How do I get to the Galapagos Islands?
There is no international airport in the Galapagos Islands, so you will need to fly in to mainland Ecuador, either to the coastal port of Guayaquil or to Ecuador’s capital in the highlands, Quito. From there, you will take a domestic flight to the Galapagos Islands, which lasts approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from Guayaquil and 2 hours from Quito (add 35minute flight from Quito to Guayaquil in one stop itineraries).
What is the weather like in the Galapagos Islands?
The Galapagos enjoys a nice weather almost year round. There are two main seasons to be considered. The warm, wet season which starts in late December and goes until June; and the cool, dry season, from late June to December.
What is the water temperature in the Islands?
January – June: 70°F – 80°F (20°C – 26°C)
July – December: 65°F – 75°F (18°C- 23°C)
When is the best time to visit the Galapagos?
Galapagos is an all-year-round destination, thanks to its good weather. There are two high/peak seasons that should be considered when scheduling your trip: one between June and August, and the second one between December and early January.
Is there an entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park?
The Galapagos National Park charges an entrance fee of US$ 100 for adults and US$ 50 for children under 12. Visitors have to pay this fee at the airport, upon their arrival. Please be sure to carry the above amounts in cash since no credit cards are accepted.
Are there any inhabited towns?
97% of the Galapagos Islands is national park. There are only 5 inhabited islands. Puerto Ayora is the capital and largest town with a population of 12,000 located on Santa Cruz Island. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the second largest town with a population of 5,600 located on San Cristobal Island. Puerto Villamil in Isabela Islands is the third largest with a population of 2,000. Puerto Velasco Ibarra in Floreana Island has a population of 100 inhabitants. The last inhabited island is Baltra, which was used as a US military base during WWII and now serves as the airport for Santa Cruz Island.
What is the official language in the Galapagos Islands?
Spanish is the official language of Ecuador and its provinces such as the Galapagos Islands. English is spoken in the main tourist centers, important hotels, cruises, guides, but not by the general population.
What is the currency in the Galapagos?
Since the Galapagos Islands is a province of Ecuador, the official currency is the US Dollar, which was adopted in the year 2000.
Banks and Bank Hours
Banks are open to the public from 9:00 hrs to 17:00 hrs. Monday to Friday. Most banks in Galapagos will allow you to make a transaction with your National bank.
ATM can only be found on San Cristobal Island and on Santa Cruz Island. Most ATM’s accept international ATM cards.
Shopping hours in San Cristobal and Santa Cruz Islands are usually from 10:00am to 07:00pm, Monday to Saturday. Some stores are open on Sundays.
How safe are the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador?
Like most places around the World, Ecuador’s cities have good and bad areas. Many of the best hotels are located on good, safe areas. You should take the same precautions as you would if you were to travel to a major city such as New York or London. Be mindful of pickpocketers when walking in the street or in crowded public areas. Don’t walk around with expensive jewelry or with a lot of cash on hand. Use only registered and certified taxi cabs. Be wary of people who randomly approach you. Don’t venture into places you have not previously asked about. It is not recommended to walk in the streets after dark.
The major towns in the Galapagos Islands such as Puerto Ayora and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno are generally quite safe. You can walk on the streets after dark but you should always be mindful of your surroundings.
Are there any health restrictions?
Good general health is required for your travel to Galapagos. You will take long walks in hot weather, especially when traveling from December to June. If you take medication regularly, we advise you to take enough for the length of your trip. Please advise your travel consultant if you have any medical condition, which may require attention. If you are vegetarian, allergic to any food or under a special diet, please let us know in advance, so we can comply with your requirements.
What type of medical services and facilities are available?
Modern hospital facilities are not available in the Galapagos. The towns of Puerto Ayora and Puerto Baquerizo have small hospitals and drug stores. We recommend to bring your own medicine as brands may change from one country to another, or a specific medicine may not be available. Due to the lack of services and medical facilities we strongly recommend you get emergency medical evacuation insurance.
Customs for Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
You will have to clear customs upon arrival to Ecuador (Quito or Guayaquil). All of your personal baggage will be scanned for items such as fresh fruit and or other fresh plant and animal foods. The Galapagos Islands does not have customs since there are no international airports. In the airport your personal luggage will receive a short inspection for things like fruits or seeds that might be introduced to the islands.
What are the travelling options to visit the Galapagos?
There are three main modalities to visit the enchanted islands:
- On a cruise. This is the most recommended option, since cruises can get to the farthest islands. It’s the best way to see as much wildlife as possible.
- Inland. You can stay at a hotel in one of the inhabited islands and plan do daily excursions to nearby islands.
- – Island Hopping. You can start your journey in one of the inhabited island, stay a couple of days and then travel by sea or fly to another island. This is a new modality.
What are wet or dry landings?
A wet landing is where you step out of the vessel into the water to wade ashore. Several of the islands you will visit are reached via wet landings. Dry landings require some balance and timing to step from the “panga” onto a rock or other piece of land (not a dock). You don’t need to be an athlete but being reasonably fit and somewhat agile is necessary and will help you enjoy all that the islands have to offer.