How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands—made up of 13 main islands, 6 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets—is well-known for its amazing wildlife. If you plan on visiting the Galapagos, you’ll need to book several flights, as there are no direct flights right into the islands. Once your final plane lands in the Galapagos, you can either depart for your cruise, or you’ll take a bus and/or ferry to get to another island to arrive at your hotel.


Part 1 Part 1 of 3:Organizing Your Flights Download Article

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Purchase tickets for a flight to Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador. These are the 2 cities in Ecuador that you can fly into to then take another flight to the Galapagos. There are no direct flights right into the Galapagos, so check out available flights and see whether Quito or Guayaquil would work better.

  • Cities such as Houston, Miami, Atlanta, New York, Amsterdam, and Madrid have direct flights to either Quito or Guayaquil.

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Buy tickets to the Galapagos from Quito or Guayaquil. From these 2 main cities in Ecuador, you can either fly into Baltra Island or San Cristobal Island—the airport islands of the Galapagos. You can book your tickets through the domestic airlines like TAME, LAN, or Aerogal.

  • Roundtrip tickets from mainland Ecuador to Baltra Island or San Cristobal Island are about $400 USD or more, depending on when you buy them.
  • Flights leave several times a day from Quito and Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands.
  • If you’re taking a cruise, your cruise itinerary will tell you which airport island you should fly into.

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Get to Quito or Guayaquil at least 2 days early if you’re taking a cruise. If you’ve booked a cruise to take you around the Galapagos Islands, it’s best if you get to mainland Ecuador at least 2 days before your cruise is supposed to leave. You’ll need to take another plane to the islands, and you don’t want to miss your cruise because something went wrong.

  • Many travel agencies recommend that you book your flights together with your cruise.

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Plan to take a bus or ferry after you fly into the Galapagos Islands. Once you get off of the plane on Baltra Island or San Cristobal Island, you may need to either take a ferry or bus to get to your final destination. Ask your tour guide company or research online to find out which steps you need to take once you land in the Galapagos.

  • If you booked your trip through a special tour guide company, they should provide you with all the information you’ll need about where you should go.
  • Information about buses and ferries can be easily found at the airport when you arrive.
  • If you’re taking a cruise, you will be able to board the cruise from the airport island.
  • If you’re staying in a hotel, you’ll probably need to take a boat from the airport island to your hotel island.

Part 2 Part 2 of 3:Booking Accommodations Download Article

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Plan your trip through a tour guide company if you want to save time. While you can always plan your trip on your own, a tour guide company will be able to help you with the intricacies of planning, such as choosing flights, booking hotels, and creating a travel itinerary for when you’re in the Galapagos.

  • Find tour companies that will cater to your specific needs by looking at Galapagos Islands trip forums online.

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Stay in a hotel if you prefer to be based on land. Spending your nights in a hotel on the land means that you’ll spend lots of time traveling back and forth between islands using boats. Staying on land also means you’ll get to experience restaurants near your hotel, and you can get around easily by biking or taking taxis.

  • Making the land your home base is especially good if you’re prone to seasickness.
  • Stay at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island—this is a very tourist-friendly spot.

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Enjoy the waters by booking a cruise in advance. A cruise is a great way to see the Galapagos without wasting time traveling back to a home base. Cruise lines let you explore roughly 2 islands a day with a pre-planned itinerary, and most of the traveling happens at night while you’re asleep.

  • Cruise boats come in all sizes, taking anywhere from 20 to 100 passengers.
  • All cruises depart from an airport island—either Baltra Island or San Cristobal Island.

Part 3 Part 3 of 3:Organizing Your Trip Download Article

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Plan out your trip several months in advance. To ensure you get the best price for hotels and activities, start planning at least a couple months before your trip, if possible. Starting to gather information beforehand will give you time to scout out the best deals and help reduce stress when it’s almost time for your trip.

  • Traveling to the Galapagos is pricey—make sure you plan out all the expenses as much as possible so you’re sure to have enough spending money.

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Make sure your passport is in order. If you already have a passport, check to make sure that it hasn’t expired and is up-to-date. If you need to get a passport for the trip, gather all of the necessary documents, such as your ID, before visiting a passport acceptance facility. Do this at least 2 months in advance—passports take awhile to arrive.

  • Places such as post offices and clerks of court will be able to process your passport application.
  • Go online to find out everything you need to do to get your passport (such as have a passport picture taken).
  • You can get your passport expedited if necessary.

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Obtain any necessary paperwork beforehand. Be aware that you may need to show documents such as your return airline ticket or cruise/hotel reservations. Do some research beforehand and talk to your travel agent, if applicable, to see if you’ve got everything you’ll need to get to the Galapagos Islands.

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Visit during peak seasons such as mid-June to early September. The temperature tends to be warmer and the seas calmer from December through May, which is when most people like to travel. The air and water temperatures are cooler June through November, and the water is rougher, but the marine life is at its peak.

  • It usually rains a little bit each day during the warmer season.


  • Be aware that traveling to the Galapagos Islands is expensive—between all the different flights, park fees, boat trips, hotels, and/or cruises, you’ll spend a lot of money. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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