Update on Travel in Ecuador
- April 22, 2016
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
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
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.
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 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
NEWS and NOTICE:
Update on Ecuador's Tourism Infrastructure & Services Following
- 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
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
"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
For donations toward earthquake
relief, please direct them to:
Banco Central del Ecuador
Beneficiary: Secretaria Gestion Riego/Planta Central (Risk
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
ZIKA VIRUS INFORMATION
As you have probably heard in the
press and travel advisories, the Zika Virus has been reported in
various Latin American countries including
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
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
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
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
- 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
and we don't want to downplay travelers' concerns, but we also
would like to ask you to please critically analyze any released
We hope that the distance of the
Islands from the mainland will keep them sheltered,
as they have been spared from other mosquito-borne diseases in the
( Information courtesy of Ocean
Adventures / Land Adventures )
NOTICE: New Transportation Fee on Baltra Island in the
- January 14, 2016
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.)
Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa - finalist of the 2016 Condé Nast
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 &
Created to acknowledge, reward
and celebrate excellence across the hotels in our collection, the
Condé Nast Johansens Awards
for Excellence are a trusted mark of quality, recognized
by luxury consumers and travel professionals alike.
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
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
(This information was supplied to
us courtesy of Latin Trails.)
Cruises to Cuba beginning in 2016
- September 14, 2015
LARC is now booking cruises
aboard the cruise ship M.S. Saint Laurent. In 2016,
the Saint Laurent will begin 10-day cruises from Miami to Cuba and
back, with excursions to many points of interest in Cuba.
For more information, see the cruise
itinerary for the M.S. Saint Laurent.
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
[ Be aware that some vessels
will have altered itineraries to visit alternate sites during the
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
Please note that our operations in Galapagos Islands and
the Amazon basin near Tena are not affected.
[ Provided by courtesy of Latin
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
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
[ Provided courtesy of
Metropolitan Touring. ]
Machu Picchu Closure During April 2016
- August 13, 2015
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Airport Fees Increase *
- August 20, 2014
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 Service Fee
|Airport Service Fee
* Fee increase notice supplied
courtesy of Latin Trails.
UPDATE: LARC Website Progresses - Galapagos Updates
- 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
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.
La Mirage Garden Hotel and
Spa - Blog and Photos by
- June 10, 2014
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
[ Originally published at
http://ecuadoratyourservice.com/author/admin/ - reposted here
with permission of the author. ]
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:
open in a new window, so you may need to disable your
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,
they can monitor the evolution of the volcano and be prepared for
Villages near the volcano
on the eastern Andean range were evacuated. Our
Operations Department will provide masks, if needed, to guests
through the area.
of Metropolitan Touring)
NOTICE: Baltra Airport Tax Increases
(in the Galapagos Islands)
- 25 March, 2013
UPDATED: 16 May, 2013
Effective 25 March, 2013, the new airport at Baltra Island began
operating. The new airport has increased its taxes as follows:
|Residents (of Galapagos)
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.
Changes To INGALA Procedures (Concerning Travel to the Galapagos
- 06 March, 2013
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
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
The fee for the transit document
is currently $10, subject to change, payable in cash only at the
(This information was provided to
us by Metropolitan Touring.)
NOTICE: New Mariscal Sucre Airport to Open Near Quito,
- 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.
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
Read it on the Palm Beach
Press web site.
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.
Our Trip to the “End of
the World” -
- 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
New TSA requirements
- 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
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
The Transit Control Card for Galapagos was implemented some months ago to assist in the control of illegal migration to Galapagos.
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.
More. . .
PRESS RELEASE: La Mirage Recognized as 'Environmentally
by Conde' Nast Johansens Luxury Hotel and
- 24 February, 2009
Press Release . . .
Read: 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
Travelers to Ecuador Advised Not to Bring US $100 Bills
- August 2005
LARC 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
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
happy traveler George Pike had to say about his visit to
Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands during February and March
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
On a Magical Journey to Ecuador
(reprinted with permission from postcardsforyou.com - January, 2004)
what another traveler had to say about their visit to
and the Galapagos Islands in
Hand in Hand - Getting Destination Help
(reprinted from Travel Weekly -
September 22, 2003)