Covid-19: This information was last updated during the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing closures. At this time, we do not know what services will still be available, when they will become available, and what they will cost.
In the following, please be aware that schedules and costs can change at any time - Be sure to double-check when making your plans.
The Islands are 600 miles off the west coast of Ecuador.
The options for getting here by water are very limited and generally not recommended, unless you arrive in your own yacht.
For most travellers, the only viable option is to fly.
Three airlines fly to San Cristóbal, from Quito and Guayaquil:
Tame (pronounced “Tameh”)
Avianca (formerly Aerogal)
LATAM (formerly LAN)
Most flights from Quito pass through Guayaquil en route to and from Galápagos.
Quito to Guayaquil takes about 30 minutes and Guayaquil to Galápagos 1 hour, 40 minutes. With the stopover in Guayaquil, the trip takes just over 3 hours.
Flights to Galápagos leave in the morning and return in the afternoon. They do not refuel in Galápagos.
San Cristóbal airport is on the outskirts of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, just 5 minutes’ taxi-ride from the Galeodan Suites. The airport code is “SCY”.
Santa Cruz is served by the airport at Baltra, on the island of North Seymour. From the airport, you take a bus to the ferry which takes you across the Itabaca Channel for another bus or taxi to Puerto Ayora (the main port). The transfer takes 45 minutes to an hour. The airport code for Baltra \ Seymour is “GPS”.
NB: Be sure to choose the correct airport. Some schedules misleading refer to Baltra (GPS) as “Galápagos”.
Quito Airport, Mariscal Sucre, code “UIO” is some 35km \ 20 mi from downtown Quito, in the town of Tababela. The transfer, by bus or taxi, can take 1 to 2 hours, depending on traffic.
Guayaquil Airport, José Joaquín De Olmedo, code “GYE”, is in the city.
Unless you plan to spend a full day or two sightseeing in and around Quito, it is more convenient to come via Guayaquil.
Costs: In 2019, you could budget US$450 to $500 for the trip. Some carriers offered deep discounts if purchased with the international flight.
Check the Covid-19 Information page to see how the normal travel requirements have been augmented by additional documentation, testing and procedures to ensure safe touring during the emergency.
Transit Control Card
Before you check in for your flight to Galápagos, you will need to obtain a Transit Control Card (TCT) which costs $20 each (2019) and requires you to enter details of your visit. Visitors are asked to complete the registration online and then pick up the card at the airport. The registration page is at: http://www.gobiernoGalápagos.gob.ec/pre-registro-tct/
Park Entry Fee
Be prepared to pay the Galápagos Park entry fee - On arrival in Galápagos - In cash. The cost varies from $100, for adult foreigners, to $3 for Ecuadorian children. Proceeds go are split between the Galápagos National Park, the Galápagos municipalities, the Galápagos Governing Council. Further details are available on the National Park web page - “Tribute of Entry”.
Additional Requirements (prior to the Covid-19 emergency)
Health Insurance: The 2015 Special Law of Galapagos (LOREG) requires that all foreign tourists submit proof of private health insurance that specifically covers the cost of emergency medical evacuation back to the continent; a cost that can run from $10k to $20k. Prior to the Covid-19 emergency, this law had not been enforced. Regardless of whether the law is being enforced, we strongly advise travellers to obtain private insurance and check their policies to confirm that these extraordinary costs ($10,000 - $20,000) are covered (many state and employee insurance plans do not provide adequate cover).
Vaccinations: While the CDC and WHO recommend various vaccinations for visitors to Ecuador, particularly for jungle visits, none are compulsory - Yet.
Return Ticket: Tourists cannot stay here for more than 60 days in a year, so they must purchase a return flight.
Biosecurity: Prior to checking in your bags, you will need to pass through a bio-security inspection to ensure you are not carrying harmful organisms.
Visa Requirements: As of 2019, Ecuador only required visas from a small list of countries. We advise travellers to verify requirements prior to making their plans.
Passport: Be sure you have at least 6 months validity on your passport.