Welcome to Quasar Expeditions. You are a highly valued customer and we look forward to hosting you as our guest. This page is designed to make you fully aware of the terms, conditions and policies governing your participation on our Galapagos cruises and, Ecuador and Peru, so that you may enjoy a safe and fulfilling trip of a lifetime. It is also a legal document that requires your careful attention.
Agreeing to these policies when booking one of our trips creates a contractual relationship between you and Quasar Expeditions. After reading this entire Customer Agreement (the “Agreement”), in order for your travel tour package reservation to be completed, you must indicate your acceptance of the terms, conditions & policies found herein by signing and returning Quasar Expedition’s reservation form. The policies described herein, in combination with your completed, dated and signed medical and reservation forms along with your invoice and other applicable documents mentioned below, constitute the entire and mutual Agreement which governs the relationship between Quasar Expeditions, an Ecuador based Corporation located at Calle Jose Jussieu N41-28 Quito, Ecuador with US offices located at 7855 N.W. 12th Street, Suite 111, Doral, FL 33126 USA, (and its affiliate companies) hereinafter referred to as the “Tour Company” and you, hereinafter referred to as the “Customer”.
To confirm a reservation: A $800 USD non-refundable per person deposit is due from the Customer at the time of booking
Final Payment: Final Payment is due from the Customer at 65 days prior to departure
Forms of payment: Forms of payment accepted by the Tour Company include wire transfers, credit cards and checks. Detailed information regarding forms of payment will appear on the Customer’s invoice or will be provided upon request by the Tour Company.
The following cancellation fees will be applied to the Customer according to the number of days prior to departure that the Tour Company receives written notice of cancellation from the Customer. All cancellations must be made in writing and should be sent via email to the sales agent who made the Customer’s reservation for the Tour Company.
65 days or more prior to departure: $500 per person
64 days or less prior to departure: 100% of total invoiced amount
How to guard against cancellation fees: The Tour Company strongly recommends the Customer purchase trip cancellation / interrupt insurance directly after the reservation is confirmed. This coverage reimburses the Customer for most non-refundable costs of the tour should he or she need to cancel due to illness, injury or other reasons covered under the policy.
For passengers with pre-existing conditions: coverage must typically be purchased from a travel insurance company within 24 hours from the time a reservation is confirmed to cover cancellation resulting from the pre-existing condition.
PUBLISHED RATES & PRICING
The Tour Company publishes its cabin prices as per person double occupancy unless otherwise indicated. All prices are in US Dollars. All prices are subject to change without notice.
TOUR INFORMATION, DOCUMENTS & FORMS
To prepare you, our Customer, for your tour, the Tour Company will provide the Customer with the following documentation and information, either via the web, PDF file or if requested, in hard copy form. Each document serves a specific purpose to insure both parties meet their obligations to one another in carrying out a successful tour. If, for some reason, the Customer does not have access to the documents listed below, he or she should contact the Tour Company, which will provide the information in a timely fashion. The Tour Company will also provide the Customer with the forms listed below, which it requires to be completed and returned prior to departure in a timely fashion, so it is able to perform its obligations of providing services to the Customer. All the following documents may be updated as changes occur, in which case the Tour Company will strive to provide the Customer with the most up to date version.
Cruise / Tour Itinerary: This document provides a detailed day-by-day account of the Customer’s upcoming trip.
THE FOLLOWING ARE PROVIDED UPON CONFIRMATION OF RESERVATION:
Reservation Form: This document is used by the Customer to disclose important personal information to the Tour Company prior to the trip and is necessary to insure the Customer has a safe tour. Disclosures include passport number, meal requirements, emergency contacts, flight information and more. The Reservation form, the medical form, the invoice and this document constitute the entire Agreement (per above), therefore this document must be returned completed, signed and dated as a condition of participation in the tour as the signature part of this Agreement. This form should be submitted within two weeks of confirming a booking and ideally as soon as possible following confirmation.
General Medical Information Form: This document is used by the Customer to disclose important medical information to the Tour Company prior to the trip and is necessary to insure the Customer has a safe tour. Disclosures include medical conditions including allergies, medications being taken by the Customer or medical conditions which the Tour Company should be made aware of by the Customer in order for the Tour Company to safely provide services to the Customer, especially in the case of a medical emergency. All information provided in the form will be kept in strict confidence and only be shared with appropriate Tour Company personnel, medical professionals, insurance providers or immediate family members or those specified by the Customer in the form as necessary. This document must be returned completed, signed and dated as a condition of participation on the tour. This form should be submitted within two weeks of confirming a booking and ideally as soon as possible following confirmation.
Invoice: The Customer’s invoice shows, in brief, the services that have been contracted for and the days they are scheduled to take place along with the cost of the tour, when payments are due and detailed information on the forms of payment that are accepted by the Tour Company. If you, the Customer, have not received a copy of your invoice, please contact the Tour Company, which will provide one in a timely fashion. The Customer’s invoice may be updated to reflect the service ordered should they be revised.
Pre-departure Information: This document provides detailed information to prepare the Customer for his or her travels with the Tour Company. It contains recommendations on clothing and equipment, information on passports and visas, weather and climate, health and medical issues and much more. These matters are addressed in good faith but without responsibility on the part of the Tour Company.
Agreement Concerning Assumption of Hazards & Risks Concerning Minor Children: This document applies to and must be filled out by Customer who are bringing minor children on a Tour Company tour, or by the parents or legal guardians of the minor who are sending the minor on the tour. A key purpose of this agreement is to heighten the awareness surrounding the risks of brining a minor on a tour of the Galapagos to better insure safety. If the Customer needs to complete and has not received this document he or she should request one immediately and the Tour Company will provide one in timely fashion to be completed and returned prior to the tour by the Customer.
SAFETY AGREEMENT & ASSUMPTION OF RISKS (guests with disabilities): The Galapagos, being a completely natural habitat, come with some challenges for those with disabilities. To insure a safe trip, this document helps to insure those parties so affected understand and acknowledge the challenges inherent in a Galapagos expedition.
YOUR TRAVEL DOCUMENTS & VACCINATIONS
It is the responsibility of the Customer to be in possession of all valid travel documents prior to and during their entire tour with the Tour Company. This includes a passport valid for six months from the date of entry into Ecuador or Peru.
Amazon Travelers Only: A proof of vaccination card is required to be carried and presented by the Customer when traveling to the Amazon and must show that the traveler has been vaccinated against yellow fever
Medical Evacuation (Medivac) Insurance Requirement: The Tour Company requires the Customer to purchase and show proof of Medical Evacuation Insurance coverage for the tour with the Tour Company as a condition of participation. This requirement is designed to protect the Customer against the high costs of becoming ill or injured in a remote location, where medical evacuation costs can run well into the tens of thousands of dollars, should medical evacuation become necessary. The Customer is advised to be aware of the coverage provided by the policy they purchase. Some policies provide coverage of transport for the Customer to the nearest acceptable medical facility, which may mean the nearest hospital in the Ecuadorian mainland, while other coverage will insure full medical transport back to the Customer’s country of origin. As proof of such coverage the Customer is required to state on the medical form provided by the Tour Company, the name of the Customer’s covering insurance company, policy number and the international phone number provided by the insurance company to contact should an emergency arise. In some instances medical evacuation coverage may be provided through the Customer’s ongoing health insurance provider or other insurance entity; the Customer is therefore advised to check with his or her providers for such coverage. Medivac coverage is typically included as a component of a good travel insurance policy (see below). Because passengers are responsible for any and all costs that may arise from medical evacuation, in the event the Customer claims to, but does not have medical evacuation coverage, the Customer will be required to cover all his or her own medical evacuation expenses. The Customer should also make sure to purchase more than adequate coverage as he or she is responsible for all medivac expenses.
Travel Insurance - Trip Cancellation / Interruption Coverage: The Tour Company recommends that the Customer purchase a good travel insurance policy that includes trip cancellation/interruption coverage and baggage loss protection as well as addition coverage (per above). These policies insure the Customer against paying out-of-pocket for non-refundable expenses of a tour in the form of cancellation fees should the Customer have to either cancel or miss part of a tour due to reasons covered in the policy, which typically include illness, injury and flight delay. Many of these policies include coverage for emergency medical evacuation mentioned above. The Tour Company may recommend or offer such policies under a recognized Travel Insurance Company to the Customer.
Pre-existing conditions: The Tour Company cannot over emphasize to the Customer with pre-existing conditions that trip cancellation / interruption insurance must typically be purchased within 24 hours from the time the reservation is confirmed to cover cancellation resulting from the pre-existing condition.
MEDICAL & HEALTH ISSUES / PHYSICAL QUALIFICATIONS
The Customer agrees that he or she is in good health and good physical condition and is physically qualified to participate in a tour of the Galapagos Islands, mainland Ecuador or Peru provided by the Tour Company. If there is any question as to the physical or health condition of the Customer that may disqualify him/her from participating in the tour he or she should immediately contact the Tour Company so that both parties may clarify the issue and jointly arrive at a determination of participation. Experiencing the islands will involve the following:
•Frequent transfers ashore to landing sites, or to snorkeling/dive sites, aboard dinghies (called pangas in the islands), requiring some physical effort and balance
•Some panga landings on stone jetties with wet, slippery lava rocks, and others on sandy beaches with some surf, all of which require some sure footedness and physical effort on the part of the Customer
•Daily hikes that may include walking on irregular and elevated terrain including boulders in the hot sun
•Snorkeling from the panga in open waters that at times will be fairly deep, cold and with current
Therefore, having a good sense of balance and being relatively sure footed is a requirement of qualification by the Tour Company of its Customers for participation on its cruises and tours, as is being a good swimmer who is comfortable swimming in the open ocean. Those who are less sure footed can still participate by joint agreement per above.
Briefings will be given by the Galapagos National Park Guide in advance of the landing and snorkeling outings and other activities to better assist the Customer to determine levels of difficulty so he or she may assess whether or not they wish to participate in a given activity. The Galapagos National Park Guide has the authority to disqualify any Customer from a specific activity based on conditions, the Customer’s level of physical ability and especially if the guide perceives a potential safety risk of any kind whatsoever.
Traveling through the Ecuadorian highlands may involve experiencing altitudes between 2,500 and 3,600 meters (8,203 and 11,812 ft) above sea level. Customers who are easily susceptible to altitude sickness or have difficulty breathing at higher elevations should consider flying in and out of the port city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, where they can both join and depart the tour, thereby avoiding the higher elevations of Quito and the Andes.
If the Customer suffers from any medical condition, either physical or mental (including allergies) that might impact their travel experience, he or she should consult with their physician before participating in a Galapagos, mainland Ecuador or Peruvian tour and must advise the Tour Company of their condition and associated medical needs two weeks following confirmation (or at the earliest opportunity) once they have been given the medical go ahead by their doctor. The Tour Company reserves the right not to accept passengers on its tours based on medical and health issues. As mentioned above, all Customers are required to complete and return the Tour Company’s medical form prior to travel.
Should the Customer represent himself or herself as being qualified for the tour when he or she is not qualified, then the Tour Company, upon such discovery, may dismiss the Customer from the tour and the Customer will forfeit all funds paid to the Tour Company without recourse to substitution or refund and bear any cost associated with leaving the tour. To avoid this situation, the Tour Company strongly urges the Customer to accurately, fully and truthfully complete all tour related forms and for the Customer to contact the Tour Company immediately if there is any question as to qualification. The Tour Company is more than willing to accommodate persons with disabilities when it is able to do so, so long as it is informed in a timely fashion and agrees to such accommodation in advance so it may adequately make preparation. The Tour Company’s ultimate aim is to ensure the safety of its customers and crew members. Those with disabilities must fill out and complete the form called SAFETY AGREEMENT & ASSUMPTION OF RISKS (guests with disabilities) per above.
The Tour Company offers a varied menu, including international and local cuisines, designed to accommodate a variety of dietary needs including vegetarian diets. The Customer with special dietary needs is required to inform the Tour Company of additional dietary requirements two weeks following confirmation or at the earliest opportunity and should use the specified area in the Reservation Form for this purpose. General and specific needs must be clearly conveyed to the Tour Company. Every effort will be made to cater to such requests within reason and subject to availability of products in Ecuador and the Galapagos.
The Tour Company has special requirements, qualifications and documentation for Customers with confirmed reservations that include scuba diving. Customers who have confirmed reservations with the Tour Company that include scuba diving are required to meet all scuba diving requirements of the Tour Company, which are based on international scuba diving safety standards, as well as being thoroughly familiar with the Tour Company’s special diving documents, information and forms and should request these immediately if he or she does not already have them. The Tour Company will provide all such documents and forms in a timely fashion prior to departure and the Customer should then thoroughly familiarize themselves with their content and complete and return the required forms in the time stated on the forms.
On the rare occasion that the Tour Company is not able to provide the yacht originally booked by the Customer, the Tour Company reserves the right to substitute yachts and/or alter itineraries and/or other travel services including, but not limited to, land accommodations and excursions, if it deems necessary due to force majeure, mechanical failures or lack of passengers booked on a specific departure, in addition to other reasons including, but not limited to, the directives of the Galapagos National Park and local government. In such cases, the Tour Company may place the affected Customer on any other yacht in the Tour Company’s fleet and under such circumstances; the Tour Company will provide a refund for the difference in the price paid for the cabins, if the Customer is moved to a cabin of lesser value. If it is not possible to substitute space for the affected Customer within the Tour Company’s fleet, the Tour Company will make every effort to find a similar category Galapagos based yacht and cruise as an alternative. If there is a difference in the price between the original yacht and substitution yacht, that difference will be refunded to the affected passengers accordingly only if the price of the substitute yacht is less than the price paid for the originally booked vessel.
If the affected Customer accepts any substitution, the offered substitution will encompass the full extent of the offer with the understanding that by accepting any such offer, the Customer waives any right to further substitution, refund or additional compensation of any kind and will be asked to sign an agreement to this effect at the time the substitution is made.
If the affected Customer chooses not to accept the substitution offered, the Tour Company reserves the right to cancel the trip (or the remainder of the trip) upon a refund pro rata per cruise night not used according to the price paid by the Customer. In such cases, the Tour Company’s responsibility is limited to the net price pro rata it was paid for the trip as the full extent of the refund.
If The Passenger requests a cash refund due to an incident, problem, malfunction, etc. for which the Tour Company accepts responsibility, any such refund must be approved by the Tour Company’s finance department and communicated through to the passenger. A formal letter requesting for a refund must be received no later than 21 days from the date the cruise ended. Once the refund has been approved by the Finance Department, payment will typically be sent to the passenger in no less than 4 weeks from the time of the complaint. No cash refunds will be provided for surcharges.
All credits that The passenger has with the Tour Company will be applied, within a reasonable time frame, under the discretion of the Tour Company’s Finance Department. However, the Tour Company is open to the passenger’s suggestions for the application of those credits. The Client may not apply any credits to future payments without previous approval of the Tour Company’s Finance Department. No credits can be applied for surcharges.
CANCELLATION OF A TOUR BY THE TOUR COMPANY
On the very rare occasion the Tour Company deems it necessary to cancel a cruise and is not able to arrive at any suitable substitution options, it reserves the right to cancel the cruise in total and offer the affected Customer the following options:
A replacement trip to be offered at a later date in accommodations of equal or greater value and replacement of any unused services such as hotels and excursions as well as the cost of changing the affected Customer’s international air tickets depending on the rules governing the ticket and subject to proof of cost of change. The cost of intervening hotels, meals and transportation associated with substitutions will be equal to the originally booked services. Expenses beyond the original booked services and/or any items not expressly covered in the original services, such as use of additional hotel services, are the sole responsibility of the Customer and not of the Tour Company.
A refund of the full net amount the Tour Company was paid for the tour by the Customer, including the refund of any unused services such as airfare between mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos, as well as the cost of changing or refunding the affected passenger’s international air tickets, depending on the rules governing the ticket and subject to proof of cost of change.
In all the above mentioned cases in which the Tour Company pays a refund, either in total or pro rata, its responsibility will be limited to the net amount it was paid by the Customer for the tour.
INABILITY TO PERFORM
The Tour Company shall not be liable for debacle or inability to perform its cruises of the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador trips by reasons of strikes or industrial action, war, riot, acts of terrorism, civil commission, inability to obtain supplies and other circumstances beyond its control, including answering any distress call or any action necessary to save or preserve life at sea. The Tour Company may, due to circumstances of force majeure, or unexpected events, vary the time of day of the departures of its vessels and trips, or alter its tour programs and itineraries without advance notice for the above mentioned reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to: changing weather and the forces of nature, wildlife nesting habits, the vessel’s safety, the safety of its passengers and crew, the discretion, rules, regulations and legislation of the Galapagos National Park and the local government and technical reasons. Under the aforementioned conditions the Tour Company is under no obligation whatsoever to provide substitution, replacement of services or refunds to the Customer so affected.
In addition to obeying GNP rules and the rules of other National Parks visited in mainland Ecuador, The Customer has a responsibility to the Tour Company, its crewmembers and other passengers as well as to GNP Guides, dive masters, land guides and drivers for understanding the conditions explicitly and implicitly communicated in the trip itinerary, this document and pre-trip documents, as well as information communicated by guides/dive masters and crewmembers throughout their tour, following normal patterns of social behavior and observing all safety requirements without exception, while acting in an appropriate and respectful manner toward crewmembers. The Tour Company reserves the right to disembark the Customer at any time, without recourse to refund or reimbursement, who acts in a hostile and/or disruptive manner, who fragrantly displays disregard for the welfare of other passengers, crewmembers and wildlife or for failing to adhere to the above stated responsibilities.
The Galapagos National Park
The Tour Company’s tours of the Galapagos Islands take place within and under the auspices of the Galapagos National Park (GNP), which stipulates that without exception all its rules and regulations must be followed by all park visitors, whose responsibility it is to know and obey GNP rules. The Tour Company’s cruises are led by certified Galapagos National Park Guides, who inform visitors of GNP rules as well as enforce them. The GNP and the Tour Company, through the authority of the GNP Guide reserve the right to deny any Customer, in violation or disregard of GNP rules, the ability to disembark upon or visit any GNP landing site or dive site. Such violation may cause the Customer to be disembarked at the nearest port of call, offering transportation from the islands back to the mainland without recourse to refund.
The Tour Company, in conjunction with international law, local laws, and the rules of the Galapagos National Park (GNP), prohibit the Customer from carrying, either upon their person or in their baggage, any object or material of any nature that may be considered dangerous to the security of other passengers, the crew, the yacht, travelers or the general public, including but not limited to, explosives, weapons of any kind including those used for sport, and inflammable objects while participating on any of the Tour Company’s trips. Furthermore, protecting the Galapagos National Park from introduced species is a serious business, which is why the GNP forbids visitors from transporting biological items, including, but not limited to, flowers, plants, fruits and seeds grown elsewhere, into the GNP. The Customer should not attempt to bring items such as roses or tropical flowers purchased in the mainland to the Galapagos as these will be confiscated and the offender may be subject to a fine.
As well as being against the local laws, the transport or use of any illegal substance, including illicit drugs, is expressly forbidden while on a Tour Company tour. Penalties are severe for the discovery of illegal substances in Ecuador. Therefore, if such substances are used by, or found to be in the possession of the Customer, he or she will be put ashore at the next port of call without refund and be subject to arrest and prosecution under the law. The possession of even minor amounts of any illegal substances can lead to charges of trafficking, resulting in the offender serving over 6 months jail time prior to coming to trial where there is no true presumption of innocence and the burden of proof rests with the defendant.
Quasar Expeditions' cruise itineraries are subject to change without prior notice for various factors including, but not limited to: safety, weather, mechanical breakdown, unforeseen emergencies, and the discretion of the Captain, Guide, Dive Master, Quasar Expeditions and the Galapagos National Park.
GENERAL BOOKING DISCLOSURES
Beneficiary Entitlements: If a trip is purchased from the Tour Company in the name of a third person to be the beneficiary, that person is also bound to all statements and conditions contained herein as the Customer.
Surcharges & Taxes: The Tour Company reserves the right to apply additional surcharges and taxes to new and existing bookings for circumstances or reasons including, but not limited to the rules, regulations, legislation and discretion of the Galapagos National Park and the local government. Every effort will be made by the Tour Company to communicate new surcharges to the Customer in a timely manner.
LIABILITY & ASSUMPTION OF RISK
Release of Liability & Assumption of Risk: The Customer participating in and/or purchasing a trip from the Tour Company, does so with the full knowledge that an expedition to the Galapagos Islands, mainland Ecuador or Peru with the Tour Company, and/or the areas visited by their trip, inherently involves risks and dangers including, but not limited to, the forces of nature, the unpredictable behavior of wild animals, strikes and/or civil unrest, roads, trails, travel by vehicles including taxis, buses, airplanes and ocean going vessels, exposure to high altitude, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, physical exertion for which the participant may not be prepared, and or negligence (but not willful or fraudulent conduct) on the part of the Tour Company, or others. During the trip the Customer may be exposed to additional risks and hazards including but not limited to the possibility of accident, injury or illness in a remote area without access to emergency care, rapid evacuation, adequate medical facilities or availability of medical supplies. The Customer acknowledges that the enjoyment and excitement derived from an expedition and/or adventure trip comes in part from the inherent risks incurred when traveling including exposure to the activities offered during a Tour Company tour such as, but not limited to, swimming, hiking, sea kayaking, snorkeling, horseback riding and scuba diving, which are all enjoyed with the Customer’s voluntary participation. Fully understanding these risks and that the cost of the Tour Company’s tours are based upon the Customer fully accepting the conditions stated and implied herein, as lawful consideration for being permitted by the Tour Company, to participate on a Tour Company tour and take part in corresponding activities and use of facilities and equipment. The Customer agrees to be responsible for their own welfare, and accept any and all risks of delay, unanticipated events, death, illness, injury or emotional trauma and acknowledge that they are voluntarily participating on the tour in full knowledge of these risks and therefore discharge the Tour Company and its owners, agents, contractors, affiliates and employees from and against any and all liability arising from their participation in the tour. The Customer further agrees that this release shall be legally binding upon themselves and all minors under the age of 21 traveling with them, their heirs, successors, assigns, and legal representatives; it being their intention to fully assume all the risk of travel and to release the Tour Company from any and all liabilities to the maximum extent permitted by law. In the unlikely event a legal dispute should arise involving any part of these statements whatsoever, the following conditions will apply: the dispute will be submitted to a neutral third-party mediator in Miami, Florida, with both parties splitting equally the costs of such a mediator. If the dispute cannot be resolved through mediation then the dispute shall be submitted for binding arbitration through an arbitration center in Miami, Florida. Resolution of the dispute will be governed by the laws of the state of Florida, and the maximum recoverable amount to which the Customer will be entitled under any and all circumstances will be the net cost of their trip paid the Tour Company.
Special Liability Release Regarding Land Services: The Tour Company gives notice that many of the services it provides in connection with its land services, including transportation, hotels and other forms of accommodations, restaurants and other services are often purchased from various independent suppliers not affiliated with the Tour Company. While the Tour Company seeks to work with the best suppliers available, the Tour Company has only a limited ability to control the operations of these providers. Therefore, The Customer purchasing land based programs through the Tour Company does so upon the express condition that the Tour Company shall not be liable for any delay, cancellation, mishap, inconvenience, expense, irregularity, bodily injury or death to the Customer or damage to property, occasioned through the conduct of default of any company or individual engaged in providing these services. Each of these suppliers is subject to the local laws and their liability may be limited by their tariffs, conditions of carriage, tickets, vouchers, international conventions and agreements.
Updated Versions of this Agreement: Because the Tour Company may periodically need to update its policies due to changes in the law, the policies of the Galapagos National Park, or for the benefit of its Customer or the Tour Company, the Customer Agreement may be updated periodically, therefore the version in effect at the time the Customer ‘indicates acceptance’ will be in governance as will all affecting changes in the law and GNP policies.