What is covered by the expedition costs?
The expedition costs paid to Operation Wallacea cover virtually everything from the start point of the expedition to the finish point of the expedition. This includes all accommodation, food, transfers between sites, all on-site training courses, $1.5 million medical and evacuation insurance, academic supervision, provision of all the support and medical staff and participation in any of the research projects being offered. The whole science programme and subsequent reporting is supported by the expedition costs.
The only exception are the Park Entry fees which are payable by each person entering the Galapagos. There is a $20 fee payable on departure at the airport in Quito when flying to the Galapagos and a $100 Galapagos National Park fee to be paid on arrival in Baltra. You will need to carry this $120 in cash with you for this part of the expedition.
Optional training courses and equipment hire
You will require a mask, snorkel and fins for the week and the cost of hiring this if you do not have your own is $26 (£20). If you are also completing the diving element then you can hire the snorkel equipment for the week and full dive equipment, including a 7mm wetsuit, for the day diving for $39 (£30). We suggest bringing your own wetsuit for the snorkelling components.
Travel, airport tax and visa costs
You are responsible for your own travel costs to and from the start and finish points of the expedition (see travel advice page).
Flights into Ecuador will sometimes include a transit in the United States and, although you will not necessarily be staying in the country, you will need to obtain an ESTA (an entry visa for the US). These can be organised by visiting the US Government website (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/), and cost $14 for a visa which is valid for two years. If you are a nationality included in the Visa on Arrival scheme in Ecuador, then you will not be charged for entering the country. This visa on arrival lasts for 90 days, which will be more than sufficient to cover your expedition with Operation Wallacea. You may need to pay a departure tax when you leave Ecuador (approximately $46 which will need to be paid in Dollars), this has been absorbed into nearly all flight ticket costs from Quito but please do check with your airline to be sure.
Money to bring with you
You will need enough spending money to cover your pre-expedition start and end date expenses, and any personal on-site expenditure only. This may include snack and souvenir purchases made at local shops.
The local Ecuadorian currency is US Dollars. Changing money to Dollars before you leave is extremely easy and can be done at most travel agents or post offices.
Please also consider arranging a contingency fund to cover any emergencies, and note that even warning your bank that you will be using it in Ecuador, still automatic security services might put a block on it, so please bring enough cash for your time in Ecuador.