How to get to the Galapagos Islands?

How to get to the Galapagos Islands?

san cristobal galapagos liveaboard

Photo Credit @ Panoramio

Galapagos Islands has limited connections with the rest of the world. A small percentage of the tourist arrive on luxury cruise ships or smaller expedition ships that occasional visit. The majority arrive by air from mainland Ecuador.

The population and tourist centers of the Galapagos Islands are restricted to four islands. There are two airports, the one Baltra Island and the primary airport on San Cristobal. Guest traveling to Galapagos Islands need to insure they select the right one as there is no air transfers between them and no direct sea connections. The Baltra Island is primarily a military base with no hotels. Ferries take guest to the nearby islands that do have tourist facilities. A few Galapagos liveaboards depart from the island.

The two airports have about 20 flights a week total going to the mainland either to Quito or Guayaquil. Generally the planes leave the mainland airport in the morning for the three hour flight and has a return leg in the afternoon. Flights to and from Quito are the ones most favored by international guest. Quito has the majority of the international connections and all of the long haul connections. (long haul are flights over 6 hours). International guest will need to make plans for an overnight stay in order to make the flights to Galapagos.

Visa

The Embassy of Ecuador to the United States provides this information on their website:

“Ecuador welcomes people from all over the world who wish to visit for a short period of time or to establish permanent residency. If you come to Ecuador as a tourist or on a business trip, you do not need a visa for a stay up to 90 days on a 12 month-period (chronological year), unless you are a citizen (passport holder) from one of the following countries:

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia.”

Transit Control Card

All individuals traveling to the Galapagos Islands are required to obtain a “Transit Control Card” or TCT (in Spanish, tarjeta de control de tránsito, ). It is recommended by the government to preregister for the pass online. However, the website is not always reliable and you can obtain the pass at the airport in just a few minutes. Guest are limited to a total of 90 days stay in a year. The TCT cost is $20, however, be advised that upon arrival at the islands visitors are required to pay $100 environmental fee. That fee is payable only in cash and only in United States dollars.

baltra airpoprt galapagos liveaboard

Photo Credit @ Mountains of Travel

Safety

When it come to safety there are a few different approaches to consider. The crime rate in the Galapagos Island is low with no indication that tourist are targeted for crimes against them. Guest should exercise normal precautions. While en-route, guest should be aware of their surrounding at all times in Quito and Guayaquil. These big cities have the same problems of other major cities around the world.

Tourist to the islands should prepare themselves for the level of activities they will partake while in the Galapagos islands. Scuba divers will be exposing themselves to high stress diving sites that will require a good level of fitness. Those visiting the naturalist sites may find themselves hiking distances in conditions they are not use to.

The medical facilities and hospitals are very limited, with just two hospitals. The best equipped is in Puerto Ayora and has the island’s only hyperbaric chamber. Major surgery requires evacuation to the mainland. Travel and dive insurance is highly recommended. Tourist requiring medications should bring an ample supply with them.

galapagos liveaboard hotel accommodation

Photo Credit @ CNN Travel

Hotels / Accommodation

While there are only a few dive liveaboards, there are about 80 other liveaboards that travel the islands visiting the land sites of the National Park. The liveaboards account for nearly 1/3 of the accommodations used by tourist. Many tourist will arrive at the airport transfer directly to the boats and spend their visit onboard.

Divers that stay on land will have a range of places to stay. Small bed and breakfast facilities will suit those on a budget, while those looking for luxury accommodation will find resorts to meet their needs.

The Liveaboards

Danubio Azul

Danubio Azul

Danubio Azul     Cabins & Layout The Danubio Azul is a 22 meters cruise ship taking small groups on a beautiful Galapagos Islands adventure!  Built in 2016, the Danubio Azul is the perfect boat for those seeking a small group liveaboard experience. The itineraries of...

Galapagos Master

Galapagos Master

  Galapagos Master     Cabins & Layout Built in 2004 and fully renovated in 2014, the Galapagos Master Liveaboard is a beautiful 32m yacht. Discovering the Galapagos Islands with this sturdy vessel will be a charm. The Galapagos Master dive boat, formerly known as the...

Astrea

Astrea

  Astrea     Cabins & Layout The Astrea liveaboard is a beautiful 28m yacht which takes people to the best land & sea spots of the Galapagos Islands. The Astrea dive boat is the perfect liveaboard to discover the Galapagos, either on land or underwater. You can choose...

Nortada

Nortada

  Nortada     Cabins & Layout The beautiful 26m Nortada liveaboard was completely renovated in 2014 and is ready to welcome small charter groups. The Nortada dive boat operates in the majestic Galapagos Islands since February 2015. Rolf Wittmer Turismo, which is a...

Galapagos Sky

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  Galapagos Sky     Cabins & Layout The Galapagos Sky liveaboard, a 33m luxury yacht has been cruising the Galapagos islands for over a decade, pleasing guests from all around the world. The Galapagos Islands are world-renowned for pelagic encounters while Scuba...

Humboldt Explorer

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  Humboldt Explorer     Cabins & Layout Built in 2009, the beautiful 32m Humbolt Explorer liveaboard takes you to discover the stunning Galapagos marine biodiversity. The Humbolt Explorer has 8 air-conditioned cabins, both on the main and lower floors. The cabins are...

Galapagos Aggressor 3

Galapagos Aggressor 3

  Galapagos Aggressor III     Cabins & Layout The Galapagos Aggressor III liveaboard is a member of the world-renowned Aggressor fleet. This dive boat is a 32m luxury yacht, offering dive cruises in the beautiful Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos Aggressor schedules...

More Information

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