Galapagos Islands Travel Tips

Upper 60’s in the am, then it will be warm/hot at sea level, but cool when going to the highlands in the back of a pickup, and when on the boat, especially early in the morning, or with spray. It can be misty but rarely rains in the middle of the year. Laundry can be done for you in town for $7 washed and dried and stuffed into a bag – takes the day. Bring long pants for sun protection and for if planning a horseback ride on Isabella Island. Wear layers! There are pharmacies, grocery stores, hardware stores, etc on the islands, and bottled water to purchase, but they are basic, not fancy stores (no walmart!) You can check 44 lbs MAXIMUM (rolling luggage okay) on the plane to Galapagos, and bring 1-2 small carry ons, eg, day pack and purse (no rolling, big carry ons – they will not take them!) Essential Stuff:

  • Long-sleeved button down shirt
  • Hat with a bill (sun is intense at the equator!)
  • 2 long-sleeve or short sleeve quick dry or cotton tops (on its own as a tee-shirt or as an under layer)
  • Sunscreen (expensive and not high strength on the island!)
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Extra batteries (poor quality on island)
  • 3-4 tee shirts or light button shirts
  • 1 light packable wind or waterproof jacket
  • Fleece top
  • 1-2 pairs of pants (light weight is good but if you are most comfy in jeans, that is fine, too)
  • 1-2 pairs of shorts
  • 3 pairs of good quality socks (at least 3 pair), such as light weight hikers
  • bathing suit
  • snorkel, mask, fins
  • shorty wetsuit (hood is nice, too, for warmth)
  • defogger for mask (can get at dive shops)
  • net bag to carry snorkel gear 1 mile walk to beach on rocky path
  • light laundry bag (or plastic garbage bag)
  • mix of 1 gallon and 1 quart ziplock bags (15-20 total)
  • 2-4 large black garbage bags (to put luggage in on boat trips)
  • small flashlight or headlamp (walking on uneven streets at night)
  • Light hiking shoes or tennis shoes
  • Tennis shoes or sandals (for wearing around town)
  • Tennis shoes, tevas, booties or other shoes that you don’t mind getting wet for tide pooling and wet landings off boats
  • Comfort stuff (q-tips, your favorite lotion, toothpaste, soap – whatever you especially care about having a special brand of)
  • Travel size towel and washcloth (or can buy on the island)
  • Day pack
    • Sunglasses (eyes can be damaged by water glare)
    • Pen (not pencil) for filling out the tourist visa when you arrive in Ecuador – there are few pens there to use and you can be held up waiting for a pen. When filling out the visa form, check “tourist”
    • Passport and ticket
    • Cash (see below)
    • Readings and books

Other stuff to consider getting:

  • Medicine in its original bottle that states the prescription or over the counter brand (do not put pills into unmarked plastic bottles, or baggies, even if it is just aspirin – everything should be in its original bottles for customs)
  • All prescription meds you need including generic name (in case you lose and need a refill there)
  • Dramamin, Bonine, or other travel sickness medicine
  • Cipro (antibiotic to get from your doctor)
  • Naproxin, Advil, Ibuprofen (your painkiller of choice, available but 25 cents per pill there)
  • ipod (optional)


  • Bring clean, crisp bills for legal tender (rather than marked or torn bills)
  • ~$200 cash (small bills very handy!) for first few days for: food in Guayaguil
  • $100 in cash for the National Park Service Fee that you will need to pay to get onto the Island of San Cristobal (MUST BE IN CASH, this amount could vary as well depending on new laws however expect it to be not a significant change )
  • Snacks, food on weekends, etc when we arrive in Galapagos
  • Credit card and/or traveler’s checks for other expenses (some meals, $25 exit fee, souvenirs)
  • AMERICAN EXPRESS Traveler’s checks are best. You can cash them on the Island for a $5.00 charge regardless of how much you cash per time. Visa cards – cash up to 500.00 with your passport inside bank- no pin needed (10:30-2PM, M-F) Master Card- cash up to 100.00 at the ugly teller – requires pin

Also, don’t forget

  • Passport (and photocopy of passport main page in a separate place)
  • Other ID
  • Ticket
  • Name of hotel in Guayaquil where class will be staying, phone numbers
  • Extra eyeglasses, contacts, solution

Immunizations – check with your doctor and read the CDC webpage (none are required to go to Galapagos, but try to get a tetanus/diphtheria if you have not had one in 10 years).

Medical insurance while travelingCheck if you are covered on your policy. Galapagos have little more than a first aid station – ALL serious injuries get flown to Quito, the capital. Consider getting medical insurance including emergency air evacuation. Read the fine print – some require that a certified doctor approve an emergency air evacuation and that certified doctor may be hard to find on the island. Any travel agent or tour company can refer you to a company that will cover you for travel medical insurance. Trip insuranceYou can also get trip insurance in the event that you have to cancel your trip. Read the fine print on what they consider valid reasons for having to cancel/miss a flight, etc.


  1. Perfect travel tips to go along the Island of Galapagos. Nice tips to be all packed and ready for a trip in this great place. Thumbs up for the last thing you have added in your post, the insurance, lots of travelers overlook the importance of this insurance for their own advantage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.