How to plan a trip to Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands are located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. There is not an international airport there so it’s only possible to flight into the islands either from Quito, the capital city or from the coastal city of Guayaquil.
Peru Trip Advisors gives you some important information you should bear in mind before planning a trip to this amazing destination!.

Getting there

First of all, we would like say that it’s important to arrive in Ecuador at least a couple of days before your flight to Galapagos. This is something we suggest to all our custmores. The reason is to avoid missing the cruise departure as if your international arrival is delayed, it won’t be possible to catch the cruise later.

Flying into the colonial city of Quito is the most interesting option rather than start from Guayaquil. Quito is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and it has a great location to explore other destinations in the Andes or the Amazon.

We suggest you between 2 to 3 days there so you can visit the most important attractions in and around Quito.

If you choose to flight into Guayaquil, one day is just enough to explore that city.

Now, let’s talk about how can you get to Galapagos. The archipielago has two airports: one is located in Baltra and the other one is located in San Cristobal. Cruises are arranged starting and ending in the same island or in different islands, depending on each itinerary.

Also, flights land and depart from these two different airports, depending on the day of the week, this means you don’t have daily flights to Baltra or San Cristobal with the same airline.

Most of the times, it’s the cruise operator the one in charge of booking the domestic air tickets to avoid any confusion from the guests. This is the best option as they know better wich airline and times will work perfectely with the cruise operation.

Most of the flights Quito-Galapagos have a stopover in Guayaquil.

On the way back from Galapagos to the mainland, you can choose to flight to Quito or Guayaquil as sometimes it’s possible to organize your international flight home  or to your next destination from any of these airports.

All flights from Galapagos arrive between 2 to 6 PM.


Plan well ahead of time!

Galapagos is an exciting remote destination. Visits are regulated by local authorities and space is limited.

Cruises touring Galapagos have small capacity, usually from 16 to 90 passengers as the most.

Several of the Galapagos cruises can be sold out from 5 months in advance with confirmed or pre-paid reservations.

For those reasons, it’s important to start planning your trip to Ecuador well in advance so travelers can find a bigger list of available options for their travel dates.

How long should I stay in Galapagos?

Galapagos programs range from 4 day/3 nights to 15 day/14 night. When combined with stopovers in mainland Ecuador trips can reach up to 18 days/17 nights. How much time you have and how much time your budget will allow are important factors when considering your Galapagos expedition.

When choosing any cruise less than 10 nights carefully consider what islands and experiences are important to you. Shorter cruises will inevitably miss out on some species. It is important to consult with our staff at Peru Trip Adivosors who are experts and who havebeen to the islands and knows the landing sites. They will match you with the right Galapagos Cruise for your interest, ability and budget.


Galapagos by Land

Cruises are not for everyone for several reasons. It is possible to visit the Galapagos, including remote landing sites to encounter wildlife, on a hotel based trip. Similar to Galapagos cruises there are a variety of land based trips that appeal to different travel styles and budget. Some tours are based from a single lodge, which offers less travel days and more time to explore and relax. Others offer a mix of lodges based on different islands. Some offer active options such as kayaking, mountain biking, scuba diving while others are more relaxed.

All land based tours will have guided visits to Galapagos landing sites to view wildlife. Land based tours offer a chance to visit Puerto Ayora or San Cristobal, the two largest settlements in the Galapagos Islands.

The cost for a land-based package is on average US$1500 or more less per person than 5 days on a live-aboard.
For many, staying in a lodge is far more comfortable, with no “moving floors” during rough seas, free internet (in most of them) and plenty of room to stretch out without confined spaces.
Ideal for families – lots of kid-friendly activities and no stressful adaptation to living on a ship.

Galapagos by Sea

For cruise lovers! All Galapagos cruises include daily guided shore excursions in small groups to explore the islands and experience wildlife up close. Shore groups are limited to 16 people by the Galapagos National Park to limit the impact to the environment and preserver a wilderness experience for the visitor. So even aboard a 90 passenger ship you will still explore the islands up close in a small group with a trained naturalist guide. All cruises also offer the opportunity to snorkel almost every day.

We can separate Galapagos boats into three categories; small yachts and sailboats carrying 8-32 passengers, mid-size cruisers carrying 40-60 passengers and small ships carrying 80-100 passengers.

Sailboats are popular in the Galapagos Islands but keep in mind that ocean currents and wind conditions are such that most transit is done under motor power. Sails will be hoisted when conditions and schedules allow. Sailboats are the smallest boats in the Galapagos and often have bunk beds instead of lower beds.

Mid-sized Galapagos ships offer ample time ashore and in the water snorkeling. They have efficient landing systems with multiple shore craft to ferry hikers to the trail or to snorkel in speed and comfort. Mid sized ships appeal to travelers seeking to cruise aboard the finest boats available.

Finally, because mega cruise ships are not allowed in the Galapagos, these small ships carrying 80-100 passengers are the largest to cruise the region. These ships are the most stable and appeal to travelers concerned about seasickness. They are also very appealing for families with small children because some offer adjoining cabins and because of the additional space.

Galapagos small ships offer a variety of cabin categories from affordable with portholes to elegant with balconies. Usually there are multiple decks, vistas, libraries and salons where you can mingle with other guests or find space for yourself.

Looking for some options for your Galapagos Expedition?

You can find here our special Galapagos by Land and Sea

Take a look at the version with the 5 days cruise: Quito & Galapagos – Santa Cruz Cruise

We also offer special expeditions on board of the National Geographic Endevour, let us know if you are interested so we can send you the details!.


In a few words…

A Trip to Galapagos

A Trip to Galapagos


Contact Peru Trip Advisors

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