Bartolome Island, Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos

In no other place on earth can you find such a bizarre and fascinating biodiversity, where penguins swim with dolphins and sea lions share sand with iguanas. And don’t forget the giant tortoises! 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador a hidden gem lies in wait for the adventurous traveler – the Galapagos Islands feature incredible landscapes that are just as picturesque and memorable as the wildlife. Some islands feature cloud forests and lush tropical vegetation while others feel as though they are from an alien planet, formed by volcanic activity and home to strange desert vegetation that is seemingly out of place.  About half of the species on this remote volcanic archipelago are found nowhere else on earth. Travel in the footsteps of Charles Darwin on an island safari and experience this one-of-a-kind place for yourself!

Tours & Packages to the Galapagos

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Ecuador & Galapagos Cruise
Vibrant & colonial Quito & Otavalo, then an unforgettable Galapagos Cruise, including various islands and unique ecosystems and wildlife
9 days  •  $5599 $5099
per person, double occupancy*
dates small group tour + cruise + flights
Galapagos Islands Adventure
Explore the flora, fauna & spectacular scenery of two biodiverse Galapagos Islands: Santa Cruz & Isabela
7 days  •  from $3099 $2499
per person, double occupancy*
dates small group tour + flights
Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos Cruise
Enchanting Lima, then to the Andes for Cusco & the lost world of Machu Picchu; plus picturesque Quito & a spectacular 4 night Galapagos Cruise
16 days  •  $7399 $6799
per person, double occupancy*
dates small group tour + cruise + flights

Fast Facts

Already booked on one of our packages to the Galapagos? See everything you need to know before you go.

Overview

Capital:  Puerto Baquverizo Moreno (Mainland, Ecuador – Quito)
Population: 25,000
Currency:  US Dollar
Languages:  Spanish
Drives on the:  Right (Ecuador)
Time zone: UTC -6 (Mainland, Ecuador UTC -5)

Weather

The Galapagos Islands are located on the equator. The tropical heat, however, is tempered by Pacific breezes.

There are two seasons in the islands: the rainy, hot season from December to June when humidity is high and average temperatures are in the 80s F (26°-30° C). There may be occasional showers, but the days are generally hot and sunny.  From June to November, you can expect cool winds, occasionally bringing with them a light misty-type drizzle called "garúa." Temperatures average in the 70s F (20°-24° C) during the day and lower at night.

Entry requirements

In addition to the entry requirements for Ecuador, all visitors to the Galapagos must obtain a INGALA Tourist Control Card (TCT), which allows for tourist stays up to 90 days. This card is $20 and purchased upon arrival, then turned in upon departure. All tourists must also pay a Galapagos National Park entrance fee, which is $100 for most foreign tourists, or $50 for children under 12.

Booked on one of our packages with Scheduled Dates? We will obtain your Tourist Control Card (TCT), and the TCT fee and park entry fee are both included in your package price.

More information about passports & visas.

Shopping

Shopping is limited in the Galapagos Islands. The best place to purchase the quintessential “Galapagos Island” souvenir gear is at the Charles Darwin Research Station which offers high quality items and proceeds benefit the preservation efforts.

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

There are no official vaccination requirements for entry into Ecuador, however, inoculations against yellow fever, cholera, typhoid, polio, tetanus, and hepatitis and malaria suppressants (for the Galapagos islands) might be recommended. Consult your physician.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Power & Adapters

110 volts. We recommend that you bring an adapter/converter along with you as not all hotels will have 110 volt (A&B plugs) outlets. View more information about electrical standards around the world.

Tipping

Tip 10% of the bill unless a service fee is included, additional small amounts are appreciated. Round up fare for taxi drivers. It is customary to tip the crew and guides on boat tours separately and depends on your experience with the service. A general guideline is $10/$15 USD per day, per traveler.

Did you know?
  • In 1873 British Captain James Colnett set up a post office barrel in the Galapagos Islands! Originally whalers would drop their letters in the barrel on their way out to sea and the mail was relayed to their families back home. Today, tourists often leave notes in the barrel!

  • The penguins who live in The Galapagos are the only ones that make their home north of the equator – making them the only tropical penguins on Earth!

  • There were once up to 15 different subspecies of giant tortoises on the island, of which 10 still remain today. These giant tortoises may live up to 150 years.

  • The islands were originally known as the Enchanted Islands due to the strong, shifting currents that made navigation difficult.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What should I wear for my Galapagos adventure?

    CLOTHING. For travel in the Galapagos, clothing ranges from informal to very informal. Essentials include sneakers, shorts, long- and short-sleeve lightweight shirts, bathing suit, a wide-brimmed hat, long pants, and a wind breaker or light jacket for evenings. Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and lots of film.  

    SHOES. Most walking ashore is over rocky lava terrain. Therefore tennis shoes, sneakers or walking shoes with rubber soles must be worn.

  2. What are the Dos and Don’ts of Environmentally friendly travel to the Galapagos Islands?

    Do:
    Listen to your guide for your safety and the safety of the wildlife
    Pack plenty of extra space on your camera card! You’ll want to take a LOT of photos!
    Keep on the designated paths as you explore the islands
    Drink plenty of water along the way 
    Consider the clothing and footwear you will use on the trip – there is a lot of walking on sometimes uneven terrain in the Galapagos Islands
    Always dispose of litter in the appropriate receptacles

    Don’t:
    Take food or plants to the islands. This might jeopardize the ecosystem. 
    Feed or touch the animals – no matter how friendly they seem! 
    Skip the detailed information provided by your guide – their expertise will enrich your experience!
    Take “souvenirs” of rocks, plants, or other natural material. 
    As a note, smoking is prohibited in the national park areas.

  3. Is snorkeling gear included?

    For both our Galapagos programs, land and cruise, snorkeling gear is included.
  4. Can I take my cell phone?

    See our blog post on using your cell phone abroad.

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Rave Reviews

Our family just returned from our first Friendly Planet trip. We went to the Galapagos Islands. The arrangements went so smoothly. All the hotels were even nicer than we had anticipated and the guides were wonderful. There was not one hitch or issue. We can't recommend Friendly Planet highly enough. We had one glitch when the airline that provided transportation between the US and Ecuador stopped flying certain routes but Friendly Planet worked with us to find an alternative route.

Maura McMullen, Silver Spring, MD
Galapagos Islands Wildlife Discovery

This trip was a gift from my wife for my 70th birthday and it couldn't have been better. We have done some traveling in the past (Switzerland, Greece, South Africa, Italy) but did not consult/use an agency. We are both fitness oriented and we hope to take a trip yearly from now until our bodies quit on us! Even though it was our first time with Friendly Planet, we are sold. Each time my wife needed a question answered (flights, hotels, itinerary, etc.), Friendly Planet usually had an answer - and when they didn't, they would call back immediately when they found the answer. I am a retired federal law enforcement person (34 years), very impatient with an attention span of about two seconds. Friendly Planet was very responsive and NEVER started the conversation with a sales pitch - my kind of company. We are looking forward to our next trip (we don't know where yet) and you will be hearing from us when we are ready. We have already recommended Friendly Planet to our friends.

Steve Gregg, La Mesa, CA
Galapagos Islands Express