Travel Regulations

Before You Go

Vaccines

No vaccinations are required to enter Ecuador or the Galapagos Islands; however, it is recommended to get the Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines, especially if you are planning to take tours outside of the Galapagos and beyond the cities Quito and Guayaquil. This particularly applies to tours in the Amazon and in coastal areas. Please consult your doctor for further recommendations.

Insurance

As of June 2018, health insurance coverage is mandatory for all travelers entering Ecuador. The insurance must be acquired in your home country prior to your departure.

Travel insurance, on the other hand, is not mandatory; however, we strongly recommend it as well, since travel insurance will protect you against unforeseen problems with flights and the possibility of missing your cruise/tour because of those kinds of problems. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions to review our refund policies.

International Flights

There are no direct international flights to the Galapagos Islands. All flights are to the mainland cities of Quito or Guayaquil, and then from there you can continue on the Galapagos.

We recommend staying in one of these cities at least one night prior to and following your cruise in order to minimize chances of delayed or cancelled flights or other issues affecting your cruise. You could even take part in an exciting add-on tour or trip extension in continental Ecuador. Both the majestic Andes mountains and the wild Amazon rainforest are within reach!

Passports & Visas

Citizens of the United States, Canada and most European countries do not require a visa to travel to Ecuador unless they plan to stay for more than 90 days over the course of one year. All travelers are required to have a passport with at least six (6) months of validity after their travel dates.

Traveling with Kids

There is no age restriction for visiting the Galapagos Islands; however, some cruises, specifically yachts and small boats, do not accept children under the age of six. Larger boats and cruise ships are often more accommodating to younger guests. Some even offer special activities and services for children. No hotels in the Galapagos have age restrictions. Please let us know if you are planning to travel with small children, so we can help you plan accordingly.

Traveling to the Galapagos Islands

Local flights

All visitors to the Galapagos Islands must fly from one of two mainland cities, either Quito or Guayaquil. Flights from these cities take approximately two to two and a half hours. Most cruise operators have particular flights that they coordinate with that best coincide with their itineraries to make for the smoothest service possible.

Transit Control Card

You must have the Transit Control Card (TCC) in order to be allowed to enter the Galapagos Islands. The card has a value of US$20.00*, which can only be paid in cash in the Quito or Guayaquil airports, prior to embarking on your flight to the Galapagos. After getting the card, you will be asked to take your luggage through a security check-point, where it will be inspected to ensure that you do not have any items that are not permitted on the islands, such as fruits and vegetables.

National Park Entrance Fee

Once you arrive to one of the airports in the Galapagos, on the islands of Baltra or San Cristobal, if you are an international traveler, you will be required to pay a national park entrance fee of US$100* per person. This one-time fee helps the Ecuadorian government protect and conserve the pristine environment of the Galapagos.

*Fees are subject to change without prior notice.

Tours of the Galapagos

Boat Regulations

All boats that cruise the Galapagos Islands undergo a rigorous approval process in order to be allowed to operate in the national park. The approval means that many technical and logistical aspects of the boat have been tested and deemed appropriate for the environment.

Other aspects are also highly regulated, including the sites that each tour visits, the time of day of the visit, the activities that tourists are allowed to engage in at each site and even the maximum number of passengers allowed per a tour. Privately-owned yachts are not allowed to visit the islands’ points of interest; however, they may be allowed to dock at main ports with official approval.

National Park Rules

All travelers must obey the following regulations while in the Galapagos Islands National Park. Failure to comply may result in sanctions by the Ecuadorian government.

  1. Keep a distance of 6.5 feet (2 meters) from all wildlife. Keep in mind that your camera is part of you and must also be kept at this distance.

  2. Do not touch or feed the fauna.

  3. Do not remove elements such as stones or flowers from the ecosystem.

  4. Do not smoke, drink alcohol or make campfires.

  5. Use only marked trails.

  6. Take pictures without flash. Professional photography and the usage of drones needs authorization.

  7. Camping is only allowed in authorized areas.

  8. Use only authorized sport fishing boats.

  9. Do not introduce external elements to the ecosystem.

  10. Motorized watercrafts, submarines, and air tourism is prohibited.

Please remember:

  • Only visit protected areas with a specialized guide.

  • Do not vandalize the National Park.

  • Only use authorized tourism services.

  • Sort your trash.

Plastics

The Ecuadorian government has implemented regulations that restrict the usage of single-use plastics in the Galapagos region. These restrictions apply to items such as plastic straws, single-use plastic bags (such as the ones given in grocery stores), polythene containers (like take-out boxes) and plastic bottles.

Thus, all travelers visiting the islands will not be allowed to bring any of these items along with them, even in their checked luggage. This regulation is effective as of June 2018.

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