Photography is a highlight of any trip to the Galápagos. With the transition to digital, the best advice is to bring a camera and a format that you are familiar with and know will give you the results you are looking for. If you want to try something new, take time to become familiar with your gear before you head out on the trip. A good rule is to always bring more film or memory space than you think you will need. If you are looking for the results of those glossy catalogs, look into a high color saturation slide film or more mega pixels. While a good zoom lens can come in handy and render excellent up-close results, you probably dont need anything larger than a hand held lens that does not require a tripod. The Galápagos is a great place to bring along a disposable underwater camera as well.
The Galápagos is also an excellent place to make home videos. Keep in mind that facility for recharging on our fleet is limited, so it is a good idea to invest in some long life batteries available for most cameras. Remember to power down when you are not using your camera.
Sand and seawater are the enemies of any optical or electronic instrument. Keep this in mind when considering what to bring. A good measure to take for any photographic equipment is to bring large high quality zip lock bags with a zipper lock to keep your camera in, especially when crossing to shore. Bring a few, as they are hard to dry out or clean once wet. Whether photographing wildlife in the Galápagos or people at Otavalo, please be respectful and considerate. Your guide will advise you on the dos and donts.
Bring one set of casual city clothes that are a bit dressier. These should be comfortable and are for those times you might want to appear slightly more formal. For women this can mean a casual dress or skirt. Men dont need to bring a jacket unless they wish to be more formal.
Comfortable walking or hiking shoes with good traction. Teva style sandals are good for hiking the island beaches and you do not have to worry if you get your feet wet. Thongs are acceptable but are not good for hiking though they are good on deck. A security strap is a good idea in the surf.
A new product we are excited about is ZEMgear's booties. These are great for on the ship, in the launch or on the beach. We particularly recommend something like the ZEMbootie for adventurers who need a bit more traction in slippery environments.
Note: The shoes you wear during landings are kept in a bin on the yacht. If you want to wear them on board the yacht we can wash the bottoms but you may want to have a light pair of deck shoes or thongs for the yacht. Bare feet are also acceptable.
Comfortable athletic type socks for walking and hiking.
Sun hat or cap. Wide brim hats should have chin strap in case they blow off your head. Unless you have a really thick head of hair and never burn sun visors are out.
Bandana (great to shield your neck)
Dark glasses with security strap (polarized lenses will help you to see more when looking in the water to spot turtles and rays). Its a good idea to bring two pairs, especially if you need prescription glasses.
Its always a good idea to travel light by bringing only what you need for your trip. Being over burdened with luggage can make transfers and travel difficult. Keep in mind that flights to and from the Galápagos limit you to a maximum of 20 kg or 44 lbs. This allowance should be more than enough for what youll need to bring, but if you have extra items you wish to leave in Quito during your trip to the Galápagos or to the Amazonsuch as items you may have acquired at Otavaloarrangements can be made to leave extra bags at your hotel.
Following are our recommendations for luggage for this trip:
This bag stays with you at all times, will most likely be your carry-on and is where you will keep such Galápagos necessities as your cameraunless you have a camera bagsunscreen, glasses, windbreaker and other similar objects during your hikes. Some people prefer both a daypack and a small fanny pack. Because you will be the one to carry this bag(s) youll want to keep the weight down.
In addition to your carry-on bag you should only need one duffle bag or small suite case with built in wheels to serve as your main luggage for the trip. This can also be a carry-on but check with your airline to insure it meets specifications. A medium size duffle or suitcase of 30 X 15 X 14 with a capacity of 110 liters or slightly larger should be sufficient. A benefit of your yacht is that once you move into your cabin you wont have to move luggage for a while.
Experienced travelers know that its good to carry a spare duffle rolled up in your main luggage piece. This is not only good in case you want to leave belongings in Quito while you are in the Galápagos or Amazon, but it comes in handy for those who like to do a good deal of shopping in places like Otavalo. The Indians merchants in Otavalo know this and do a great business selling reasonably priced duffels. This is one item you may want to pick up in Ecuador.
These are always a good idea when traveling and discourages anyone inclined to zip open your bag to see what they might find.
Sturdy zip lock bags are great to keep important items dry while in the Galápagos or Amazon.