Frequently asked questions about Galapagos
Is it mandatory to have health and travel insurance? 🏥
During the COVID 19 pandemic it was mandatory to have health insurance to travel to Galapagos. However, since things have improved this is no longer a requirement to enter the Galapagos Islands.
However, even before pandemic, we always recommended people to have a health and travel insurance since even though Galápagos Islands are safe its landscape sometimes can cause accidents and you dont want to be in an inhabited island with a twisted ankle waiting for a helicopter to reach you and be thinking about the bill. Good news is that there are many options as cheap as $4 a day that cover all you need including covid-19. We recommend Mondo Insurance Company and if you book there you’ll get 5% discount for being a Galapagos Low Cost reader. Get you 5% discount here.
What you cannot bring to Galápagos Islands? ❌
If you go to Galápagos Islands you’ll find that you will need to pass through several luggage controls. First one on the Guayaquil or Quito airport before they even let you pass through the door. Then, the whole plane cabin will be disinfected and then, another check when you land. This is to make sure you don’t involuntarily bring any seeds, bugs or things that can alter the Galápagos environment. You have the full list of restricted items to bring to Galápagos but it’s mostly seeds, fruits, any animals (even meat). Make sure you take a good look at the list and avoid wasting time on the airport.
How and when are the luggage revisions done? 🧳
There’s no direct flights from outside Ecuador to Galápagos. Always, there’s a mandatory stop either on Quito or Guayaquil Airport. This is to ensure that all passengers go through the luggage revisions, since Galapagos airports don’t have the technology and equipment to perform the exhaustive revision, so it’s done before you depart there. Also, to avoid anything harmful mistakenly enter the Galapagos Islands.
Then, you’ll also pass through a last check once you land and every time you move between islands.
What are the Galápagos rules? 📜
You can see the full list of Galapagos rules on this post, but mostly you need to keep distance from the animals, take care of the beaches and DO NOT take any natural items as souvenirs (sand, rocks, plants, etc) you can have a very serious fine if they find any of this on your luggage.
What should I bring to Galapagos? 🎒
Here’s our recommendations of things you can bring to Galápagos that would make your trip easier
Sunscreen: Don’t let the ecuadorian sun ruin your holidays. Being in the equator the usn hits very hard so make sure you always wear a cap and a high SPF sunscreen to prevent you from getting sunburned on the first day.
Comfortable shoes: Your first instinct for a beach holiday would be to pack flip flaps, but remember that Galapagos is a unique destination and you’ll need shoes that can adapt to complicated rocky or volcanic surfaces so don’t forget to pack sport shoes too and even some water shoes would be very useful on your snorkeling tours.
Cash: The uniqueness of Galapagos comes from the sense of being on an untouched nature settlement and this is what gives you the real opportunity to disconnect and discover unique places. However, this also comes with the fact that some technologies are harder to find and thats why theres not a lot ATMs on the islands and not every places accept cards as a payment method so make sure to bring enough cash and to book in advance accomodation and tours so you don’t have to carry all that cash with you.
Bugs repellent: Specially during the rainy season, there’s a lot of mosquitos and an efficient repellent can prevent you from bites while you are hiking or taking a sunbath.
Snacks and a bottle of water: If you can bring snacks such as protein bars or cereals, tuna and other snacks from the continent, it is almost better, since in the Galapagos, since everything is imported, certain products are more expensive.
Another good option that is practical and friendly to the environment is this stainless steel bottle with which you will avoid the unnecessary use of plastic and also you will always be hydrated in remote places (remember that many of the Galapagos islands are deserted) In most hotels and hostels make you refill drinking water at no cost.
Your own snorkeling mask: Is the best way to make the most out of your Galápagos Trip. There’s a lot of amazing beaches in Galápagos where you can snorkel on your own and by having your mask you won’t need to rent it. Also, if you do any snorkeling tour, the price will include the mask but we do think it’s better to have your own to avoid using one that has been used (disinfected) by others or that you may not find comfortable. There’s many options with different prices, here’s our recommendations:
Sports camera: definitely the best accessory and must pack to have great memories of your Galápagos trip. There’s a few cameras available on the market, some are more expensive like the GoPro and others very affordable like Apeman. This option is very good because they are water resistant, very small so easy to carry and you can adapt them to all the activities you’ll do.