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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal

Notice to Research Vessel Operators No. 49

Subject: Ecuador: Galapagos Islands Research
Released by the Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, May 25, 1978.


Research vessel clearances involving the Galapagos Islands require specific information which must be provided to the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS). An instruction from the CDRS is attached that lists the information required. It is recommended that the application for research (at least four copies), as described on page 2 of the attachment, accompany your research clearance request (standard UNLOOSE forms). They will be forwarded by us to the Embassy and the Embassy will forward them to the CDRS and the National Park Administration. If you prefer to mail your application directly to the CDRS and National Park Administration be sure to note this on the UNLOOSE forms, which will still be necessary for compiling a clearance request that will be processed through the various Departments of the Government of Ecuador, including the Navy.

The CDRS instruction points out that application should be made at least four months prior to the start of the research and preferably earlier. Meeting this lead-time requirement would be specially important if CDRS support or facilities are required.

The actual limits of the National Park are undetermined at the present time. Several draft laws in Ecuador are attempting to establish the boundary but they are still pending and the issue may not be resolved in the near future. It can be assumed that the limits of the Park extend to the marine area surrounding the islands, probably to a distance of at least several miles offshore.

Attachment: As stated.


Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands
1 rue Ducale, Brussels, Belgium

Information for Scientists Staying at the Charles Darwin Research Station

The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS), established and administered by the Charles Darwin Foundation with support of the Government of Ecuador, has as its aims the conservation and study of the Galapagos Archipelago and its unique flora and fauna. The Station is available to visitors of all nationalities who wish to undertake research, provided they comply with the requirements of the Government of Ecuador and the Charles Darwin Foundation.

Conservation of the Islands' ecosystems and conservational education of the inhabitants of the Archipelago are integral parts of all activities of the Darwin Station. Scientists visiting the station are therefore obliged to observe the following general rules: (Most of this is included in Ecuadorian legislation and some is repeated in more detail elsewhere in this pamphlet; a more detailed explanation and set of instructions/suggestions, including some minor exceptions, will be given to you upon arrival at the CDRS.)

1. Do not bring any live material from the continent to the Archipelago or vice versa and do not carry any live material from island to island.

2. Keep your influence on the environment to an absolute minimum: Do not make campfires (bring a kerosene stove: you can buy these in Quito or Guayaquil.),

Do not leave litter in the terrestrial or marine environment. Take a box or bag both on land and on boats for collecting your litter, and bring it back to the CDRS. When at sea do not throw plastic, waxed paper, cans, bottles, or other non-decomposible material overboard and when within two nautical miles of shore, do not dump anything (if the crew of the boat you are chartering does it, tell them that the plastic kills marine turtles and the litter affects wildlife on shore).

Collect only what has been permitted to you by the National Park authority (tell your colleague who wanted a coral head, a crab, a rock or a plant sample, that this will have to be justified to the Park separately).

Avoid upsetting animals or damaging the vegetation or the natural landscape in any way.

Do not purchase or accept gifts of natural objects or their products except those made of introduced organisms or materials.

3. In your contacts with inhabitants and visitors, show your conservational attitude. Explain basic ecological facts and the dangers stemming from human mismanagement, particularly on islands. Also, explain your Galapagos project and show that it is in harmony with conservation principles. You can be an important factor in the promotion of these principles.

Authorization to Work: Scientists, Foreign Vessels, Photographers and Film-makers

Permission to work and camp anywhere within the limits of the National Park (which includes the entire Archipelago with the exception of the settled areas) must be requested from the governmental National Park Administration in Quito (Direccion de Desarrollo Forestal). Requests to work at the CDRS and/or for CDRS support of field work must be submitted to the Foundation (see addresses below). These two agencies should receive an outline of the proposed research. The format of this proposal is not fixed; it may be a copy of the proposal submitted to the agency funding the research, but it should be accompanied by covering letters and must include the following points:

1. Description of research program: Include discussion of objectives, explain why this work must be done in the Galapagos and how it relates to previous investigations. While the Darwin Foundation is not a fund granting organization, limited facilities and support at CDRS often force a choice between alternative proposals. To insure that this support goes to the project of greatest scientific merit, detailed descriptions of the proposed research are requested. Besides serving as a basis for the decisions of the National Park and Foundation, this description will enable the Foundation and Station to act as a clearinghouse by putting the investigator in contact with colleagues of similar interests and by advising beforehand on research methods and logistics.

2. Support Needs: Accommodation, ship time, equipment and facilities: Give as much information as possible on your expected needs and the Station will be able to tell you how much support can be supplied (see later sections) and suggest alternatives.

3. Effect on the Galapagos Environment: Scientists visiting the Station are expected to support the conservational aims of the Foundation. All uninhabited areas of the Archipelago are included in the Park and strict conservation laws are in force. Indicate exactly to what extent your activity within the Park might affect the wildlife or landscape. While most field research leaves some small temporary mark on the environment, the Park Administration and the Darwin Foundation will not permit projects that will do serious harm to any element of the indigenous ecosystems or landscape. Most scientists are aware of the importance of an unspoiled Galapagos environment. Visiting scientists should set an example of sound conservation principles.

All species, habitats and landscapes indigenous to the Islands are protected by law. Limited collecting and exporting of soil, rock, animal, plant or other specimens may be permitted by the Park Administration in cases where it is indispensable for the realization of the study. Therefore, the investigator should state the specimens required, their proposed final destination, and other relevant details. Collection of specimens not related to the project in question will be permitted only on the basis of a separate application.

The Park Administration may ask the investigator to submit a representative collection to an Ecuadorian Institute or Museum.

Research work in those sites which have been designated by the National Parks authorities as "Intensive Use Zones" is limited to studies of tourism impact or certain very special cases, e.g. for long-term studies which have been in progress for some time, or those rare cases in which the study cannot be accomplished at another location. These sites consist of specific trails (a few hundred meters to 3 km. in length and marked by small, scenery blending stakes) and their environs, where the major tourist/visitor flow is channeled. Such visitor zones make up portions of the following locations: Bartolome; Bahia Gardner and Punta Suarez, Espanola; Punta Espinosa, Fernandina; Bahia Darwin, Genovesa; Caleta Tagus, Poza Del Cementerio, Punta Albemarle, and Punta Tortuga, Isabela; Mosquera; South Plazas; Colonia de Fregatas and Playa Grande, San Cristobal; Bahia James and Bahia Sullivan, San Salvador (Santiago); Bahia Conway, Santa Cruz; Northeastern Cove, Santa Fe; Bahia Post Office and Punta Cormorant, Santa Maria (Floreana); Seymour (North Seymour). With proper planning it is almost always possible to study near, but several hundred meters or more away from these visitor zones. However, if tourism impact or other investigations are planned within these zones, then a very detailed explanation of the rationale and methodology must be included in the proposal.

Marking of animals, plants, habitats or other natural objects will only be allowed when definitely necessary. In general, the methods should be those which have been well tested, are known to cause no or very little harm, and which remain visible only for as long as necessary or which can be removed at the end of the study. New, non-proven methods must first be tested on limited populations or areas before wider application will be allowed. In intensive use visitor zones (see above), marking will generally not be allowed except when absolutely necessary as part of approved studies; in these cases, it must be done in as obscure a fashion as possible. Any questions on such methods should be directed to the CDRS Director who will consult with the National Park authorities.

If you come as a special guide or lecturer or in any other capacity or way with a tourist group then you will not be allowed to make collections or conduct research while with the tour group on the cruise. Research is only permitted apart from such cruises or tours.

4. Personnel: A brief resume should be included for each prospective researcher (along with names and addresses of sponsoring institutions), and for the Research Director (if other than expedition leader).

5. Itineraries and Campsites: There must be specified for approval of the Park Authorities in as much detail as possible. For long term projects (three months or more) it is realized that this will not always be possible when the proposal is written. But such plans must always be submitted to the Park Authorities on Santa Cruz before field excursions are started.

6. Copies of the Proposal: The following offices must receive copies of the proposals in the numbers indicated:

Director General
Direccion de Desarrollo Forestal
Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia

Quito, Ecuador (one copy)

Dr. Peter Kramer, President
Charles Darwin Foundation
Universitat Essen - GHS
FB 9, Fachrichtung Biologie
Universitatsstrasse 5
4300 Essen I

Republic Federal Germany (one copy)

Dr. Tom Simkin
Sec. for the Americas (Science)
Charles Darwin Foundation
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C. 20560

United States of America (one copy)

Director, Darwin Research Station
Casilla 58-39
Guayaquil, Ecuador (one copy)
Servicio Del Parque Nacional Galapagos
Isla Santa Cruz

Islas Galapagos, Ecuador (one copy)

Dr. David Snow, Secretary
CDF Scientific Advisory Commission
Zoological Museum
Great Britain (one copy)

Mr. G.T. Corley Smith, Sec. General
Charles Darwin Foundation
Greensted Hall
Essex CMS 9LD
Great Britain (one copy)

Permission from Ecuadorian authorities will come directly from Quito. It is based generally on the consultation with the Station Director. Authorization for Darwin Station support is given by the Darwin Foundation on the basis of review of the proposal by the Director of the CDRS and the CDF Scientific Advisory Committee. You will be informed of this decision by the CDRS Director. Due to the distances between the various Foundation offices, and planning necessities at the Station, proposals must be submitted at least four months before the planned start of the research program and preferably earlier.

Professional film-makers who wish to work within the Park must follow the same application procedures detailed above for visiting scientists, including a proposal covering the same basic points. In order to obtain this permission, a letter from the film-maker's embassy or consulate in Ecuador, guaranteeing that two copies of the finished film will be donated to the Parks Administration, must be presented to the Direccion de Desarrollo Forestal. These films are used for conservational education programs in Galapagos and continental Ecuador.

The only foreign flag vessels now allowed to enter Galapagos are those coming strictly to engage in scientific research. Scientists planning to enter and perform investigations in the Islands by this method must also submit a proposal to and obtain permission from the Ecuadorian Navy. Further details may be obtained by writing the CDRS Director.


Once permission has been granted to a scientist to stay at the Station, a request should be made to the nearest Ecuadorian consular office for the appropriate visa. A normal tourist visa is valid for three months and may be extended once for another three months. This extension may be obtained only on Isla San Cristobal (the central governmental headquarters of the Galapagos Province) or on continental Ecuador.

For stays of more than 3 and up to 6 months, a courtesy visa may be requested instead of a tourist visa; this eliminates the need to renew the latter type. For longer stays, courtesy visas are necessary. When requesting a courtesy visa from an Ecuadorian consulate, reference should be made to the accord between the Ecuadorian Government and the Charles Darwin Foundation signed in February 1964, published in the Registro Oficial No. 181, p. 37, Re: Articulo decimo tercero.

A valid certificate of vaccination against small pox is required for entry into Ecuador.

Publications and Reports:

When the CDRS has been of significant assistance in field or lab work, this is generally acknowledged by including the resulting publication in our contribution series. This means nothing more than adding the phrase "Contribution number XXX of the Charles Darwin Foundation" in the "Acknowledgement" section (or at the base of the title page) and supplying the office of the Secretary for the Americas with 20 reprints for distribution within the Foundation and elsewhere. The appropriate contribution number can be obtained by writing to the Secretary for the Americas.

The granting of permission to work within the National Park includes the requirement that five copies each of a brief research report and all resulting publications be submitted to the National Park's authorities in Quito. Besides informing the Park's authorities on research in the Islands, these reports and publications are distributed to Ecuadorian universities. The details of these are as follows:

1. The brief research report must be submitted to the CDRS Director at the end of the scientific mission on the Islands. It should be approximately 200-600 words in length and should cover: (A) the overall problem with which the investigations dealt; (B) an itinerary (places visited and dates); (C) the details of any collections (species and/or subspecies, numbers collected, place of collection, plans for deposition); (D) a general summary of results (not required, but should be included whenever possible); and (E) a statement of any direct applicability of results to conservation problems (if none, omit).

The report should be typed in Spanish in six copies and signed; if this is not possible, it may be in English, French or German, in one signed copy. The CDRS will submit five Spanish copies to the National Parks authorities and maintain the sixth on file. These reports also serve another educational purpose: they are published in Spanish in one of the Ecuadorian periodicals.

2. Ten copies or reprints of all publications (including books) must be submitted to the CDRS, with an equal number of Spanish summaries, if the publication is in any other language. Five of the reprints and corresponding summaries will be forwarded to the Parks' authorities, two of each are for the CDRS library, and the eighth - tenth are for the Galapagos Information Centers in Quito and Guayaquil, operated by the CDRS and the two major universities, and the National Document Center for Scientific Publications in Quito.


Some knowledge of the Spanish language is strongly recommended. Without even some rudimentary knowledge, travel is difficult. It also is indispensable in maintaining good relations with the Ecuadorian hosts who permit work in their country.

Travel to the Galapagos:

Normally, there are two to four ships monthly and, two flights per week leaving the continent for Galapagos, as follows:

1. Presently there are two passenger ships from Guayaquil. The "CALICUCHIMA", with tourist-class accommodations for 60, usually leaves for the Galapagos once per month. For information and reservations write to the Primera Zona Naval, Guayaquil. The IGUANA, with first class accommodations for 68, departs approximately every three weeks except for September, when there is no service. For information and reservations write to Metropolitan Touring, Casilla 2542, Quito or Galapagos Cruises, Casilla 7132, Guayaquil. On both of these ships, preference is given to tourists making the full cruise, but there is usually space for passengers wishing to travel only to Santa Cruz.

By mid-1977 one other large passenger/tour ship (the BUCANERO) capacity 90 people probably will be operating in Galapagos, on a schedule very similar to the IGUANA'S. For information contact: Gordon Tours, Casilla 5284, Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Besides these, there generally are one or two cargo ships leaving Guayaquil each month. Naval vessels also provide an unscheduled service from Guayaquil to the Islands. Enquiries should be directed through the appropriate consul or to the Naval Authority (the office of the Port Captain of Guayaquil is situated in the city administration building on the Malecon Simon Bolivar). It is generally not possible to predict the sailing dates of cargo or naval ships.

2. Every Tuesday and Friday and on approximately 3-4 other days (Mondays and Thursdays) per month there are flights leaving Quito via Guayaquil in the early morning, arriving around 11:00 a.m. on Baltra (South Seymour) to the north of Santa Cruz. The planes go back to Guayaquil in the afternoon of the same day. Enquiries and requests for reservations should be directed to Metropolitan Touring, Casilla 2542, Quito, or to Galapagos Cruises, Casilla 7132, Guayaquil. Return air fare, Guayaquil-Baltra is approximately US $170, except for the Friday ones, these are flights for tourists who travel through the Islands on one of the cruise ships. Space is restricted and reservations should be made well in advance. The Friday flights, since they do not serve the larger cruise vessels, generally have more space; however, it strongly is advised to make reservations well in advance. On all flights, baggage is restricted usually to 30 lbs/person. However, it is sometimes possible to ship extra baggage by air, specially on the Friday flights, but arrangements should be solidified well ahead of time. If larger amounts of equipment are to be shipped it is safest to plan on surface transport (contact Sr. Maenz, address p. 8). Once the BUCANERO and another large ship based at Galapagos, the NEPTUNO, begin operation in mid-1977, there will be at least 2-3 more chartered TAME flights per week. For information contact Gordon Tours (see above) concerning BUCANERO connected flights and Machiavello Tours, Casilla 318, Guayaquil for NEPTUNO ones.

From approximately late August to early October usually the only flights are on Fridays, because the cruise ships do not operate at that time. Additionally, there are two or more air force flights per month throughout the year (usually Wednesdays ); however, space on these is very limited and preference is given to local residents. Those flights should not be relied upon.

Large groups may consider chartering a plane for transport to Baltra. Enquiries should be directed to Metropolitan Touring. Charter from Guayaquil-Baltra costs approximately US $3,500 to US $5,500, depending on the aircraft used.

No vessels are based at Baltra and no accommodation is available there. Visitors should write orcable the Station beforehand to arrange onward transportation to Santa Cruz. The journey takes some 2-3 hours by bus, barge (across the canal) and jeep.

A travel schedule is requested when the mission leaves the Islands.


Duty free import of scientific equipment usually will be granted to scientists coming to the Station according to the agreement between the Ecuadorian Government and the CDF (Acuerdo entre el Gobierno de la Repulica del Ecuador y la Fundacion Charles Darwin, publicado en el Registro Oficial No. 181, 15 Febrero de 1964: Re: Articulo Decimo cuarto).

Scientists who accompany their equipment are in a better position to clear customs quickly than those who send material separately. If larger shipment is made by air or surface freight, it is advisable to be in Guayaquil when it arrives and stay there for 3 to 6 days to see it through customs and arrange forwarding to the Islands. The latter takes 1 - 2 weeks.

For such unaccompanied freight shipments you must obtain three documents in your home country, prior to shipment: (1) Certificate of Origin; (2) Commercial Invoice; (3) Bill of lading (or Airway Bill). Contact the nearest Ecuadorian consulate or embassy to see if any other papers are required. It is advisable to have a complete list in Spanish of all items contained in your shipment.

If such a larger shipment is made, it is strongly advised that your Embassy or consulate in Quito or Guayaquil be contacted well in advance, as they usually can help clear items rather quickly. They will provide details concerning shipping instructions and any other papers you should obtain before making shipment.

Duty free import usually implies that all non-expendable items have to be taken out of the Country again when the mission is terminated. In some cases, it is necessary to post a bond from several hundred to a few thousand dollars to obtain such duty-free import, depending upon circumstances and the amount and type of equipment brought in. Scientists should be prepared to post such a bond themselves or make arrangements with their embassies or consulates to do so.

Experience demonstrates that import and transport of equipment involves difficulties and frustrations. Sufficient thought should be given in advance to this operation and enough time allowed.

Guayaquil Agent:

Mr. Erwin Maenz, Casilla 53-33, Guayaquil, Tel.38-30-56, is executing commissions for the Station in Guayaquil. He is prepared to help visitors concerning transport of equipment to Galapagos from Guayaquil and other commissions. Mr. Maenz speaks Spanish, English and German. He charges US $3.00 per hour for his services.

Facilities of Research Station:

The CDRS, on the shores of Academy Bay on southern Santa Cruz (Indefatigable Is.) provides living accommodation, simple laboratory facilities and basic equipment for research. Living accommodation at CDRS itself is limited to twin-bedded rooms and there are toilet and shower facilities with running brackish water (fresh water is restricted to drinking). Visitors should bring their own towels. There is a dining room where meals can be taken. Arrangements can be made for laundry. There are no facilities on the Station for families or children.

Laboratories have 24-hour electricity of 115/230 VAC, 60 cycles (electrical equipment brought by visitors should not exceed a current consumption of 1 KW; if it does the Station should be consulted beforehand); standard laboratory glassware; instruments and collecting apparatus; Microscopes (Zeiss Standard binocular w/oil immersion + simple dissecting binoc + compound mono ); paraffin oven used for drying; plant drying facilities; triple beam balances; limited refrigeration; and slide and film projection equipment. Standard preservatives (ethanol and formalin), some basic chemicals and distilled water are available in small quantities. These preservatives and many basic chemicals can be obtained from Guayaquil. If large quantities of these items are needed, the CDRS should be consulted beforehand, so that they can be ordered for you, at your expense.

A darkroom, with Durst enlarger, print dryer (up to 40 x 50 cm), contact printer, and timer is available for scientists' use. Scientists must supply their own chemicals, paper, film and other special items. These are not available in the Galapagos but Afga products are readily available in Guayaquil and Quito.

There is a separate library/collections building housing reading carrels and dehumidified rooms containing a rather complete collection of Galapagos references and charts, a small general library, and some reference collections.

Workshop facilities are available. The CDRS operates meteorological and seismograph Stations.

Ham radio connections can be obtained from the Galapagos and the National Park Service and CDRS maintain transceivers at Academy Bay so that schedules can be maintained with radio-equipped field parties (specification: SSB/AM crystal controlled). The Station recommends selecting several among the following frequencies if you are going to bring a radio: 1) 2136.5; 2) 2155; 3) 2182 (international distress frequency); 4) 2301; 5) 2638 (int'l ship to ship) 6) 3664.5; 7) 4405; 8) 5086.5; 9) 8259.5; 10) 8281.2 (ship-shore public communications). The CDRS will have base stations on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal w/those frequencies and a similar capability on Beagle III. Frequencies 1), 4), 6), and 8) will be included in the CDRS's and Park Service's portable radios and 2), 3),5), 7), 9) and 10) will be shared in common with almost all tourism vessel in the Islands.

The CDRS is represented by scientific observers on southern Isabela and San Cristobal.

Fees During Stay:

Accommodation at the Station costs S/.110.00(sucres) per day single person, and s/160 is charged for two persons occupying one room. Visitors wishing to maintain their room when temporarily away from CDRS are charged S/.80 per day. Accommodation may also be found in the village of Puerto Ayora at comparable costs, approximately 20 minutes away (walking).

An additional per them charge of S/.70.00 per scientific mission (1-3 persons) is made throughout stay on the Islands to cover the use of laboratory, equipment, and facilities provided by the Station. For larger missions, S/.25.00 per day is charged for each additional member (over three).

These charges are not made to scientists holding research appointments from the institutions supporting a research table with the Charles Darwin Foundation (Smithsonian Institution and the Belgian Ministry of Education ). Each of these research tables may be used by one scientist and an assistant at a time. Application for the use of a research table should be made to the supporting scientific body well in advance. Such use must be cleared with them beforehand.

Meals may be taken in the dining room at the following prices: Breakfast S/.40; Lunch S/.40; Dinner S/.40.

Camping is not permitted on Darwin Station grounds. There are no camping facilities available on Santa Cruz at present.

A few cabins, small houses, and rooms are available in the village for rent of approximately S/.800 - SI 3.500 per month. Demand for these is high. Contact the Station well in advance if you want to rent one.

Travel Within the Archipelago:

The Station's research vessel, Beagle III. is a 70 ft. motor-yacht and has accommodation for 8 passengers in two-berth cabins. Her cruising speed is 9-10 knots. Charter rates are $175.00/day (not exceeding 10 hours cruising as an average), plus $1.50/mile, plus $7.00/person/day for food and services. Costs can be shared by different groups and transport may be arranged occasionally in conjunction with an official journey by CDRS employees. However, cost of an empty return to Academy Bay will be charged to a party dropped on an Island unless the boat is used by other groups. The above costs may be revised at any time.

Interisland travel can also be undertaken on locally chartered boats. A variety of rates, capacities, degrees of comfort and speeds are offered (costs given are only approximate):

1. 8-10 fishing boats: US 75-90 /day plus $5/person/day for food; capacity 4-8 persons; speed 5-6 knots. Most of these boats have been converted for charter to tourists; thus the $90/day price holds for most of the year.

2. 7-8 yachts (motor or motor and sail): US $175-600/day including food and services; capacity 4-11; speed 5-7 knots.

Reservation for these boats can be made in advance through the Station. Fishing boats are usually available on the spot, but it is always best to specify your needs in advance.

Distances (in miles) from Academy Bay to other Islands are as follows: Santa Fe (Barrington) 18; Plaza 17; Baltra 34; Pinzon (Duncan) 28; James Bay, Santiago (James) 56; Genovesa (Tower) 73; Marchena (Bindloe) 75; Wolf (Wenman) 171; Pinta (Abingdon) 104; San Cristobal (Chatham) 44; Espanola (Hood) 52; Floreana (Charles) 35; Punta Espinosa, Fernandina (Narborough) 135; Villamil, Isabela (Albemarle) 48; Caleta Iguana, Isabela 78; Caleta Tagus, Isabela 136.

Camping alone in areas distant from human settlement is not permitted. Scientists planning to come alone and work in the field should budget for a locally employed assistant (paid about 100-150 sucres/day).

The CDRS has SKIFFS with 25 HP outboard motors for work within Academy Bay and from Beagle III that can be rented.

The Station arranges guides for scientists visiting inland regions. Guides are paid 100-150 sucres per day. A field station (including living accommodation) is maintained by CDRS at Santo Tomas, 13 km NNW of Villamil at an elevation of 350 m on Southern Isabela.

Jeep and/or car transportation is possible on San Cristobal from Puerto Baquerizo to Progreso, on Santa Cruz from Puerto Ayora to Bellavista, Santa Rosa and the Canal between Santa Cruz and Baltra, and on Isabela from Villamil, three-quarters of the way to Santo Tomas. Costs vary from approximately S/ 20 - S/.200 per person round-trip, depending upon the distance traveled.

Basic foodstuffs (staples, canned goods, fruits, vegetables, bread, oatmeal, dried soup) may be bought in the Islands. Specially dried foods and other special items are not available. Water supplies are arranged by the Station. Care should be exercised in drinking untreated water.

Horses can be hired (at about 100 sucres per day) for travel to the inland areas of Santa Cruz and Isabela. For transport of equipment, donkeys can be hired at about 60 sucres per day. The driver is paid about 80-100 sucres per day.

Apart from Santa Cruz, regular hotel accommodation is available on San Cristobal and Floreana. The hotels are all located in the coastal ports.

Scientists used to long summer field days should remember that equatorial sunset is approximately 6:15 - 6:30 local time. The Galapagos is 6 hours behind Greenwich or Universal Time.

Transport of Live Material:

Responsible scientists are aware of the extreme care needed to prevent the artificial inter-mingling of island populations. We strongly emphasize that inconspicuous transfer, such as ticks and burrs on persons, seed-containing soil in rubber soles, introduced or native arthropods on fresh fruits and vegetables, and rats or mice in cartons or other food containers can be a great hazard to biotic integrity. Detailed instructions and required procedures for avoiding these dangers are available at the CDRS.


Mail is now transferred from a P.O. Box in Guayaquil to most of the twice weekly Galapagos flights. Delays still occur, however, and 10-14 days should be allowed for air mail letters from the U.S. or Europe to the CDRS. Mailing addresses are as follows:

Letters only:

Estacion Biologica Charles Darwin
Casilla 58-39
Guayaquil, Ecuador

Books and packages (up to US$40 in value)

Estacion Biologica Charles Darwin
Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Ecuador, S.A.

Cables should be addressed: Estacion Darwin, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos, Ecuador

Cables sent from abroad as well as from the Ecuadorian continent reach the Station within 1-2 days.

Reasonably reliable telephone service is available between Santa Cruz/San Cristobal and, via satellite, continental Ecuador and the rest of the world.

In urgent cases, ham radio calls can be received after settling time and call frequency by correspondence.

Medical Care:

An adequate medical kit and the ability to render first aid are indispensable for scientists working in the field any length of time. There are no poisonous snakes on Galapagos, only scorpions and centipedes, which may cause inflammations comparable to those from bee stings.

One strongly poisonous tree occurs on all larger islands: Hippomane mancinella, "Manzanillo". Its apple-like fruits are extremely poisonous and the latex of the plant causes severe dermatitis. Avoid any direct contact w/tree.

Common visitor's maladies include bacterial and amoebic dysentery, sunburn, sea sickness, bacterial surface infections and intestinal roundworms.

It is recommended that vaccinations/inoculations be up to date, especially polio, tetanus and gamma-globulin.

Hospital facilities are available on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. A dentist is normally resident at the hospital on Santa Cruz.

Many visitors arrange general accident insurance to cover their stay in the Islands.


The monetary unit in Ecuador is the sucre. The current rate of exchange (March 1977) is approximately 27 sucres per US $1.00. There are no banking facilities on Santa Cruz. Some of the stores (and the CDRS) will accept bank and travelers checks for payment, but ready cash is essential for small purchases and charter boats. Sucres are usually in short supply in the Islands and should be brought (in denominations of 100 sucres and smaller) by visitors from the mainland. Bring approximately 50% of your expected expenses in cash sucres. The Station has a safe where your money and other valuables can be stored.

Clothing and Equipment:

The climate can be conveniently divided into a hot season (January-May) characterized by higher temperatures and occasional heavy showers in some years, and the garua season (June-December) characterized by overcast skies and drizzling rains, particularly in the southern parts of the Islands with higher elevations. However, continuous strong sunshine is possible any time of the year, and maximum daily temperatures are generally in the range of 23 - 31 degrees c (74-88F). Surface sea water temperatures are between 20 - 27 degrees C (68-81 degrees F) during the hot season and between 13-2 degrees C (55-68 degrees F) during the garua season.

In general, daytime clothing should be light-weight. At night, however, particularly at higher altitudes and at sea, temperatures may fall below 15 degrees C (60 degrees F) and warm clothing is required. Protection against sun, rain, and wind should be provided. Boots and shoes wear out quickly on lava terrain; lava tends to cut into stitching and sturdy boots are advised. Canvas shoes are the most practical for use on boats, in camps, and close to shore. For long-term studies, more than one pair of boots and canvas shoes should be brought.

Cameras and instruments should be stored in silica-gel. Light-weight tents and rucksacks, sleeping bags, camp beds, small water containers, and cooking gear, etc., should be brought if work in the field is anticipated. Larger water containers are available in very limited numbers at the CDRS for use by visiting missions on very short-term field trips of a few days. If long-term work in the field is planned, water containers should be brought by the mission. Plastic ones can be purchased (1, 5, and 10 gallon sizes) in Guavaquil or the CDRS can order and have them shipped to the Islands for the mission, given advance warning.

Films, tobacco, stationery, insect repellents and water sterilizing tablets can be bought in the Islands but are not always available. Medicines, silica-gel and other items can not be bought here.

This information here included is intended only as a guide to scientists visiting the Darwin Station, and it is subject to revision.

Charles Darwin Research Station
Santa Cruz - Galapagos

Secretary for the Americas (Science)
Charles Darwin Foundation
c/o Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D. C. 20560

Last revision: March, 1977

[end of document]


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