This trip originates in San Cristobal Island, Ecuador (SCY). There are flights from Guayaquil (GYE) and Quito (UIO). You can search routes to Guayaquil and Quito from your departure city here:


The U.S. dollar has been the official currency of Ecuador since 2000.

Local merchants will usually not take US dollars with tears (even very small rips on the corners, ask your bank for new bills) and bills over $50.00. Bring small denominations of US dollars for shopping and tipping.

Don’t forget that you will need to pay a $20 TCT (also called INGALA) fee, in the Quito airport, and a $100 park fee, in the Galapagos airport. You will need cash for both of these.


To enter Ecuador you must have a valid passport with at least 6 months of validity remaining. You do not need a visa for stays under 90 days. Please make sure you email yourself a copy of your passport and also bring a printed copy for your records in case you lose your document.

When you arrive into Quito or Guayaquil you will need to purchase a $20 USD TCT card at either of those airports or register online before heading to the Galapagos. If you choose to purchase at those airports you need to look for a sign that reads CONSEJO DE GOBIERNO GALAPAGOS. Once you pay for the $20 card, you will have your luggage scanned. It is forbidden to bring anything organic on the island ( fruits, seeds..).
Online TCT Card
It might seem like a daunting process to file for the TCT, but it will only take a few moments if
you follow this procedure for each traveler:
1) Once you have your itinerary, go to
2) Select your language as English, choose “Passport” as the form of identification, and enter
your passport number.
3) On the next three pages, enter the information to the best of your ability about yourself, your
airfare & lodging plans, and the purpose of travel.
4) Confirm that all of the information is correct. Click “Accept.”

At this point, you will have successfully filed for your Transit Control Card, but you’re not quite done. The last (and most important) step is to go to the Governing Council of Galapagos counter at the airport in Guayaquil or Quito prior to your departure to the Galapagos Islands and pick up the Transit Control Card. You will have to present your ID (your passport) and pay $20 cash per person.
Make sure to arrive to the airport of departure with plenty of time to take care of this. The agents there will speak English to assist you in the process.

$100 National Park Fee
Once you arrive into San Cristobal you will immediately pay the National Park fee of $100 per person. BOTH THESE FEES HAVE TO BE PAID CASH ONLY. There is an ATM in Quito airport, but not at San Cristobal airport. Please make sure that your bills are not torn.

Here is a helpful video showing you what to look for at the airports on the mainland and other useful information-


As throughout the rest of Ecuador, the standard electricity supply in Galapagos operates at 100v AC, 60Hz, using flat 2 pin plugs. This is the same supply voltage and plug type found in the USA, so American visitors won’t normally require an adapter.

Traveling to the Galapagos almost demands that you unplug from the rest of the world. Most US phone companies do not have phone coverage in the Galapagos Islands. If you must have phone service we recommend you purchase a sim card in Quito or Guayaquil using the Claro network. Consider internet based phone options like Skype or FaceTime to chat with friends and family. We will have access to the Internet on most of the islands, but do not expect super fast speeds. You will not be able to stream movies. Please do not forget to bring your chargers and consider a waterproof phone cover or camera to photo/video the amazing marine life you will see.


Before your trip, a Happy Ambassador will reach out to you about tipping our local guides. Plan to budget at least $100.00. Happy Ambassadors are already compensated, the tip money will go to local guides.


There is one thing in common with all Ecuador destinations: an intense Equatorial sun. You may not feel hot but you will get burned unless you lather up or cover up properly. Bring a high SPF block, sunglasses and a hat. Temperatures will be between 75-80 degrees during the day and low 70’s in the evening. We advise each guest to only carry one bag and one small backpack for this trip. We will travel by plane to another island on this trip and you will be charged extra for excess baggage weight so pack light. Clothes can be washed during our stays and you may also consider donating your clothes to locals leaving more room in your bag to take back local handmade items/ souvenirs. T-shirts, shorts, comfortable walking shoes, waterproof sandals, socks, sun dresses, light sweater, and a rain poncho are the recommended attire. I highly recommend a long sleeve rash guard for swimming activities. When visiting the tortoises your shoes may get very muddy so consider a waterproof Teva style shoe or sandal. Masks, snorkels, fins and wetsuits are provided for our planned water tours. If you are a diver we recommend you leave your gear at home and rent your equipment on the island.


While the islands may be isolated, you won’t suffer when it comes to offerings of delicious gourmet dishes. The Galápagos Islands chefs pull from local ingredients while also keeping their Ecuadorian culture intact. As a result, restaurants located on the islands can provide gastronomic experiences from the high-end to the casual.
Naturally, many of the dishes served on the islands revolve around the abundance of fresh seafood, or fruits of the sea, without endangering any of the species found there. You’ll also find traditional Ecuadorian meals of meat, potatoes, and rice, as well as exotic fruits grown on the islands.
Consider trying these spectacular dishes that the Galápagos Islands are known for: langostino encocado (lobster cooked in coconut milk); arroz marinero (seafood rice); canchalagua ceviche (a type of mollusk endemic to the islands); sopa marinera (seafood soup); sopa biche (a soupy dish of corvina, a firm, white fish with a sweet, mild taste, prepared with peanuts, onions, corn, yucca, plantains, and cilantro); encebollado (thick fish-based soup consisting of boiled cassava, albacore tuna, onions, tomato, pepper, and coriander); seco (slow cooked, flavorful meat served over rice with avocado slices and fried plantains on the side); arroz con menestras (vegetarian dish that resembles a lentil stew); and bolon de verde (breakfast dumplings consisting of cheese and meat encased in mashed plantains).


You will need to purchase your flights to/from the mainland. You will fly to San Cristobal Island (SCY) to begin the trip and depart from Baltra Island (GPS) (be sure not to book a flight before 11am). Airlines servicing San Cristobal and Baltra are Avianca and Latam.
Transportation on the islands (except for your free time) is included. Crime isn’t really a problem in the Galapagos. As always, keep your valuables and passport in a secure place.


Penguins and dolphins, sea lions and iguanas, tropical birds and giant tortoises—this bizarre collection of species comes together in a single destination on the equator. You can walk right up to most of them and look them in the eye. There aren’t many places in the world where you can swim alongside a family of sea lions. The Galapagos Islands are one of those places, and so it’s no surprise that these islands, 600 mi/970 km off the coast of Ecuador, are so special. Their remoteness from other landmasses and the absence of human settlements until the past century allowed their animal inhabitants to live with little fear of predators. As a result, the islands have an abundance of animals, birds and reptiles that are easily viewed, with or without binoculars.

The islands are best known as the home of giant tortoises that can weigh as much as 600 lb/ 272 kg and live 150 years. But you’ll also see marine iguanas (they resemble small dragons and are the only seagoing lizards in the world), scarlet-breasted frigate birds; blue-footed, redfooted, masked and Nazca boobies; tiny penguins at home in the tropics; and giant, graceful albatrosses. About half of the species are endemic to the islands, found nowhere else on Earth. Volcanic in origin, the archipelago has 13 large (and scores of lesser) islands whose terrain is mostly stark and barren, consisting primarily of a lava rock- and cacti-filled landscape hosted by an arid climate. However, the highlands of the larger islands are dominated by cloud forests, with lush vegetation and cooler temperatures. The islands themselves are interesting geologically, although most people go to see their rare fauna and flora.

One of the most famous visitors was Charles Darwin, whose five-week stay in 1835 led him to note that some species of birds had changed both physically and behaviorally as a result of their environment, and over time evolved into distinct species. His famous book The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859) and the theory of evolution were influenced greatly by what he saw there.

Because the Galapagos Archipelago is so far from other landmasses, the islands were ignored by humans for centuries. Tomas de Berlanga, a bishop of Panama en route to Peru, wrote the first account of the islands in 1535, telling the king of Spain he’d seen tortoises big enough to carry a man. His tales put the islands on the map. European rivals of Spain, including British pirates, used the islands as a refuge in the 16th and 17th centuries in their attacks on the Spanish colonies in South America. Whalers also began using the islands in the late 1700s, where they, too, hunted tortoises and birds for food and seals for fur.
Years of human destruction of Galapagos fauna left fur seals nearly extinct and approximately 200,000 tortoises dead. At various times, sailors released goats onto some of the islands; this provided meat to passing ships but led to the elimination of many native Galapagos plants. Today, the tortoises, seals and other Galapagos animals are highly protected, but the eradication of goats is still in progress.

The islands’ first known resident was Patrick Watkins, an Irish castaway who arrived on the island of Floreana in 1807. Watkins didn’t stay long, only eight years, nor did many others, until Darwin arrived on the HMSBeagle in 1835. Darwin’s writings about evolution stimulated interest in the islands among scientists, as well as among wealthy explorers and several groups of eccentrics.
Ecuador, which claimed the islands in 1832, officially designated about 97% of the islands a national park in 1959 to protect them from development. In 1978, UNESCO made the islands a World Heritage site. The Galapagos Marine Reserve was created in 1998, the world’s second largest after the Great Barrier Reef. Approximately 160,000 people visit the islands each year. The islands’ growing popularity as an ecotourism destination has created its own set of problems, however. Since the 1970s, population growth on the islands has increased by 6.2% each year as the result of births and immigration. About 25,000 people, many of them impoverished Ecuadorians, now live on the islands. Many have moved there seeking a better life and jobs, at first in fishing but now in tourism. Along with them have come nonnative animals and plants that are altering the unique heritage of the islands.

In March 2007, the same year the World Heritage Committee added Galapagos to UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites in Danger, the Ecuadorian government signed a national decree putting the islands’ management as a top priority, favoring its conservation and protection. Legislation to protect the Galapagos’ fragile ecosystem is now in place. As of 2012, no vessel is permitted to visit the same site more than once in a given 14-day period. The hope is that this will keep visitor traffic dispersed throughout the islands and prevent some of the more threatened areas from becoming too crowded.