How to Plan a Trip to the Galapagos

8 August, 2018

Imagine yourself taking a dream trip to Galapagos to see some of the most incredible wonders of the world.  Whether you are interested in interacting with animals in the wild, adrenaline-pumping adventure travel, culinary extravaganzas, vibrant foreign cultures or a mixture of all of these, it’s important to know how to avoid common pitfalls when visiting the Galapagos Islands. There are many things to learn before jetting off to one of the most unique and energetic locations in the world.

Traveling to the Galapagos Islands

First, it’s important to know how to actually get to the tiny, remote islands off the coast of Ecuador. There are no direct flights to Galapagos. It is recommended that you book an international flight to Guayaquil or Quito in Ecuador and then take one of the daily flights to the Galapagos Islands. Make sure to pack light because only one checked suitcase is allowed with a weight restriction of 44 lbs. (20kg) and one carry-on bag. The weight restriction per person for the inter-island flight from San Cristobal to Isabela is only 25 lbs. (11.34 kg) per piece of luggage.

Book a Tour before Reserving a Flight

Figure out what you want to do and where you want to stay before booking an airline ticket. Only 3% of the islands are populated, and the islands are heavily traveled by tourists. This means that you need to reserve your land-based tour, hotel reservation or cruise before your flight in order to make sure your choice is not already fully-booked. Also, land-based tours and cruises often work with specific flights and may have better pricing with a package deal.

Additional required fees not included in the plane ticket cost include:

Two extra fees that you might not be expecting are the National Park entrance fee of $100 (Subject to change) and the INGALA Transit Control Card (TCT) for $20. The TCT may be purchased in the airport upon arrival, and it must be returned when you leave the islands.

Visa requirements for Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands:

Citizens of the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia are not required to have a visa for tourism, business or student purposes for vacations less than 90 days. All passports must have 6 months left of validity left upon exit of country. You must also provide proof of travel off the islands (either by land, air or sea) and proof of sufficient funds for your trip (ATM cards, credit cards, bank statements).

Visa and Immunizations

There are no vaccinations required if you only travel to Quito and the Galapagos Islands. All tourists, however, are required to have proof of a valid international health insurance policy when entering Ecuador. This policy has to be valid during your whole stay.

Travel Requirements and Weather

Fortunately, weather in the Galapagos is perfect for travelers year-round. The one thing to note is various animals can only be viewed during certain times of year. Research what you want to see in order to determine what time of year to visit. In addition, it is very important to check for volcanic activity in advance of your trip, as well as anything else that might challenge your travel plans. Here are some helpful sites:

U.S. Department of State International Travel

Daily Map of Active Volcanoes

Galapagos Islands Weather

Activities and Expeditions on Galapagos

On top of basic travel logistics, it is important to remember there are many things to see and do on the islands. It can become overwhelming when planning your dream trip because some websites are misleading and they may not offer appropriate activities or knowledge of the islands. Because of this, you might miss the best locations for the indigenous flora and fauna, delicious cuisine, top-of-the-line hotels, expert naturalist guides or the vivacious local culture. It makes sense to consult with experts on the islands so that you can plan the vacation of your dreams and enjoy every single minute of your trip to Galapagos. That way, you won’t miss out on mountain-biking down volcanoes past giant tortoises, kayaking along craggy cliffs with tropical penguins and snorkeling with sleek, white-tipped sharks, enormous manta rays and animated sea lions. Or, you can relax on pristine beaches, soak in the local culture and dine on world-class, farm-to-table cuisine from the most respected chefs on the island. Whatever your choice of entertainment, Neotropic Expeditions is here to plan the trip of a lifetime.

We are with you from the time you book your trip to Galapagos to the time you leave the island making sure that you are completely satisfied with your experience.  We plan every last detail so you can kick back and relax.

With over 26 years of experience, we bring our customers flexible options ranging from personalized itineraries and high-end amenities, to structured and affordable plans. Our expeditions benefit local people, minimize carbon footprints, and promote local stewardship and sustainability in every way.


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Quito – Ecuador
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