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

NOTICE: Temporary Dry Law In Effect From 2 - 5 February, 2018 For Ecuador's Election
- January 19, 2018

On Sunday 4 February, 2018 Ecuador will be holding a referendum, and as has been the case for previous elections, a temporary dry law will be implemented.  Ecuadorian citizens and visitors alike will be forbidden from selling and consuming alcoholic beverages throughout the country starting Friday, 2 February 2018 at noon (12:00 P.M.) and lasting until noon (12:00 P.M.) on Monday, 5 February 2018. The rule applies in both private and public spheres and includes restaurants and hotels, though it does not apply to guests on board our ships.  Guests at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel are affected by the prohibition, as are visitors to continental Ecuador. 

In addition, there may be unusual traffic issues on Election Day, Sunday, 4 February. 

 ( Information courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

NOTICE: Municipal Tax on Overnight Stays in Mashpi Lodge takes effect
- January 05, 2018

Mashpi Lodge near Quito, EcuadorAs you [may be] aware, all hotels in Quito charge an overnight tax depending on their category.  We have recently been informed by the Municipality of Quito that as a 5-star hotel located within the Metropolitan District boundaries, Mashpi Lodge will now be required to charge a municipal hotel tax of US$2.75 per overnight stay. This tax took effect on 2nd January 2018.

We have already added these values to our published rates and request that you take this tax into consideration for all bookings after 2 January, 2018.

Thank you for your understanding

Kind regards,

Paola Carpio
Sales Manager Mashpi Lodge

NOTICE: New Luggage Check Procedure For Galapagos Flights
- October 16, 2017

Just a quick note from Avianca airlines to let you know that, starting some days ago, the Anti-Narcotics police in Quito are randomly checking the luggage of travelers flying from from Quito to the Galapagos islands.

Considering this information, it's important to let your clients know about this new procedure and, to let them know that they have to check their own luggage at the airline's counter and, must keep their luggage tag just in case the police officers ask them to open their suitcases for a more in depth inspection.

Thanks a lot for sharing this information with your clients.

 ( Information courtesy of Haugan Cruises )

NEWS: Information on Galapagos Passengers Regarding Tsunami Warning
- September 08, 2017

At 11:49 PM (EST), an 8.1 earthquake in Mexico triggered early morning tsunani warnings for Ecuador and Galapagos, El Salvador, Colombia, Costa Rica and the coastal region of the southern Pacific. The United States Geological Service (USGS) reports that the earthquake occurred 87 km SW of Pijijiapan, Mexico at a depth of 69.7 km.

Authorities predicted the arrival of a 0.2 m – 1 m wave, as a result of which Metropolitan's 3 expedition vessels were sent to the high sea as a precaution and guests at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel were evacuated to a safe location at the highest point of the property.  The wave was expected to arrive at approximately 3:00 AM local time but thankfully did not materialize and the tsunami warning was cancelled at 4:05 AM.

All guests and properties are completely safe and sound and there was no affect in Galapagos.

We would like to express our solidarity with Mexico as it faces this natural emergency.

 ( Information courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

NEWS: Fernandina Volcano Erupts Providing Natural Spectacle

- September 05, 2017

Fernandina Volcano Eruption 2017 (photo supplied by Metropolitan Touring)Visitors to the uninhabited Western island of Fernandina are getting quite a show yesterday as the island’s volcano, the youngest in the archipelago, has sent off a column of steam and ash after a decade of calm coexistence with the island’s wildlife. Located on the westernmost side of the Galapagos archipelago, closest to the geological hotspot responsible for forming all of the Enchanted Isles, Fernandina is the islands’ most active volcano. Yesterday’s eruption appears to be occurring between Cape Douglas and Cape Hammond on the far west side of the island but more information should become available over the next few days. It is difficult to know how long the eruption will last but previous eruptions have had a duration of 1-15 days. Guests aboard the Santa Cruz II and La Pinta are expected to have the possibility of seeing this majestic natural phenomenon from a safe distance today as their itineraries put them in line of sight from Buccaneer Cove and Eden Islet, respectively.

 ( Information and photos courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

UPDATE: Metro Construction in Quito
- August 23, 2017

Metro Construction Area - Quito, Ecuador - 2017-08-23We are happy to announce that the construction of the Quito Metro Station at Plaza San Francisco has progressed according to plan and is currently on schedule.

As we had previously informed you, the first of two 3-month phases has concluded, which means that all of the most intense work has come to an end.  This first phase entailed elevated levels of visual and noise pollution, vibrations and the presence of heavy machinery (mainly cranes and drills), all of which are gone by now.

As we enter this second and final 3-month phase, Casa Gangotena will experience virtually zero levels of noise, vibration and considerably less visual pollution. Additionally, construction on the foundation floor of the plaza is underway which will then be followed by the placement of the original cobblestone.  Despite a portion of the plaza remaining off-limits still and the lingering presence of some smaller machinery, we are very satisfied with the progress that has been made on the project.

Click here to see pictures that show the current state of the plaza and surrounding spaces nearby Casa Gangotena.

Quito, 23rd August, 2017
( Information and photos courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

Metro Construction Area - Quito, Ecuador - 2017-08-23

UPDATE: Update on construction of the San Francisco Plaza Metro Station
- August 22, 2017

Casa Gangotena Hotel - Quito, EcuadorWe are happy to announce that the construction of the Quito Metro Station at Plaza San Francisco has progressed according to plan and is currently on schedule.

As we had previously informed you, the first of two 3-month phases has concluded, which means that all of the most intense work has come to an end.  This first phase entailed elevated levels of visual and noise pollution, vibrations and the presence of heavy machinery (mainly cranes and drills), all of which are gone by now.

As we enter this second and final 3-month phase, Casa Gangotena will experience virtually zero levels of noise, vibration and considerably less visual pollution. Additionally, construction on the foundation floor of the plaza is underway which will then be followed by the placement of the original cobblestone.  Despite a portion of the plaza remaining off-limits still and the lingering presence of some smaller machinery, we are very satisfied with the progress that has been made on the project.

 ( Update and image courtesy of Casa Gangotena )

NOTICE: Name Requisites for Avianca Airline Tickets
- August 16, 2017

Avianca Airlines jet (image provided by Haugan Cruises.)
Avianca Airlines
(Image provided by Haugan Cruises)

Please take note of the following press release from Avianca.

"All flight reservations and tickets must include the name of the passenger as recorded in their travel documents.

Failure to comply with this requirement will result in denying the passenger access to board at the airport.  The passenger WILL NOT be allowed to purchase a new ticket in the class available in order to embark on the scheduled flight.

In addition, we remind you that name changes will not be made on the same day as the scheduled flight as Avianca's system will not allow it."

It is important to consider these requirements in order to create a flawless operation for travelers on their way to the Galapagos Islands.

We are more than happy to assist with any questions or concerns regarding these conditions for flight reservations.

 ( Information courtesy of Haugan Cruises )

New Regulations for Visiting Machu Picchu
- May 31, 2017

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Following our previous announcement regarding the new regulations to enter Machu Picchu
Citadel, we can now share with you additional and important details.

Shifts, Capacity and Visit Duration:

1. Two (02) shifts will be effective July 1st, 2017

  • Morning shift: From 06:00 to 12:00 hrs.
  • Afternoon shift: From 12:00 to 17:30 hrs. (no entrance allowed after 16:30 hrs.)

2. The capacity of the Citadel is 2,500 visitors per day which will be distributed in the above
two (02) shifts

3. The maximum length of stay in Machu Picchu is 4 hours as of the time of entry to the

4. Effective July 1st, 2017 visitors that wish to re-enter the Machu Picchu Citadel will be
required to purchase a new ticket. The previous system allowed visitors to re-entry the Citadel as many times as needed. For example, a visitor could leave Machu Picchu for lunch, and re-enter right after. Starting July 1st 2017, this will not be possible. Under this new regulation, visitors that wish to re-entry the Citadel will have to purchase a new ticket. Tickets may not be changed on dates, names or shifts. In case a modification is needed, a new ticket must be purchased.

5. Visitors may purchase two (02) tickets for different shifts on the same day, but will be
required to exit Machu Picchu Citadel and re-enter with their second ticket upon opening
of the afternoon shift.


1. According to the new regulation, no visitors will be allowed into Machu Picchu Citadel, Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu without a guide. Thus, effective July 1st, 2017, for every 16 visitors one (01) guide will be required and for groups exceeding 16 visitors, a second
guide will be necessary. For example: a group of 20 will require two (02) guides, a group
of 38 will require, three (03) guides.

2. Three (03) circuits have been designed inside Machu Picchu Citadel to provide options to
visitors considering level of difficulty.  Note all guides will be required to follow only these
new circuits.

As per information we have obtained, it is important to mention this new system will be placed
under a trial period for the next four (04) months (from July 1stto October 31st), to test its development.

During this time, authorities will be offering flexibility, such as allowing visitors to re-enter
Machu Picchu Citadel on a second day without a guide by just showing their first day entry

( Information courtesy of Metropolitan Touring Peru )

NOTICE: New Regulations for Visiting Machu Picchu
- May 05, 2017

Cuzco´s Culture Direction has determined the implementation of two entrance shifts to Machu Picchu, which aims to conserve and preserve the historic sanctuary and thereby ensure the proper flow of the tourist visit.

Therefore, from July 1st, 2017, will take place the reorganization of passenger's access to the Citadel of Machu Picchu in the following shifts:

First entrance shift: from 6:00AM until noon
Second schedule shift: from noon until 17:30PM

Please note, that it would be possible to purchase, in the same day, tickets for both shifts.

 ( Information and map courtesy of Metropolitan Touring Peru)

NOTICE: Health Insurance Required for All Foreign Visitors to Ecuador
- May 03, 2017

We’d like to inform you that according to the Ecuadorian Mobility Law last updated February 2017, any person who enters the country as a tourist must have public or private health insurance for the duration of his/her stay in Ecuador.  A migration agent may ask for proof of insurance coverage upon arrival. If the visitor cannot provide documentary proof of insurance, the migration agent has the right to deny the visitor entry to the country.

In order to avoid inconveniences, please inform your customers about this important matter.

Thank you for your understanding.

 ( Information and map courtesy of Metropolitan Touring Ecuador)

UPDATE: Flooding in Peru
- April 03, 2017

It has been three weeks of intense and unusual rainfall that still affects the northern coast of Peru, causing important floods and disruption of city access through main highways (Piura, Trujillo, Lambayeque, La Libertad).

What areas have been affected by floods? [The bright red areas denote where flooding has occured.]



We want to keep you updated on the latest news regarding this situation:

  • Activities at the main Peruvian destinations are taking place with no disruptions at all, including Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Arequipa city, Colca Canyon, Paracas, Puno, Lake Titicaca, Amazon lodges and Amazon River Cruises. The weather in those destinations is behaving normally.

  • Flights to/from Lima and to/from the destinations mentioned above haven't been affected in any way and are running normally.

  • The water supply in the city of Lima is at its normal standards.

  • Rains and flooding are expected to continue across the northern coast of Peru.

  ( Information and map courtesy of Metropolitan Touring Peru)

UPDATE: Rain and Flooding in Peru
- March 27, 2017

Given to the rains and landslides due to unusual high-seasonal rainfall currently occurring in Peru, major floods have been occurring, affecting highways infrastructure in most of the North coast of Peru (Piura, Trujillo, Lambayeque, Huarmay).  During the past few days the Peruvian Government has been working with the population to assist victims, repair roads and prevent future incidents.

It is important to note that the activities at the main Peruvian destinations are taking place with no disruptions at all, including Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Arequipa city, Colca Canyon, Paracas, Puno, Lake Titicaca, Amazon lodges and Amazon River Cruises.  The tourist activity in these regions are developing as usual with hotels, tourist service, airports and access to tourist attractions.  Also the main attractions of the city of Lima are available for tourist visits.

 ( Information courtesy of Metropolitan Touring Peru)

NEWS: El Niño Flooding in Peru
- March 21, 2017

Peru has been experiencing some serious flooding caused by the recent El Niño weather phenomenon. Fortunately, this has not affected important tourist areas such as Lima, Machu Picchu, Cusco, Arequipa, Puno, Madre de Dios, San Martin, Amazonas, and Loreto.

We felt you would want to have the very latest information for your customers and clients, and the following link will provide you the most recent Press Release from PromPeru - Release: PromPeru update on “El Niño Costero” phenomenon. We hope this detailed information will be helpful.

 ( Information supplied by: Travel Mart Latin America )

UPDATE: Peru's North Coast Affected by Floods and Rains
- March 20, 2017

During the past week, unusual high-seasonal rainfall has affected the northern coast of Peru, causing important floods and affecting highway infrastructure, mostly in the North coast of Peru (Piura, Trujillo, Lambayeque, Huarmey).  Also, for some days, the supply of drinkable water in Lima was partially restricted, and right now it is normal.

Important considerations for foreign travelers to Peru:

  • Activities at the main Peruvian destinations are taking place with no disruptions at all, including Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Arequipa city, Colca Canyon, Paracas, Puno, Lake Titicaca, Amazon lodges and Amazon River Cruises. The weather in those destinations is behaving normally.

  • Flights to/from Lima and to/from the main Peruvian destinations haven't been affected in any way and are running normally.

  • Since the beginning of these events, the Lima hotels that partner with Metropolitan Touring Peru took all necessary actions to make sure that their guests have normal and permanent supply of water.

The commitment and support from the Peruvian population has been extremely positive, and we know that our country will be fully recovered very soon.

 ( Information and photo courtesy of Metropolitan Touring Peru)

NEWS: Flooding in Peru
- March 16, 2017

For the past five weeks, due to an unusual rise of the temperature of the Pacific Ocean, the coastline of Peru has been receiving an extraordinary volume of rain.  And in the past two days, this rare phenomenon has intensified, causing floods in several coastal regions and cities, damaging some highways and producing other disruptions in northern Peru (specially in Piura, Chiclayo and Trujillo), and also in the peripheries of Lima and Ica.

So far, the weather at the main non-coastal touristic destinations (including Cusco, Machu Picchu, Arequipa, Puerto Maldonado, the Amazon) is normal, and all activities are completely normal.

 ( Report is courtesy of Metropolitan Touring Peru)

NEWS: Lonesome George Exhibition Opens Its Doors
- March 07, 2017

We are happy to inform you that after months of expectation, the Charles Darwin Research Station has finished its remodeling project and has fully reopened all visitor areas to the public!

The newly renovated areas include:

  • "The Tortoise Trail" walkways

  • "Symbol of Hope" Exhibit Room

Lonesome George Exhibit Opens at Charles Darwin Research Station"The Tortoise Trail" walkway now follows a totally new route, along which you can find rest stops and information points. These walkways go through the small tortoises breeding areas and continue all the way up to the new exhibit room.

The highlight of the renovation project is, of course, Lonesome George's new home at his old stomping grounds. The new "Symbol of Hope" exhibit room was specially built to keep the embalmed remains of the Galapagos giant tortoise in optimum condition. The room can be visited from 8:00 to 18:00 every day, except on scheduled maintenance days. After visiting the room, visitors walk past the Galapagos giant tortoises' area before entering the Station's museum.

The station has been open to the public throughout the yearlong renovation project but visits had been limited in certain areas. As of 24th February, 2017 all facilities are receiving regular visits.

Quito, 6th March, 2017

 ( Information and photo courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

NOTICE: Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirement for those traveling to Ecuador after a trip to Brazil, Angola, Congo, or Uganda
- February 20, 2017

Be aware that since February 10, 2017, it is mandatory for travelers entering Ecuador after visiting Brazil, Angola, Congo, or Uganda to be vaccinated for Yellow Fever, and the only way to prove it is through the International Vaccination Certificate of Yellow Fever.  Remember to bring it with you if this policy affects you. In that way, travelers can avoid any issue during the customs process in Ecuador.

 ( Information and photo provided by Latin Trails )

Lonesome George Comes Home to Charles Darwin Research Station
- February 17, 2017

Lone George - photo supplied by Metropolitan TouringIt's an exciting day for Galapagos wildlife lovers and particularly for tortoise fans! After an extended stay at the Natural History Museum of New York - where he was embalmed following his death - Lonesome George, the last remaining member of his species, returns today to what had been his long-time home in the Galapagos: the Charles Darwin Research Station.

The station, which has been under construction since August 2015, continues to work to improve visitor experiences, which will include new exhibits, such as a room specially designed for the much-loved tortoise, whose passing sent a message about the importance of conservation to the world.

Tortoises, of course, are only one of the amazing species that the namesake of the station, Charles Darwin, found when he arrived on the islands in 1835. His observations of finches served as one of the key factors that influenced him when he wrote his game-changing book, On the Origin of Species. This week we celebrated Darwin's birthday onboard our ships as a reminder of his impressive contributions to modern science.

 ( Information and photo courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

NEWS: Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report Names Mashpi Lodge a Grand Award Winner and Most Family-Friendly Hotel
- January 09, 2017

Andrew Harper - Grand Award Winner 2017We are so excited to share with you that Mashpi Lodge has been named a Grand Award Winner in the January 2017 Grand Awards issue of Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report as well as receiving  a Special Recognition Award for Most Family-Friendly Hotel. 

As stated in the issue:

"Each year, Mr. Harper chooses favorite properties that he has visited over the past 12 months to create this prestigious list. To be considered for the annual awards, properties must be relatively small in size, possess strong individual personalities, offer relaxing atmospheres and demonstrate a consistent devotion to personal service. Our Special Recognition Awards call attention to hotels, restaurants, staff and travel experiences of note that Mr. Harper encountered within the past calendar year of his travels. These special designations will be promoted on our website for the duration of 2017". 

Andrew Harper LLC is a full-service luxury travel company that provides unbiased travel reviews and trip reports to help its distinguished clientele identify the world’s best tourism properties and experiences. 

NEWS: Ecuador's Choco' Region named by National Geo. to "Places you need to visit in 2017"
December 08, 2016

Choco Rainforest - EcuadorIt is our great honor to share with you that National Geographic has included Ecuador’s Chocó region on its list of "Best Trips 2017 – Places you need to visit in 2017" in the Cloud Forest category, highlighting Mashpi Lodge, a proud new member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World TM, as a top place to stay to make the most of the area.  Watch a short video here

The Ecuadorian Choco rainforest is known as one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots. So easy to get to as it is located within the Metropolitan District of Quito, it is shockingly full of secrets that researchers are just beginning to uncover within its pristine forest environment.  

Reconnect with nature on ground-level treks as well as rides through the tree tops on Mashpi’s unique “sky bike” or on board the “Dragonfly.” Marvel at the landscape after ascending through the canopy via the observation tower.  Brace yourself for the waterfalls that line our nature trails.  Enjoy the hummingbirds and butterflies as they flit around you.  Satisfy your scientific curiosity with the resident biologist. 

Our travel destination experts are ready to help you book your client’s trip or answer any question.  Contact us today!

( Information courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

NEWS: Jack Hanna at Mashpi Lodge (Ecuador)
September 30, 2016

Jack Hanna's Wild CountdownWe are happy to share with you that the well-known zookeeper, conservationist and television host, Jack Hanna, and his wife, visited Mashpi Lodge last year in order to film an episode of his program "Wild Countdown."  It is our pleasure to invite you to watch the program, which will be on air next Saturday, 1st October across the United States. 

To find the scheduled air time in your city, please check here. 

Latin America Reservation Center, Inc. had the pleasure of sending Jack Hanna and his wife on their visit to Mashpi Lodge this past November.  To learn more about Mashpi Lodge, click here.

They also went on the Anakonda Amazon Cruise and visited the Galapagos during their time in Latin America.

To arrange your own visit to Mashpi Lodge or other destination in Latin America, or to ask questions, please contact us at Latin America Reservation Center, Inc.

( Information courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )


NOTICE: Modification in Visits Due to Change to Tungurahua Volcano’s Alert
- September 28, 2016

On the 26th of September, 2016, the Ecuadorian Risk Management Secretariat, announced its decision to change the alert of the Tungurahua Volcano from yellow to orange with the stated goal of “minimizing the effects of the volcanic activity.” 

In response to this change in alert, our Operations Department has decided to temporarily stop visits to the city of Baños, and provide suitable and attractive alternatives for guests.  Your Destination Expert will contact you if you have guests with programs in the area. 

As always, we hold the safety and wellbeing of our guests as its top priority.  We monitor the situation constantly and have contingency plans in place in case any changes are required. 

We reserve the right to interrupt or change its itineraries – whether or not there is an official announcement of imminent eruption – based on our monitoring of weather conditions or natural events. 

( Update courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

UPDATE: Cuenca Airport Reopened After Repairs
- September 16, 2016

Twenty days into a planned 26-day closure, Cuenca airport officials announced the successful completion of the runway resurfacing project, designed to improve landing conditions in inclement weather. As a result, TAME was able to renew its flights starting 14th September, with the same frequencies offered before the airport closure. LATAM has announced that it will offer its Quito-Cuenca and Guayaquil-Cuenca itineraries starting on Monday, 19th September.

( Update courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

NOTICE: Avianca - New Baggage Allowance
- August 30, 201

Please be advised that Avianca (airline) has changed the baggage allowance on flights within Ecuador and to the Galapagos Islands.  The new rules will apply starting October 24, 2016.

Class Current Baggage Policy Changes
Economy Class

1 to 2 luggage pieces with a combined maximum weight of 23-kg. (50-lbs.)

Only 1 luggage piece with a maximum weight of 23-kg. (50-lbs.)

Business Class

1 to 2 luggage pieces with a combined maximum weight of 32-kg. (70-lbs.)

Only 1 luggage piece with a maximum weight of 32-kg. (70-lbs.)

 ( Information is courtesy of Ocean Adventures. )

NOTICE: Cuenca Airport is Closed Until September 19
- August 25, 201

The Mariscal La Mar Airport in Cuenca will remain closed until September 19, 2016, due to changes in the asphalt layer on the landing strip, according to Cuenca Airport Corporation (CORPAC)

During this period, the National Traffic Agency will be offering buses transportation from Cuenca airport to Guayaquil at Bahia del Norte, and to Quito at Parque Bicentenario

The shuttle frequencies to Guayaquil will be 14, departing in different hours from 2:00 PM to 10:30 AM, and to Quito will be 26 frequencies departing from 12:00 AM to 11:30 PM. It is important to mention that the buses will not have any stop during the ground journey. 

On the other hand, TAME airlines has announced that those passengers that have purchased their air tickets to/from Cuenca will be able to change their flight or date (same origin and destiny) up to 15 days after the opening of Cuenca airport, or it can be changed at TAME offices to another airport such as Guayaquil, Loja and El Oro, without any penalty or changes in rates. 

( Information provided courtesy of Latin Trails )

UPDATE: Update on Cotopaxi Volcano Alert
- May June 24, 2016

As of June 22, 2016, the Ecuadorian Risk Management Secretariat, announced its decision to reduce the alert of the Cotopaxi Volcano from yellow to white.  As per its latest report, the activity of the volcano has fallen to the levels considered normal before its reactivation in April 2015. 

For the time being, we will continue operating full-day visits to the Cotopaxi National Park and overnight programs with accommodation at Hacienda La Ciénega will be resumed. 

If you have more questions, please contact your Destination Expert. 

( Update courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

UPDATE: New 6.7 magnitude tremor hits coast of Ecuador 35 km from coast of Muisne
- May 18, 2016

The coastal area of Ecuador near Muisne yet again felt the earth tremble today with a 6.7 magnitude tremor at 2:57 A.M. local time (07:57:05.00 UTC) that the USGS categorizes as probably being a strong aftershock from the massive earthquake that occurred one month ago. The tremor, which registered at 32 km deep, could be felt in Quito but not in Cuenca or Galapagos. There is no tsunami warning in effect. 

[Metropolitan Touring's] emergency committee swung into action within seconds and immediately checked on passengers and employees. At this time, we can report that all passengers are fine and operations continue normally. 

No evacuations were necessary in Guayaquil or Galapagos and guests in Mashpi and Galapagos sleep calmly. 

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available. 

( Update courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

UPDATE: Update on Ecuador Earthquake
- May 04, 2016

Dear Judy,

We would like to share this update with all the friends of Casa Gangotena and Mashpi Lodge, following the earthquake that affected coastal areas of the country on Saturday 16th April. 

We wanted you to know that the humanitarian medical center that our holding group of companies* established in the town of Canoa on the Ecuadorian coast has been running for the last week. 

We are pleased to report that the center is staffed by 30 dedicated doctors and support personnel from our sister organization, Veris Medical Centres.  On Monday, the third shift of healthcare professionals arrived in Canoa.  To date, we have attended 1,400 patients, performed 600 laboratory tests and provided 28,000 doses of medication.  We even witnessed the joy of having our first healthy baby boy born on the 26th!  Truly something to celebrate amid so much sadness and grief.  Thank you to every member of the team for making this aid effort possible! 

The health professionals at the center will be available 24/7 for the next 6 months and can attend up to 300 patients per day in various specialties, including orthopedics, gynecology, pediatrics, psychology, and general medicine. 

Beyond the immediate medical treatment we have been providing, we will also work to mitigate latent infectious and epidemiological diseases and have identified serious environmental health issues such as solid waste disposal in the aftermath of the earthquake.  We have therefore started to review effective solutions for these problems. 

Dozens of friends, past guests and clients of the hotels contacted us about how they could help.  We wanted to organize our response comprehensively and responsibly before reaching out to you, thus ensuring that your generous offers of assistance will make a difference. 

Although the medical project is fully funded by our group of companies for the next 6 months (for now), external funds will allow us to expand both the scope and reach of the project, as well as allow us to work longer with local communities. 

If you would like to make a donation, please feel free to make it to the following accounts. Please note that all donations to Fundación Futuro will be audited by Price Waterhouse Coopers and reports will be sent to donors on a quarterly basis.

Option 1

ABA: 026005092
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 2000191000754
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 2100122384

Option 2

ABA: 021000080
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 2100122384

Thank you so much for your offers of help, messages of sympathy and support for us and our country in these challenging times. Together, we are confident Ecuador can emerge from this sad chapter. Together, we can continue to make tourism part of Ecuador's brighter future. 


Verónica Sevilla

Sales & Marketing Director ( Mashpi Lodge and Casa Gangotena )

UPDATE: Update on Travel in Ecuador
- April 22, 2016

Map of Ecuador showing affected areas of 2016 Earthquake

As can be seen on this map , the area hardest hit by the earthquake is located on the Pacific Coast. The Highlands (Quito, Otavalo, Cotopaxi, Avenue of the Volcanoes and Cuenca) and the Amazon region were unaffected and operations are normal. While Guayaquil suffered some damage, its airport, hotels and tourism sites are functioning as usual, with an occasional need for alternate routes based on temporary road closures. 

The Galápagos Islands, located approximately 1000 km (600 miles) off the coast of Ecuador, has seen no impact from the event at all. 

We thank you for your support and concern and will keep you updated regularly. 

( Update is courtesy of VIP Expeditions )

UPDATE: Update on Ecuador Earthquake - Central and North Coast
- April 22, 2016

There are so many tragedies and stories to be told about last Saturday's terrible earthquake and its aftermath; some dozens of victims were lucky to have been rescued alive, and Ecuador and the world show warm solidarity out off their hearts. 

[ Photo removed by request. ]

This Thursday 587 dead victims and over 23,500 homeless people have been officially reported.  At the central/north coast about 100 hotels with over 3,000 beds in Pedernales, Canoa, Bahía de Caraquez, Portoviejo and Manta are damaged or lost.  Yesterday 3 strong aftershocks (5.9, 6.2 and 6.2 on the Richter scale) mercifully haven't provoked more casualties and damage; frequency and power of meanwhile 621 aftershocks is decreasing. 

A first rough estimate is that "total damage can be up to $3 billion", but the official figure is expected in about six weeks.  Tourism annual revenue reaches half of this amount and will be an essential contribution, especially now that crude oil prices have dropped even further, this week.  As mentioned before: we need tourism more than ever!  Quito and the Andes from north to south, the entire Ecuadorian Amazon, Guayaquil and the south coast as well as Galapagos can be visited as normal and all tourist infrastructure is fully operational. 

( Update is courtesy of Andean Travel Company )

UPDATE: Update on latest aftershock: Operations Normal
- April 20, 2016

The Instituto Geofísico del Ecuador reports that the country, already suffering from Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake, experienced two significant new aftershocks in the same coastal region. The first one, of magnitude 6.1, occurred near Muisne at 3:33 a.m. local time (08:33:48.00 UTC) on April 20, 2016. The second one, of magnitude 5.9, took place at 3:35 a.m. local time (08:35:48.00 UTC) on April 20, 2016 in the same area.  The aftershocks were felt in Pedernales, Bahía, Manta, Santo Domingo and to a much lesser degree, in Pichincha. 

As has been the case since the first and largest earthquake, the location of the events has affected the coastal region terribly but has had no direct effect on our operations, which are centered in Galapagos and the highlands.  All guests are safe and operations continue normally. 

We keep working as individuals and as a Company to find the best ways to support our brothers and sisters at this tragic time and will keep you informed as more information on the situation becomes available. 

( Update courtesy of Metropolitan Touring )

NEWS and NOTICE: Update on Ecuador's Tourism Infrastructure & Services Following Saturday's Earthquake
- April 17, 2016

Ecuador suffered a 7.8 earthquake on the evening of Saturday April 16, 2016 with an epicenter near the coastal town of Pedernales in the state of Manabi.  The coastal provinces of Manabi and Emereldas, closest to the epicenter, were most affected by the quake. 

The Ministry of Tourism can report that the tourism infrastructure located in areas not significantly affected by the earthquake, such as the Amazon, Andes, and Galapagos; including all airports, accommodations, tour operation and ground transport remain open and fully operational and catering to tourists. 

Following is a brief update and news regarding the tourism infrastructure and services across Ecuador's four regions:

Amazon - All airports in the area are open and operating normally. The tourism infrastructure [have] not been affected and remain open and functioning. 

Andes - All airports in the Andean region, including those in the cities of Quito, Latacunga, Cuenca, Loja, and Tulcan, as well as ground transportation and accommodations are fully operational and spared of any damage.  The city of Quito is currently evaluating any possible damages to its historical center. Other popular [tourist] destinations including Otavalo, Cuenca, Banos, and areas around the Cotopaxi and Chimborazo volcanoeshave not reported any major damages and tourism services including hotels and tours are operating.

Coast - The port city of Guayaquil is reporting damage to roads, streets, bridges, and other infrastructure across the city.  However its airport and hotels remain open and fully operational.  The municipality of Guayaquil has asked for the limitation of transit through tomorrow [Monday April 18] in order to conduct a thorough assessment of the damage caused by the earthquake.  This may impact the mobility of tourists. 

The cities of Manta, Pedemales, Bahia de Caraquez, and Portoviejo have suffered extensive damage, including the collapse of several buildings and hotels, and most roads leading to these cities are closed. The Manta airport is closed to commercial flights until further notice, but remains open for flights carrying humanitarian assistance.  The port of Manta remains in operation.

Galapagos Islands - Located some 1,360 kilometers (847 miles) from the mainland, the Galapagos have not been affected by the quake or aftershocks. 

All airports, hotels, and cruises in the area are fully operational and all derision activities including guided tours and excursions are running. 

The tsunami alert was lifted yesterday.  All parks, nature reserves and public tourism sites across the country have been closed for 24 hours in order to conduct inspections and evaluate any possible damage to their infrastructure. 

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to families who have lost loved ones," said Fernando Alvarado, Ecuador's Minister of Tourism.  "Ecuadorians are resilient and hardworking people and have joined forces to help their countrymen in their time of need. We are looking forward to collaborating with our tourism industry partners and friends across Ecuador and from around the world to help rebuild the areas most affected along Ecuador's Coast and restore tourism to the region.  Visitors traveling in Ecuador or planning a visit to unaffected areas can feel confident that their trips will not be impacted end feel secure to continue with their plans to visa our country. 

For more information regarding the the tourism sector contact life department of Tourism Welfare at the Ministry of Tourism at

For information regarding victims and missing persons please contact:

For donations toward earthquake relief, please direct them to:

Banco Central del Ecuador
Beneficiary: Secretaria Gestion Riego/Planta Central (Risk Management Secretary)
Account #: 101602
Swift Code: FLARCOBB
Intermediary Bank Bank of America (New York)
Intermediary bank Swift Code: BOFAUS3N
Intermediary Account#: 01121807

( Information courtesy of Ecuador Ministry of Tourism )

- February 04, 2016


As you have probably heard in the press and travel advisories, the Zika Virus has been reported in various Latin American countries including Ecuador

Although this virus was declared by the World Health Organization WHO as a public health emergency, we would like you to note the following facts:

  • The capital, Quito, and the Andes of Ecuador are not risk-areas, since the mosquitoes cannot survive in altitudes over 2200-meters / 7217-feet above sea level. All other areas on the Coast and in the Amazon are undergoing fumigations in order to avoid and control the spread of the virus and prevention campaigns have been initiated around the country. 

  • The possibility that infected mosquitoes reach the Galapagos Islands is remote, but not impossible.  The Galapagos Quarantine & Inspection System SICGAL has permanent quarantine measures in place to protect the islands from alien species and they intensified the disinfection process in aircrafts and ships that arrive to the archipelago. 

  • If the virus reaches the islands, it will be very difficult for it to spread to non-inhabited islands, making a Galapagos cruise a safe travel option. Please remember that the majority of our itineraries are spent within the protected non-inhabited areas of the National Park and Marine Reserve. 

  • The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week; the virus is cleared from our blood after 1 week, just as a common cold or flu virus, and is not life-threatening. 

  • Pregnant women however should take precautions and check with their doctor. Detailed information about the Zika
    virus infection and pregnancy can be obtained at

It certainly does not hurt to take precautions when traveling to Ecuador & Galapagos and we don't want to downplay travelers' concerns, but we also would like to ask you to please critically analyze any released information. 

We hope that the distance of the Galapagos Islands from the mainland will keep them sheltered, as they have been spared from other mosquito-borne diseases in the past.

( Information courtesy of Ocean Adventures / Land Adventures )

New Transportation Fee on Baltra Island in the Galapagos
- January 14, 201

We would like to inform you that beginning today, a new fee is in effect for transportation service on Baltra Island, Galapagos.  For passengers traveling from the Baltra Airport to Itabaca Channel or to the pier on Baltra Island and back to the airport is $5 each way, or $10 round trip.  Please note that ECOGAL is the entity collecting the fee, and NOT the airlines.  ECOGAL will have a fee collection booth located at the immigration area or Baltra Airport, just before the National Park fee payment area. 

(This information has been provided by Enchanted Expeditions.) 

Conde Nast Johansens Awards 2016 - Finalist

NEWS: La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa - finalist of the 2016 Condé Nast Johansens Awards

We are delighted to announce that La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa was a finalist of the 2016 Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence in the Best Hotel with Spa category for South America. 

Our congratulations go out to La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa!

Created to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across the hotels in our collection, the annual Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence are a trusted mark of quality, recognized by luxury consumers and travel professionals alike.

Cotopaxi National Park Reopens 12-14-2015 - Cotopaxi Volcano, Ecuador

UPDATE: Partial Reopening of Cotopaxi National Park
- December 14, 2015

122 days after closing Cotopaxi National Park, government officials in Ecuador announced today the reopening of the protected area to visitors. 

The decision was based on monitoring reports and follow up by the Geophysical Institute of the Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) which demonstrate a decrease in volcanic activity in the last few weeks.  In addition, the Risk Management Secretariat (SGR) has recommended that while yellow alert is on, visitors shall be accompanied by trained personel. 

The opening hours are from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.  This is a partial reopening of the park, and access to the shelter or climbing to the crater is not allowed. 

(This information was supplied to us courtesy of Latin Trails.) 

NOTICE: Darwin Station announces partial closure starting August 31st
- September 10, 2015

For the next five months, the National Park will close one of the tortoise corals to visitors while they work on a new installation to house the Lonesome George exhibit.  Our guests will still be able to visit the station or "Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena" and the corals that will remain open from 8:30 to 4PM as well as the captive breeding programs and Van Straelen Hall.

[ Information provided by Ecoventura ]

[ Be aware that some vessels will have altered itineraries to visit alternate sites during the closure. ]

NEWS: Irregular Operation of Quito Airport
- August 14, 2015

Due to volcanic activity from the Cotopaxi volcano. There is presence of ash and this has caused the Quito airport to cancel several flights. The airport is not closed, but the operation is irregular.

We have implemented a contingency plan and if any passengers have the probability of missing a flight we are rerouting them through Guayaquil.

Please note that our operations in Galapagos Islands and the Amazon basin near Tena are not affected. 

[ Provided by courtesy of Latin Trails ]

NEWS: Cotopaxi Volcano Registers Third Eruption
- August 14, 2015

Cotopaxi Volcano registers third eruption, alert level increased to "Yellow"

The 5897-metre (19,350 feet) Cotopaxi Volcano near Quito, Ecuador's capital, has experienced several eruptions since the early hours of August 14, according to the Geophysical Institute at the National Polytechnical
University. The last eruption ejected a plume of ash approximately five
kilometers (3.1 miles) in height. 

Authorities have increased the alert level from "white" to "yellow", indicating a medium response level.  Media reported some ash fall in the vicinity of the city.  Quito's international airport at the moment remains open.

The institute's volcanology experts monitor the situation 24 hours-a-day, receiving data generated by instruments installed on the volcano.

[ Provided courtesy of Metropolitan Touring. ]

NOTICE: Machu Picchu Closure During April 2016
- August 13, 2015

Machu Picchu, PeruFYI: The head of the National Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu, Fernando Astete, told that the maintenance works are running efficiently, however, the large amount of daily visitors does take a toll on the maintenance they are able to execute. 

"In April 2016 we will do comprehensive maintenance, for that we have
ordered the suspension of visitors to the mountain Huayna Picchu from April 1-15, and the mountain of Machu Picchu from April 16-30 of the same year," Astete told.

[ Provided courtesy of Peru Runa Travel. ]

NEWS: Wolf Volcano Eruption in Galapagos Islands
- June 01, 2015

Wolf Volcano eruption - Isabela Island, Galapagos - 25 May, 2015In early hours of Monday May 25th Wolf Volcano, the highest volcano in the Galapagos Archipelago, located at Isabela Island, started an eruption process, after 33 years of inactivity.  No visitors sites have been closed; local authorities does not consider dangerous for tourism activities, nevertheless advises and precautions have been transmitted to cruise operators.  This way passengers who are on board cruises covering the route to Fernandina and Isabela can enjoy this magnificent natural spectacle.  There are not populated sites in the surroundings of Wolf volcano, Puerto Villamil.  The capital village of Isabela Island, is located at 115 km to the south. 

[ Provided courtesy of Condor Travel. ]

NOTICE: Yacht Grand Odyssey is Now The M.Y. Galapagos Sea Star Journey
- April 07, 2015

LARC has just been informed that the Motor Yacht M.Y. Galapagos Grand Odyssey has been re-named the Motor Yacht M.Y. Galapagos Sea Star Journey.  The vessel is scheduled for a refit during August, September, and October, 2015. 

NOTICE: Galapagos Transit Control Card Fee to Increase in 2015
- December 22, 2014

The cost of the Transit Control Card of the Galapagos National Park INGALA fee will be increased beginning March 1st, 2015.  The new cost will be US $20 from the initial US $10. These values are payable in Cash in Quito and/or Guayaquil airports or they can also be prepaid through LARC when bookings are made. 

UPDATE: LARC Website Completed
- September 12, 2014

We are happy to announce that re-design work on our website has been completed during the past week.  Tweaking and updates will continue as needed.  Our objective is to make our website "mobile friendly" and to generally improve its appearance and usability for all.  As always, LARC will continue to offer the finest in vacations in Latin America.

NOTICE: Temporary Closure of Tagus Cove
- September 05, 2014

It was recently announced by the Galapagos National Park authority that land visits to Tagus Cove (on Isabela Island) will be suspended temporarily for maintenance.  Closure will be from 18th September to the 10th October, 2014.

 ( Information supplied, courtesy of Enchanted Expeditions. )

NOTICE: Airport Fees Increase
- August 20, 2014

Be aware that the airport fees for the following destinations have changed due to governmental measures, so for any additional charges on air tickets please contact your sales representative.

 Airport Past Rate Current Rate Increase
San Cristobal      
Safety Fee $1.10 USD $3.00 USD $1.90 USD
Airport Service Fee $4.00 USD $9.50 USD $5.50 USD
Safety Fee $2.20 USD $3.00 USD $0.80 USD
Coca Airport      
Safety Fee $1.10 USD $2.00 USD $0.90 USD
Airport Service Fee $4.00 USD $7.50 USD $3.50 USD

 ( Fee increase notice supplied courtesy of Latin Trails. )

UPDATE: LARC Website Progresses - Galapagos Updates Completed.
- August 07, 2014

As previously reported, LARC - Latin America Reservation Center - continues revamping its website.  We are happy to announce that work on our Galapagos section has been completed.  Our objective is to make our website more friendly to those using mobile devices, and to generally improve its appearance and usability for all.  Work will continue on the (mainland) Ecuador section, and should be completed over the next few weeks.

Check back often for updates.

NOTICE: Latin America Reservation Center is rolling out a revamped website.
- June 27, 2014

LARC - Latin America Reservation Center - is revamping its website.   In an effort to make it more friendly to users of smart phones and tablets, the new site will be "responsive" - page widths will appear differently, depending on the size and resolution of the users screen.  Text will wrap to fit the page width, and pictures will either move to fit or change size accordingly.  Some pages are being re-worked to make them easier to read and simpler to navigate for all site visitors, as well as some much needed updates. 

The roll out will be a phased one, with part of the pages revamped initially - the initial phase has now been launched - with additional portions being revamped over the following weeks.

Check back often for updates.

READ: La Mirage Garden Hotel and Spa - Blog and Photos by Ashley Rogers
- June 10, 2014
Peacock at La Mirage Garden Hotel and Spa - Cotacachi, Ecuador

There’s very few boutique hotels in the world where one can say they truly experienced first-class elegance. But recently, Michel Blanchard and I had the distinct honor and pleasure of doing just that, when we checked into the ultra luxurious La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa for two days of decadent pampering.


[ Originally published at - reposted here with permission of the author. ]

"Jungle" Jack Hanna
For years, Jack Hanna, star of Jack Hanna's Into the Wild and Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures has utilized LARC when traveling to Latin America.  See for yourself what Jack Hanna has to say about LARC in a short video he was kind enough to record:

320x240 (Mpeg1)  |  512x384 (MP4)  |  720x480 (Mpeg2)  |

(These open in a new window, so you may need to disable your pop-up blocker)


Orange alert for Tungurahua volcano's increased volcanic activity
- 15 July, 2013

After a strong explosion in the Tungurahua volcano yesterday, the Ecuadorian
Geophysics Institute has changed the alert to orange.  The volcano activity remains from moderate to high. 

The experts are currently on a 24-hour vigilance, receiving the scientific
information generated by the instruments installed on the volcano, so that
they can monitor the evolution of the volcano and be prepared for change. 

Villages near the volcano on the eastern Andean range were evacuated.  Our
Operations Department will provide masks, if needed, to guests traveling
through the area. 

(Information courtesy of Metropolitan Touring)

NOTICE: Baltra Airport Tax Increases (in the Galapagos Islands)
- 25 March, 2013
UPDATED: 16 May, 2013

New Baltra Island Airport - Galapagos

Effective 25 March, 2013, the new airport at Baltra Island began operating.  The new airport has increased its taxes as follows:

Residents (of Galapagos) US $5
Ecuadorian non-residents US $10
Foreigners US $19.50

Information courtesy of Andean Travel Company

NOTICE: New Tax/Landing Fee for Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island (in the Galapagos Islands)
- 25 March, 2013

Effective Immediately,  the local authorities in Puerto Villamil , Isabela Island, have started charging a new tax / landing fee of US $20.  Those traveling on vessels with itineraries including Puerto Villamil will have to pay this tax upon arrival there. 

NOTICE: Changes To INGALA Procedures (Concerning Travel to the Galapagos Islands)
- 06 March, 2013

INGALA Transit Control CardWe have been informed of important changes to the INGALA (Instituto Nacional Galápagos) procedures for guests traveling to the Galapagos which we need you, and your clients, to be aware of.  The authorities have not yet confirmed the date of the implementation of the new procedure.  We will be sure to inform you as soon as it is officially announced. 

The INGALA involves the control of people traveling to and from the islands – in effect, an immigration control.

From the confirmed date onwards, [travel service providers] will no longer be able to pre-check guests for the INGALA system as [they] have been able to do in the past.  The authorities have established two means of registering travelers to the islands:

1)  Travelers pre-register online [we will post the link as soon as we have it] and fill out all their personal information.  Once at the Quito or Guayaquil airports, they need to go through a process of identification, which includes fingerprinting, and will then be issued with their INGALA transit document with which they can proceed to the airline counter. 

2)  Travelers will have to register their information in person at the Quito or Guayaquil airports at a first counter and then go through the identification process (above) at a second counter, before proceeding to the airline check-in. 

The fee for the transit document is currently $10, subject to change, payable in cash only at the departing airport.  

(This information was provided to us by Metropolitan Touring.)

New Marsical Sucre Airport - EcuadorNOTICE: New Mariscal Sucre Airport to Open Near Quito, Ecuador
- 07 February, 2013

As you may be aware, the new Mariscal Sucre Airport is scheduled to open on 20 February, 2013.  The last flights into the old airport will occur about 5:00 PM on 19 February and the first flights out of the new airport will depart around 9:00 AM on the morning of 20 February.

Please note that the new airport is located outside of the city of Quito, in the area of Tababela.  With the road and traffic situation, it will take approximately 1.5-hours to bet there from Quito.

Also, the airport has increased the taxes of US$8.10 for domestic flights and US$15.86 for international flights. 

Read: Following in Darwin’s footsteps in Galapagos Visit
by Kim Gamel

- 30 August, 2012 (originally published: 16 August, 2011)

Kim Gamel wrote this article about a visit to the Galapagos Islands for the Associated Press which was published in numerous publications. 

Read it on the Palm Beach Press web site.

Lonesome George - Galapagos Islands - photo by Steven H. Spake © 2002 all rights reserved.NEWS: Lonesome George has Died
- 26 June, 2012

We learned some sad news today.  Over the weekend, Lonesome George died at his home at the Charles Darwin Research Center on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Lonesome George was the last surviving La Pinta giant tortoise.  He is estimated to have been at least 100-years old.  His species in now extinct.  It is a sad day. 


Read: Our Trip to the “End of the World” - Patagonia
- October 17 to November 3, 2011 by Jan H. and Jamie R.
(- Received: 08 December, 2011)

This was a surprising and wonderful trip. Oddly enough, however, there are only a very small number of relatives and acquaintances to whom we would honestly recommend this trip. 

In terms of the surprises, the biggest is that we left at all. Jamie had a very bad bike accident 10 days before we were scheduled to leave (serious concussion, 2 broken ribs, multiple bad abrasions and bruises etc.).  He wasn’t even able to sleep in a bed until after we left. Given that this was intended to be an extremely active trip (lots of hiking, horseback riding etc.), we weren’t sure whether he would be able to participate, either partially or fully, in our intended activities. As it turned out, recovering on vacation was better than staying home and going to work. By the time we got to our first destination, he was able to do almost everything. The only thing we excluded was horseback riding (for Jamie). Even a small risk of falling off a horse with broken ribs and a sore head made riding too obviously stupid to even contemplate... 

For More Click Here

NOTICE: New TSA requirements for bookings
- 13 July, 2010

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now requiring by law from all airlines that all passengers traveling within or originating in the United States and its territories to have the Secure Flight Passenger Data in the reservations booked for travel November 1, 2010 and beyond. 

The TSA allows no exceptions; compliance is mandatory. 

Under Secure Flight Passenger Data American Airlines and most of the domestic and international carriers are already collecting and transmitting this data to the TSA.  Therefore, as airlines are starting to implement this new phase on different dates prior to the November 1 deadline, we strongly recommend that starting with the receipt of this communication - when requesting reservations for your clients it is important that you provide to us the following accurate information from each passenger at the time of booking.  

  • Name exactly as it appears in passport or Government Issued ID

  • Date of Birth

  • Gender (Female or Male)

To learn more about the TSA Secure Flight program, please visit 

Galapagos Transit Control FormNOTICE: Transit Control Cards To Galapagos
- 23 April, 2010

Please note that the INGALA (Instituto Nacional Galápagos) is no longer issuing a card to guests going to the Galapagos Archipelago, and have substituted the plastic cards for a paper form, a more environmentally friendly material. 

The new form, which will have the information of the guests already printed (same as with the previous card) has two parts; one to be handed to the INGALA authorities upon entry to the islands and the second part, which should be kept by the guest to be handed in upon departure.  Additional information should be completed by the guests before their arrival to the Galapagos. 

There has been no change in the cost (US$10) nor in the information to be provided to INGALA

The Transit Control Card for Galapagos was implemented some months ago to assist in the control of illegal migration to Galapagos. 


Read: Argentina Trip Report by Jan and Jamie
- 21 October - 05 November, 2009 

We’d probably give this trip a 7 or 8 on a scale of 10.  Some real good stuff, excellent food and places to stay, some really fun activities and touring.  It was a more relaxing trip than some of our recent ones - less scheduled, less activity oriented. So, definitely worthwhile and fun, but not in our top 10 trips.  Read More. . .


La Mirage Garden Hotel and Spa - Cotacachi, Ecuador 
La Mirage Recognized as 'Environmentally Friendly Hotel'
by Conde' Nast Johansens Luxury Hotel and Spa Guide
- 24 February, 2009

Read Press Release . . .


Motorsailer M.S. Sea Cloud - Galapagos IslandsRead: A Personal Account of a Trip to Mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands  
- 12 - 29 August, 2005

[Last names withheld in compliance with the LARC privacy policy.]


Travelers to Ecuador Advised Not to Bring US $100 Bills
- August 2005

100 US DollarsLARC has been receiving reports that a large number of near perfect counterfeit US $100 bills have entered Ecuador from a neighboring country.  To prevent the circulation of these bills, Ecuador’s commerce and banking system is no longer accepting $100 bills.

We advise all persons traveling to Ecuador not to bring US $100 bills
with them because these will not be accepted, cashed or changed even at banks.  Travelers are advised to carry smaller denominations of US bills instead.  (The US dollar was adopted as the official currency of Ecuador on March 14, 2000.)  

Small Map of Galapagos IslandsRead: A Personal Account of a Family's Visit to the Galapagos Islands and Guayaquil, Ecuador
- 12-24 June, 2005 

[Last names withheld in compliance with the LARC privacy policy.]


Read: What happy traveler George Pike had to say about his visit to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands during February and March 2004 in:

It's Ecuador, By George! 

(Text and pictures used with the permission of the author. ) 

Read what one happy traveler had to say about her visit to Ecuador in 
On a Magical Journey to Ecuador


(reprinted with permission from - January, 2004)

Read what another traveler had to say about their visit to Ecuador 
and the Galapagos Islands in 

Hand in Hand - Getting Destination Help

(reprinted from Travel Weekly - September 22, 2003)




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