🏝 Galapagos Packing List: Essentials + 25 Important Items (2024)

What to pack for Galapagos packing list blog post cover.  Text overlaying an image of a young woman in a long sleeved swimsuit in turquoise ocean with white sand beach and lush green, mountainous vegetation behind.

Creating your own Galapagos packing list can be stressful if this is your first visit to the archipelago.

Between the hundreds of small, essential items and the little things you hadn’t thought of (or didn’t know you needed), you may need a vacation from planning your vacation!

Following our most recent two-week visit to the Galapagos in April 2023, we decided to make things easy for future travelers like yourself! We have created this travel guide to help you plan and organize your packing list for Galapagos in a way that ensures you won’t forget anything important.

You will find a printable checklist with the essentials, information on which travel documents are required, and 25 items you probably hadn’t thought of that could make your life easier and/or make for a better holiday.

Disclosure: In order to keep providing you with free content, this post likely contains affiliate links. If you make a booking or purchase through one of these links we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. So a HUGE thank you to you if you click one of these links πŸ™‚

β˜€οΈ Printable Galapagos Packing List

Free printable Galapagos packing list custom made by We Dream of Travel.

The first thing you will want to do is download and print the essential Galapagos packing list if you do not already have your own version.

This list will ensure you do not forget any of the little things you will need for your vacation.

Simply click the button below.

Next, peruse the list of the 25 things to bring to the Galapagos islands that you may not have thought of.

  1. Reef-Safe Sunscreen
  2. Motion Sickness Bands
  3. Snorkel Gear
  4. Quick-Dry, Sand-Resistant Beach Towel (with Hidden Zipper Pocket)
  5. Underwater Camera
  6. Mini First-Aid Kit
  7. Long-Sleeved Rash Guard
  8. Buff (Neck Gaiter)
  9. Body Glide
  10. Mesh Water Shoes
  11. Reef-Safe SPF Lip Balm
  12. Portable Cell Phone Charger
  13. Insect Repellent
  1. Waterproof Phone Case
  2. Flotation Strap
  3. Dry Bag
  4. Umbrella
  5. Snacks
  6. Rain Poncho
  7. Cash
  8. Coin Purse
  9. Laxatives / Anti-Diarrheal
  10. Tissues / Toilet Paper
  11. Reusable Water Bottle
  12. Galapagos Book

*You will find links and descriptions for each item of interest above in the next section.

If you are a visual person, we’ve also made all of these items available on Amazon within one easy-to-browse Amazon Galapagos Packing List.


🀿 Galapagos Packing List: 25 Important items That You Likely Haven’t Thought Of!

Sophie Marland is seen snorkeling with a camera photographing a sea lion in this underwater photo from Kicker Rock on San Cristobal in the Galapagos Islands.

While our downloadable Galapagos checklist above has EVERYTHING you need to pack for Galapagos, let’s face it, we all know to bring a swimsuit and toothbrush on vacation!

Rather than provide you with 101 things to pack, below are just the 25 things to bring to Galapagos that you might have forgotten, not yet thought of, or flat-out didn’t know existed!

Wondering what to wear in Galapagos? We cover that below too πŸ˜‰


🧴 1. Reef-Safe Sunscreen

We Dream of Travel writer Sophie Marland is photographed applying reef-safe sunscreen on a tropical beach.

Despite the Galapagos being a wildlife sanctuary and the damage regular sunscreen has on marine life, we didn’t find reef-safe sunscreen in any local shops.

Additionally, what is available on the islands is always more expensive. Make sure you buy yours in advance to help protect the aquatic life.

We recommendΒ Stream 2 Sea sunscreenΒ as it’s free from any harmful chemicals and their bottles are made from either sugarcane resin or recycled milk jugs.

Māmalu Sunscreen on Etsy also offers natural reef-safe SPF30 sunscreen, handmade in Kauai. This is a great option for protecting your skin and the ocean while supporting a small business.

⛡️ 2. Motion Sickness Bands

Root'd Wristbands acupressure wristbands for nausea relief.

If you’re susceptible to motion sickness like I am, you will want to bring some acupressure wristbands.

Whether you’re planning a cruise or land-based visit to Galapagos, you will likely spend a lot of time on boats, and the water can be rough!

The inter-island ferries are particularly unkind to those with motion sickness.

Root’d wristbands are the most effective I’ve found and are nicer looking than most.

If you prefer a motion sickness tablet, then Bonine is what I use. Our dive instructor friend recommended it as it’s less drowsy than Dramamine.

🀿 3. Snorkel Gear

Underwater photo of a Adam Marland snorkeling with a long-sleeved rash guard, snorkel gear, and GoPro - all essentials on a Galapagos packing list.

Some of the best snorkeling spots in the Galapagos can be explored right from the beach without a guide.

Also, finding places to rent snorkel gear locally in Galapagos can be tricky.

Therefore, it is well worth packing your own snorkel gear so you’re ready to jump in the water any time!

This is especially important if you wear glasses and require a prescription snorkel mask. Prescription masks are much harder to come by on the islands, and the ability to actually see the turtle or sea lion looking back at you will make all the difference to your experience.

πŸ– 4. Quick-dry, Sand-Resistant Beach Towel
(with Hidden Zipper Pocket)

Sandproof Turkish beach towel with a hidden zippered pocket is an essential when packing for the beach.

If you have never used a travel towel, they are life-changing for days in the sand!

The material repels sand rather than collecting it so it doesn’t end up everywhere. It also packs small and dries quickly.

This Turkish towel is 100% cotton, sand-resistant, quick-drying, and even has a secret zipper pocket to hide away your phone and keys.

We also love these Nomadix travel towels which are made from 100% recycled plastic and have great designs.

πŸ“Έ 5. Underwater Camera

A sea lion swims up to blogger Sophie Marland who is holding a camera while snorkeling at Kicker Rock.

Whether coming face-to-face with a sea lion or a Galapagos penguin in the water, you are going to have once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you’ll never want to forget.

Pack an underwater camera to capture these breathtaking moments and keep those memories alive forever!

Yes, you could use your phone in a waterproof case. However, if the case fails you risk damage to your phone, which could destroy everything you have on it.

There are many different underwater cameras you can get depending on your level and interest in photography.

We recommend a GoPro for most people as it is the smallest, easiest to use, and most reasonably priced option and is completely waterproof.

An over/underwater image of a Galapagos penguin looking towards the GoPro camera (a Galapagos packing list essential) at Bartolome Island.
A Galapagos penguin captured with a GoPro and dome housing at Bartolome Island.


β€οΈβ€πŸ©Ή 6. Mini First-Aid Kit

Travel Mini First Aid Kit Packing List Essential

We always pack aΒ mini first aid kitΒ in our bag, just in case.

This is a particularly good thing to pack in the Galapagos islands as you’ll often find yourself in remote locations with no services anywhere nearby.

We recommend adding a few basic medications such as painkillers, antihistamines, and antacids.

You never know when it may come in handy (particularly if you’re clumsy or prone to blisters like me)!

β˜€οΈ 7. Long-Sleeved Rash Guard

Sophie walking on the beach in a long-sleeved swimsuit - a must for any Galapagos Packing List

Nearly all the best things to do in the Galapagos involve being outside and in water, so having long-sleeved sun protection is invaluable.

Being on the equator, the sun is unforgiving to exposed skin. In no other destination have we ever been so grateful for our long-sleeved rash guards!

With SPF 50+, it will provide protection from the sun so you can use less sunscreen and not have to constantly re-apply between snorkel sessions.

Additionally, the water is often cold in the Galapagos, and having a long-sleeved rash guard can help provide a little extra warmth.

Personally, I bought three of these long-sleeved swimsuits for the Galapagos and Adam has two of these rash guards. All of them have held up well after many wears and washes!


πŸ₯΅ 8. Buff (Neck Gaiter)

A young woman wearing a turquoise buff around her neck - an essential on a Galapagos packing list for sun protection

A buff is the one item on this Galapagos packing list that we didn’t have, and REALLY wished we did.

You’ll be in and out of the sun and water often and reapplying sunscreen becomes a burden.

A buff helps to cover your neck and can be pulled up to cover your ears and face, providing much-needed sun protection.

You will see almost all the local guides wearing these everywhere!

⭐️ Pro Tip: Keep even cooler by soaking your buff first!

Our naturalist guide wearing a buff, along with a hat and long clothing for sun protection, as they instruct two group members prior to kayaking in Galapagos.
Our naturalist guide (on the right) wearing a buff, along with a hat and long clothing for sun protection.

πŸ„πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ 9. Body Glide

Body Glide Anti Chafe Balm.

Let’s face it, in the warm equatorial weather in Galapagos, sticky, sweaty skin likes to rub together… particularly thighs!

Body Glide is a game-changer and will make a welcome addition to your Galapagos packing list.

Originally designed for surfers in California, the anti-chafing balm prevents friction on the skin.

It’s also great for preventing blisters on your feet, just apply some before putting on your socks and shoes.

You can also find a 100% biodegradable, handmade anti-chafing stick on Etsy.

πŸ‘Ÿ 10. Mesh Water Shoes

A pair of blue mesh water shoes - an essential for packing for a beach vacation.

Many of the beaches in the Galapagos are surrounded by lava rock and require at least some walking to reach.

Water shoes are perfect as you’ll be doing plenty of walking but almost no actual hiking, and you can wear them into the ocean where there are often hidden rocks amongst the sand.

Not only do they protect your feet and provide grip on rough terrain and hot surfaces, they’re also breathable, quick-drying, and easy to clean.

Additionally, if you’re exploring Galapagos by cruise, you will likely have some wet landings. Many cruise ships require you to wear water shoes for these.


πŸ’„ 11. Reef-Safe SPF Lip Balm

Two sticks of All Good brand SPF30 Coconut Sunstick reef safe sun protection.

It’s easy to overlook packing SPF lip balm, but the equatorial sun punishes any unprotected skin, and few areas are more sensitive than the lips!

Adam woke up on day 2 of our Galapagos trip with painful, swollen lips that looked like they’d been stung by a bee.

SPF lip balm is essential to pack; as with sunscreen, choosing a reef-safe option is best.

This SPF50 lip balm on Etsy is entirely natural and organic and produced in the USA by a small business.

πŸ”‹ 12. Portable Cell Phone Charger

An Anker portable charger power pack.

Whether you’re out on a boat all day or hitting local beaches, you’ll likely spend most of your time in the Galapagos islands in isolated locations with no access to charge points.

The simple solution is to bring aΒ power packΒ with you to keep your phone charged on the go.

This portable charger by Anker is the one I use as it offers wireless, USB, and USB-C charging.

However, it doesn’t work with iPhone 15 models. Therefore, I’d recommend this one instead for any users of the newer phones.

This is now a must-have on any packing list, but it is essential for the Galapagos!

🦟 13. Insect Repellent

A spray bottle of Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent.

Before visiting the Galapagos, we’d read varying accounts of bugs on the islands.

However, being a personal bug magnet, I decided to err on the side of caution and packed insect repellent… and I’m so grateful I did!

We found there were quite a few mosquitoes in the evenings and plenty of horseflies on some beaches during the day.

I spent a long time researching the best DEET-free insect repellent and landed on Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent.

It is now my go-to and a firm addition to my packing list! I love that it is non-toxic, yet it is still effective.

πŸ“± 14. Waterproof Phone Case

A black and a light green waterproof phone pouch.

Even if your phone is waterproof, you should include a waterproof phone case on your Galapagos packing list!

Bringing a waterproof phone case will help protect your phone on the beach and on boat rides.

The case is certified waterproof up to 100 feet (30m). However, it is not recommended for diving below 49 feet (15m).

It’s also great for storing cash, documents, credit cards, etc., that you need to take but don’t want to get wet!

A group of sea lions approach our tourist boat during our360 day tour from San Cristobal Galapagos.


πŸ›Ÿ 15. Flotation Strap

Two brightly colored flotation straps to attach to a phone or camera.

Phone overboard!!

While the waterproof phone case will protect your phone, it will still sink if dropped into the water!

Ensure your phone or waterproof camera stays afloat with a flotation strap in the event of a drop.

πŸŽ’ 16. Dry Bag

10 liter waterproof dry bag and waterproof phone case.

An inexpensive dry bag is an invaluable item when packing for Galapagos.

Not only does it keep your belongings dry while on the beach, kayaking, or on boat tours, but it also floats! So if it takes a spill overboard your things will remain dry and easy to retrieve.

The great thing about this dry bag is that it also comes with a waterproof phone case, so you get two for the price of one!

β˜‚οΈ 17. Umbrella

Three people in a torrential downpour in the Galapagos  huddled under umbrellas - an essential Galapagos packing list item.

An umbrella might not be the first thing you think of when packing for the Galapagos. However, it was one of our sneaky favorites.

We used our umbrellas almost every day to provide shade while walking or on the beach, as well as in the highlands when it rained.

Even if you’re visiting in the cool and dry season, it is worth packing a lightweight umbrella for sun protection.

🍫 18. Snacks

Sophie Marland from We Dream of Travel with a protein bar snack on a tropical beach.

You’ll spend most of your time in the Galapagos in remote areas without services nearby.

While there are shops on the Galapagos, supplies can often be limited. We highly recommend packing plenty of snacks.

Even though the local food is great, we got through all the protein and granola bars we took. Whether having them on the beach between meals or replacing them on long days of exploring!

However, make sure they’re snacks that won’t melt, as you’ll have difficulty keeping them cool!

⭐️ Pro tip: You are allowed to take packaged and processed foods, but not fresh or unprocessed foods.

🌧 19. Rain Poncho

A woman wearing a clear, lightweight reusable poncho.

During the warm and wet season, rain can be sudden and very heavy.

If you’re visiting the Galapagos during this time, it is well worth having a poncho with you.

A poncho is better than a rain jacket as it can also cover your bags and any other belongings with you and packs much smaller.

You may find this particularly useful if you’re visiting the highlands where rain can be more common, even when the rest of the island is dry and sunny!

πŸ’΅ 20. Cash

A selection of smaller US dollar bills are essential when packing for Galapagos.

You will absolutely want to bring plenty of cash to the Galapagos.

Most places don’t accept credit cards and the ATMs are unreliable!

The currency in Galapagos (and Ecuador) is US dollars. Ideally, take a selection of smaller $1 and $5 notes as many places won’t accept bills larger than $20.

πŸ’° 21. Coin Purse

A small, zippered coin purse is an essential when packing for Galapagos.

With $1 and $2 coins extremely prevalent in the Galapagos, you’ll find your pockets full with $20 worth of loose change very quickly.

It is well worth packing a small coin purse or something to store all your loose change in so you can readily access it.

You’ll find the coins particularly useful for water taxis and small fees once on the islands.

πŸ’© 22. Laxatives / Anti-Diarrheal

Traveling and new foods can take a toll on your system, and it can go either way.

No one likes talking about poop but, as Adam learned the hard way, keeping regular can really make the difference for your comfort and enjoyment!

Learn from Adam… take both with you!

🧻 23. Tissues / Toilet Paper

Five brightly patterned, reusable tissues holders.

We found that public bathrooms in the Galapagos (and Ecuador), even those in restaurants, commonly did not have toilet paper.

With this in mind, it is worth packing some tissues to ensure you don’t get caught out!

We love this reusable tissue holder as you can refill on the go rather than trying to pack too much. Plus, it saves on plastic.

Plus, they’re always a handy item to have in your backpack.

🚰 24. Reusable Water Bottle

A teal and purple stainless steel insulated reusable water bottle.

Remaining hydrated in Galapagos is extremely important. Doing so without wasting single-use plastic bottles is even better!

It is not safe to drink tap water on the islands, but you will find nearly all accommodations and many restaurants have purified water to refill your bottles.

We love these reusable bottles as they come in various colors and sizes, and keep your drinks cold for 24 hours (or hot for 12 hours – but that’s less useful in Galapagos!).

If you don’t mind your water not staying cold, this Lifestraw collapsible bottle is an excellent option for saving space in your suitcase. Additionally, it has a built-in water filter system to eliminate any concerns over water quality further.

⭐️ Pro Tip: If you’re visiting Galapagos by cruise you may be provided with a water bottle on board. Check with your cruise operator!

πŸ“˜ 25: Galapagos Book

As internet and cell service can be unreliable in the Galapagos, we highly recommend having a book (ideally a Kindle version to save space!) for information on the islands and animal identification.

Learning more about the islands and their inhabitants is a great way to create a deeper connection to this spectacular archipelago.

This book on the Galapagos by John C. Kricher provides a comprehensive guide to the region, complete with illustrations and color photos.

For younger family members, this book by Megan Stine provides a similar background in a more digestible manner.

Finally, even just packing a pocket guide to Galapagos wildlife will allow you to readily identify the many creatures you’ll meet.

🧳 Bonus: Compression Packing Cubes

Well Traveled compression packing cubes are a great packing hack and a must on any Galapagos packing list

Compression packing cubes are the ultimate packing hack. When it comes time to pack for Galapagos, you will absolutely want to use them.

As well as keeping your clothes organized, they’re a time saver. Ready to hit the beach as soon as you arrive? Don’t waste time digging around in your suitcase, simply pull out the cube with your swimwear and you’re ready to go!

The compression ability is also great for maximizing your space.

We’ve used many different brands of packing cubes, but none have matched the quality and functionality of Well Traveled.

⭐️ Pro tip: If you’re packing for the family, we recommend getting different colored cubes for each family member.

✈️ Bonus: Travel Adapter

Worldwide All in One Universal Travel Adapter

The powerΒ plugsΒ and sockets in Galapagos and Ecuador are type A and B, the same as in the USA.

If you’re visiting Galapagos from the States, you won’t need an adapter. However, if you’re traveling from elsewhere to the Galapagos, make sure you pack a travel adapter.

We prefer a universal travel adapter as you can use them everywhere so you’re guaranteed to always have the right one in your bag!

πŸ‘™ What to Wear in Galapagos

🌦 Weather in Galapagos

View from Bartolome Island viewpoint showing two crescent white sand bays and Pinnacle Rock surrounded by aqua water on a bright, sunny day.
A bright, sunny day on Bartolome Island.

Being on the equator, there are only two seasons in the Galapagos Islands: warm & wet season and cool & dry season.

These seasons are brought about by two main currents, the Humboldt and the Panama, each dominating half the year.

While there is a warm and a cool season, the temperature variation is fairly minimal. Average daily highs vary from 74Β°F (23Β°c) in August to 88Β°F (31Β°c) in March.

Even during the wet season, tropical rain showers are sporadic and you can expect mostly sunny days. Although the rainfall can be heavy, it is generally short-lasting. The rainfall is heaviest from January through March.

As the change in climates is brought about by different currents, the ocean temperature will also vary. The average water temperature varies from 66Β°F (19Β°c) in August up to 76Β°F (24Β°c). In the cooler months, you may want to pack a light wetsuit.

Finally, it is also worth considering that to reach the Galapagos, you will need to fly from Quito or Guayaquil, which typically means at least one night in one of these cities. The weather here can be much cooler so you will want at least one sweater and longer pants for on the mainland.

⭐️ Pro tip: Wear your sweater on the plane to save space in your suitcase. Plus the plane is usually on the cooler side!

πŸ‘— Fashion in Galapagos

A tortoise in the foreground with group of people wearing neutral safari style clothing in the background.
Think safari style!
*Rubber boots are provided when visiting El Chato!*

The Galapagos is a destination that is much more about exploration and adventure than fashion – think more safari style than beach vacation! You won’t find a dress code anywhere on the islands.

You will want to pack practical, lightweight clothing with a focus on comfort and sun protection. Due to its proximity to the equator, the sun is very strong, so long-sleeved shirts and wide-brim hats will be your best friends.

It will generally be warm enough to wear shorts and T-shirts, even in the evening. However, you may want to bring one long pair of lightweight pants and a sweater.

You’ll want these for your time on mainland Ecuador before/after your Galapagos vacation. Also, if you’re on a cruise, you will likely want these for the nighttime as the breeze can make it feel a little cooler.

If you’re exploring the Galapagos by cruise, the attire is still far more casual than other cruise destinations. Most boats do not have a dress code, so your casual day clothes are fine even for dinner.

However, if you prefer to dress up a little, a simple sundress or short-sleeved button-up shirt will be fine. Leave the high-heels, suit jackets, and accessories at home!

πŸ“‹ Clothing Packing Lists for Galapagos

Below are suggested clothing packing lists for women and men for a week in Galapagos.

If you have longer in Galapagos, consider doing laundry while there to limit how much you need to take. The three main towns offer same-day laundry service at lavanderΓ­as (laundromats/launderettes) for around $1 per pound.

For those on a cruise, check with your cruise operator to see if they have laundry services available.

Wherever possible, choose neutral colors, such as beige and khaki (again, think safari style!). Bright colors can attract insects, whites don’t stay white for long, and blacks can get hot quickly.

Additionally, opt for loose, light, breathable clothes. Fabrics such as cotton, merino wool, and those with moisture-wicking properties are ideal.

One Week Galapagos Clothing Packing List for Women

  • Long-Sleeved Swimsuits -or – Swimsuits + Long-Sleeved Rash Guard (2-3)
  • Swimsuit Cover-Up (1)
  • Lightweight, Long-Sleeved Shirts (2)
  • Loose T-Shirts/Tank Tops (3-4)
  • Hiking Shorts / Skorts (3-4)
  • Lightweight Hiking Pants (1-2)
  • Light Sweater (1)
  • Waterproof, Lightweight Windbreaker (1)
  • Underwear (7)
  • Bras (2-3)
  • Socks (2-3 pairs)
  • Pajamas (1-2)
  • Water Shoes (1)
  • Running Shoes, Hiking Shoes or Sandals (1)
  • Flip Flops (1)
  • Wide Brim Sunhat with Chin Strap (1)
  • Polarized Sunglasses (1)

One Week Galapagos Clothing Packing List for Men

  • Swim Shorts (2-3)
  • Long Sleeved Rash Guard (2-3)
  • Lightweight, Long-Sleeved Shirts (2)
  • Loose, Comfortable T-Shirts/Tank Tops (3-4)
  • Hiking Shorts (3-4)
  • Lightweight Hiking Pants (1)
  • Light Sweater (1)
  • Waterproof, Lightweight Windbreaker (1)
  • Underwear (7)
  • Socks (2-3 pairs)
  • Sleepwear (1-2)
  • Water Shoes (1)
  • Running Shoes, Hiking Shoes or Sandals (1)
  • Flip Flops (1)
  • Wide Brim Sunhat with Chin Strap (1)
  • Polarized Sunglasses (1)

πŸ‘  What NOT to Pack for Galapagos

A bright, sunny day showing Playa Mann and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal

We’ve covered all the things to include on your Galapagos packing list. Now, we’ll cover a few things that are best left at home.

Restricted Food Items

To protect the natural biodiversity in the Galapagos there are a number of restricted food items. These include fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, and certain animal products.

To avoid issues at customs, take only pre-packaged foods to the Galapagos, and if in doubt, leave it behind.

Anything Provided By Your Cruise

For those exploring the Galapagos by cruise, you will want to check what items are provided by your cruise line.

Many cruises include items such as reusable water bottles, wetsuits, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, and soap.

Too Many Clothes

The Galapagos is a very casual place, with an emphasis on experience rather than appearance! You’ll likely spend most of your vacation in a swimsuit or shorts and a shirt.

You really don’t need too many outfits, plus if you run out you can always do some laundry!


Tourists are strictly banned from flying drones anywhere in the Galapagos Islands. As nearly all of the islands are home to unique avian life, drones are particularly disruptive for wildlife here.

Drones are permitted only in rare circumstances, such as for research and monitoring purposes, and are subject to strict regulations and permits.

You are permitted to bring drones into Galapagos, as the authorities acknowledge that travelers pass through on their way to or from other countries. However, unless you are visiting Galapagos as part of a larger trip, we advise leaving the drone at home.

Regular Towel

Your accommodation or cruise will almost definitely provide towels for use on the property. While it is absolutely worth packing a quick-drying, sand-resistant towel for the beach, you don’t need to pack a regular towel.

Additionally, most day tours that involve snorkeling will also provide towels for use on the boat.

High Heels and Formal Clothes

Not only is the Galapagos a very casual place, but the streets are also uneven in places. So leave the high heels and formal clothes at home!

If you particularly like getting dressed up for dinner in the evening, pack a nice pair of sandals to pair with a flowy summer dress. Or for the men, leave the suits and dress shoes behind and instead, pack a light button-up shirt and smart shorts.

Heavy Sweaters or Jackets

It is worth packing a light sweater for your time on mainland Ecuador or for evenings on a cruise (or even the air-conditioned hotel rooms if you get cold like me!). However, you can leave the heavier ones at home. After all, you’re heading to the equator!

Better still, just wear a light sweater on the plane to save space in your suitcase!

🧳 Baggage Allowance for Galapagos

View from plane window arriving in San Cristobal Galapagos showing the coastline scattered with white sand beaches and lava rock and turquoise ocean.
International Flights to Ecuador

The luggage allowance for international flights into Ecuador will vary. Some cheaper, economy fares will not include checked luggage and may limit carry-on luggage to one personal item.

Conversely, business and first-class fares may include multiple checked bags with a higher weight allowance.

Domestic Flights to Galapagos

The luggage allowance for flights to the Galapagos typically includes one checked bag up to 50lbs (23kg), plus one carry-on up to 22lbs (10kg), and a small personal item.

Inter-Island Galapagos Flights

There are two airlines that provide inter-island flights on small planes. These both have stricter weight limits for luggage of 15-35lbs (11-13kg), depending on how much you pay for.

Three pieces of Level8 luggage in a living room ready to be packed for Galapagos. A 24-inch light blue checked case, and two 20-inch darker colored carry-on cases.
Our Level8 luggage packed for Galapagos!

πŸ“ƒ Essential Travel Documents

The sun appears as a bright ball in an orange sky as it sets behind sail boats off the coast of Playa Mann.

While almost everything else on this Galapagos packing list could be bought in Ecuador if needed, your travel documents cannot be replaced and should be packed safely before traveling!

Additionally, it is a good idea to have digital versions on your phone or on the cloud should you have to present or replace them.

We’ll go into more detail for some items, but first here is a quick overview of all the travel documents you’ll require for traveling to the Galapagos islands:

  • Passport with 6 months validity
  • Travel insurance policy
  • 24 hour emergency travel insurance contact and policy number
  • Flight e-tickets (with proof of return flights)
  • Your travel itinerary
  • Booking information for tours or cruise
  • Photocopies of important documents
  • Credit & debit cards
  • Plenty of cash (particularly smaller $1 and $5 bills)
  • Scuba diving license (if needed)

Do I need a passport for Galapagos?

International visitors will require a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after their planned departure from Ecuador.

Do I need a Visa?

Most visitors can enter Ecuador and stay in the country for a maximum duration of 90 days within a period of 365 days without any visa. This includes visitors from the USA, UK, EU, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as many other countries.

You can check the list of countries that do require a visa on the Ecuadorian government website here.

You will also need an INGALA Galapagos Transit Control Card to fly from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos islands. This is obtained at Guayaquil or Quito airport before flying into the Galapagos and costs $20.

If you have a pre-booked tour or cruise, the INGALA Transit Card may be taken care of by your operator. If not, allow a little extra time at the airport before your flight.

For entry to both Ecuador and the Galapagos, you will need to have proof of a return flight. Ensure you have this to hand for a smooth entry.

Do I need Travel Insurance for Galapagos?

A Galapagos cruise ship sets out to see during a beautiful sunset off of Santa Cruz island.

Travel insurance is highly recommended for anyone visiting Galapagos.

If you’re traveling by tour or cruise, you will most likely be required to have comprehensive travel insurance.

The Galapagos islands are remote and have limited medical facilities on the islands. Ensure you have an adequate plan to cover medical evacuation, as well as any specific activities you’ll be doing.

There are many benefits to using travel insurance beyond health care.  It will also often cover unforeseen circumstances such as missing bags, damage from natural disasters, stolen goods, or even trip cancellation.

Always read your policy carefully when booking travel insurance to ensure you have one that suits your needs.

Vaccination Certificate/Negative COVID-19 Test

There are no COVID-related requirements for travelers to Ecuador.

Finding information on the Ecuadorian government website is almost impossible. Therefore, we recommend checking your country’s government website for up-to-date information regarding entry requirements.

πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ FAQs About What to Pack For Galapagos

BTS shot of Sophie in a long-sleeved swimsuit (a Galapagos packing list essential) standing at the bow of a boat with Kicker Rock in the background.

Use the drop-down boxes below to find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about packing for Galapagos.

How do people dress in Galapagos?

The Galapagos is much more about exploration and adventure than fashion – think more safari style than beach vacation!

You will want to pack practical, lightweight clothing. Due to its proximity to the equator, the sun is very strong, so loose, long-sleeved shirts and wide-brim hats will be your best friends.

What can you not bring to Galapagos?

There are a number of restricted items that you cannot bring to the Galapagos. These include unprocessed fruits, seeds, nuts, vegetables, meats, or plants. To avoid issues at customs, we recommend only bringing pre-packaged food items.

What size suitcase do I need for Galapagos?

The luggage allowance for flights to the Galapagos typically includes one checked bag up to 50lbs (23kg) that must be no more than 158 linear cm (62.2 in), adding height (A) + length (B) + width (C). Plus one carry-on up to 22lbs (10kg), and a small personal item.

However, if you are on an island hopping tour or self-guided visit, the smaller your suitcase the better. Moving large bags from island to island on taxi boats and ferries is not so fun, and the inter-island planes have lower allowances.

Do you need cash in the Galapagos Islands?

Cash is absolutely essential in the Galapagos Islands. Most places don’t accept credit cards and the ATMs are unreliable.

The currency in Galapagos (and Ecuador) is US dollars. Ideally, take a selection of smaller $1 and $5 notes as many places won’t accept bills larger than $20.

Do you need bug spray in GalΓ‘pagos?

We would absolutely recommend packing bug spray for Galapagos. While some report there not being many bugs in Galapagos, we found there were quite a few mosquitoes in the evenings and plenty of horseflies on some beaches during the day.

πŸ“š More Galapagos Islands Travel Guides

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Hopefully, this guide has answered all of your questions, now it’s time for the rest of your planning!

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πŸ’¬Final Thoughts

The two of us work very hard to create these free travel guides to help you plan your dream vacation. If you think we’ve done a good job and would like to say thanks, please consider clicking the donate button below πŸ™‚

We truly hope you have found this Galapagos packing list and complete guide helpful in preparing for the trip of a lifetime.

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Adam Marland is a professional travel blogger and landscape photographer from Oregon. After over a decade of experience as a freelance travel photographer, Adam found national acclaim when he became the National Park Foundation's β€œChief Exploration Officer” in 2021.

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