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Galapagos Flights

Galapagos Flights2023-03-22T21:52:27+00:00

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 LATAM, Ecuair, 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 conserve the Islands’ fragile ecology and avoid 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<