The Galapagos Islands are one of those must-see destinations that should be on your buckelist.
However, as they are considered Protected Areas in Ecuador, there are entry restrictions and requirements that every traveler should be aware of.
In this post you will find all the Galapagos entry requirements and what you need to know in order to travel safely to the Galapagos Islands.
Important: A covid test and vaccination certificate are no longer required.
Visit these beaches in Galapagos:
Ecuador entry requirements
These are the requirements to enter Ecuador mainland:
- Valid identity card (DNI) or passport issued at least six months before the date of arrival to Ecuador. If it is expired, or the expiration date is less than six months, you will not be able to travel to Ecuador.
- VISA to enter Ecuador if you come from these countries.
- Ecuador health declaration form. You can fill it online.
- Travelers who have visited countries with active yellow fever outbreaks, such as Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, must present a yellow fever certificate.
- Travel insurance, especially with COVID 19 coverage. Here is my affiliate link to IATI Seguros, one of the best travel insurances with COVID coverage worldwide.
There are no direct flights from a foreign country to the Galapagos Islands. You must depart from Quito or Guayaquil.
Check out this guide:
Galapagos entry requirements
In addition to the requirements described above, to travel to Galapagos you should include:
- Roundtrip airline tickets.
- Lodging reservation for all the days you will be on the islands (hotel, Booking.com, Airbnb, etc).
- INGALA card or Transit Control Card (TCT) issued by the Galapagos Special Regime Government Council. It costs $20 per tourist (cash only) and must be purchased at the immigration control offices located at the airport. Do not lose it because this must be presented at your departure from the islands.
- Baggage inspection at SICGAL before sending it onboard. This is done next to the Islands authority offices. Your luggage will be examined to ensure that you do not have any restricted products or objects.
- Affidavit (Declaración Juramentada) about the products or objects that you carry in your luggage. This is given to you during the flight or at the airport.
- Entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park. This fee must be paid upon arrival at the Galapagos airport. Only cash is accepted.
Keep in mind that all flights to the Galapagos Islands depart from Guayaquil or Quito, and are operated by the following airlines: Latam, Avianca and Equair.
To speed up the process of getting the transit control card at the airport, we highly recommend you to fill out the TCT Pre-registration Form online before your trip.
Just enter your flight information, accommodation and your personal data (or that of your companion). Then you just arrive at the airport and pay the cost of the card.
Usually, the Immigration Control checkpoint (where you obtain the control card) and the luggage inspection area are side by side at the airport. You must do both procedures before sending your luggage on board.
Make sure you safeguard your transit control card because you have to hand it at the Galapagos airports on arrival and departure from the islands.
When you arrive to the islands you also need to show the Affidavit and pay the entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park (cash only).
Are you in Guayaquil: Things to do in Guayaquil Ecuador
Galapagos National Park entrance fee
|Type of tourist||Entrance fee|
|National or foreign tourists residing in Ecuador||Over 12 years: $6|
Under 12 years: $3
|Non-resident foreign tourists in Ecuador under 12 years of age||$50|
|Non-resident foreign tourists in Ecuador over 12 years old||$100|
|Non-resident foreign tourists under 12 years old, belonging to the Comunidad Andina de Naciones or Mercosur||$25|
|Non-resident foreign tourists over 12 years old, belonging to theComunidad Andina de Naciones or Mercosur||$50|
|Tourists, non-resident foreign students who are enrolled in national educational institutions||$25|
What to bring to the Galapagos Islands?
Galapagos is an adventure destination and the goal is that you enjoy it with no inconvenience. So we recommend that you bring the following:
- Water bottle (in many accommodations you can have free water refills).
- Cap or hat.
- Hand backpack to store your belongings during the tours.
- Long-sleeved shirts when the sun hits very hard during the tours.
- Bathing suit and comfortable clothes.
- Mosquito repellent (VERY IMPORTANT!).
- Cash (ferry transfers or some unscheduled activities will only charge you in cash).
- Hiking shoes. In Galapagos you will walk a lot if you decide to visit all its tourist sites. In addition, many areas are made of volcanic stone or are muddy, so you will need footwear that prevents you from slipping or hurting your feet.
- Sandals to be on the beach.
- Gopro-type sports or photographic camera.
- Snorkeling equipment (only if you have).
- Industrialized or processed products as long as they comply with the current sanitary registration, elaboration date and expiration date (these will be inspected by the ABG Inspectors).
Ecuador and Galapagos travel restrictions
Besides the Galapagos entry requirements, this is the most important thing regarding your visit to the islands, since your entry to the Galapagos will depend on this too.
The Agencia de Regulación y Control de la Bioseguridad y Cuarentena para Galápagos (ABG) has a list of products that are restricted and totally prohibited from entering the islands.
In summary, we suggest that you do not bring products of animal or vegetable origin since some of them have a greater sanitary and phytosanitary risk and can carry pests and diseases.
Remember that Galapagos is a protected area and any external agent can have a huge impact on its ecosystem. Such was the case with blackberries. In Galapagos, blackberries are a pest, since they were not a fruit of the ecosystem, and when someone tried to plant them many years ago, they became a pest (and a big problem!).