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September 4, 2020 ecuador, galapagos islands

15 Galapagos Travel Tips to Know Before You Visit

Get prepared for your Galapagos adventure with these 15 Galapagos travel tips. From booking to traveling, discover how to make the most of your Galapagos Islands tour.
A young sea lion on the Galapagos Islands. Photo by Mac Gaither on Unsplash..
A young sea lion on the Galapagos Islands. Photo by Mac Gaither on Unsplash..

Planning a trip to the Galapagos can be overwhelming. There are many choices and details to consider to make sure it is a perfect trip. Keep reading to discover the best Galapagos travel tips to help you maximize your enjoyment while exploring Charles Darwin’s old stomping grounds!

Last updated by Melissa Dreffs in September 2020.

1. Decide the best time to go

It’s never a bad time to travel to the Galapagos. This archipelago is a wonderful destination to visit anytime of the year. But, the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands really boils down to your personal preferences. Read more about the different seasons here .

2. Book your trip early

In general, it is best to book a Galapagos package between six months and one year in advance. If you have a specific itinerary, ship, hotel, or room category in mind, the further in advance you book, the better.

A red-footed booby rests on a tree with green leaves. Woman with a hat looking back at the bird.

A red-footed booby on Genovesa Island. Photo by Melissa Dreffs of Peru for Less.

3. Research before you go

Research the history and wildlife of the islands before traveling. This will help you determine where you want to go and what you want to see ahead of time!

4. Choose between a cruise or hotel

You cannot go wrong in choosing between a cruise or a land package. Check out our post comparing cruises and land tours of the Galapagos to help you decide which is best for you.

Galapagos Islands:

5. Pack light

If you are heading on a cruise, pack only the essentials. Storage space is limited in most cruise cabins. All cruises and hotels have masks, flippers, and wetsuits for rent, so leave your snorkel equipment behind. 

6. Bring comfortable clothes

The Galapagos are a relaxed place to explore nature. Pack for the occasion and leave the formal attire at home. Check out our full Galapagos packing list here .

Black rocky shores with a dinghy approaching. Tall, black peak in the background.

The rocky shores of Santa Cruz with Dragon Hill in the background. Photo by Melissa Dreffs of Peru for Less.

7. Prepare for seasickness

Whether you are staying on a cruise or in a hotel, bring a motion sickness remedy to help with seasickness. Even those sleeping on land must travel by boat to explore other islands.

8. Respect the wildlife

One of the most important Galapagos travel tips is to respect the animals and their natural habitat while visiting. Keep your distance, don’t use your camera’s flash, and do not touch or feed the wildlife. 

9. Stay hydrated

All Galapagos hotels and cruises offer filtered water to their guests. Avoid plastic and bring a reusable bottle to f ill up and take with you on each tour. 

A sea lion sleeping on tan sand in the Galapagos Islands.

A sea lion resting in the sand. Photo by Adam Laughter of Peru for Less.

10. Protect your skin

As the Galapagos Islands sit on the equator, the risk of sunburn is high. Be sure to pack sunscreen, a hat, and lightweight, long sleeve clothes to protect your skin.

11. Prepare for limited internet

As a rather remote destination, the Galapagos is predominately off the grid. Prepare for limited internet access while visiting.

12. Follow the official rules

The Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) created a list of 14 official park rules for all travelers to abide by. The most important of these are to stay with your guide, walk on marked trails and leave no trace on the islands. See the complete list of rules here .

Black rock formations along the beach of Santa Cruz with bright orange crabs crawling on them.

Crabs on the shores of Santa Cruz. Photo by Melissa Dreffs of Peru for Less.

13. Explore the water

Take advantage of the water activities during your Galapagos travel. Underwater exploration presents unforgettable opportunities to swim with an abundance of marine wildlife, including whale sharks, the world’s biggest fish, as well as friendly sea lions!

14. Watch your step

Even though there are designated paths, this generally does not stop the animals from passing through or sometimes resting along the trail. Also, keep an eye out for uneven terrain and be sure to hold on tight when stepping on or off the dinghy.

15. Be alert

A Galapagos trip is all about wildlife! Keep your eyes (and ears) open for a chance at spotting some incredible, unique creatures. Have your cameras ready in case the perfect shot presents itself.

A giant tortoise walks through lush greenery in the highlands of the Galapagos Island, Santa Cruz.

A giant tortoise in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Photo by Adriana Proaño of Peru for Less.

We hope these Galapagos travel tips are helpful in planning your trip and exploring this once-in-a-lifetime destination. To learn more about the magnificent Galapagos Islands, its history, travel packages, best Galapagos Islands to visit and more, check out our complete Galapagos travel guide

In the early stages of trip planning? Contact our team of experts to customize your dream trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Britt Fracolli
Britt Fracolli
Britt is a California native who now calls Peru home. She is a traveler with a passion for all things outdoors, scuba diving, and capturing memories with her camera.
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