Flights to the Galapagos Islands – Airports, Airlines & Fees
The Galapagos are a unique destination on this planet, and getting there has some unique elements to it as well. Learning a bit about the logistics of getting to the Galapagos Islands beforehand will save you a headache leading up to your trip, and could even save you time and money as well.
What You Must Know About Flights to/from Galapagos
Here are four important things to know about flying to the Galapagos:
You must fly to mainland Ecuador before flying to the Galapagos
The fabled Galapagos Islands sit some 600 miles west of mainland South America, and the only viable way to travel to the Islands, for nearly everyone, is by a commercial flight from Guayaquil (GYE) or Quito (UIO).
Whether you’re coming from Miami, Peru, London, or anywhere in between, you must fly through mainland Ecuador before connecting to the Galapagos.
Flights leave from only Quito or Guayaquil, both of which have regular morning flights to the islands (though the Quito flight will almost always stop in Guayaquil). The Islands are a little over two hour flight from Guayaquil, and the flight from Quito to Guayaquil takes about 30-40 minutes. See the time tables below.
Since the flights leave in the morning, an overnight stay is almost always required in either Quito or Guayaquil. If time permits, spend a few days exploring Quito, with one of the world’s best-preserved historical Spanish colonial centres.
Your return flight from Galapagos must also be to Quito or Guayaquil before connecting with flights to other destinations.
The boat from the mainland myth
There’s a persistent myth that you can start a cruise from the Ecuadorian Mainland, or board a cargo ship in Guayaquil and arrive to the Galapagos. There are no cruises that leave from Guayaquil, the Ecuadorian mainland or anywhere except the Galapagos Islands themselves. And though there are tales in years past of backpackers negotiating with captains of cargo ships to hitch a ride to the Islands, this shouldn’t be considered a viable, or even legal way to get to Galapagos.
Galapagos airports and airlines
There are two Galapagos airports that you can use when traveling from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos.
The first is Isla Baltra (GPS) and the second is Isla San Cristobal (SCY). Your Galapagos itinerary usually dictates which one you’ll need to fly into and out of. Some cruise itineraries fly into one airport, then out of the other airport, so check your itinerary carefully.The airport at Isla Baltra is new as of 2013 and is touted to be the world’s most ecological airport.
The airlines TAME, LATAM, and Avianca run multiple daily flights from mainland Ecuador (both Quito and Guayaquil) to both Galapagos airports and back.
Your Galapagos tour operator normally arranges flights, though they aren’t included in the sticker price
Tour operators generally arrange flights for their clients, and some absolutely require it, so you might end up avoiding this planning process altogether. Keep in mind that the costs aren’t normally reflected in the price of a tour.
Agencies and operators normally book large groups of tickets well in advance, so you’re much less likely to be closed out of a flight due to it’s being booked if you arrange through the agency, and it’s generally much less expensive than trying to book a flight online or from a travel agency in North America or Europe.
Controls and Park Fees
Given the fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos, the government has taken several measures to avoid conserve the Islands’ fragile ecology and the introduction of non-native species into the Galapagos, and yes, this includes humans.
After you check in at the airport in Quito or Guayaquil, and before you go through security and board the plane, you’ll have to go through a baggage screening process which checks for live animals, plants and seeds to avoid their transport to the islands. Once you’re in the air, the flight attendants will also spray the overhead bins with an insecticide to further reduce the chance of introducing insects.
Once at the airport in Galapagos, you’ll have to step on a wet mat which sterilizes the soles of your shoes. You’ll need to fill out a form and pay USD $10 for the Ingala Transit Card and the National Park Fee.
Galapagos National Park Fees
- Non-residents of Ecuador 12+ years, US $100
- Non-residents of Ecuador under 12 years, US $50
- Andean Community of Nations or Mercosur Nationals, non-residents of Ecuador 12+ years, US $50
- Andean Community of Nations or Mercosur Nationals, non-residents of Ecuador less than 12 years, US $25
- Tourists and foreign nationals residing in Ecuador, 12+ years (must show cedula), US $6
- Tourists and foreign nationals residing in Ecuador, under 12 years (must show cedula), US $3
- Students not living in Ecuador who are enrolled in Ecuadorian educational institutions
These fees are almost never included in the price of tours or cruises either.
Galapagos Flight Prices*
*Note: The price of the flight is not included in the price for the cruise on our Web site.
It is possible to take your private yacht to the Galapagos, but it is a very bureaucratic process and you can’t actually disembark at any of the National Park visitor sites using your own boat.
All Year Round
*For no show and changes on issued tickets a penalty will apply
*Note (subject to change, please confirm before booking your tour)
Galapagos Flights Times:
From Quito to the Galapagos Islands – subject to change without notice
|TAME||EQ193||Quito-Baltra||Monday to Sunday||09:00/11:30|
|TAME||EQ192||Baltra-Quito||Monday to Sunday||12:30/16:50|
|TAME||EQ193||Guayaquil-Baltra||Monday to Sunday||10:40/11:30|
|TAME||EQ192||Baltra-Guayaquil||Monday to Sunday||12:30/15:20|
|TAME||EQ195||Quito-Guayaquil-Santa Cruz||Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday||09:15-10:50-11:35|
|TAME||EQ194||Santa Cruz-Quito||Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday||12:30/16:45|
|TAME||Santa Cruz-Guayaquil||Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday||12:30/15:15|
|AVIANCA||AV1638||Guayaquil-Baltra||Saturday & Sunday||09:50/10:49|
|LATAM||Tuesday & Sunday||12:15/13:10|
|LATAM||Tuesday & Sunday||13:45/16:35|
In addition there is a $100 national park fee to be paid by cash only upon arrival on the Islands and a US$ 10 Galapagos entrance card for control of population in the islands
Note 1: All flights, ground transportation, National Park fees (US$110), taxes, and tips are not included in the basic tour prices listed with each boat.
Note 2: All flight times are local time. Mainland Ecuador (Quito and Guayaquil) is GMT -5 hours. The Galapagos Islands are GMT -6 hours. Neither Mainland Ecuador nor the Galapagos Islands change their clocks for Daylight Savings (because they are on the equator). This means that Quito and Guayaquil in the summer months are one hour ahead of Eastern time and in the winter months they are the same time as Eastern Time. In the summer months, the Galapagos Islands are the same time as Eastern Standard Time but in the winter months they are the same time as Central Standard Time.
Above All, Enjoy Your Trip – and Planning for it Too!
After brushing up on these important things to know when planning your flights to and from the Galapagos Islands, you should be able to tailor your travel to best suit your needs and goals for your trip. Remember to get started on your research early so that you can get your top choices for cruises, hotels and seats on the flights that fit into your plans best.
Feel free to contact us with additional questions regarding booking your Galapagos Islands flights. or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your approximate travel dates, and we’ll happily assist you with flight reservations, questions or anything you need to plan your trip.
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