What to take to the
Galapagos Islands packing list
to take to the Galapagos Islands on vacation is a tricky balancing act.
Galapagos packing list is a compromise between the limited availability
high prices for buying just about anything in the islands, the luggage
weight limit on the flight out there, and the very limited cabin space
boats. There is little
to buy in the islands, apart from
souvenirs, so ensure you take all the travel clothing, batteries,
sunscreen, etc., that
you will need.
packing for a Galapagos Islands vacation, be
aware that banking facilities on the islands are very, very limited,
and so is free time in port on most cruises. Make
you have enough
money to cover expenses for your whole trip, and be aware that
prices in the islands are often 2 or 3 times what they are on the
mainland. If stuck, some restaurants may be willing to
give a cash advance against a credit card, but they will
charge handsomely for the privilege. Don't rely on
able to use a credit card at all in the islands, although smarter
restaurants and more expensive hotels or
cruiseboats may accept them. Of course, carrying large
amounts of cash is
risky, so it may be wise to book a cruise which includes most meals,
etc., so that this will be paid in advance. Land-based
tours or day excursions can usually be booked ahead through your travel
agent, again avoiding the need to carry so much money with you.
friendly products will help reduce the negative impact of your visit on
the fragile Galapagos ecosystems. Try to put biodegradable
sunscreen, organic skin care and eco
friendly beauty products on your travel packing list. Some
produce specially-designed travel wash with biodegradable detergent.
Be sure to return as much of your
waste as possible to the mainland for disposal, rather than throwing
away packets or containers in the islands.
on Galapagos cruises are a contentious issue. The cruise
boats want you to buy drinks and snacks from them onboard, and these
are not likely to be cheap. Once you have set sail, you are
limited to what they or you have on board and they know it.
(Do check whether they will charge for drinking water on your
cruise, as this is something you really cannot do without!)
They are likely to state that you are not allowed to bring
alcohol on board. You are likely to want to carry snacks with
you, especially if you are on a tight budget, but also just to make
sure you have something you like.
and vegan travellers to the
islands should consult with
the operator before even booking a cruise, and check before
the boat sails that the menu will include sufficient nutrition for
their needs. Be aware that nuts
or seeds may not be
taken to the Galapagos.
especially may benefit from arriving in Ecuador a day
their cruise, in order to stock up on suitable snacks to augment the
menu on the boat, which is likely to be very limited, even assuming
that the boats have correctly understood the term vegan.
- Your cruise operator or travel agency should give you some guidance
as to what clothing to take to the Galapagos Islands, but in general a
(preferably one that ties on, to avoid losing it over the side of the
boat) and sensible footwear are vital. You are likely to need sturdy
footwear that you don't mind getting wet (for "wet landings" from small
beaches) and quick-dry trousers are a good idea for these Galapagos
too. The type of travel trousers that zip off to convert to
shorts are especially useful. The Galapagos Islands are
which is to say
The rocks can be very sharp, so flip-flops are not going to
the job - put hiking boots or thick-soled walking sandals on your
Weather page for an idea of what
to expect from the
climate and adjust your packing list accordingly. A
light-weight waterproof coat is likely to be needed at almost any time
of year. Remember that the equatorial sun reflecting off the
sea can burn you very quickly, and make sure you have enough clothes to
keep safely covered up when you need to. Volunteers working
on the islands are likely to need to cover their legs against insect
bites, for example. Eco friendly insect repellant and
biodegradable sunscreen are also useful, but suitable clothing should
be your first line of defence when deciding what to take to the
kind of luggage to take? Your cruiseboat
cabin will almost certainly have very limited storage space, so a
squashy travel bag or backpack of some kind will probably be more
useful than a rigid
suitcase. (You might consider storing some of your luggage in
your Quito hotel, by arrangement, and taking less to the islands in a
smaller bag). Think about what you will do with your
both while you are on the boat and while you are off on excursions.
Anything you take with you will probably need to be in a
waterproof bag if that day includes a wet landing. A small
daypack is pretty much essential - you will need to carry a
waterbottle, waterproof, sunhat, sunscreen, etc. on your various
Galapagos excursions from
interested in the Galapagos
wildlife will probably want to
take good-quality binoculars or a spotting scope, all necessary camera
equipment and plenty
of memory cards. Don't rely on being able to find anything of
this nature in the islands. Some method of backing up your
could also be a good idea as you will almost certainly take a huge
number of photos in this unique environment - perhaps a portable hard
drive or several high-capacity flash drives.
good guidebook to the Galapagos islands and their wildlife should be on
your packing list for all Galapagos tours of whatever type.
guide should be a fount of knowledge
and speak your language, and many of them are extremely good at their
jobs. However, the lower the class of cruise boat, the less
stringent the standards are for the guides. Also, your
planned guide may be unavoidably absent due to illness or late arrival
of an incoming cruise and the operator will have to make do with
whichever guide is available at the time. A Galapagos cruise
is a once-in-a-lifetime event for most travellers, so invest a
little more in a good guidebook, just in case you have to rely on it.
If diving the
Galapagos Islands, check with your
travel agent what equipment
available as part of the dive package or to hire from the tour
operator, and what you should
take of your own. It's a good idea to take your own
mask, even if the diveboat offers to lend you one, as a
properly-fitting dive mask makes so much difference to your enjoyment
of diving the islands. Remember to take a copy of
policy, having ensured that it covers diving. Note that the
Galapagos Islands offer challenging diving conditions and you might
need a specialist policy. If your Galapagos dive package is a
liveaboard for the longer trips out
to the more remote islands with better diving, remember you will be
stuck with the food and supplies on the boat, and nothing else, and be
sure you take
all you need with you.
cruise visitors should also check the What
page for general notes on medication, travel insurance, etc.
few Galapagos cruise specific items to add to your packing list include
earplugs for nights when the boat is cruising, and a small torch /
flashlight, preferably a windup one to avoid the need for batteries.
A small padlock is a good idea, to keep your bag secure while
are out on excursions.
What not to take to the
Galapagos islanders are well aware that tourists are a
captive market with no other options. Depending on purchasing
in the islands could make a serious dent in your budget, even if you
can actually find what you want. It's
probably best to buy most of what you need in mainland Ecuador, if
you have time before your flight to the Galapagos, otherwise
bring it from home.
Islands rules and
regulations are very strict in order to protect the unique flora and
fauna from invasive species, so you absolutely must NOT take any kind
of seeds, grains or
nuts (i.e. anything which could grow).
Other food items are also restricted, for example meat, but
you should be OK with cookies / biscuits or chips / crisps.
Check current regulations with your tour operator to make
sure. Your luggage will be inspected before the flight to the
islands, and the rules are strictly enforced.
don't take excess packaging
or pollutants on your Galapagos Islands vacation.
organic skin care, biodegradable sunscreen and non-polluting travel
detergent are best for these sensitive ecosystems. Enjoy
your tour all the more knowing that you are conserving
the unique ecosystems though responsible decisions on what to take with
you to the Galapagos Islands.
Take to the Galapagos Islands
Galapagos packing list
ideas: suitable clothing for a
cruise or tour,
what to take to the islands for a Galapagos dive
biodegradable and eco friendly products for the Galapagos
What not to
take on a Galapagos Islands vacation.