We have answered the most common Galapagos FAQ below. However, if you have any other questions, please feel free to call us at 1-888-268-9753 or email us at [email protected].
When is the best time to travel to the Galapagos Islands?
It is always a good time to travel to a destination as unique and fascinating as the Galapagos Islands. There are two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season runs from December to June, with higher daytime temperatures (80’s F) and humidity, and occasional rain showers. The ocean temperature is also higher (77 degrees F), making swimming and snorkeling more appealing. This is also the breeding season for land birds and sea lions, and nesting season for sea turtles.
The dry season runs from June to December. During this season, the weather and ocean temperature are cooled by the Humboldt Current, which brings cold water, nutrients, and plankton from the southern part of the South America. Temperatures average in the 70’s (F) during the day and lower at night. It is also windier, and the ocean is rougher. The nutrient rich waters attract fish, seabirds, and penguins. This is also mating season of the Blue Footed Boobies.
Where are the Galapagos Islands located?
The Galapagos Islands are located 600 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean.
What time zone are the Galapagos Islands in?
The Galapagos Islands are -6 GMT, which equates to U.S. Central Standard Time.
How do I get to the Galapagos Islands from the mainland?
The only way to get to the Galapagos Islands from the mainland is by plane. Most flights depart from Quito or Guayaquil in the morning and arrive after noon. The flight from Quito is around two and one-half hours.
What are the passport/visa requirements for American and other citizens traveling to the Galapagos Islands?
U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Ecuadorian embassy in their country before traveling.
Do I need to bring my passport with me to the Galapagos Islands?
Yes. You also must provide your passport number to us at least one month prior departure so that we can arrange to have your tourist control card processed.
What vaccinations are required for travel to the Galapagos Islands?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website provides recommended and/or required vaccinations for each country. For Ecuador, it recommends that you should be up-to-date with routine vaccines such as measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and that you get your yearly flu shot. It also recommends that you get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and Typhoid, and Hepatitis B, depending upon your travel plans. Since rabies can be found in bats and other mammals in Ecuador, rabies vaccine is recommended if you will be involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put you at risk for animal bites, such as adventure travel and caving. The government of Ecuador requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. The CDC recommends yellow fever vaccination if you are traveling to the following provinces east of the Andes Mountains: Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Sucumbios, and Zamora-Chinchipe. It is not recommended for travelers visiting Guayaquil, Quito, and the Galapagos Islands. You should see a health-care provider at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect.
There is a relatively low risk of malaria for travel to Ecuador. Talk to your doctor about how you can prevent malaria while traveling.
What activities are available during the cruises that you offer?
Depending upon the ship, in addition to wildlife viewing and hiking, the following activities may be available: SCUBA diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking, and glass bottom boating.
Are there any luggage restrictions for the flights to/from the Galapagos Islands?
Passengers are allowed one checked bag 20 kg/44 lbs. per person and one carry-on bag 7 kg/15 lbs. per person, which must fit into the carry-on bag control unit at the airport. The overweight charge is based on the price of your ticket and usually has a maximum of $1.96/lb. each way to/from Quito/Guayaquil.
What should I pack for the cruise?
We suggest that you bring the following items: Passport (and photocopy of passport), money belt (bring dollars, traveler’s checks, credit cards), small daypack (waterproof), fanny pack, hat, sunscreen +30spf, lip balm, sun glasses, two pairs of walking shoes or sneakers (one to keep dry, one for wet landings), 1-2 pairs of slacks (cotton), 2-3 pairs of shorts, 3-4 short-sleeved shirts, 1-2 long-sleeved shirts, sweater (cotton), socks, underwear, light rain jacket, umbrella, 1-2 swimsuits, personal medicinal items (soap and dish, biodegradable shampoo, toothbrush and paste, shaving gear, deodorant, towel), contact lens fluids/glasses, basic first aid kit (aspirin or acetaminophen, Dramamine for motion sickness, Lomotil or Imodium for diarrhea, bandages and Band-Aids, Benadryl or other antihistamine, Calamine lotion, sunburn cream), insect repellent, camera (spare film, batteries, memory cards, other camera-related equipment), binoculars, flashlight (extra batteries). Optional items: Video camera, personal snorkeling gear, shorty wetsuit, Galapagos Islands guidebooks.
How much should I tip the crew and naturalist guides?
The crew and naturalist guides expect to be tipped at the end of the cruise. The rules of thumb are as follows: Crew: $15/day to be divided among all members; Naturalist Guides: $10/day; Barman: 10% of your bill.
What are the standard wall currents and electrical socket shapes in the Galapagos Islands?
Voltage: 120/127 V; Frequency: 60 HZ; Plugs: Type A (Flat blade attachment plug) and Type B (Flat blades with round grounding pin).
Galapagos Travel Guide
Galapagos Tours & Cruises / Galapagos & Machu Picchu Tours / Galapagos & Amazon Tours / Galapagos Weather / Galapagos Accommodations / Top Galapagos Activities by Land or by Sea / Galapagos Wildlife Calendar / Galapagos Blog Posts / Galapagos Islands Map
Galapagos Cruise Ships
The Main Galapagos Islands and Visitor Sites
Baltra Island / Bartolomé Island / Chinese Hat Islet / Eden Islet / Española Island / Fernandina Island / Floreana Island / Genovesa Island / Isabela Island / Mosquera Islet / North Seymour Island / Rábida Island / San Cristóbal Island / Santa Cruz Island / Santa Fe Island / Santiago Island / South Plaza Island
Galapagos Wildlife: 15 Iconic Species
American Flamingo / Blue-Footed Booby / Flightless Cormorant / Frigatebirds: Great and Magnificent / Galapagos Fur Seal / Galapagos Giant Tortoise / Galapagos Hawk / Galapagos Penguin / Galapagos Sea Lion / Land Iguana / Marine Iguana / Nazca Booby / Red-Footed Booby / Santa Fe Land Iguana / Waved Albatross
FAQ for Other South American Countries