Galapagos Travel Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much is the national park entrance fee?
The current cost to enter the Galapagos National Park is US$100 per person
Children under 12 years old have a 50% discount ($50)
* this entrance fee is subject to change under the national park policies
A $20 per person Transit Control Card (INGALA) fee is mandatory as a permission to enter The Galapagos Islands.
3. Where do I pay these fees ?
National Park Entrance Fee: upon arrival at the airport in Galapagos as you pass through immigration
Transit Control Card (INGALA): payable at Quito or Guayaquil airports
Currently, only US dollars cash payments are accepted
To many organizations involved in the conservation and protection of the Galapagos Islands divided as follows: Galapagos National Park 40%, Galapagos municipal council 20%, Provincial government 10%, INEFAN 10%, Marine Reserve 5%, INGALA 5%, Provincial inspection system 5%, Ecuadorian navy 5%.
The transit control card fee goes to INGALA, the institution in charge to control migration to the islands
- No plant, animal or other natural objects (including shells, bones, pieces of wood) should be removed or disturbed.
- Do not transport any live material to the islands, or from island to island.
- Do not take any food to the uninhabited islands.
- Do not touch or handle the animals.
- Do not feed the animals.
- Do not startle or chase any animal from its nesting spot.
- Remain within the marked paths and designated visitor areas.
- Do not leave any litter on the islands or throw litter from your boat.
- Do not buy souvenirs made of plants or animals.
- Do not access visitor points unless accompanied by a licensed naturalist national park guide.
- Minimize any negative impact from your stay.
- If you observe other tourists disobeying any of these, inform your guide immediately.
remember leave no more than your foot prints when visiting Galapagos
1.Which boat categories are available?
Based on our experience, we have divided the boats navigating the Galapagos Archipelago in the following categories
- Luxury / Deluxe Class
- First Class
- Tourist Superior Class
- Tourist / Budget Class
Please note that we follow each boat operator/owner boat classification; nevertheless we also take into consideration past client recommendations and feedback in order to offer the most fair and informative Galapagos boat category to our clients.
2.Which types of cabins(rooms) are available on Galapagos boats?
Accommodations on each boat will widely vary according to Category ; please refer to our individual cruise pages on our website for the most asserted information.
3.What on-board services do the boats offer?
Services will also be influence by boat category; please refer to our individual cruise pages on our website for the most asserted information.
4.I’m a solo traveler – should I share a room with a stranger or pay a single supplement?
In reality you can opt for either of the above. If you are willing to share your cabin with a stranger then there will be no extra charge to the regular prices quoted on our website, besides most boat operator will always try to match you together with somebody of the same gender (although this is not 100% guaranteed). In the other hand if you prefer not to share your cabin with a stranger then paying a single supplement would be the best decision – inquire with us cost in each case, since it varies by boat but expect to pay between 60 and 100% extra.
5.What would be the best time to book my Galapagos cruise?
Galapagos cruises availability are limited all year round, as a result we recommend to plan and book as far ahead as possible. Especially if you planing a visit to the islands on July, August, Christmas, New Year or Easter, this are consider very high season times and spaces are usually fully-booked at least with 6 months in advance.
6.When is high season at Galapagos?
Galapagos is a year round high season destination,however in terms of most popular months and highest volume of visitors , July, August, Easter, Christmas and New Year, could be consider the highest season in the islands.
7.When are last minute deals available?
Usually rates begin to fall 30 to 60 days before departure, and if spaces are still available then rates may fall further 8 days before cruise departures.
8. What is included / not included in my cruise rate?
- Transfer in/out (only on arrival and departure dates)
- Accommodation on-board ( twin-share basis)
- 3 meals per day from lunch on day1 to breakfast on final day
- All excursions according to the itinerary
- Bilingual (English- Spanish) naturalist guide
- Drinking water / tea / coffee
- Evening lectures
- Galapagos Air fare from mainland Ecuador
- National park entrance fee
- Transit control card (INGALA)
- 12% government taxes on cruise rate
- Fuel surcharges on cruise or flights, if required by the operator
- Tips to guide and crew
- Alcoholic Drinks
- Travel/Medical insurance
- Other personal expenses
- Snorkeling equipment & wet suit
9.What type of food is typically provided on a cruise?
Normally the food is varied with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken and fish/seafood, rice / pasta / potatoes. Expect some typical Ecuadorian dishes as well.
10.Can all special diet requests be met?
Yes, all Galapagos boat operators are prepared to cater for vegetarians as well as any type of food allergy.
10. How do I encounter my guide/boat upon arrival to Galapagos?
The guide/ boat representative will be waiting for you at the arrivals lobby of the airport; typically a sign with the name of the boat will be hold for easy recognition.
If you are already in Galapagos prior to the start of the cruise then , when will provide with a time an meeting point. Most of the time you will have to return to the airport in order to meet the rest of the group and begin the cruise.
10.Can my children/babies travel on a cruise?
Each yacht has it’s own policy for children/babies – we will be happy to recommend a suitable boat, if you are planning to travel with your young family
11.Do Galapagos boats have electricity points aboard?
Mostly depends upon which boat you are traveling on – modern boats feature US-style 2-prong 110V electricity points in each cabin, while the older ones will only have these points in the common areas.
12.What is the smoking policy on a Galapagos boat?
It depends on the boat, but typically smoking is prohibited in cabins and inside the boat. In some cases passengers may be able to smoke on deck but should be respectful of other non-smoking passengers.
13. What happens if my boat presents mechanical problems while cruising?
Mechanical problems do sometimes arise and may affect your cruise itinerary. Boat operators have the responsibility to find and replace your cruise with a boat of similar category. Our agency will always represent your case and negotiate the best possible solution on your behalf.
*Please be aware than in some cases it is simply not possible to do more than register a complaint with the boat operator and relevant authorities, in other more extreme cases we may be able to obtain a refund from the boat operator.
14. It is possible to avoid sea-sickness?
Yes, standard motion-sickness remedies (pills or patches) help to ease discomfort so this is a must for your packing list. Choosing a ship or catamaran, or selecting a land-based tour will highly eliminate sea sicknesses as well. Finally avoid to travel in August & Sept since marine currents are little more rougher, instead visit the islands between January and April when seas are generally calmer.
15. How much should I tip ?
Tips are at passengers’ discretion and consider a reward to staff for good service. Our suggested amounts are:
Guides: $ 10 per day/per person
Cruise crew: $ 10 per day
1. Can your agency book my Galapagos flight ?
Yes. boat cruises and flights are usually offered as a package by us, since this will not only allow us to reduce the final price of the trip but also to make sure you will arrive on time to board the boat. However if you prefer to book your own flights it is not a problem but please do let us know first so we can inform you of which airline / flight you need to be on.
*please be aware that with certain boats you (and we) will be obligated to issue the tickets directly with them as per their own booking policies
2. Is airport transfer included?
Yes. but only at Galapagos airports; in Quito and Guayaquil you are expected to make your own way to the airport.
Yes. you can fly out before your cruise begins and back after it finishes; but only subject to available space on the new date you would like to book. Our travel representatives can request the new flight date with the airline on your behalf.
Yes. just tell our travel representatives that you only need to book the flight and they will be happy to assist with that part of your trip, or book directly on our online reservation system
AVIANCA (locally operated by Aerogal)
Flights from mainland Ecuador arrive to two airports Baltra (Santa Cruz) and San Cristobal.
There is also a small airport on Isabela island which operate only locally for inter-island flights.
Route Foreign Passengers Quito – Galapagos – Quito 499,00 usd Quito – Galapagos – Guayaquil 479,00 usd Guayaquil – Galapagos – Quito 479,00 usd Guayaquil – Galapagos – Guayaquil 469,00 usd
*prices are subject to change without notice under airline polices
8. Is there a baggage weight restriction?
20kg in the cargo hold as well as a small item of hand luggage
9. How soon before departure should I check-in?
Galapagos flights are classified as domestic departures and are therefore subject to a 2 hour check-in time.
The Warm, Wet Season
The period between December and May is considered the “warm/wet season.” During this season, the Galapagos’ climate is more tropical with daily rain and cloudier skies. Also, the ocean temperature is warmer for swimming and snorkeling
On this season the tourists may observe a large number of species around the islands such as marine iguanas, sea turtle, land iguanas, flamingos, white-cheeked pintails, masked boobies, marine iguanas, albatross, and blue-footed boobies. Snorkeling is highly recommended during these months due to warmer water’s.
The Cooler, Dry Season
Between June to December the southern trade winds 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. Therefore, June to December is generally called the “cooler /dry season” which is known for its blue skies and mid-day showers.
On this season the tourists may observe a large number of species around the islands and in the sea such as giant tortoises, humpback whales, blue-footed boobies, cormorants, oyster catchers, lava lizards, Galapagos hawks, masked boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions, lava herons, brown noddies, and penguins. Due to the water temperature, it is the perfect time for diving.
1. How can I make a booking?
Simply send us an email specifying which tour/cruise you would like to book, travel dates, preferred flight route, and number of passengers, then we will confirm availability and finalize the booking for you.
Also provide us with the following information for each passenger:
- Full name (as written in passport)
- Passport number
- Date of birth
- Country of residence
- Email address
- Dietary requirements (normal / vegetarian / food allergies etc)
- Emergency contact name and phone number
2. What are the terms and conditions of my Galapagos booking?
Please refer to our terms & conditions link for a list of our booking conditions. If you have any questions or doubts about our payment/cancellation policies please contact our sales representatives.
3. I’ve just booked a tour, now what should I do?
First you will receive an email from us confirming that your tour/cruise has been successfully booked. Also we will indicate when you will receive a service voucher, which usually varies according to each tour/cruise operator, but most of the time is issue 15 days before the beginning of your trip.
1. Which payment methods are available ?
We accept the following payments:
* LOCAL ECUADOR BANK ACCOUNT – you can deposit cash into via any branch of Banco del Pichincha – this is the best option in order to avoid both banking charges and exchange rate costs if you are already in the country.
* USA BANK ACCOUNT – this option is certainly a very convenient way of avoiding exchange rate charges (especially if you have a USA bank based account). This is usually the quickest and easiest payment method. We consider this a complementary service and do not charge any handling fees like other local tour operators do.
* CREDIT CARD – it is possible to pay via PAY PAL, this is a quick and easy secure online payment method for cardholders. PAY PAL service fee is currently 5% and must be added to the final balance of your tour/cruise at the time of payment.
* CASH – we accept US$ cash in our Quito office, just stop by our office and ask for the sales representative name that is organizing your trip in order to collect the payment.
Be aware that all of our accounts are 100% SECURE and in the name of either Tripgalapagos or TripEcuador in the US. For your security we will never request a payment into an account registered under a personal name !
Last minute booking are usually made less than 2 weeks before your trip departure date.
If you are already in Quito then it is best to pay us in US$ cash in our office or via credit card online. However if you are overseas then online payment (PAY PAL) with credit card would be the only available option.
Generally speaking we require a 30% deposit at time of booking in order to confirm your reservation. Full payment is then due 60 days before your travel date.
Consult our full terms and conditions for further information.
4. Why can’t I pay directly with credit card like I can in USA/Europe?
Unfortunately Ecuador’s banking system is not as advanced as in USA or Europe. As a result is not possible for an Ecuadorian business to accept credit card details from a client over the phone / internet.
5. Do you accept travelers checks?
Unfortunately not at this time as travelers cheques are not wildly received in Ecuador.
Often the terms and conditions of the operators that we have to pay on your behalf are very strict, and a late payment can mean that your reservation is cancelled by the operator.
9. When will my payment be confirmed?
We send receipts out by email on the same day that we receive your transfer.