Getting ready to visit Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands is worldwide know tourist destination, but it is also a protected Natural Park. In order to maintain this natural jewel, the institutions has established a protocols for visitors. The procedures are really simple, but it is good toknow them before arriving to the islands, to avoid innecesary delays in enjoying your holidays.

These are all the entry requirements to the Galapagos Islands (updated 2020) so you can start your vacation without any stress.

Flights & Accomodation at the Galapagos Islands | REQUIRED

Before landing to the Galapagos Islands you’ll need accomodation bookings and  round flight tickets. This will be required at the airport to allow your entrance.. There are many situations where you can improvise on your Galapagos, but not with this.

In order to access the Galapagos Islands a visa is NOT necessary, unless you are from to a very small list of countries that require an ecuadorian visa. If your country is not listed, you’ll only need your passport but it must be valid for at least six months from the date of your entry. Therefore, it is important for you to verify that your passport is not about to expire before traveling to the Galapagos islands.

Galapagos Pre-Registration Form

This form is very similar to the one requested at the entrance of other countries, and it is mandatory to obtain your Tarjeta de Control de Transito (TCT), which is mandatory to travel to the Galapagos islands. It has to be fullfilled with your information like the reason of your trip, for how many days and where will you stay.. To avoid wasting time unnecessarily , you can complete the form in the following link:

Although it is not mandatory, we recommend you to have it printed with you

Tarjeta de Control de Tránsito (TRANSIT CONTROL CARD) – TCT

Before catching your flight to the Galapagos Islands, either if its from Quito or Guayaquil, you must go to the offices of the Consejo de Gobierno del Régimen especial de Galápagos to obtain the Tarjeta de Control de Tránsito. In these offices located on the airport they will check that you have completed the previous registration form, and they will scan your luggage to verify that you do not have any of the restricted products.

The office schedules are:

Guayaquil Airport: from 6.30am to 1.30pm

Quito Airport: from 5.00am to 12.00am

In order to go through it quicker, we recommend not bring any organic products, since they are exhaustively revised. The complete list of prohibited products is here.

Once checked your luggage, you must pay $ 20 to get the Tarjeta de Control de Tránsito. You can do it with card or cash. Keep in mind that the entrance to the Galapagos National Park, has to be paid in cash. We reccommend you to use your card, since ATMs are scarce in the Galapagos islands and most of the payments have to be in cash, so you  better save it.

National Park fee

You are almost there! Wheter you land in Santa Cruz (Baltra) or San Cristobal, you’ll pick up your bags, go to passport control and pay the fee for the Galapagos National Park, which is the main source of funding for the maintenance of this fantastic natural area. The rates that applied are the following, depending on the age , nationality and country of residence:

– Foreign tourists not resident in Ecuador more than 12 years old $100

– Foreign tourists not resident in Ecuador under 12 years old $50

– Foreign tourists not resident in Ecuador, older than 12 years old, nationals of one of the countries belonging to the Andean Community of Nations or Mercosur * * $50

– Foreign tourists not resident in Ecuador under 12 years old, nationals of one of the countries belonging to the Andean Community of Nations or Mercosur * $25

– Domestic or foreign tourists residing in Ecuador, older than 12 years old $6

– Domestic tourists or foreigners residing in Ecuador, under 12 years old  $3

– Tourists, foreign students not residing in Ecuador who are enrolled in national educational institutions  $25

* MESCOSUR state members:Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela.
* ACN state members:Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú.

The amount of the tax was estabished as of 1992, and there were no increase since then. In 2019 there regional government anaize the posibility to increase the entrance tax, but no increase was announced. Then, this tax schedule will remain valid for 2020.

Galapagos Islands Travel insurance  

A travel insurance is not mandatory. Nevertheless, the adventure  travels might be done, could make recommendable to have one. In case of an accident, the rescue costs are extremely high.

Since August 2018, The  Consejo de Gobierno del  Régimen  Especial de Galápagos has set as a new requirement for all foreign tourists to get a private travel insurance covering their whole stay in the Galapagos islands.

The insurance must be hired with a local insurance company. If you have a travel insurance provided by a foreign company, a complementary insurance must be bought for your travel. Those insurance can be bought in Guayaquil and Quito airports. Do not forget to get one before getting your Tarjeta de control de Transito.

However, we are now in 2019 and the authorities postponed this requirement until further notice.

You can get a low cost travel insurance provided by MAPFRE for a low cost price of less that 3$/day just clicking here


We’ll help you plan your trip to Galapagos on a budget and making the most of your days on the islands 


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