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.
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.
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.
7. Prepare for seasickness
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 fill up and take with you on each tour.
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.
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.
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 is a California native who left her home to explore South America and now lives in Peru. She’s just a little obsessed about planning getaways with her family, scuba diving, and trekking.