Trip Planning

Below are some question you might have as you prepare for your adventure in the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador. As you’re likely to have many more specific inquiries, don’t hesitate to speak with a one of the Outpost Outfitters working the Outpost Travel Desk. Contact us by email or by calling 1.800.513.5257

Q
What Travel Documents Do I Need?
A

You will require a valid Passport expiring 6 months beyond the date you plan to enter Ecuador. For complete and most current information on entry and visa requirements, click here.. There is a US Embassy in Quito and a US Consulate in Guayaquil where you can obtain a new passport should you lose yours while in the country.

In order to enter the Galapagos, you will need to purchase a an INGALA Transit Control Card (in Spanish, tarjeta de control de transito, or TCT) which is a separate Galapagos immigration card. These are purchased at the airport upon your departure to the Galapagos for $10/per person.

Finally, use your smart phone to take a photograph of your passport, just in case!

Q
Are there any special custom duties?
A

No. You will not be required to pay taxes or duties for your luggage, new or used articles that you will use during your trip, and portable items such as photo cameras, video camera, laptops, radios and MP3 players.

Q
What is the time zone?
A

Mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are on two different time zones. Time on the mainland is Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5). Time in the Galapagos Islands is Central Standard Time (GMT-6). Due to its location on the equator The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador have long 12 hour days year round. The sun rises around 6am and sets around 6pm.

Q
Do I need special plugs or converter to use the electrical outlets?
A

Electrical current in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is the same as in the United States and Canada 110v60hz. In the Galapagos, there are frequent black and brown outs. If you plan to leave electronic devices plugged in while you are out touring, its best to use a power surge protector.

Q
What is the language spoken in Galapagos?
A

Spanish is the official language of Ecuador although English is widely spoken in the major settlements.

Q
What is the local currency?
A

The United States Dollar is the official currency of Ecuador!

When traveling it is wise to make sure you bring a selection of small bills (for tipping). It is also a good idea to carry an amount of change with you since coins can be difficult to come by and if you do not have the coins needed the bill is frequently rounded up to the next dollar amount.

Q
Are credit cards accepted?
A

Credit Cards including American Express, Diner’s Club, Visa and Master Card are accepted in larger businesses although many businesses add a processing fee to transactions paid by credit card. It is best to ask if your card is accepted and the total amount of the transaction before making a purchase. The same follows with Traveler’s Checks, and American Express Traveler’s Checks are much more widely accepted than those issued by other institutions.

Q
Can I use my ATM card?
A

Yes, but check with your bank before leaving home as to bank names and locations participating in your ATM system. ATM machines dispensing Dollars are available at many banks in Ecuador and use Cirrus and Plus systems. ATM Machines in Ecuador typically limit the amount you are able to withdrawal in one day to $200 or $300 or per transaction. ATM machines can be expensive so bring ample cash with you so you do not run into problems by not being able to access funds.

Q
What is air service to Galapagos like?
A

There are no direct international flights to the Galapagos. All flights originate in either Quito or Guayaquil (Quito flights transit through Quayquil with passengers remaining on board) to either Baltra (Santa Cruz) or San Cristobal. Travelers to Isabela typically connect through Baltra. Flights are only in the morning, and generally depart around 0900 hours weekdays, and 1100 hrs on Friday and the weekends. Flight time on the Airbus 320 jet aircraft equipment used for the Galapagos is approximately 90 minutes, and return flights are scheduled generally several hours after arriving into the Galapagos. Round trip travel costs approximately $400-$500 per person depending on the season.

For more information, contact your travel agent or the Outpost Travel Desk at 1.800.513.5257

Q
Are vaccinations required for travel to Galapagos?
A

No vaccinations are required for entry into Ecuador or the Galapagos.

Q
What are the seasonal differences?
A

Many tour operators consider around April & May and September & October to be their low season months. During these periods, the tourism in the Galapagos decreases and (depending on the boat) many lower their prices at this time in order to attract more passengers on board.

From June to December, the southern tradewinds bring the colder Humboldt Current north to the Galapagos. This means that the water is cooler, and a layer of high atmosphere mist pervades the island skies. In effect, the highlands of the larger islands are kept green and lush, while the sea level islands and shorelines have little precipitation. Thus, June to December is generally called the “dry season”, known for its blue skies and mid-day showers.

The time period between December and May are considered the “warm season”. During this warmer season, the Galapagos’ climate is more tropical with daily rain and cloudier skies. The island birds are especially active during that season. Also, the ocean temperature is warmer for swimming and snorkeling. On the Galapagos Islands, you’ll always find the wildlife activity to be absolutely amazing and unique, no matter when you visit the islands.

Q
What is the current weather
A

To check out the current and forecast weather conditions in the Galapagos Islands, click here.

Q
What should I pack?
A

There is a weight restriction of 44 lbs. or 20 kg for flights to the Galapagos, and fees for excess baggage are sometimes enforced. Travelling light is essential, especially if you plan to travel around the islands on Emtebe Airlines, which uses an “Island Hopper” plane with limited cargo capacity. Sunscreen is a must, along with a wide brimmed or long billed hat and Polaroid sunglasses. Teva-style sandals are popular and versatile footwear, or a pair of sneakers for added support if you intend to do extensive hiking. You’re in the islands, on the equator and there are no dress codes to speak of. Days are warm, favoring shorts and short sleeve shirts. Evenings can bring a light chill, so a sweater, sweatshirt or wind breaker is good to have. For watersports, pack one or two swimsuits, preferably made of quick drying material, and consider throwing in your favorite mask and snorkel for convenience and comfort. Always carry a small dry bag or some zip lock bags to protect papers and electronic gear. And of course, don’t forget the camera equipment!!

Q
Should I buy Travel Insurance?
A

It’s not a bad idea. A good policy will include trip cancellation and interruption coverage, medical coverage – including coverage for emergency evacuation – as well as baggage loss protection. We recommend Travel Guard Sportsman’s Travel Insurance, America’s leading provider of travel insurance and assistance programs. For information on their travel policies, click here, or check such aggregator sites as Insuremytrip.com or Squaremouth.com.