Galapagos Travel Restrictions & Entry Requirements – Guide to Galapagos Safety

February 27, 2024 • Todd Smith
With decades of experience we will help you navigate Galapagos entry requirements and travel restrictions. Book safely with the confidence that comes from experience.
Overview of Bartolome Island in the Galapagos Islands showing Pinnacle Rock and other hills, cliffs and beaches.

If you are planning travel to Galapagos we have compiled a comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about Galapagos travel restrictions, entry requirements and safety in the Galapagos Islands. Up to date information and expert advice to help you plan and book a safe trip to the Galapagos. 

Galapagos National Park entrance fees have been updated. New fees will take effect on August 1, 2024. Details below.

IN THIS POST – Galapagos Travel Restrictions, Entry Requirements & Safety
Galapagos National Park Fees Update
Latest Galapagos Safety Updates
Can You Visit the Galapagos Islands?
Ecuador Travel Restrictions
Galapagos Entry Requirements
Are the Galapagos Safe?
Galapagos Safety Tips
COVID in Galapagos
Health Advice
Private Charter Options

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BREAKING NEWS – Galapagos National Park Fee Adjustment

On February 26, 2024 the Governing Council of the Galapagos Islands announced an adjustment to the Galapagos National Park entrance fees. Read the press release. New fees come into effect for all visitors beginning August 1, 2024. The new Galapagos National Park fees for foreign visitors are as follows:

  • $200 – Foreign visitors over 12 years old
  • $100 – Foreign visitors 12 years old and under
  • $50 – Foreign students registered at an Ecuadorian school
  • Free – Foreign visitors under 2 years old

According to the Ministry of Tourism, “This resolution represents a significant step towards aligning the needs of the local community with crucial environmental preservation efforts. These funds will be directly channeled into conservation initiatives, infrastructure upgrades and community programs aimed at mitigating tourism’s ecological footprint on the islands.”

The entry fee to the National Park has not increased since 1998 when it was fixed at $100 for foreign visitors. It’s important to note that the fees generated by visitors fund not only the Galapagos National Park’s management, but also government agencies and local municipal governments. The Galapagos Biosafety and Quarantine Regulation and Control Agency, for example, plays a key role in keeping invasive species out of the archipelago, and controlling species which manage to get through their screening measures.

Read more about why we, as a member of IGTOA (the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association), support the Galapagos park fee increase.

Latest Galapagos Safety News – Updated 2/17/2024

Following a 60-day state of emergency declared on January 8, 2024, many travelers are asking “Are Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands safe for travel?”

More than six weeks after the declaration, the Ecuador Ministry of Tourism is reporting “no incidents related to hotels, lodges, vessels, cafes and restaurants. Land, air and sea connectivity have remained uninterrupted.”

Note that the US State Department has made no changes to the Level 2 Travel Advisory for Ecuador issued on June 22, 2023.

Upcoming trips are running as normal and airports countrywide are fully operational. There are currently no grounds for customers to cancel due to fear of travel nor to claim money back through travel insurance.

We have dozens of travelers in Ecuador and the Galapagos every day. Direct reports from our travelers, guides and partners indicate tourism is operating normally. If you are concerned about your trip, or booking your vacation we will gladly put you in touch with a recent traveler. 

If you are booked with AdventureSmith Explorations and have questions, please contact your Adventure Specialist. If you are booked independently, reach out to your accommodation or operator.

Can You Visit the Galapagos Islands?

Yes, the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are open to tourists. Flights, cruises and tours are operating.

Ecuador is open to travel. Entry is open to citizens of the United States, Canada, Europe and most other countries. Virtually all tourism in Ecuador is available. Ecuador has lifted all vaccination and testing requirements.

Plan your Ecuador travel, Galapagos travel, find a Galapagos cruise or learn how to get to Galapagos and the best time to visit Galapagos. Learn more about what’s new in the islands for Galapagos 2024 & 2025 cruises.

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Ecuador Travel Requirements

Before arriving to the Galapagos Islands all travelers must travel through mainland Ecuador.  See our post on how to get to the Galapagos Islands.  Therefore, we have outlined Ecuador’s entry requirements. 

Ecuador Travel Requirements

All international travelers arriving in Ecuador must show a valid passport. The passport must be valid for at least six months after the dates of travel. 

A visa is not required for travelers from the United States, Canada and most European countries for visits up to 90 days. Travel for more than 90 days requires a visa. Visas are required for travelers from some Asian, Central American. Middle Eastern and Eastern European countries.  Check with your local immigration office or the Ecuadorian consulate for exact visa requirements. 

As of February 18, 2023, the Ecuadorian government has removed all COVID related travel restrictions. Only travelers arriving with symptoms (high temperature, cough, general malaise, loss of smell or taste, or skin rash) must fill out a Health Status Declaration Form. The declaration is available on the Ministry of Public Health Website. For travelers unable to submit this digitally, a physical form may be submitted, download it here. Travelers who fill out the digital form are not required to present a physical form.

Galapagos Travel Restrictions

There are currently no travel restrictions to the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador has eliminated all COVID entry requirements for the Galapagos Islands. Due to their isolation and limited medical facilities, the island province may implement its own Galapagos travel restrictions in addition to any Ecuador entry requirements.

Galapagos Islands Entry Requirements

Travelers flying from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands are subject to the following entry requirements. The provincial government updated Galapagos entry requirements on February 27, 2024.

  • Passport – Travelers must present a passport valid for at least six months after the dates of travel.
  • Park Fees – All travelers arriving in the islands must pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee.  The fee of $100 for adults and $50 for children under 12 years old must be paid in cash. Travelers booked with AdventureSmith pay this fee in advance so no need to carry extra cash.
    • New Galapagos National Park Entrance Fees go into effect on August 1, 2024. The new fee of $200 for adults and $100 for children under 12 years old must be paid in cash. SEE NEW PARK FEES ABOVE.
  • TCT Card – Travelers are required to obtain a TCT Transit Control Card (tarjeta de control de transito in Spanish).  Also known as the INGALA card, this measure of immigration control to the islands costs $20. The card is issued in Quito or Guayaquil at a special desk in the terminal prior to checking in for Galapagos flights. TCT can be completed in advance online. Similarly, AdventureSmith travels pay in advance and the TCT is provided prior to boarding your flight to the Galapagos. 
  • Luggage Inspection – Upon arrival in the Galapagos your bags will be inspected. In addition to standard arrival safety screening authorities will inspect for invasive species and seeds which are harmful to the island’s delicate ecosystems. Travelers will walk across a sanitizing footbath to disinfect shoes and luggage, including carry on luggage, may be sprayed with a disinfectant.
  • Medical Insurance – Legally, proof of medical insurance is required upon arrival in the Galapagos Islands. This regulation is rarely enforced, but we advise travelers to have travel insurance or proof of medical insurance, just in case. 
  • Immunizations – At this time there are no required immunizations for travel to the Galapagos. 
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Are the Galapagos Islands Safe for Travel?

Yes, the Galapagos Islands are arguably among the safest travel destinations in the world. Tourism supports about 80% of the Galapagos economy, so authorities have a vested interest in keeping travelers safe. Likewise, the National Park has extensive regulations to protect travelers and the environment.

Galapagos Travel Safety Tips

Our experts share their tips for staying safe while traveling in the Galapagos Islands:

  • Sun Protection – Sunburn and dehydration are the biggest health threats in the Galapagos. Use strong sunscreen frequently and stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Seasickness – Wind can cause rough seas so take precautions to prevent seasickness before it occurs. See our posts on Galapagos ocean conditions and how to prevent & treat seasickness on cruises
  • Excursions – Stay on designated trails and follow the instructions of your guide. This is for your safety and that of Galapagos wildlife. Stay at least 6 feet away from wildlife, even if they approach you.
  • Swimming & Snorkeling – Wear a life jacket or flotation device when needed. Listen to your guide. Take the arm of your crew when transferring into the panga and onto shore. Don’t touch coral reef or aquatic animals. 
  • Safety in town – Communities in the Galapagos are small and isolated. As such they are generally quite safe. Take precautions to secure valuables as you would in any foreign city or country. Don’t walk alone late at night. 
  • Cruise safety – The best way to ensure that vessels meet safety standards is to book with a reputable operator like AdventureSmith Explorations. If booking direct verify that the vessel is licensed to operate in the Galapagos Islands, meets international safety standards, carries necessary emergency equipment and adheres to established regulations. Galapagos cruises are highly regulated, but there are unscrupulous operators out there.

AdventureSmth travelers are provided with an extensive pre-trip dossier to prepare them for their journey. Included is information on entry requirements, traveler safety, weather and wildlife, national park rules, ocean conditions, what to expect upon arrival and more. In addition our experts will answer your questions about Galapagos safety and entry requirements. We are here to help you prepare and make the most of your Galapagos adventure.  

COVID in the Galapagos Islands

COVID-19 hit hard in the Galapagos Islands. Early on in the pandemic Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands were completely shut down. Like the rest of the world the Galapagos have learned to live with COVID. Effective October 2022 all COVID-19 entry requirements and travel restrictions have been lifted.

Certain protocols instituted during the pandemic remain. For instance travelers arriving into Ecuador with obvious signs of fever or illness will be asked to complete a health declaration form. Aboard Galapagos cruises guides and crew are required to be vaccinated and are tested upon signs of illness. Enhanced disinfection methods, social distancing in hotel reception areas and hand sanitizer remain ubiquitous.

Health Advice Before You Leave Home

For two weeks prior to your departure, and during travel to your destination, we recommend you follow common sense protocols to avoid illness. Take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of illness and follow all CDC guidelines for international travel. Wash your hands frequently. Be careful in bars, restaurants, airports and other crowded places that are higher risk. Arriving for your trip healthy will provide peace of mind and help you to enjoy your vacation.

Private Charter Options

Evan as Galapagos travel restrictions have eased we have seen a tremendous increase in interest for Galapagos yacht charters. Yachts range in size from 12 to 32 guests and a full boat charter offers many advantages over an independently booked cruise. The most obvious advantage is that you will know and trust all the travelers aboard and can create your own travel bubble. Other advantages include lower prices, exclusivity, customization and the joy of experiencing the islands with an intimate group of family and friends. Contact our experts to begin planning your Galapagos charter cruise.

Galapagos travel restrictions and entry requirements are easy to navigate. With common sense precautions the Galapagos are extremely safe for travel. Ensure your trip is safe and seamless by booking with AdventureSmith Explorations.

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If you have a question or are looking for advice, please use the comments below. Our experts will answer your questions to make this guide to Galapagos travel restrictions even better. If you are ready to book your travel to Galapagos please contact us.

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  • Zachary Kempel says:

    My travel partner’s US passport was issued 6 September, 2023. Will they be allowed to enter mainland Ecuador on 1 December 2023? Will they be allowed to enter the Galapagos on 2 December, 2023? I saw online that the US passport must be issued six months prior to entering the islands.

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Zachary thanks for your question. Your new passports will be sufficient for your trip. The Travel.state.gov article requirement for entry into Ecuador and Galapagos is that the passport must be valid for at least 6 months *after* travel.

  • Giuliana Calderone says:

    I was in the Galapagos 30 years ago. I like to take my grandson I am 82 years old but so far in great condition no illness . What trip of the Galapagos you advise me to take. My grandson will be 14 in December

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      We love the adventurous spirit Giuliana! It will be so special to return to the Galapagos and share the experience with your grandson. The Galapagos Islands are the perfect destination for a multi-generational trip, and some ships even offer special teen departures. Speaking with one of our experts is the easiest and best way to be matched with the perfect trip for you. One will contact you shortly, but in the meantime read our blog Galapagos family cruises and tours, it has tips and advice plus a list of recommended family Galapagos trips.

  • Sweetness Slim says:

    Anyone who wants to have once in a lifetime experience should visit the Galapagos Islands. The wildlife seem so unbothered by tourists, and you’ll get to see more interesting creatures than anyone you know.

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      We couldn’t agree more! The Galapagos Islands animals are legendary. Learn more about where, when and how you can find them plus other fun facts and videos on our Galapagos Animals blog.

  • John says:

    There appears to be mixed messages on the entry requirements for Galapagos. Is full vaccination acceptable in lieu of the 72 hour PCR test? Is 75 hours prior an issue if one has full vaccination documented?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi John, Thanks for your question on Galapagos Entry Requirements, we are happy to clarify. Proof of completed COVID vaccination (at least 14 days prior) can certainly be used to enter the Galapagos in lieu of a negative 72 hour PCR test. If travelers are fully vaccinated, they will show proof of completed series for entry. Non vaccinated travelers must provide negative test result taken within stated time frame.

  • Sarah says:

    Is a COVID test required to fly to the mainland (Quito) from the Galapagos?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Sarah,
      No, a COVID-19 test is not needed in order to return from the Galapagos Islands back to mainland Ecuador. Our Adventure Specialists will assist guests in all aspects of planning their COVID-19 testing for their Galapagos trip. Contact us if you are interested in traveling with us.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi. I have a question regarding the PCR test needed to get into Ecuador. I previously tested positive for Covid-19 but have fully recovered with no symptoms. Can I still enter The country with proof that I previously have had Covid-19 and have fully recovered from it? If so, do I also need a doctor’s note? I have heard that a PCR test can show a positive result for months after a person has recovered from the virus so that is why I ask. Thanks so much for your help.

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Yes, on January 31, 2022 Ecuador eased its restrictions and proof of recovery is now accepted for entry. You must present the positive test result along with present a medical certificate (usually a letter from your doctor or a medical professional) from your country of origin attesting to their recovery, absence of symptoms, and that your are no longer contagious. Hopefully this helps with your travel plans. If you are interested in using our travel services please contact us.

  • Sue says:

    I am planning a trip to the Galapagos next month and will have a roundtrip ticket from USA to Ecuador. Do I need a roundtrip ticket to the Galapagos?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Sue!
      The only way for travelers to get to the Galapagos Islands is by air. You must fly from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos. Find out more about flight logistics on our blog How to Get to Galapagos. Have fun!

  • Cal says:

    hello, i am arriving to the Galapagos via sailing boat at the start of february, before we leave the current port we are required to provide negative PCRs and vaccination records. We plan to stay on the islands for a few weeks but plan to fly back home (to the UK, connecting via Guayaquil or Quito) from the Galapagos. I am wondering whether I will be required to have another PCR test prior to departure or whether the PCR from several weeks prior will be okay? thanks!

  • Sanja says:

    Between X-mas and NY period if arriving to Galapagos still possible to find a cruise around the islands on the spot there or due to holiday season very difficult? Should it be booked ahead?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Sanja,
      Thank you for your question. We always recommend travelers book their Galapagos cruises in advance. Visitation to the Galapagos is limited, vessels are small, and spaces fill up fast. Many Galapagos cruises are often sold out 6 to 9 months in advance. Holidays (especially Christmas and New Years holidays) sell out 12 months or more in advance. Find more information about how to choose your Galapagos cruise. This is an exceptional year, and we are finding some last-minute availability for our travelers. But we don’t recommend showing up in the islands without your cruise confirmed. An Adventure Specialist will be in touch shortly to discuss options for a Galapagos cruise this holiday season.

  • Jamia says:

    How long before travel to Galapagos must vaccination be completed?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hello Jamia,
      You are considered fully vaccinated and prepared for travel:
      – 2 weeks (14 days) AFTER your dose of an accepted single-dose vaccine OR
      – 2 weeks (14 days) AFTER your second dose of an accepted 2-dose series.
      But please reference the CDC’s full vaccination criteria for more detailed information.

  • Mrs. Vivien Evans says:

    I am flying from Guayaquil airport on the same day as I leave Galapagos. How can I get the test and results in time for my flight home?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Mrs. Evans,
      Here are some options depending how long you have in Guayaquil before your departure flight. 1. Some cruise ships or hotels in the Galapagos may offer antigen testing for their guests, so inquire with your accommodation. 2. VERIS Medical Center laboratory at the Guayaquil Airport provides rapid antigen testing services. 3. Interlab in the town of Guayaquil offers both PCR and rapid antigen tests. For further details on these options see #4: Covid Testing Options in the above article.

      Another option: Some FDA-approved, virtually guided rapid antigen self-test kits are also approved for international travel purposes. See our recommendations for self-test options (with purchase links) in our How to Get a COVID Test for Travel primer.

      Have a great trip, we hope we can work with you in the future.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I am trying to plan a trip to the Galápagos next week and I am wondering what the covid restrictions are since the recent variant. I have read that a pcr and vaccine are required to enter Ecuador and that that same pcr test can be used to get to the Galápagos as well. Is this true or do we also need a new pcr test to enter the Galápagos.

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Thank you for your question. As a result of the omicron variant Ecuador has updated its entry requirements. Beginning December 1, 2021, Ecuador will require BOTH proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 AND a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure for Ecuador or the Galapagos Islands. Test results used to enter Ecuador can only be presented again to enter Galapagos if test was taken within 72 hours of boarding the flight to Galapagos. Otherwise, you will need to obtain a RT-PCR test within the country of Ecuador for onward travel to the Galapagos Islands.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, I am arriving to the Galapagos island in November 18th and was wondering if a PCR test was required to enter the Galapagos?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Thanks for your question. As stated above in this post “Proof of completed COVID-19 vaccination OR a Negative COVID-19 PCR test result from a test performed within 72 hours” is required for entry into the Galapagos Islands. Travelers who book with AdventureSmith get the latest travel requirements and information for worry free travel, so please consider us for your next adventure. We hope you have a wonderful visit to the Galapagos Islands.

  • Hanne Boytang says:

    Hej,
    Skal jeg have booket overnatning og dermed dokumentere for al min tid, jeg opholder mig på Galapagos øerne for at komme med flyet til Galapagos øerne? Jeg vil rejse til dels selv og ved derfor ikke, hvor længe jeg vil være på Santa Crux eller Isabella.
    Tak for hjælpen, Hanne

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Hanne,
      We did our best to translate your question:
      Do I need to have booked accommodation and thus document for all my time I am staying on the Galapagos Islands to get on the plane to the Galapagos Islands? I want to travel partly myself and therefore do not know how long I will be on Santa Crux or Isabella.

      The Health Status Declaration Form, which is required for entry into Ecuador, asks for “the addresses in Ecuador where you will be staying for 21 days after arrival.” Travelers are not required to document their accommodations before flying to the Galapagos from Ecuador.

      Have fun!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello, can you tell me if it’s possible to get a PCR test on the Galapagos Islands or only on Mainland Ecuador?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Good question! Currently, there are no testing facilities for travelers in the Galapagos. Some Galapagos Island hotels may offer antigen testing for their guests.
      As noted in the post above, the best place to complete your qualifying departure flight COVID-19 test is at the following mainland Ecuador airports:
      – Covid-19 tests for travelers departing Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) are avialable nearby at MedicalVip
      – Covid-19 tests for travelers departing Guayaquil’s José Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport (GYE) are available in town at Interlab.

  • Jane Nguyen says:

    Hello,
    What kind of documentation is needed for proof of medical travel insurance?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Thanks for your question, Jane. To satisfy Ecuador’s 2015 law, travelers should have a policy document or a confirmation of coverage/benefits that proves their insurance policy contains medical coverage for them while in Ecuador. Many people’s personal health insurance will satisfy this requirement. But if not a travel insurance policy will cover it. Thanks!

  • Teresa says:

    Do we have to wear masks everywhere indoor and outdoor?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Thanks for your question, Teresa.
      Currently, Galapagos National Park requires all visitors to wear a mask while on shore excursions, most of our cruise partners ask that masks be worn while indoors in public areas (not in your cabin or while eating) or when social distancing cannot be maintained. Galapagos restrictions can change, but we keep our clients in the know, ensuring up to date preparation for their trip. We detail more general protocols for hotels, ships, trips and airports in the article above, section #5. Bio Security Protocols in Ecuador and Galapagos
      Guidelines are evolving and mask requirements may be lifted as the situation improves. We constantly update this post with the latest information so check back often or get in touch when you are ready to begin trip planning.

  • Ryan Siegel says:

    Do you know if there is a testing area at the Quito Airport for flights to the US?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Ryan,
      Yes, there is a COVID-19 testing site at Ecuador’s Quito airport. Booking a trip to the Galapagos now with AdventureSmith means a dedicated Adventure Specialist will work personally with each traveler to navigate changing test requirements and put together testing plans. We will contact you shortly to chat more about the benefits of our services but in the meantime, you can also take advantage of our other testing resources such as How to Get a COVID Test for Travel.

  • Cynthia Thai says:

    Hello, is a negative COVID test needed to go from Galapagos to Quito?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Cynthia,
      Thank you for your question. No, at this time a COVID-19 test is not needed in order to return from the Galapagos Islands back to mainland Ecuador. What you will want to take note of is possible testing requirements for the return to your country of origin. For example, there are testing requirements for U.S. citizens returning to the United States from anywhere abroad by air. To make sense of it all, our Adventure Specialists will assist guests in all aspects of planning their COVID-19 testing for their Galapagos trip.

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