The Galapagos entry requirements can often by tricky to navigate. Here, we give you an easy to follow step-by-step guide to ensure a smooth passage to Ecuador’s incredible archipelago.
Flying to the Galapagos
In order to enter the Galapagos you must take a flight through mainland Ecuador. This means stopping in Quito or Guayaquil. Those flying through Quito’s Mariscal Sucre Quito International Airport will also stop in Guayaquil to pick up more passengers.
To enter the Galapagos you will need:
A valid passport with an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive.
Proof of a return flight and details of your accommodation while on the islands.
Copy of your travel insurance (not always asked for but important to have).
A completed Galapagos transit control card at least 24 hours before your flight – you must also keep a copy (more details below).
If you require a special visa to visit you must present evidence of this too.
Vaccinations: Every traveller should be up to date with routine vaccination courses. As of January 2024, there were no requirements for a COVID vaccine to enter the Galapagos. Find out more information here.
Airport check in: Quito or Guayaquil
You should arrive at the airport at least 2-3 hours before your flight. This is important as there are additional procedures for Galapagos flights.
1. Check-In: Before proceeding to the check-in counter for your flight. Ensure you have all necessary travel documents – passport, flight tickets, and Galapagos National Park entry permit (if already obtained).
2. Paying the Transit Control Card Fee: You will need to purchase a Transit Control Card (TCC), which is a mandatory requirement for all visitors to the Galapagos. This card helps control migration to the islands.
You can pay this fee in an office in the departure lounge. The office (open from 5am-12pm in Quito and 6:30-1:30pm in Guayaquil) is called the Government Council of the Special Regime of Galapagos office and looks like this:
3. Baggage Inspection: Before checking in your luggage, it must go through a special biosecurity inspection by the Galapagos Biosecurity Agency (ABG). This is to prevent the introduction of foreign plants or animals to the islands.
Ensure your luggage does not contain any restricted items. To preserve the unique and delicate ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands, there are strict regulations regarding what items can and cannot be brought onto the islands. You can find a full list of banned items on this website.
Here’s a list of common items that are prohibited:
Seeds, plants, animals or any other living thing that may affect the ecosystem.
Agricultural Products: This includes fruits, vegetables, and any other type of fresh or perishable agricultural product.
Dairy and meat products.
Non-Biodegradable Products: Minimize bringing single-use plastics or other non-biodegradable items that could contribute to pollution.
4. Check in with the airline.After completing these steps, proceed through airport security and then to your boarding gate. Be attentive to gate changes or flight announcements.
Upon Arrival in Galapagos
1. Pay the National Park Entrance Fee:Upon arrival, you will be required to pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee. The fee is 100USD unless you are eligible for a discount.
Payment is paid in CASH only so arrive prepared. Also, check ahead of time to make sure the charge hasn’t changed. Here is a list of passengers eligible for a discount:
$50 USD – Foreign tourists not Ecuador residents and younger than 12 years old
$50 USD – Foreign tourists not living in Ecuador, older than 12 years old from one of the countries belonging to the Andean Community of Nations (Bolivia, Colombia, Peru) or Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela).
$25 USD – Tourists, foreign students not living in Ecuador who are enrolled in national educational institutions.
$25 USD – Foreign tourists not residing in Ecuador under 12 years of age, nationals of one of the countries belonging to the Andean Community of Nations or Mercosur.
$6 USD – National or foreign tourists residing in Ecuador, over 12 years old.
$3 USD – National or foreign tourists residing in Ecuador, under 12 years old.
2. Passport Control and Baggage Claim: Go through passport control, where they will check your Transit Control Card. Then, proceed to baggage claim to collect your luggage.
You will most likely be flying into Baltra or San Cristobal airport. Baltra airport looks like this:
Extra tips for Galapagos entry requirements
Stay Informed: Keep an eye on any changes in regulations or procedures, especially those related to health and safety. Use your government’s travel advice website or X feed.
Cash: Have enough cash on hand for the various fees, as credit card facilities may not be available or reliable. The Galapagos uses US dollars as its currency.
Documentation: Keep your documents, especially your Transit Control Card and receipts for fees paid, handy throughout your trip.