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How to Get to Galapagos

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If you’re thinking about how to get to Galapagos, it’s crucial to understand that air travel is the only mode of access for visitors. Contrary to some assumptions, no boats, cargo ships, or cruises offer services from Ecuador’s ports to the Galapagos. The islands are located about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from the mainland. Therefore, the journey to the Galapagos Islands primarily involves stopping in Quito or Guayaquil on mainland Ecuador before getting there.

When planning your adventure and considering the logistics of getting to the 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 can fly back to Quito or Guayaquil. Upon arrival in these cities, travelers can get to their connecting flights to 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?

Getting 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 adventure will inevitably include a stop-over on mainland Ecuador, where you’ll taste the country’s vibrant culture.

From this point, to get to the Galapagos Islands visitors hop aboard 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 is really not hard. Once you’ve arrived on the islands: the optimal way to explore these unique islands is by boat and—on larger islands like Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal—by bus. These are the modes of transportation, in addition to taxis, bikes, and private cars. Any which way you travel once you’re in the archipelago, you’ll 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

The 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 Ecuador include JetBlue, American Airlines, United Airlines, Frontier, and Spirit Airlines.

Travelers from outside Ecuador must first fly into either Quito or Guayaquil and take 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 two airports on mainland Ecuador from which 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 a popular 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 layover 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 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 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 Cristóbal.

The Galapagos Islands airport is notable for its strong environmental commitment. The airport has become the world’s first “green” airport, running primarily on wind and solar energy. The airport designers used sustainable materials and integrated renewable energy sources to fulfill 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. It is relatively small but has the necessary services for travelers, including restaurants and gift shops.

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 Cristóbal 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

Every passenger flying to the Galapagos Islands should understand their baggage allowance:

  • Each passenger can check in one piece of luggage that should be at most 50 lbs (23 kg).
  • Passengers can also bring one carry-on piece of luggage, which cannot exceed 22 lbs (10 kg) in weight.
  • Travelers must direct themselves to the Agency for Biosecurity for Galapagos (ABG) counter, where all checked and carryon luggage is scanned and tagged. 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

Departing from Galapagos and Ecuador

When figuring out 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 destined 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 on Ecuador’s mainland (as is generally the case), ensure enough time between flights to pass through customs and immigration.
  6. Airport Transfer: We offer both shared and private transportation services between leading hotels in Quito (Hilton Colón, JW Marriott, Casa Gangotena) and Guayaquil (Oro Verde Guayaquil, Wyndham Guayaquil, Hilton, UniPark, Courtyard) and their respective airports.
  7. Cruise Departure Guarantee: Your cruise will only depart once you have safely arrived in the archipelago. Occasionally, flights can encounter delays, our team is standing by to make sure you are shuttled to your cruise as expeditiously as possible once you’ve landed in the Galapagos.
  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 of Galapagos Flights

To understand how to get to Galapagos Islands, there are a few crucial steps you need to be aware of. First, you must pay the parl 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, the most common way to get there is by flying into Ecuador, specifically Quito or Guayaquil. There are no direct international flights to the Galapagos. All travel to the archipelago relies on a layover on mainland Ecuador. Once in Ecuador, you can travel to one of 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 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 air-travel hub for 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:June 12, 2024

Published:September 13, 2018

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