How to Get to Galapagos

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If you’re thinking about how to get to Galapagos, it’s crucial to know that air travel is the only mode of access for visitors due to their significant distance from the mainland. Contrary to some assumptions, no boats, cargo ships, or cruises offer services from Ecuador’s ports to the Galapagos. Furthermore, no bridges connect the mainland to these unique islands for ground transportation. Therefore, the journey to the Galapagos Islands primarily involves stopping in Quito or Guayaquil in mainland Ecuador before getting there.

When planning your adventure and considering the logistics of getting to Galapagos Islands, remember that two leading airlines, LATAM and Avianca, offer flights to this destination. However, it’s crucial to understand that the only flights allowed to fly to the Galapagos must originate from one of two mainland Ecuadorian cities: Quito or Guayaquil. This rule is part of the regulations for getting to Galapagos Islands. Regarding return flights, visitors typically have options mainly to Quito or Guayaquil. Upon arrival in these cities, travelers can arrange their connecting flights to their subsequent destinations.

How To Get To The Galapagos From United States And Europe
How to get to the Galapagos from United States and Europe

How to get to the Galapagos Islands?

Traveling to the Galapagos Islands is a thrilling adventure like no other. This epic expedition commences with a flight into either Quito or Guayaquil in Ecuador, depending on your personal preference or the availability of flights. It’s crucial to remember that there are no direct international flights to the majestic Galapagos Islands. This means your adventurous journey will inevitably include a stop-over in mainland Ecuador, where you’ll taste the country’s vibrant culture.

From this point, the only pathway to reach the enchanting Galapagos Islands is by hopping on a domestic flight. These flights offer breathtaking views and an exciting preview of the natural beauty awaiting you on the islands. Once you’ve touched down on the islands, navigating your way around the Galapagos is an adventure. How to get to Galapagos once you’ve arrived on the islands: the optimal way to explore these unique islands is by boat and bus, which provide the most comprehensive mode of transportation. These modes of transport allow you to immerse yourself in the islands’ natural beauty and witness the diverse wildlife up close.

Planning your Galapagos trip meticulously and choosing the ideal time to visit can significantly enhance your vacation experience in the Galapagos. With a well-thought-out itinerary and timing, your trip to the Galapagos Islands could be the adventure of a lifetime, filled with unforgettable experiences and awe-inspiring sights.

How To Get To Galapagos Islands Step By Step
How to get to Galapagos Islands step by step

Flying to Galapagos Islands

Flight to Galapagos Islands is an integral part of the experience for most travelers. How to get to Galapagos typically begins with a journey to Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador, from which direct domestic flights to the Galapagos Islands are available. The flight from Guayaquil to the Galapagos is approximately one and a half hours. Top airlines flying to the Galapagos include JetBlue, American Airlines, United Airlines, Frontier, and Spirit Airlines.

Travelers from outside Ecuador would have to first fly into one of these cities and then catch a connecting flight to the Galapagos. There are no direct international flights to the Galapagos Islands. The airlines that operate these flights include LATAM and Avianca Airlines. The flights typically land on either San Cristóbal Island or Baltra Island. It’s recommended to book your Galapagos flight in advance, as spaces often fill up fast.

There are also two significant airports in mainland Ecuador, from where you can fly to the Galapagos Islands. These are José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil (GYE) and Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito (UIO).

Getting from Quito to Galapagos

Traveling by plane from Quito to Galapagos is the selected mode of transportation. Flights typically land on either San Cristóbal Island or Baltra Island. The duration of the flight is usually about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Some flights from Quito may have a short stop-over in Guayaquil. Daily flights from Quito and Guayaquil make access to the Galapagos Islands relatively short.

How To Get To The Galapagos From Airport Of Quito
Mariscal Sucre Airport, Quito

Getting from Guayaquil to Galapagos

People looking into getting to Galapagos Islands typically travel by plane from Guayaquil. Flights from this city usually land on either San Cristóbal Island or Baltra Island, with the flight duration being approximately two and a half hours. Before checking in for their domestic flight to the Galapagos Islands, travelers departing from Guayaquil must go through customs and immigration. With several airlines offering daily flights, getting to Galapagos Islands from Guayaquil becomes relatively straightforward and hassle-free.

How To Get To The Galapagos From Guayaquil Jose Joaquin De Olmedo Airport
Jose Joaquin De Olmedo Airport, Guayaquil

Airports in Galapagos

If you’re contemplating how to get to Galapagos Islands, it’s important to note that two main airports serve the area. The first is Seymour Galapagos Airport, located on Baltra Island, a primary gateway for those wondering how to get to the how to get to the Galapagos. The second airport is San Cristóbal Galapagos Airport, in Puerto Baquerizo on San Cristóbal Island.

Seymour Airport: GPS

Seymour Galapagos Airport (GPS) is located on Baltra Island in Ecuador’s Galapagos Archipelago. It’s one of two airports that serve the Galapagos Islands, the other being San Cristobal.

The Galapagos Islands airport is notable for its strong environmental commitment. The airport has become the world’s first “green” airport, running solely on wind and solar energy. The airport designers used sustainable materials and integrated renewable energy sources to fulfill its operational needs.

Seymour Airport provides a gateway to the Galapagos Islands’ extraordinary wildlife. The airport code ‘GPS’ is an abbreviation for Galápagos. The airport is named after WWII hero Lt. Seymour. The airport is relatively small but has the necessary services for travelers, including restaurants, shops, and car rental agencies.

How To Get To The Galapagos Islands Baltra Airport
How to get to the Galapagos Islands Baltra Airport

San Cristobal Airport: SCY

San Cristobal Galapagos Airport (SCY) is one of two airports in Galapagos Islands. It is located on San Cristobal Island, Ecuador, in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

San Cristobal Airport is smaller than Seymour Airport, but it serves an essential function as the initial entry point for many visitors interested in experiencing the Galapagos Islands’ unique biodiversity. The airport code ‘SCY’ is an abbreviation for San Cristóbal, the name of the island on which it is located.

There is a modest terminal building with check-in booths, a baggage claim area, and waiting spaces at the airport. There are also several businesses and restaurants.

Galapagos Islands San Cristobal Airport
Galapagos Islands San Cristobal Airport

Baggage Allowance in Galapagos

Each passenger on all flights getting to Galapagos Islands needs to consider some details about the baggage allowance:

  • Each passenger can check in one piece of baggage that should be at most 50 lbs (23kg).
  • Passengers can also bring one piece of hand luggage, besides the checked baggage, which should be no more than 22lbs (10kg).
  • Then, and no less significantly, go to the Agency for Biosecurity for Galapagos (ABG) counter to review your bags. This procedure is to verify that you are not taking any items that could endanger the islands’ biodiversity.

Necessary: Verify your baggage allowance on your airline ticket.

Baggage Allowance In Galapagos Airport
Baggage allowance in Galapagos Airport

Departuring from Galapagos and Ecuador

When planning your journey on how to get to the Galapagos Islands from Ecuador, there are several steps and procedures to follow:

  1. Transit Control Card (TCC): Before leaving the Galapagos Islands, you should return the Transit Control Card given to you upon arrival. This is a necessary step to control migration to the islands.
  2. Baggage Inspection: The Agency of Biosecurity inspects all bags for Galapagos (ABG) at the airport to prevent biological material (like plants, seeds, animals, etc.) from leaving the islands.
  3. Airport Check-In: After the inspection, you can check in for your flight. It’s recommended to arrive at least 3 hours before your flight due to these additional procedures.
  4. Departure Tax: When leaving Ecuador, there is a departure tax. Your airline ticket usually covers the cost of the departure tax.
  5. Connecting Flights: If you have a connecting flight in Ecuador, ensure enough time between flights to pass through customs and immigration.
  6. Airport Transfer: We offer both shared and private services from the leading hotels in Quito (Hilton Colón, JW Marriott, Casa Gangotena) and Guayaquil (Oro Verde Guayaquil, Wyndham Guayaquil, Hilton, UniPark, Courtyard) to their respective airports for your flight departure and arrival.
  7. Cruise Departure Guarantee: We assure you that your cruise will only depart once you have safely arrived in the archipelago.
  8. Priority Luggage: We guarantee that when you fly to the Galapagos with us, your baggage will arrive on the islands alongside you. This guarantee is essential because airlines sometimes remove luggage from the airplane due to weight limitations. However, our guests’ luggage at Metropolitan Touring has a unique tag that ensures it stays on the plane with you.
How To Departure From Galapagos And Ecuador
How to departure from Galapagos and Ecuador

Fees and prices Galapagos flights

To understand how to get to Galapagos Islands, there are a few crucial steps you need to be aware of. Firstly, you must pay the entrance fees for the protection and conservancy of the Galapagos Islands. Below is the fee structure before you board your flight to the Galapagos:

  • Foreign tourists (not Ecuadorian residents) over 12 years old: USD 100.
  • Foreign tourists (not Ecuadorian residents) younger than 12 years old: USD 50.

Additionally, it’s important to consider timing when planning your trip to the Galapagos. Travel times can vary significantly depending on the departure city, the time of booking, and the season. Therefore, it’s crucial to research the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands. The average price for flights typically ranges from USD 150 to USD 600.

NOTE: Metropolitan Touring can cover all these fees when you purchase your Galapagos tours with us! Click on the following text for more information on the Cost of Traveling to Galapagos.

Fees And Prices Galapagos Flights
Fees and prices Galapagos flights

What is the best way to get to Galapagos?

When figuring out how to travel to Galapagos Islands, it’s important to note that the most common route is flying into Ecuador, specifically Quito or Guayaquil. Direct international flights to the Galapagos typically require a layover in mainland Ecuador. Once in Ecuador, you can pass to one of the two Galapagos Islands airports on Baltra or San Cristobal islands. Baltra Island is frequently the first stop for travelers, and from there, a short ferry ride will bring you to Santa Cruz Island.

It’s worth noting that additional transportation, such as a boat excursion, is often required to explore the diverse islands of the Galapagos fully. Are you thinking about how to get to Galapagos? If so, it’s essential to understand that getting to Galapagos Islands typically involves flights from mainland Ecuador, primarily from Quito or Guayaquil. However, if you opt for one of our comprehensive Galapagos tours, you won’t need to concern yourself with transportation or general visit logistics, as we provide an all-inclusive service. We offer top-notch cruises in the Galapagos, like La Pinta or Isabela II, enabling you to embark on memorable expeditions and island-hopping experiences. If you prefer a more relaxed exploration, stay at our hotel, Galapagos Finch Bay, and explore at your leisure.


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In conclusion, getting to the Galapagos is a unique and thrilling journey that begins with a flight from José Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil or Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito. These airports in Ecuador serve as the primary gateways for flights to the Galapagos Islands.

The Galapagos Islands are served by two main airports, Seymour Airport on Baltra Island and San Cristóbal Airport on San Cristóbal Island. Due to its central location, Seymour Galapagos Islands Airport is often considered the main gateway to these enchanting islands. The choice between the two often depends on your destination within the islands.

When planning your trip, remember that airlines like LATAM and Avianca offer flights from Quito or Guayaquil to the Galapagos. The Quito to Galapagos flights take around two hours, providing a comfortable and convenient journey to this unique destination. Also, the Guayaquil to Galapagos flight lasts approximately one and a half hours, offering a relaxed and suitable journey to these amazing islands. Whether you’re venturing on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation or returning to relive the wonder of the Galapagos, these airports are the first step toward seeing the islands’ stunning natural beauty and fascinating fauna.

Safe travels!

Updated:February 14, 2024

Published:September 13, 2018