Wildlife Wonders of South Americawith Ranjan Ramchandani
Experience the Wildlife Wonders of South America with award-winning wildlife photographer Ranjan Ramchandani on this exciting, modular adventure. You’ll explore the Pantanal wetlands of Brazil, arguably the best wildlife destination in the Western Hemisphere. Discover world-class birding in the Cloud Forest of Ecuador, and get up close and personal with the unique fauna of the Galapagos Islands.
You have been cordially invited to join this epic adventure to explore the varied wildlife throughout South America. This is a very special trip at a very special price for friends of Ranjan Ramchandani. If you have any questions, you can email BJ (that’s me) at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will personally help you with any arrangements you may need before, during, or after the trip. Though I won’t be with you in person, I’ll be with you in spirit to make sure everything goes perfectly. We have fantastic guides and tour operators in all areas, and I’ll be overseeing everything along the way.
- This trip visits the most important wildlife destinations in South America. We believe it is the first time that a trip of this scope has ever been done.
- For those that do the entire tour you will see an enormous breadth of fauna (and flora) from the wetlands of the Pantanal to the highlands of the Cloud Forest to the islands of the Galapagos. We estimate that you will easily be able to see more than 350 bird species (and maybe even up to 500) as well as some of the most fascinating mammals on the planet.
- This trip was designed for the month of October, the month that we feel is the best overall month for all three locations and possibly the only span when it’s comfortable to visit all of these destinations in the same time period.
- Though we think most people will desire to do the entire trip all at once, we recognize that not everyone will be able to do the full itinerary. You can choose the portions you most want to do.
- In addition to having local expert wildlife naturalists in each location, this trip will also be accompanied for the entire time by award-winning wildlife photographer Ranjan Ramchandani.
- The trip will be seamlessly organized and overseen by RetreaTours working in conjunction with our excellent partners in the Pantanal, Mindo-Tandayapa Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands.
- We have chosen each of the hotels as being the best for the overall experience for you, based on location, wildlife experience, amenities, staff, and more. We stand by all these hotels as being the best place to send our guests.
Trip at a Glance
- This journey is triple carbon offset
- Escorted by professional photographer Ranjan Ramchandani
- Explore the wetlands of the Pantanal and spot jaguars, tapir, anteaters, capybara, Hyacinth macaws, and more
- Discover Mindo-Tandayapa, Ecuador, one of the premier birding destinations in the world
- Experience the unique ecosystem and the charming wildlife of the Galapagos Islands
- Maximum of 12 guests
- Price based on length of journey you choose. Please see “Pricing” tab below for more.
How to Register
- Review this entire webpage for details
- Complete Registration Questions and Contract
- Lauren will email you with a link to pay the deposit
Itinerary at a Glance
30 September to 8 October Arrive in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and continue on to Cuiaba to explore the wetlands of the Pantanal
9 October to 14 October Travel to the Cloud Forest of Mindo-Tandayapa, Ecuador, often said to be the single best location in the world for birding and one of the most biodiverse areas on the globe.
15 October to 20 October Experience the magic of the Galapagos, based on San Cristobal Island.
21 October to 26 October Extend your stay in the Galapagos with a trip to Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands.
Detailed Daily Itinerary
When you think of the Amazon Rainforest in South America, do you picture jaguars, toucans, capybara, macaws, and other exotic wildlife? While it’s true that the Amazon Rainforest is home to more species than any other ecosystem, it’s extraordinarily difficult to spot much wildlife because the dark, dense foliage and leaf litter provides endless hiding spots.
So where can you spot these breathtaking creatures? Just next door, in the Pantanal!
What is the Pantanal?
The Pantanal is a region containing the world’s largest tropical wetland and the world’s largest flooded grasslands. It is located mostly within Brazil, but parts of it do extend into Paraguay and Bolivia. It covers an area around 195,000 square kilometers, or 282 times bigger than Singapore. This precious environment is recognized as a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Why is October the best time?
Each year from November to April, the Pantanal basin floods with rainwater, creating a superhighway for the millions of caiman who call the interior of Brazil home. In addition, piranha, giant river otters, and green anaconda thrive, as well as semiaquatic mammals such as capybara and tapir.
As the water recedes and the landscape becomes drier (May to October), you can see plenty of wildlife gathering at local waterholes and riverbanks, including the South American jaguar. The Pantanal is home to other fascinating mammals like the giant anteater, the lesser anteater (southern tamandua), capuchin monkeys, agouti, coatis, and crab-eating foxes. In addition, these wetlands are home to almost 500 species of birds, including the hyacinth macaw, toucans, kingfishers, jabiru storks, anhingas, spoonbills, greater rheas, curassows, and more.
Our favorite time to visit is in October, where you can still see jaguars along the Cuiaba River near Porto Joffre, but the occasional drizzle takes the edge off of the heat and the crowds of tourists have departed.
Notable species include (but definitely not limited to):
- Hyacinth macaw
- Giant otter
- Marsh deer
- Giant anteater
- Yacare caiman
- South American tapir
- Giant armadillo
- South American coati
- Toco toucan
- Crab-eating fox
- Roseate spoonbill
- Greater rhea
- Black howler monkey
- Yellow anaconda
- White-lipped peccary
- Southern tamandua (aka lesser anteater)
- Pampas deer
- Collared peccary
- Tufted capuchin monkey
- Bush dog (rarely seen)
- Maned wolf (rarely seen)
- Ocelot (rarely seen)
- Jaguarundi (rarely seen)
- Here are a few more notable bird species
- More than 500 bird species
September 30, 2022: You must arrive to Sao Paulo, Brazil by this evening. Hotel recommendations in Sao Paulo will be given, but hotel night is not included in case people arrive early and choose to stay in the city. Sao Paulo is the MOST connected airport in South America. Cheap to get to from the USA and easy to reach from Dubai or Europe.
October 1, 2022: Today the group flies from GRU (Sao Paolo airport) [flight included] to Cuiaba (CGB). Upon arrival, the group will be picked up and driven to the Pantanal. Stay at a gorgeous lodge (Aymara) for 2 nights. One of the single best locations for birdwatching in the Pantanal and owned by the guy that literally wrote the book on the birds of the Pantanal. The 2-hour drive to the property you will see an amazing array of animals from the road. [LD included]
October 2, 2022: Explore grounds of Aymara Lodge to see some of the 335 bird species that have been identified on the property as well as tamandua (lesser anteater), tapir, coati, giant anteaters, caiman, and so much more. [BLD included].
October 3, 2022: Drive to Porto Joffre and stay in a floating hotel called Millennium (the best on the river). There’ll be good wildlife viewing from the road on the drive to the river. Once you reach the river, you’ll take boats to the floating hotel (about 30 minutes up the river). The floating hotel (“floatel”) is spacious and will be moored to the river shore far from civilization. While you will be able to see some species while you’re on the boat, safaris are done on an aluminum fast boat that will take you into small tributaries, very close to the wildlife. [BLD included]
October 4, 2022: Jaguar safaris by boat in the morning and afternoon. Between the morning and afternoon/evening safari you will be brought back to the floatel for lunch and rest. Staying at the “floatel” saves about 30 minutes each way each time you go out to spot the jaguars (thus saving about 2 hours each day while getting you out earlier and allowing you to stay out later each safari). [BLD included]
October 5, 2022: Jaguar safaris by boat in the morning and afternoon. During today and the previous day (4 safaris) you will see jaguars (usually quite close) as well as a plethora of other species. [BLD included]
October 6, 2022: to Santa Rosa lodge on the river. This lodge is located on the river. It’s a lovely lodge with a pool and amazing food. On the property, there are usually Toco toucans, jabirus, capybaras, capuchin monkeys, and much more. It allows you some close-up (yet still wild) experiences with these beautiful species. [BLD included]
October 7, 2022: to Rio Claro lodge. This place is located on a small tributary. On the grounds, there are many species that you won’t have seen elsewhere. And this afternoon and the following morning you’ll be taken out on a short boat ride to have special photographic experiences with jabiru, giant otters, hawks, and caiman. These animals are wild, but will often come up to the boat for you to get great photos of them. [BLD included]
October 8, 2022: Drive 2 hours to Cuiaba airport and fly (2:10hrs) from CGB to GRU. Spend the night near the airport in Sao Paolo (Marriott or Pullman). [B included] [Flight & hotel is included]
The Cloud Forest of Mindo, Ecuador
The Mindo-Tandayapa Cloud Forest is a unique ecosystem in Ecuador that’s known worldwide for its biodiversity and birding. The lush subtropical forest provides a mystical environment to roam around and pursue adventure, in addition to finding many species of birds, plants, and other animals.
Mindo, Ecuador is part of a cloud forest ecosystem, which is characterized by the persistent low-lying clouds that deliver lots of moisture and hence thick plant growth. Located along the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano, Mindo’s dense and misty forest canopy is full of life.
Mindo-Tandayapa, Ecuador, is one of the premier birding destinations in the world! More than 500 different types of birds have been spotted in an area with a diameter of 20km. In fact, Mindo is regularly awarded the annual world record for the most bird species counted within a 24-hour period (the Audubon Christmas Bird Count).
The biodiversity in Mindo doesn’t end with its many bird species. The Mindo Cloud Forest is also known for its numerous butterflies, orchids, and bromeliads. Meanwhile, Andean bears, capuchin monkeys, and even rare pumas all call Mindo their home.
Here are some of my personal photos from the Mindo-Tandayapa region (note that I am very much a newbie bird-photographer). You will visit all the locations where these photos were taken.
October 9, 2022: Fly from Sao Paolo to Quito. Flight is not included and will cost approximately $200-300 depending on how early you book. Hotel night in Quito is included (Wyndham near the airport is ~2400m altitude so there should be no issues with altitude sickness). [B included]
October 10, 2022: Our guide will pick you up at the hotel and take you for a brief visit to Yanacocha Reserve (3350m) where there are some very special birds including the swordbill hummingbird. Thereafter you’ll be driving downhill to stay at the world-famous Bellavista Cloud Forest Mountain Lodge (2200m) [again, there should be no problems with altitude at that height]. There will be a birding tour in the afternoon. This lodge is set deep in the cloud forest and you will be surrounded by flora and fauna that few people experience. There are 10km of trails on the property and your guide will point out scores of bird species during your walks. Though it is the dry season, it is the rainforest and you should be prepared for some rain. [BLD included]
October 11, 2022: 6am guided birding/wildlife/flora tour then breakfast and then 9am birding/wildlife/flora tour, followed by lunch. You’ll depart after lunch to drive to the next lodge. This next lodge was made by a photographer for photographers. He has created picturesque settings that birds visit for food. He will also arrange for bat photography after sunset for those that desire (6 speedlights and a motion trigger that you will be able to use). There are so many hummingbirds on the property that they will certainly land on you while you’re taking photos of them. It’s GREAT fun. This is the number one place to see the famous plate-billed mountain-toucan and the very rare hoary puffleg hummingbird. [BL included].
October 12, 2022: Photos from the blinds and on the grounds before breakfast. After a leisurely breakfast you’ll be driven to the next lodge which is deep in yet another type of cloud forest set at about 1550m. There are 6 kilometers of trails on the grounds that you will be shown by your guide. [BLD included]
October 13, 2022: You’ll depart in the early morning (dark) hours to see the famous Andean cock-of-the-rock (red subspecies) as well as the rare and difficult to see antpittas (up to 5 species in the area). You’ll return to the lodge for lunch and a visit to town for a visit to the butterfly sanctuary, orchid garden, and shopping. [BLD included]
October 14, 2022: Visit the lower altitude [330m] rainforest areas of Silanche and Milpe to see even more species of birds that you haven’t seen yet. Thereafter you’ll be driven back to Quito to stay at the Wyndham by the airport. An afternoon/evening visit to Quito is possible and can be arranged at an extra minimal cost for those that have the desire. [BL included]
San Cristobal Island, Galapagos
The Galápagos Islands are considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing–and wildlife photography. These UNESCO World Heritage islands, isolated 1,000km off the coast of Ecuador, are home to diverse and unique flora & fauna–many are found nowhere else on the planet. You’ll take plenty of boat excursions to reach the treasured, remote vistas of this otherworldly volcanic archipelago.
This portion of the itinerary is centered on and around the island of San Cristobal during one of the best overall times of year for wildlife viewing (on land and underwater). You’ll be staying in the main city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, which also serves as the capital of the Galapagos Province of Ecuador.
This island is where, in 1835, Charles Darwin first disembarked in the Galapagos on the voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle. His time in the Galapagos and the samples he collected here greatly informed his theory of evolution. You can see the statue of Darwin from high atop Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas) or hike out to see it close-up on your way to snorkel in the aquamarine bay. You’ll have a west-facing view of the sunset, both from a beach in town (Punta Carola) and a nearby beach, La Loberia, just a short taxi ride away. Both beaches house large sea lion colonies and are a true joy to experience at sunset.
Most of these boat trips will be combined with lunch and time on a beautiful nearby beach, with a bit of time for walking, resting, or swimming.
Want to see a different side of this island? We’ll also visit the lush highlands of San Cristobal to spend time at Galapaguero de Cerro Colorado, marveling at the giant tortoises at this breeding center.
This town offers some wonderful educational activities, including the Interpretation Center, where you learn that the history of the Galapagos is even stranger–and more scandalous–than fiction. Follow the path past the Interpretation Center up to Frigatebird Hill for a gorgeous view of the bay and Kicker Rock.
There are a couple of beaches to choose from should you want to bask like a sea lion, and you can even snorkel in Darwin Bay over by Frigate Bird Hill (bring your buddy, though!) This town has lots of waterfront bars and cafes, and plenty of opportunities to shop for souvenirs. There is also the opportunity for Stand-up Paddleboard (SUP) tours of the bay.
For a free download of the concise field guide we created for the Galapagos please click this link. It’s filled with all the historical and ecological information one might need and will certainly get you excited for this part of the journey.
San Cristobal Itinerary
October 15, 2022: You’ll fly ~2 hours from Quito to San Cristobal Galapagos (SCY) [flight not included but shouldn’t cost more than ~$200 depending on when you book]. You’ll be picked up at the airport and driven to Galapagos Sunset Hotel (8-minute drive)
October 16, 2022: On your first full day we will head to Isla Lobos–that’s right, the Island of Sea Lions! We’ll share the waters with these playful sea lions (or, more accurately, they’ll share the water with us!) and perhaps get a glimpse of them gliding around in their element. Don’t let their clumsy behavior on land fool you–they are amongst the most elegant and agile creatures on the planet. You’ll also take a walk on the small island itself, which is a favorite nesting spot for frigate birds and blue-footed boobies. [B included and a light lunch will be served on the boat]
October 17, 2022: Today you’ll visit Española Island. This is one of the oldest islands in the archipelago, Espanola provides an opportunity to see the waved albatross, as well as a particularly colorful population of marine iguanas. Blue-footed boobies and Nazca boobies are plentiful, as well as sea lions and all sorts of marine life! Aside from a few breeding pairs on mainland Ecuador, this island is the only place in the world to see them. There can be thousands on the island in the month of October. [BL included, light lunch on the boat]
October 18, 2022: This morning you will be driven to the highlands of the island for a visit to see the famed Galapagos tortoises. You’ll also have lunch at a ranch/farm. You’ll have the afternoon free to explore the beaches and areas around the town.
October 19, 2022: Today you’ll visit Kicker Rock (aka León Dormido); obviously the British thought this monolith looked like a shoe, while the Ecuadorians thought it looked more like a sleeping lion–what do you see? Kicker Rock, the eroded cone of an extinct volcano, is a local favorite for snorkeling and diving*. This is a great space to see spotted eagle rays and sharks–even hammerhead sharks if you’re very lucky! But don’t forget to look up, too, as the towering rock formations are home to blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, brown pelicans, and more. (*Divers can opt to upgrade this activity and turn it into a diving trip, although the general consensus from past guests is that snorkeling trips are preferable.) [B, light lunch on boat included]
October 20, 2022: Depart for the mainland (Quito) for your flight home OR you can join on the optional extension you’ll see below.
Optional extension to Isabela Island and Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos
This optional extension includes the two other islands that visitors can stay on. Both are significantly different from San Cristobal so a visit to these islands is warranted, though not necessary if you don’t have the time. Isabela is the largest island of the Galapagos yet far less populated than Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Here you’ll be staying near a wonderful beach and there are some spectacular excursions (see below). Thereafter, you’ll go Santa Cruz for a short visit. Santa Cruz is (by far) the most populated and least charming of the islands. But there are some good things to do while on the island.
Isabela Island and Santa Cruz Island Itinerary
October 20, 2022: Flight to Isabela (flight cost will be about $300 depending on when you book) . You’ll be driven to the hotel (~10 minutes) at Cally Hotel. The afternoon is free to explore the beach and surrounding areas. [B included].
October 21, 2022: Today will be an excursion to the most otherworldly part of the Galapagos—Los Tunules (aka The Tunnels). You’ll take a boat to visit these lava formations with cacti growing from the rock. You’ll get up close with blue-footed boobies while exploring the rocky area. Thereafter (or maybe beforehand) you’ll go to another area for snorkeling with sea turtles (sometimes dozens of them will be very close to you). You may also see seahorses, reef sharks, and other wildlife in the water. [B, light lunch on boat included]
October 22, 2022: Today is one of the shortest day-trips, to a place called the “Tintoreras” (which means white-tipped reef shark in Spanish). You’ll take a small boat out to an island to get up close to Galapagos penguins. Thereafter you’ll disembark on a small island for some close encounters with a variety of animal species. Finally, there’ll be an opportunity for snorkeling. There are a number of different snorkeling spots and it depends on the tides as to which one you’ll do. They’re all great fun. [B included]
October 23, 2022: Today is a choose-your-own-adventure day. You can choose to hike up Sierra Negra volcano which is moderately difficult if you go all the way to the end of the hike or you can do a kayaking (and snorkeling) trip in and around the Tintoreras. Or you can rent a bicycle and ride to/toward the Wall of Tears where you’ll see wild Galapagos tortoises along the way as well as a host of other species. You can probably squeeze in a couple of these adventures or even do one in the afternoon the day before (22 October).
October 24, 2022: Today you’ll take the best and most comfortable speedboat about 2 hours to the island of Santa Cruz. While it may be a little rough, it is the fastest and easiest way to get to the town of Puerto Ayora. Upon arrival, you’ll be picked up and driven to the highlands to see wild Galapagos tortoises on a ranch in the highlands. These are the largest of the tortoise species that you’ll experience and the setting makes for some excellent photographs. [B included]
October 25, 2022: In the morning (timing is tide dependent) you can visit (~40-minute walk) the long white sand beach of Tortuga Bay, a perfect place to photograph marine iguanas. Though you’ll have seen hundreds of marine iguanas on other islands, this beach is quite picturesque. The afternoon is free to shop and explore or even re-visit the highlands and the tortoises. [B included]
October 26, 2022: Transfer to airport (Baltra/GPS about 1 hour in total) then fly to Quito (UIO). Your flight to the mainland should be around $200 and is not included. [B included]
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Price & What is Included
The entire trip (Pantanal, Mindo, San Cristobal) costs $8,299 USD based on twin/double share. There is a ~15% savings by booking the entire tour through San Cristobal in the Galapagos.
If you wish to have your own private room, the single supplement is $999 USD. (Click here to understand why this single supplement is necessary).Please note that we cannot guarantee you a roommate for this trip, and if you room alone, you will be responsible for the single supplement.
These portions of the tour can be done separately at the following cost:
- $4,599 USD: Pantanal portion only [$450 USD single supplement]
- $2,299 USD: Mindo portion only [$250 USD single supplement]
- $2,799 USD: San Cristobal, Galapagos portion only [$499 USD single supplement]
Optional extension to other parts of the Galapagos (Isabela & Santa Cruz)
- $1,499 USD: Isabela & Santa Cruz optional extension [$350 USD single supplement]
- Most meals: Unless stated otherwise on daily itinerary.
- Park entrance fees (except in the Galapagos)
- Guide fees
- All excursions and safaris as listed on the itinerary
- All tips (to guides, drivers, boat captains, restaurant/kitchen staff, housekeeping, and hotel staff). [Please note that you are free and encouraged to give extra tips to anyone that you might desire. They would certainly appreciate any extra money they receive and we don’t want to prevent anyone from doing so]
- All internal transportation while on tour
- All hotels except the night of arrival to Sao Paulo at the beginning of the trip.
- Roundtrip flight from Sao Paulo to Cuiaba (GRU-CGB-GRU)
- Triple carbon offset
The trip price does not include
- Travel medical insurance (required)
- Galapagos National Park entry fee ($100 USD)
- TCT Galapagos fee ($20 USD)
- 4 lunches and 8 dinners are not included (can be paid with cash or credit/debit card)
- Anything else not explicitly listed in the itinerary above
- Flights (except GRU-CGB-GRU flight as listed above)
- Flights you will have to purchase include:
- Your home to Sao Paulo, Brazil [GRU or VCP]
- GRU to UIO (Sao Paulo to Quito)
- UIO to SCY (Quito to San Cristobal) [~$200USD]
- SCY to Isabela Island if you choose to do the optional extension to Isabela, or SCY to UIO if you choose not to do the extension to Isabela. Note that IF you do the extension to Isabela & Santa Cruz, you will then need to purchase a flight from GPS to UIO. If you choose not to do that extension, you will need to purchase a flight from SCY to UIO at the end of the trip.
- UIO (Quito) to your home airport
- PLEASE NOTE: I will send you the exact flights you will need to purchase between countries and can even help you find the best flights from/to your home airport [a free service]
- Flights you will have to purchase include:
A $1000 USD deposit will hold your space for any or all portions of this tour.
The balance is due June 1, 2022.
Once you register using the form below, we will contact you with the best options for payment. Please know that payment by credit card will incur a fee (from 2.9% to 4.9% depending on the location of the credit card bank).
Registration Questions & Contract
Please click here to go to complete this journey’s registration form. You will be asked for your passport expiration date; if you will need to renew your passport before this trip, simply fill in your old information and update us when you receive your new passport.
At the end of the form, please press “submit” to finalize your answers. Your spot is not considered reserved until you have completed these questions.
We do everything in our power to do right by our guests. We are proud to say that in the wake of our COVID-related trip cancellations through 2020 and 2021, we were able to offer each of our guests the choice of a 100% credit, if not a full refund.
We’ve re-examined each trip and done our best to reduce the deposit amounts as much as possible. Upon your registration, your deposit immediately goes toward reserving your space for flights, hotels, and excursions that must be booked months in advance and are often non-refundable.
Cancellation by our guests
The cancellation charges are as follows unless otherwise indicated on the detailed itinerary for each trip. All cancellations must be received via e-mail or US mail.
- Cancellations prior to 120 days to departure, money will be refunded minus the non-refundable deposit.
- Cancellations received 61 to 119 days prior to departure are subject to a penalty of 50% of the total cost of the trip.
- Cancellations received 60 days or less prior to trip departure will forfeit the entire cost of the trip.
If a trip is cancelled by RetreaTours
When a tour is cancelled in the case of force majeure, the Tour Participant will receive a refund minus any funds that we are unable to recover from any supplier.
FAQ: Visas, Vaccines, Food, Money & more
- Passport and Visa information
- Health & Vaccines, Altitude, Travel Insurance
- Money & How to Get Local Currency
- Communication / Internet Connectivity
- What do I need to know about the visa?
First and foremost, your passport MUST be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip, and you’ll need four empty pages in the Visas section of your passport (make sure they are in the Visa section, not the Amendment or Endorsement section).
There is currently no charge for a visa to Chile, Brazil, or Argentina for Americans, Canadians, Australians, British, Singaporeans, and EU citizens at this time.
- Can my dietary needs be accommodated?
Most any dietary requirement can be met on this journey. Please indicate any special requests/allergies on the registration form and we’ll reach out to you with any advice or information necessary.
- Can I drink the water?
Please stick to filtered or bottled water on this journey.
- What vaccines do I need?
No vaccines are required to enter our destinations, but we highly encourage you to work with your local travel clinic or the travel department of your local health department (often a much cheaper option).
Please see the CDC’s general advice for:
Please see the NHS’s general advice for:
As you can see in the CDC and NHS recommendations above, the Yellow Fever vaccine is recommended for the Pantanal area (although proof of vaccination is not required to enter any country on this itinerary).
- What about malaria?
- Do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance is required on this trip; please see the separate “Travel Insurance” toggle on this page.
- How do I get the local currency?
You can either exchange cash or use local ATMs upon arrival, although exchanging cash will be much easier. Just make sure you call your bank and credit card company to let them know you’ll be traveling so they don’t put a hold on your card when they see it being used halfway across the world.
- What kind of hotels will we be staying at?
Please see the separate “About our Accommodations” toggle on this page.
- Will I be able to charge my electronics (phone, iPad, etc)?
Yes, just be sure to bring along a Universal Travel Adaptor that can go with you anywhere in the world!
- How can my family get ahold of me in an emergency?
You will have wifi access throughout this trip, with the potential exception of the “floatel” in the Pantanal. In addition, we’ll give you a list of our hotels and their phone numbers that you can pass along to your family.
Our Carbon Negative commitment
RetreaTours is Climate Positive!
We purchase triple carbon offsets for your travels with us—that’s from your home, through the entire tour, and back to your home again, times three!
You may have heard the term “carbon neutral,” which means that a company offsets as much carbon as it produces. With this 300% offset, RetreaTours is actually offsetting more carbon than we produce each year, making us “carbon negative” (or “climate positive,” which has a nicer ring to it!)
Since 2012 we’ve focused on making travel safe and easy for our guests; with our triple carbon offset tours, we’re pleased to make our trips as sustainable as they are memorable.
Please see more at RetreaTours.com/CarbonNegative
About our Accommodations
We’ll provide you with a complete list of hotels before the journey, but please know that each of these hotels was carefully chosen for their comfort, location, and amenities. They each have their own private bathrooms, climate control, and hotels have wifi access, although it may be stronger in common areas (lobby, restaurants, etc).
If you are traveling with RetreaTours, we require that each guest carries travel insurance that covers emergency medical treatment and emergency evacuation and repatriation.
We suggest trip cancellation insurance, as well, as you never know what obstacles life can toss at you leading up to a trip. However, we do not require this coverage, we only suggest it highly.
Below you will find some options to look into, if this is a new world to you. However, we ask that you carefully consider your choice in travel insurance. What works for some people may not work for others, particularly if you have any pre-existing conditions. Please do take the time to consider the best policy for your individual needs.
World Nomads provides medical coverage for guests under 70 that includes trip cancellation, as well. You can use the box on this page to get a quote and see coverage.
InsureMyTrip.com is a good place to see and compare many policies at once, and you can refine the options by what coverage you would like.
It may also be a good idea to check with your credit card companies, especially American Express, to see if they offer any medical coverage for travel.
Temperatures & Suggested Packing List
Cuiaba & the Pantanal
In early October, the temperature in the Pantanal typically ranges from 24°C to 34°C and is rarely below 20°C or above 38°C.
In mid-October, the temperature in Quito and Mindo typically ranges from 9°C to 18°C and is rarely below 7°C or above 20°C.
In mid-October, the temperature in the Galapagos typically ranges from 22°C to 23°C and is rarely below 20°C or above 24°C. The average surface water this time of year is 22°C.
Suggest packing list coming soon!
Please write BJ@RetreaTours.com for any questions you may have about this journey. If you have not received a reply within 48 hours, please do check your spam folder.
About BJ and Lauren of RetreaTours
You’ll be joined on this journey by BJ & Lauren, owners of RetreaTours–and we are so excited to show you the natural beauty of South America!
BJ & Lauren created RetreaTours in 2010 with one goal in mind: to make world travel accessible, authentic, and astounding. In order to focus fully on this passion, they moved out of the U.S. in January 2013 to reside full-time overseas. Each day is spent exploring new destinations, strengthening local ties & relationships, and creating memorable, transformative, one-of-a-kind retreats and tours (aka, RetreaTours™!)
BJ & Lauren take great pride in the itineraries they plan, as they can personally vouch for every hotel, every restaurant, and every activity that you will experience. They craft each element of the trip with intention, and they understand that it is this careful attention to detail that sets them apart. Fueled by their passion, armed with know-how, and supported by knowledgeable local professionals in all of their destinations, BJ & Lauren set the scene for the vacation of a lifetime. The dynamic duo are available to answer any and all questions before the trip begins. From giving advice on the best flights and travel insurance to providing a packing list, FAQ, and even a tiny “phrasebook,” BJ & Lauren pride themselves on these ‘nuts & bolts’ of personalized service.
In addition, as a guest, you receive free travel consulting services (normally a $300 value) should you choose to extend your travels. As one of their most ‘frequent fliers’ put it recently, BJ & Lauren make everything easy for you. The research has been done, the itinerary carefully laid out, the reservations made, the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. All you have to do is show up and take in all your destination has to show you! So….let’s get going!