Galapagos General Information
The Galapagos islands are designated as a National Park and therefore rules and regulations apply to visitors. We invite you to read our Frequently Asked Questions to help you plan your trip.
Our sales team will be happy to advise you should you have any queries.
How do I get to the Galapagos Islands?
First take a flight from your country of origin to Quito or Guayaquil. We suggest arriving in Quito, where you can spend an enjoyable few days before your trip to the Islands and explore more of Ecuador, including: Otavalo, Cotopaxi, Mindo, Papallacta and other destinations.
We also suggest planning your arrival one or two days before your Galapagos trip begins so that in case of cancellations due to poor weather or international flight delays, you will not miss out on any of your time on the Galapagos.
How many days should I stay on the Galapagos?
We recommend a minimum stay of 5 days. Although we offer tours starting from 4 days, it is best to extend your trip for as long as you can, since the first and last days will mostly be traveling. An ideal trip lasts for 8 days and allows you to take combinations of different tours.
Which are the best islands of the Galapagos?
The wonder of the Islands is that they all offer something different. Their landscapes and distinct flora and fauna are often unique on the planet. If you have a special interest in an island then we can help create the best cruise itinerary or day trip.
Should I take a full cruise or combine day trips with a hotel?
It depends on your preferences and how you feel about staying overnight on a yacht. The maximum capacity of yachts on the Galapagos is 100 passengers, but the majority hold 16 passengers. If you suffer from seasickness or are traveling with very young children, it would be best to explore the islands on a variety of day trips and sleep in hotels.
What do I need to consider for traveling with small children?
Many of our cruises have child-friendly policies although some have age restrictions. Please check before booking. You should take into account that small children may suffer from seasickness on the smaller boats and for some activities we may not be able to provide specialist equipment such as life-jackets and snorkeling equipment. The combined yacht and hotel tour is an excellent option for families with small children.
Can I bring food or drink in my luggage?
It is best to avoid bringing food. Make sure that any you do bring is packaged as fruit and fresh food is not permitted. It is possible to bring a small quantity of soft drinks for personal consumption. The Galapagos islands have a quarantine system in place where all luggage is subject to inspection (X-ray and manual) on arrival and departure.
What is the best time to visit the Galapagos?
The Galapagos receives visitors all year round. However, you may wish to consider certain factors. When planning the trip you should take into account aspects such as: Whether you would prefer warm or milder weather; whether you would like to go snorkeling or scuba diving; whether you are interested in observing any particular birds or animals; or simply whether you want to benefit from a special seasonal promotion. Whatever you decide, we can advise you.
Can I pay by credit card?
Yes, many establishments accept credit card. However, we recommend bringing cash for small purchases, tips and for the places that do not take card payments.
Are there banks on the Galapagos?
On Santa Cruz, Puerto Ayora has branches of Banco del Pacífico and Banco de Pichincha which are open between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm
On San Cristóbal, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno has a branch of Banco del Pacífico which is open between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm
Both banks accept Visa and Master Card.
ATM machines are open 24 hours but we strongly recommend bringing cash from mainland Ecuador to avoid any inconveniences.
Which currency is used in Ecuador and the Galapagos?
In Ecuador and the Galapagos you can use American Dollars (USD). It is important to mention that Ecuador also has its own currency which is not valid outside of the country.
What taxes apply and how much will I have to pay to visit the Galapagos?
You will pay for a TARJETA DE CONTROL DE TRÁNSITO (Transit Control Card) at Quito or Guayaquil airports. Please present your ticket and passport to acquire the card. Currently this costs $20.00 (USD) and on arrival in the Islands you will pay a tax of $100.00 (USD) as a contribution to the Galapagos National Park. Both charges must be paid in cash. Citizens of Ecuador, South America and the Andean Community (Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Bolivia) pay a discounted rate of $50.00 (USD). Ecuadorians with valid ID card pay $6.00 (USD). All children receive a further 50% discount.
WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR TRIP TO THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS.
- Long and short-sleeved cotton shirts
- Light wind and rain jacket
- Goggles and snorkel (if you wish)
- Short wet-suit (if you wish)
- Sandals for swimming
- Comfortable shoes for walking
- Comfortable sandals
- Sun hat or cap
- Sun protection (SPF)
- Any medicines (if required)
- Camera or video camera
- Refillable water bottle
- Travel documents
Weather on the Galapagos
From January to May, the weather on the Galapagos is warm with temperatures between 25 and 35 degrees centigrade with very pleasant water temperatures of between 24 and 25 degrees centigrade, which is ideal for snorkeling.
The weather is cooler from June to December, with temperatures ranging from 18 to 22 degrees. Underwater, the temperature is a chilly 16 to 18 degrees, so we recommend using a short wetsuit for aquatic activities.
RULES OF THE GALAPAGOS NATIONAL PARK
- Any visit within the protected area of the Galapagos National Park must be accompanied by a naturalist guide authorized by the Galapagos National Park Directorate.
- Avoid bad experiences by contracting tourism services and boats which are authorized to work in the protected areas of the Galapagos Islands.
- For your own safety and to ensure the conservation of the islands’ precious natural heritage, please keep to the trails and respect signs at all times.
- Keep a distance of at least 2 meters from animals to avoid disturbing them. Respect their space and freedom.
- Galapagos wildlife does not need to be fed by human beings. Offering animals food can cause health problems.
- Please take photographs and videos without using flash to avoid disturbing the animals. Professional photography and videos recorded for commercial purposes must be authorized by the Galapagos National Park Directorate.
- There are designated areas for camping. Request permission from the Galapagos National Park’s office at least 48 hours in advance.
- It is your responsibility not to introduce food, plants or animals into the archipelago. Please cooperate with the inspection and quarantine officials at the airports and docks of the islands.
- Do not buy any products and/or souvenirs made from banned substances such as coral, shell, lava rock, animal parts and endemic minerals. It is forbidden to buy or eat them! This is an illegal activity and must be reported.
- Please do not leave any trace of your presence on the islands. Instead, take home unforgettable memories and experiences from your stay.
- Please carry your trash with you until you find a suitable place to dispose of it. The centers of all populated villages have effective waste management systems.
- Smoking and lighting campfires in the protected areas of the Galapagos National Park is strictly prohibited. There is a risk of causing major damage by fires.
- Fishing is not allowed. It is only permitted on recreational fishing boats authorized by the Galapagos National Park Directorate.
- Motorized aquatic sports, mini-subs and aerial tourism are not permitted in the National Park. Get in contact with nature in this beautiful part of the world.
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