Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

We do our best to keep this information up to date. If you have further questions please don’t hesitate to let us know!

Getting to Galápagos

Where do I have to go first to get to Galápagos?

You must fly to Ecuador first, either to Quito or Guayaquil. From there, you’ll fly to Galápagos!

Which city is best to travel to first: Quito or Guayaquil?

Neither is better—they’re just different. There’s plenty to do in each place!

Both cities have tourist attractions that can be visited before or after a trip to Galapagos. Guayaquil is more of a “passing” or “business” city, being a port city near the coast. You can visit attractions like Malecón 2000, Seminario (Iguana) Park, La Rotonda Monument, and Barrio Las Peñas. 

Quito is a colonial city in the Andes, and you can visit places like Ciudad Mitad del Mundo and the historic center, or take a day trip to Cotopaxi Volcano, Mindo Cloud Forest, Otavalo Market, or Papallacta Hot Springs. 

When is the best time to travel to Galápagos?

Anytime! There’s no better time to travel to Galápagos than now! Galápagos is beautiful year-round, making pleasant conditions for hiking and wildlife spotting. However, you may take other factors such as high season or low season into account. 

How many days should I stay in Ecuador?

It’s totally up to you! The number of days depends on how much time you have to make your trip. If you do want to visit an attraction in Quito or Guayaquil, it’s recommended to spend at least two days before or after your trip to the Galápagos islands. 

How many days do you recommend for Galápagos?

It depends on your time and budget. Our team (Rick/Zambo) would be happy to discuss this with you! We can work out a detailed proposal that fits your needs! 

How much is a land-based tour?
How far in advance should I arrive in Quito or Guayaquil before my trip to Galápagos?

Please be sure to arrive at least 24 hours before your trip, though we recommend at least 48 hours so you can settle in. 

How long is the flight from Ecuador to Galápagos?

It depends where you depart from. Flights to Galápagos leave from both Quito and Guayaquil as well as Manta. If you travel from Quito there will be a short layover in Guayaquil (about 30 minutes), and you won’t need to exit the plane. It takes 30 minutes to fly from Quito to Guayaquil and roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes from Guayaquil to the Islands.

Are there luggage restrictions on airplanes?

For domestic flights from mainland Ecuador, the fare you purchase will dictate how much luggage is included in the ticket price. For interisland flights, you are only allowed a total of 25 lb/12 kg) and will pay fees for excess luggage weight.

Why does the flight make a stop in Guayaquil?

To drop off and pick up passengers.

For flights to and from the Islands, can I depart and return from Quito or Guayaquil on either trip?

Yes, your flights to and from the Galápagos are totally up to you! You can fly to/ from either Quito or Guayaquil and San Cristobal or Baltra.

Can I take an immediate international flight once I return to Ecuador from Galápagos?

Due to possible flight delays, we recommend you schedule your international flight to depart 24 hours after you return to mainland Ecuador. However, if you prefer to travel back the same day, it is possible. 

How do I get to the city from the airport?

Quito: The Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located in the town of Tababela, about 11 miles east of Quito. It takes about 45 minutes from the airport to the historic center depending on traffic. You can either take a taxi or book a private transfer through us. 

Guayaquil: The Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport is located inside the city of Guayaquil, is pretty close to most hotels, and taking a taxi is super easy!

Which airline is the most used for flights to the Galápagos?

You can book flights with Avianca or LATAM.

Which airline do you recommend for my international flight to Ecuador?

It depends where you’re flying from. We recommend you check with your travel agency to learn more about international flights to Ecuador.

Can my flight route be changed before my second payment?

Yes, it’s possible to change your flight route before you send the final payment.

Galápagos Entrance Fees

What is the Galápagos National Park (GNP) entrance fee?

All tourists visiting Galápagos Islands must pay an entry fee of $100 per person for ages 13 and up, and $50 per person for ages 12 and below. This fee increases to $200 / $100 on August 1, 2024.

Where can I pay Galápagos National Park (GNP) Entrance Fee?

You must pay your fee in cash at the airport in Galápagos upon arrival. The amount of this entrance fee depends on the age and nationality of the tourist. Most foreign tourists over the age of 12 pay US $100, while children pay US $50.

Visitors from the Andean Community and Mercosur nations over the age of 12 pay US $50, and children pay US $25. Ecuadorian nationals over the age of 12 pay US $6, and children pay US $3.

As of August 1, 2024 these fees essentially double.

 

Can I pay the GNP Entrance Fee with a credit card?

No. It’s not possible to pay the entry fee with a credit card, you need cash. 

How can I pay the GNP Entrance Fee?

When you arrive in the Islands, you’ll find a special counter to pay this fee.

What is the Transit Control Card?

The Governing Council of Galápagos uses the Transit Control Card (Tarjeta de Control de Tránsito or TCT) to monitor visitors’ time spent on the islands.

Where can I pay the TCT?

The Transit Control Card must be paid in cash at the Quito, Guayaquil, or Manta airport before flying to the islands. Visitors must go to a booth in the airport with their plane tickets to get the card, which costs $20.

Can I pay the TCT with a credit card?

Yes you can pay with a credit card.

Can I buy the TCT a day before traveling to the Galápagos to avoid the line?

There is an online service in case passengers do not prepay for this service. You can enter your info online before traveling to the islands. However, you MUST arrive at least 2 hours prior to your scheduled flight departure in order to pay and get the Transit Control Card from the Galápagos Government Council, which needs to be kept with you until you leave the archipelago.

On the Islands

Is it possible to make phone calls to my home country?

Yes! You can call your family and friends from San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabela where you will have access to Starlink internet.

Is there a dress code?

Nope! Let your style shine–there is no dress code on our tours. Wear whatever you want! 

Are single or triple suites available?

Yes!

Is there internet or WiFi on boat charters?

No, there is no internet or cell phone connection on boats with the exception of some luxury liveaboard cruises. 

What type of outlets are used?

There are 110v (2 flat prongs, like the ones in the United States) in all ships and on the mainland. In some of the ships there is 220v in the social areas; we recommend bringing your own adapter. 

Precautions and What to Bring

Do you offer travel insurance?

We don’t offer trip insurance, but we strongly advise purchasing it.

What travel insurance do you recommend?

You can quote it with Allianz or Travel Guard or ask Christina for other options.

Are there any immunizations required/recommended?

No. However, If you intend to spend more time in Ecuador, specifically in the jungle, immunizations are recommended. As this does change from time to time, please check with your local health care provider (or the Institute for Tropical Diseases) for more information.

What do you recommend for motion sickness, can I buy medication in Ecuador?

We suggest you check with your doctor before taking any motion-sickness medication. You can buy this medication in Ecuador or purchase the medication recommended by your doctor in your home country.

What should we bring?

Since the Islands are situated on the Equator, we recommend you bring lightweight clothing and of course, don’t forget your swimsuits, sunscreen, and good footwear for walking! Check out our travel tips for more recommendations.

Can we bring our own alcoholic beverages with us?

On board the plane, you may take up to 5 liters of alcohol per person with alcohol contents between 24% and 70% as checked luggage. On board a cruise, the amount depends on the boat, however, most boats allow passengers to bring 1 bottle of an alcoholic drink per cabin.

Where can I go shopping?

You can buy souvenirs and other items in the main towns of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Puerto Villamil, and Puerto Ayora.

Where can I buy a cell phone chip?

You can buy a cell phone chip at any shopping center in Quito or Guayaquil.

Is there internet or phone signal in Galápagos?

There is limited phone coverage in Galápagos, but you can buy a Claro SIM card that will work in the main towns. Once you are at sea, cellphone reception will be very limited/nonexistent.

Further Information

Click here for the latest information from the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Ecuador including additional entry requirements for the Galápagos Islands.

Click here for the latest information from Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Ecuador.

Click here for the latest information from Guayaquil Airport in Ecuador.

Money

Do we have to exchange money before we travel to Ecuador/ once we are in the country?

Not if you have US dollars. In 2000, Ecuador adopted the US dollar as its official currency. Just make sure you bring cash bills in good condition with you; if they have any rips or tears in them, they will NOT be accepted! Smaller denomination bills are better as many businesses don’t accept $50’s or $100’s.

How much money should I bring?

It depends on the length of your trip. Please note that you need enough cash for the Galápagos National Park fee (~$100 increasing to $200 on August 1, 2024), Ingala Transit Control card (~$20), alcoholic and soft drinks, souvenirs, and tips.

What are the tipping standards in Ecuador and Galápagos?

In Ecuador, there is no set amount for tipping! However, based on our clients’ experience, and if you think that the service has been excellent, we recommend for tours, US $8 to US $15 per person, per day. For example, if you travel onboard a cruise with your partner and both have decided to tip US $12 each per day, that would be US $24 a day, and US $168 for a 7-night cruise (the crew will divide it equally among them), plus any amount you leave to the guide is separate.

What currency do you use in Ecuador and how can we exchange our money?

The official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar. If you are coming from the United States, you do NOT need to exchange your money. People coming from other countries are able to exchange money at the international airports in Quito or Guayaquil, located in banks and exchange areas.

Can we get money from ATMs in Galápagos?

For land-based itineraries you’ll have time to visit an ATM. For cruise itineraries we recommend that you bring enough cash before you arrive in the islands for your personal expenses and tips.

For more FAQ information, we encourage you to get in touch!