Latin America Reservation Center - LARC ©

Latin America
Reservation Center
, Inc.

1982   -   Celebrating 33 Years of Superior Service!    -   2015


Travel News,
Notices, and Articles

Latin America


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This page is updated frequently, so visit often.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Cruises to Cuba beginning in 2016
- September 14, 2015

LARC is now booking cruises to Cuba 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

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 Lonsome 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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Latin America Reservation Center - LARC ©






"Jungle" Jack Hanna

Jack Hanna's LARC Testimonial on YouTube:

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512x384 MP4
720x480 Mpeg2

(These open in a new window)

Ecuador Volcano Tours - Volcano Avenue



Latin America Reservation Center - LARC ©

Latin America Reservation Center - LARC ©       Latin America Reservation Center, Inc. ®
Call, FAX, or Email to book your dream vacation, or just ask a question:

TOLL FREE IN THE USA & CANADA: 1-800-327-3573
INTERNATIONAL: 001-863-439-1486
FAX: 1-863-439-2118


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