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1. Can Happy Gringo Travel book my international flights?

Unfortunately, Happy Gringo Travel is unable to book your international flights. While we can provide assistance with domestic flights, where prices tend to be more stable and we often have agreements with airlines, international flight prices can fluctuate rapidly. From the moment we quote a price to a client, confirmations are received, and payments are made, several days may pass, during which the price of the flight can change significantly. This poses a risk of either overcharging or undercharging our clients, which is not fair or ideal for either party. Therefore, we recommend booking international flights directly through airlines or reputable online travel agencies to ensure transparency and avoid any potential pricing discrepancies.

2. Can Happy Gringo organize my domestic flights for me?

Certainly. In the majority of cases, we organize the domestic flights for our clients; Including travel to and from destinations such as the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon, Mainland Ecuador, Peru, and/or Colombia (In Peru and Colombia I would just mention capital cities where flights are common?). This practice is recommended as it allows us to optimize flight arrangements based on operational efficiency. It is important to note that for certain scenarios, such as Amazon Lodges and Galapagos cruises, the airline ticket is often booked through the cruise operator to align with operational requirements.

While we acknowledge the option for clients to independently book their flights, it is advisable to consider that some operators may impose penalty fees for not opting for their booking services. We recommend consulting with your travel advisor before making any flight reservations to ensure compatibility with your travel itinerary. Your travel advisor will guide you in selecting the appropriate flight times tailored to your trip.

3. Why do some cruises and lodges charge a penalty fee if I don't book my flights through them?

Some Galapagos cruises and Amazon lodges obligate their clients and partner agencies to book flights directly through their operating company. Therefore, Happy Gringo and our clients, are bound by the rules and policies of each yacht and lodge.

The operators have certain contractual obligations with the airlines and incur additional costs if they do not book their respective clients directly. This also provides certain benefits to our clients; such has having space reserved on the flights that correspond with the cruise operators’ logistics and having everything coordinated through the operator.  If a passenger chooses to book their own flights, most yacht/lodge operators will charge a penalty. The amount of the penalty varies from cruise to cruise and lodge to lodge, but it is typically around $50-60 per person in Galapagos and $25-40 per person in the Amazon.

Please be sure to check out our website or ask your travel advisor at the time of booking about the flight policy aboard the cruise or lodge of choice.

In the case that the flights must be bought through the operating company, then Happy Gringo will help you with the direct flight booking or penalty fee with the operator.

If your yacht or lodge gives freedom in flight booking, then Happy Gringo can help with a quote for tickets, or advise you on which flights to book by yourself.

4. Are flights always available that coincide with the dates of my cruise or lodge?

In most cases, yes. Both our cruise yachts and lodges secure reservations for all dates throughout the year. When you book, the operator allocates a flight space to Happy Gringo on your behalf, ensuring our clients enjoy a 100% guaranteed seat on a flight departing on the exact day of their tour. It's important to note that this assurance is generally applicable; however, last-minute bookings might present challenges in securing flight spaces. Most operators typically release their spaces approximately one month before each departure. For any last-minute tours, please consult with your travel advisor to confirm the availability of air tickets. Your travel advisor will always keep you informed and address any concerns you may have.

5. Can I fly on different dates than my tour?

Certainly, it is possible to arrange an alternative flight date for the dates of your tour, subject to availability. For Galapagos Cruises, it's important to note that airfare prices are subject to change, and we recommend verifying the current rates with your travel advisor. Additionally, kindly double-check the meeting point or drop-off location, as specific arrangements may be in place for the initiation of your tour. Your travel advisor is here to assist you with any queries and ensure a seamless start to your travel experience.

6. Can I reserve just a flight without a tour?

Happy Gringo only books flights for clients who have made a cruise or tour reservation through our company. If you just need to book flights, then it's best to go directly to the airline websites.

7. Which airlines does Happy Gringo use?

In Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, most of the time flights are booked with Avianca or Latam Airlines. This can vary with other small regional operators such as Aeroregional to Coca (Amazon) or Emetebe inside the Galapagos Islands.

8. From which cities can I fly into Galapagos and how many airports operate at Galapagos?

You have the flexibility to fly to Galapagos from either Quito or Guayaquil. It's worth noting that most flights departing from Quito make a brief layover in Guayaquil, where some passengers disembark and new travelers board before the journey continues to Galapagos. The return flights follow a similar pattern, with a stopover in Guayaquil before reaching Quito. While there are direct flights from Quito to Galapagos, it's advisable to consult with your travel advisor to ensure compatibility with the operational schedule of your tours.

Mainland Ecuador offers flights to two airports in Galapagos: Seymour Airport on Baltra Island, also known as Galapagos Ecologic Airport, serves as the primary gateway to the islands, especially Santa Cruz. Additionally, San Cristobal Island has its airport, serving as the capital of the Galapagos, although the majority of flights operate through Baltra. Lastly, Isabela Island has a small airport primarily for occasional small plane flights originating from Santa Cruz. For any specific details or inquiries, feel free to reach out to your travel advisor for personalized assistance.

Here you can find some excellent blogs to give you more information about flying to and from Galapagos:

9. How much do flights cost?

Galapagos: Flight prices to the Galapagos Islands can vary based on several factors. Firstly, airlines offer different fares tailored to various passenger categories. Local residents typically enjoy the most economical rates, followed by Ecuadorian citizens who also benefit from reduced fees. Conversely, foreign passengers generally encounter higher fares. Additionally, airlines have recently introduced pricing tiers based on booked services, with some offering only minimal baggage allowances, while others provide more generous allowances.

It’s not uncommon to encounter tickets priced at $200 or $300, primarily intended for local residents or Ecuadorian citizens. However, booking the wrong ticket category will result in penalty fees payable at the airport. Rest assured, when booking through Happy Gringo, you're guaranteed a ticket appropriate for foreign travelers, priced around $550 per person.

Amazon: Each lodge in the Amazon region offers different pricing structures and amenities. These may include services such as a lodge representative assisting you at Quito's airport before your flights. Roundtrip tickets to the Amazon typically range between $250 to $290 per person.

Peru and Colombia: When quoting domestic flights within Peru and/or Colombia, we usually provide bundled pricing for all internal flights, which varies significantly based on your itinerary and the starting/ending points of your tour. These prices are subject to change depending on your travel dates and the category of service booked, but typically average around $150 per person per way.

10. Can I choose which flight to use?

If you're booked onto a cruise or lodge and flying the same dates of the tour, typically, the answer is no. The operator usually selects the same flight for the entire group of passengers, ensuring that everyone travels together. This not only simplifies logistics but also facilitates the guide's ability to meet the group at the airport. Moreover, in the event of a flight delay, the guide will wait for the group, providing added convenience and assurance. Conversely, if you're on a separate flight and encounter a delay, you risk missing the tour's commencement. However, you can always inquire with your travel advisor about the possibility of changing to another flight, although please note that fare differences may apply.

For our travelers booked with other tours, we offer flexibility in flight reservations, allowing you to choose your preferred flights. This option is particularly advantageous for Tailor-Made Packages in Mainland Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, or Land-Based Tours in Galapagos. Our experienced team will provide recommendations based on operational considerations, ensuring a smooth and efficient travel experience.

11. What is the baggage weight restriction?

Generally, most flights booked through Happy Gringo permit passengers to bring a checked bag weighing up to 23kg per person, along with a carry-on bag weighing between 8kg to 10kg, in addition to a personal item. However, it's important to note that specific baggage allowances may vary depending on your destination or the type of flights you're taking. For instance, flights between islands in Galapagos may only allow for a small carry-on bag weighing up to 8kg per person, while flights in Bolivia may have their own set of restrictions.

12. How soon before departure should I check-in?

Typically, check-in times for domestic flights open approximately 24 hours before departure, although this timing may vary by a few hours depending on the airline. Should you encounter any difficulties with your check-in process, please don't hesitate to contact our team via our emergency number for immediate assistance.

It's worth noting that certain cruises/lodges may handle the check-in process on your behalf. To avoid any potential confusion, we recommend clarifying this detail with your travel advisor beforehand. They will ensure that all necessary arrangements are made, allowing for a smooth and stress-free travel experience.

13. Can I change the dates of my flights/routes if you have already issued the ticket?

Typically, changes to flights are feasible, but it hinges on factors such as the route and the timing of the request, which determines whether penalty fees may be incurred. To secure favorable rates and ensure availability, domestic internal flights are often arranged well in advance.

Air tickets booked through cruises or lodges typically offer flexibility, permitting changes up to 3 months before departure without difficulty. However, after this period, adjustments may still be possible, albeit with potential fare differences in certain circumstances. It's important to note that changes are always contingent upon airline availability.

14. Is the airport transfer included?

In mainland Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and/ or Bolivia, we customize all our packages according to each clients needs. We are happy to arrange private transfers upon request, and some tour operators offer shared transfers from select hotels in certain cruises/ lodges.

At Galapagos and/or Coca, your guide will meet you at the airport and have transport waiting to take you to the yacht and/or lodge and will also take you back to the airport upon completion of your tour.