If you’ve chosen to visit the Galapagos Islands, now is time to book your flights. However, bear in mind:
- Galapagos can only be accessed by plane.
- There are NO direct international flights to the Galapagos Islands.
- All flights to the archipelago depart from Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador’s two main cities.
So, if you live outside of Ecuador (Europe, USA, Asia, etc), you will have to book an international flight to Guayaquil or Quito.
In this article, we will show you which airlines offer direct flights to the Galapagos Islands (from mainland Ecuador) and the cost of airfare to the islands.
What airlines fly to Galapagos Islands?
There are just three airlines that fly directly from Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands:
- Avianca https://www.avianca.com/
- Latam https://www.latamairlines.com/
- Equair https://www.equair.com/
Equair is the airline with the lowest fares for domestic and international flights.
However, and from personal experience, I suggest you buy your tickets from Latam or Equair. Avoid Avianca.
Although Avianca has been in the market for many years, in the last two years many users have complained on social media due to inconveniences related to lost luggage, unexpected flight cancellations and sudden schedule changes.
We have been one of the many affected.
The worst part of the situation is not the inconvenience, as this type of situation can happen to any airline. The problem is that management does not solve the problems.
So, avoid buying on Avianca unless you have no other option.
We are not saying that your trip on Avianca is going to be bad; we are just warning you about what has been happening (as a precaution).
Which airport should you fly from and fly into when going to Galapagos?
Direct flights to the Galapagos Islands depart from Quito or Guayaquil, and arrive to San Cristobal or Baltra Island.
This mean you must fly to Galapagos from The Mariscal Sucre International Airport (Quito) or from José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (Guayaquil).
There is not much difference in the cost of the airfare if you travel to Galapagos from Quito or Guayaquil.
The difference is generally between $10 or $50 more, with the departure from Guayaquil being less expensive.
Why the difference? Guayaquil is a stopover for flights from Quito to the Galapagos.
All flights to the Galapagos depart from Guayaquil.
The Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO)
Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located in Tababela, on the outskirts of Quito.
Quito’s airport receives flights from:
- Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami and New York in the United States.
- Amsterdam and Madrid in Europe.
- From major cities in Central and South America.
José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (GYE)
José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport is located in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most important port. Unlike Quito, Guayaquil’s airport is within the city.
Guayaquil’s airport receives flights from:
- Miami and New York in the United States.
- Amsternad and Madrid in Europe.
- Some of the major cities of Central and South America.
Info source: https://www.galapagosislands.com/blog/how-to-get-to-the-galapagos-islands/
Flights arrive to Galapagos at the San Cristobal Island Airport (Aeropuerto de San Cristóbal) and on Baltra Island Airport (Aeropuerto Galápagos Seymour).
The San Cristobal airport has one or two flights per day, while the Baltra airport is the main hub for planes to the islands.
This should be considered if you want to fly directly to San Cristobal, since you will not have many alternatives in terms of flight scheduling. Only as specified by the airline.
It is possible to arrive in Galapagos at one airport and depart from another.
It takes roughly an hour to go from Baltra airport to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island.
Meanwhile, the San Cristobal airport is only a few minutes’ drive from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
San Cristobal airport code: SCY
Seymour airport code: GPS
How long is the flight from Ecuador to the Galapagos?
From take-off to final landing:
- Quito – Galapagos (Guayaquil stopover): 2,5 hours aprox.
- Guayaquil – Galapagos: 1,5 hours aprox.
However, if your flight departs from Quito, you should consider the waiting time at Guayaquil’s airport for the connecting flight.
This waiting time depends on the airline’s schedule. Yet, most of the time, the wait is short.
You can also check out: Things to do in Guayaquil
How much does it cost to fly to the Galapagos Island?
The cost of a flight to the Galapagos Islands varies depending on the traveler’s nationality.
Ecuadorians have the cheapest fares, allowing them to afford the expense of traveling to the islands.
Foreigners, on the other hand, are limited to purchase tickets of a higher class, which raises the ticket price.
Here is an idea of the cost of a round-trip flight from Quito to Galapagos:
- Foreigners: Between $450 to $600 round trip per person.
- Ecuadorians: From $300 round trip per person, however it can get as low as $190 if no baggage is included (just a backpack).
Prices differ based on the itinerary, whether the ticket is purchased close to the departure date, the quantity of luggage desired, the airline, and even the airport where you will arrive in the Galapagos.
During the high season in Galapagos (June to September) and on Ecuadorian holidays, airline tickets are generally more expensive.
See also: Best time to visit Galapagos Islands
Although airline tickets for foreigners may be more expensive, they have many benefits: flight fares already include all type of baggage, refunds, date changes and so on without penalty.
Before buying your flight ticket, make sure you get the correct class code: fares that only apply to non-residents of Ecuador (these are usually the highest class airfares).
Otherwise you will be charged an additional $150 USD at check-in.
There are no direct flights from outside Ecuador to the islands. All flights depart from Ecuador (Guayaquil or Quito).
Where to buy airline tickets to Galapagos?
You can do it on the English version website of the three airlines mentioned above, or directly with a local or foreign travel agency.
If you are traveling in a tour group, it will be best to manage the tickets with the same travel agency, but if you are traveling alone you can do it on your own.
Just keep in mind: the fares for Ecuadorians are the cheapest options you will see on the airlines’ Spanish website. Generally, the English version does not offer these fares.
You can also use websites like Skyscanner.com to find good airfare deals to Galapagos.
In Ecuador we have some “techniques” to find cheaper flights to the Galapagos that might work for you:
- If you buy directly from the airline’s website, do it during the week, preferably on Tuesday or Wednesday (it actually works!).
- Purchase airline tickets months in advance.
- Sometimes the one-way ticket is cheaper if you arrive at San Cristobal airport (as long as you also plan to visit this island). Otherwise, if you want to visit Santa Cruz or others, it would not be convenient.
- Equair‘s rates are the most economical, both for nationals and foreigners.
In the pictures below, you can see how much Equair plane tickets to Galapagos might cost for one foreign person.
Six months before the departure date was taken into account: