Getting to a paradise on earth like the Galapagos islands requires some guidance. This is a worldwide known destination that receives many tourists every year. There are many people who want to get to this unique place but don’t know the exact process and steps they must follow to get there without any inconvenience. From which Ecuador cities can you travel to Galapagos? What are the steps to be followed to enter? Which airlines fly to the islands? Here we will answer all these questions so you can start planning your Galapagos islands vacation.
In order to start your Galapagos expeditions, you first have to arrive in Ecuador. We have great international connections worldwide. The most popular connections are via the United States, with direct flights from Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, and New York, and also via Panama City and Bogota.
If you are traveling from Europe, the most common options are direct flights from Madrid, Amsterdam, and Barcelona. The islands can only be accessed by commercial flights all 7 days of the week with flights departing from Quito or Guayaquil and arriving at either Baltra or San Cristobal airports.
Flights usually depart early in the morning. Almost all airlines have a scale in Guayaquil (30-minute stop) and a total 3-hour flight from Quito. Flights rarely get delayed or canceled. In most cases, clients who have booked a cruise are required to book their flight together with the boat operator (specific airline and flight), to ensure a smooth operation of their tour and avoid long waits between flight arrivals. Find information that will help you choose between a Galapagos cruise experience or a land-based tour experience here.
Please note that there are reduced flight rates for Ecuadorian or Ecuador resident tourists and regular rates for foreign tourists. If you book Ecuadorian rates, you might be charged the difference at the check-in counter.
Quito and Guayaquil are the only cities in Ecuador with air access to the Galapagos Islands.
Baltra and San Cristobal are the two main airports of Galapagos. The airport on Isabela Island is only equipped to receive small planes with local connections between islands. The airlines that fly to Galapagos are Avianca, Latam Airlines, and Equair. Check out our 5-day Galapagos essentials tour here.
To enter the Galapagos islands, you must follow 5 steps, this procedure corresponds to the strategies of minimization of threats to the conservation of the archipelago (UNESCO), migratory control, and the introduction and dispersion of invasive flora and fauna species.
These are the steps you must follow:
Step 1: Register with the Galapagos Government Council Office to obtain your Transit Control Card (TCT), which must be kept until you leave the islands. The cost of the TCT is $20. Expedition Ecuador is pleased to help you fill in the correct information online and have your TCT ready for you.
Step 2: Check your baggage in the Galapagos ABG Biosecurity Control and Regulation Agency room to avoid the unintentional introduction of invasive species that threaten the biodiversity of the islands.
Step 3: Provide the TCT to the national park’s staff.
Step 4: Pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee, which can go from $3 to $100 depending on your age and whether you are a foreigner or a national tourist.
Step 5: An inspector from the ABG will check your luggage.
Finally, your Galapagos adventure travel is about to begin!
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