What to pack for Galápagos Islands

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Packing list part II

    by Dabs Updated Jun 24, 2014

    Luggage and bags: Bring a small daypack for hiking on the islands to carry water, hats, sunscreen, etc.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Hats-brought both a baseball cap and a hat that tied under my chin, used both

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Our ship had a small 1st aid kit but if you think you'll need it bring it. That includes seasickness tablets or patches if you are prone to it, pain relievers, bandaids, antacids, Immodium and whatever else you routinely need. There's no place to buy it once you are on the ship.

    Sunscreen, you are on the equator, the sun is blazing. Bring enough to reapply several times a day.

    The less frilly the boat, the more likely you will need all of the toiletries you use at home, we had soap and shampoo in a wall dispenser

    Insect repellent? We didn't need it but some people have reported having to use it.

    Photo Equipment: I took about 1500 photos with my two cameras and had plenty of memory left but if you take a lot of photos, you will take A LOT here. A spare battery might also be useful if prone to excessive photo taking. I didn't need a converter, the plugs on the ship were the same as US plugs

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: While some of the people on our ship snorkeled without wetsuits, I liked wearing one mainly because of the extra sun protection for my back. If you don't own one, check with the ship and make sure they have them for use or rent. Some of the other people on board had swim shirts, long sleeved swimsuit material, I may see if I can find one before my next warm snorkeling trip

    Mask and snorkel, I prefer to use my own, our ship had them at no extra charge

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Galapagos packing list

    by Dabs Updated Jun 24, 2014

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: We traveled in late May which is the end of the rainy season, beginning of the cooler drier weather. I wore shorts every day and a short sleeved shirt, bring a couple of extras because you do get smelly and sweaty if off hiking. Most of the women on our boat wore tank tops but I preferred the short sleeves for a little more sun protection. In the evening, you may want to pack a pair of long pants and one long sleeved shirt or sweater in case it cools down or you want to sit up on deck

    Shoes-a lot was made of wet landings but you can always pack your shoes in your backpack and put them on once on dry land. After my mishap on the lava, I'd never recommend open toed sandals, in fact most days I would have worn tennis shoes although people got a lot of use out of the closed toe Tevas and Keens

    Raincoat? I packed one but didn't use it, even if it had rained, I wouldn't have put it on because of the heat. Rainy season, might be a good idea to have.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Our ship had a small 1st aid kit but if you think you'll need it bring it. That includes seasickness tablets or patches if you are prone to it, pain relievers, bandaids, antacids, Immodium and whatever else you routinely need. There's no place to buy it once you are on the ship.

    Sunscreen, you are on the equator, the sun is blazing. Bring enough to reapply several times a day.

    The less frilly the boat, the more likely you will need all of the toiletries you use at home, we had soap and shampoo in a wall dispenser

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  • miniexplorer's Profile Photo

    Pack light

    by miniexplorer Written Jul 6, 2013

    Luggage and bags: Just one luggage is fine and one carry-on. But if you're carrying a DSLR camera just use your camera bag as your carry-on and put your documents/travel itinerary etc. The reason I'm saying this is because when you're hiking and walking from airport gate to gate and from boat to land it can get cumbersome.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Despite my initial thought that I'll be changing many shirts and shorts because of the hot and humid weather. I didn't. I would bring at least 7 shirts and just 2 or 3 pairs of shorts and 1 long pants. I don't recommend jeans. You'll be super hot. Even shorts, I'd go with khakis. Even better, if you have pants that can zip off at the knee to become shorts. Then you'll carry less. As for shoes, invest in "WATER SHOES" so helpful for the wet landings. This way your feet don't get hurt if there are sharp objects in the sand. Also a good rain jacket helps. Get one that can roll up.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Yeah, bring all your toiletries from home. Especially shampoo and body wash. Also bring small packs of tissue with you. Some public washrooms may not have toilet paper. Also, bring anti-histamines in case of any allergies to mosquitoes bites or new foods you might try. You should also consider bringing a small first aid kit, because some of the hikes are on lava rocks and you can get cut by accident or scraped.

    Photo Equipment: DSLR or just a point and shoot is fine. If you don't mind carrying a tripod I would bring one too. Also, a good telephoto lens. Since some animals are far away.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I would bring 2 bathing suites so that you can wash one and wear one.

    Miscellaneous: If you have your own snorkel gear I would bring it.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Photography
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    What to bring?

    by toonsarah Updated Dec 10, 2012

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    Luggage and bags: There are weight restrictions on flights from the mainland, so check before you travel. Most Quito hotels will let you store baggage there so you can take only what you will need on the islands, but as we were touring elsewhere in Ecuador immediately before the cruise that was of less use to us, though we did leave in Quito everything we had already dirtied by that point, and a change of clean clothes for our final day there and journey home. The general advice is to take soft bags as you will need to store your bags in your (small) cabin but we used our usual hard ones (we prefer these when flying as they are more robust) and managed to fit them in a corner quite easily. You’ll also want a day bag for landings, and one you can carry on your back is best as you’ll be climbing in and out of dinghies. Make sure it’s waterproof if you think there’s any risk you’ll drop it in the sea on wet landings, or bring a plastic bag for your camera within it perhaps.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: It can be cooler than you might expect of a place right on the Equator. If visiting in the cool dry season you'll find a light fleece or similar useful for evenings. Otherwise cotton layers are fine, and either trousers with zips to convert to shorts, or one or two pairs of the latter, for wet landings.

    Some recommend waterproof sandals for wet landings, but we found that wading ashore and putting on trainers was better. The shores where these wet landings are needed are all sandy rather than rocky, so bare feet are fine, and trails can be gritty or have sharp rocks, so enclosed toes are best. I only wore sandals once, and regretted having taken them! We did think though that a small towel for drying our feet once on shore would have been useful. And take separate shoes for on board, as landing shoes have to be stowed in the lockers provided there. Most of us went barefoot during the day, and some in the evening, but I mostly opted to put on a pair of light sand shoes that I’d taken for the purpose.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: It should go without saying that you should take everything you need on board. You may get the chance to shop in Puerto Ayora or another small town, but this may not be until well into the trip, and you can’t count on specific items being available. Pack any medication that you need to take regularly, and include seasickness pills and/or wristbands. Be sure to take plenty of sunscreen as the sea reflects the rays and you will burn more easily than on land, even on a hazy day. Even in the so-called wet season there will be plenty of sunny breaks between the showers, and travelling in the cool misty garua season we also saw plenty of sun. We didn’t have any problems with biting insects but there may be more in the wet season, so pack bite cream and repellent. On the cheaper boats you will need to bring shower gel etc – I’m not sure if the top-end boats provide more on these lines however.

    Photo Equipment: You will take a lot of photos! Even if you think you are not a keen photographer, even if normally you only take a few a day ... here it is different. Yes you have a hundred photos of cute sea lion pups, but just maybe, this one is even cuter ;-) And yes, you have lots of photos of Blue-footed Boobies, but this one’s feet are brighter, or there’s a chick or an egg on the nest, or he’s closer, or ..., or ..., or ... So bring plenty of memory cards, and/or a computer to download onto. And be sure to carry spare memory with you when you go on shore – it’s no use to you in the cabin when a great photo opportunity arises. The same goes for batteries – take extra batteries to carry with you even if yours are rechargeable. You can recharge them back on the boat, but you won’t want your camera to run out of power while you're on an island, and you may spend hours on a nature trail before you can get back on board to recharge.

    Miscellaneous: Although you can get pretty close to the wildlife, binoculars may also be useful at times, as some of the birds are a little more elusive.

    Make sure you have a hat that protects you from the sun – one with ties is more practical, especially for dinghy rides and transfers to the landing sites.

    I had been having a few problems with a dodgy knee before the trip so took my trekking pole and found it invaluable, especially for the longer and rockier island trails such as Genovesa and Española. If you have any concerns about walking on rough ground I really recommend you take one and get used to adjusting it and walking with it in advance if possible.

    A water bottle would be useful too, though on the Angelito we were given a bottle of water as a “starter” and then refilled that as needed from the on-board water dispenser.

    Finally, although snorkelling equipment is provided on all but the cheapest boats, if you’re keen and have your own you might want to bring that with you – though I found that on the Angelito more than adequate for my limited forays into the sea. If travelling in the cool dry season you will also almost certainly want to wear a wetsuit – again, these are available on the boats, usually at a small charge ($25 for the week on the Angelito), but it you have your own do bring it as you’ll be sure of a perfect fit.

    Next tip: ”Flying to Baltra”

    (photo by Ryan)
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Cruise

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  • DennyP's Profile Photo

    MAKE SURE YOUR CAMERA BATTERIES ARE FULLY CHARGED

    by DennyP Updated Nov 4, 2011

    Luggage and bags: I usually carry a little backpack that carries my camera gear and neccesary daily toilet items .
    Never be without bottled fresh water. OR
    A good reliable insect and mosquito repellant

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: A good pair of hiking boots/shoes is a must here as you will do a lot of walking and climbing.
    I ALWAYS carry with me a small compact poncho that can cover me and my small backpack, as rainstorms are so unpredictable in the tropics

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I carry a small packet of wet ones mainly for the heat.
    A small packet of tissues in case you have to go.
    A tube of lip balm
    A tube of sunscreen
    A tube of moisturiser as the sun can be very severe here on the Equator
    A couple of band aid strips

    Photo Equipment: When travelling through these Islands make sure that everynight to charge your digital camera batteries. that way, everyday when you set out you will be able to take full advantage of the photo opportunities that are on offer everywhere here that you look.
    I always carry an international powerpoint adaptor and a spare photo card

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: A good wide brimmed hat
    A good pair of sunglasses

    Miscellaneous: ALWAYS carry a torch ..preferably one that is self charging so your batteries don't let you down..

    DIGITAL CAMERA BATTERY CHARGER AND INT.POWERPOINT A RELIABLE INSECT AND MOSQUITOE REPELLANT & USE IT NECCESARY TOILETRIES THAT I ALWAYS CARRY A RELIABLE COMPACT PONCHO A SMALL RELIABLE TORCH
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Backpacking
    • Photography

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  • ddbleu's Profile Photo

    Don't get seasick

    by ddbleu Updated Jul 9, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Backpack for day hikes

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Sun hat, thongs for the boat, lightweight hiking shoes. You really don't need Keens. We were there the end of May and first couple of days in June. Sunny and warm every day. Shorts or skorts, good sunglasses. Light jacket or sweatshirt. It never really got cold, even at night. We brought ponchos in case it rained but we didn't need them.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bonine is a great over the counter med to prevent seasickness. I took it before I got on the boat, and every morning after. No side effects at all. The first couple of nights were really rough and I was glad I had taken it. Motrin/Advil for sore muscles - you will hike and swim a lot. If you like having a wash cloth, bring one because none of the hotels and boats have them. Cortisone cream is good to take along. We didn't have any problem with insects.

    Photo Equipment: REI makes a reloadable underwater camera that takes 35mm film. I got a few good photos with it. It is about $15. Some people had underwater digital cameras but it's a pretty big expense. Also, make sure your digital camera has a really good telefoto. I took a Canon PowerShot SX110 and it was perfect. Charger for your camera batteries. They had electricity on the boat, same voltage as the U.S. No adapter needed.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Insulated water bottle, backpack, shortie wetsuit or rash guard. If you have your own mask, bring it. That way you know you'll have a good fit.

    Miscellaneous: Alarm clock, breakfast is at 7 every morning. Cash, small bills come in handy. They use U.S. dollars throughout Ecuador.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • ddbleu's Profile Photo

    Footwear

    by ddbleu Written Jul 9, 2009

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: I brought Keens which I really didn't need. They are heavy and I had to pack them around with me when I went on to Peru. For the wet landings, people took off their shoes and just waded to shore. It was smooth and sandy and people didn't want to wear wet Keens for the hike. The hiking trails on the islands are sandy and rocky so closed shoes are better. You just need thongs for on the boat, and a good pair of lightweight walking shoes like the Salomons that are shown in the photo.

    The only two pair of shoes you need for the Galapa

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  • Don't forget the bug spray!!

    by winkd2 Written Apr 26, 2009

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Although you won't need it for all the islands, some beaches and trails do have annoyinh flies that bite...so bring the DEET!!! Also, remember to bring a high number SPF Sunscreen, since the sun is so strong. Reapply often.

    Photo Equipment: An underwater camera is a great idea also!

    Miscellaneous: Thanks! We just returned from the islands and had a fantastic trip on La Pinta. The ship and crew were amazing! The water was indeed warm enough to go into without wet suits and the wildlife was incredible.

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  • kathymof's Profile Photo

    My thoughts on what to take

    by kathymof Updated Jul 27, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Soft-sided luggage and as little as possible. There is not a whole lot of storage space in most rooms on the boats and soft-sided is easier to fit into small, odd-shaped places. Check to see if there is a size or weight limit for your particular cruise.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: 2 to 3 pairs of shoes/sandals are needed. A good pair of light hikers/walkers for hiking on the rocky paths - give your ankles some needed support. A sport sandal with toe protection & heel strap, such as Keen, could take the place of hiking shoes & is good on wet landings. Another pair of sandals is needed for the boat because you are not allowed to wear your land shoes on the boat. This prevents messing the boat up with sea lion poop but also stops tracking seeds from island to island. A breathable sun hat with a brim that covers the face, ears & back of neck is handy. The sun is intense! A long sleeve shirt is helpful with the sun. A light rain coat is essential. Take all the usual shorts, long pants, t-shirts. I recommend tech fabrics like CoolMax as they dry so quickly and are easy to wash out. Cotton pretty much gets wet and stays wet. Sun glasses are a must and not those skimpy, fashionable ones - bring something that will actually protect your eyes.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: All the usual stuff but if you are prone to being sea sick you will get sea sick the first day on the boat. I can almost guarantee this even if you take meds like I did. People with the sea sick patch did seem to do better than those of us taking pills. I found that the powdered Gatorade I took with me was a miracle at getting rid of the shakes after being sea sick. Highly recommend taking some type of electrolyte replacement with you and Gatorade is my favorite. It also works well if you get overheated with shaking/nausea. Take sun screen too. We were all advised to take bug repellent but I hardly saw a bug the whole time.

    Photo Equipment: Take some type of water-proof pouch for your photo equipment. This doesn't have to be high end - just something to protect your equipment if you slip or get drenched on a wet landing or it starts raining. I used a "Sea to Summit" bag and was very happy with it. Take about three to four times more film or memory card capacity than you planned on. You won't be able to resist taking pictures of the sea lions, even though you already took at least a hundred. Field glasses/binoculars are really handy to have as well. Take cables for connecting your camera to a TV set - that way you can share your day's pics with others on the boat.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: The water temperature around the islands varies greatly. We were snorkeling and most people were comfortable enough but a few said they were getting cold after 30 minutes. Most divers bring a wet suit. The gear aboard the boats may not fit or there may not be enough so if you have your heart set on this, bring your own. We were there during the cold Humboldt current but it wasn't that bad where we went - other islands may be much colder.

    Miscellaneous: I highly recommend a walking staff or trekking pole. It can be hard to balance on the trails where you are stepping from one rock to another. I found that my rubber tip worked much better than the sharp tip which had no grip what-so-ever on the rocks. Our boat had a few walking staffs but they were in bad condition after being abused by people. It is best to take your own - no sense in having a pole that collapses on you when you want it to support you. Most boats have great libraries so there is no need to haul your own field guides, unless you want to.

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  • elsadran's Profile Photo

    the sun is hot, the sea is cold...

    by elsadran Written May 29, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Average temperatures are 24C between July and November and 28C October to June. So bring the appropriate clothes. A light waterproof jacket might be necessary in the rainy season.
    The sun is very strong even in cloudy days, so a hat and sunscreen is absolutely necessary.
    Light long trousers and shorts or capri.
    You will need walking shoes such as tennis shoes because you will be walking on rocks, or hard lava rocks. Bathing suit. Wet suit. Snorkeling equipment except if you are in a cruise. Sun glasses. Camera and a lot of films or an extra card. Seasickness medication if you get seasick.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Road Trip

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    go wide, go long

    by richiecdisc Written Apr 1, 2008

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    Luggage and bags: A backpack comes in handy if you want to walk from the dock to town in places like Villamil, Isabella. In general, it frees you up and you don't have to depend on a ride. If you can't carry it on your back, don't bring it. ;)

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: You'll need layers in the Galapagos. The weather changes without much warning. It can be hot one minute and cold the next. And wet too so bring rain gear. Good walking shoes are a must and good walking sandals maybe even more so for doing the rocky bits that seem to surround many of the nicest watering holes.

    Photo Equipment: A wide angle lets you capture to big expanses that are the Galapagos archipelago hallmark. While the wildlife does come up close and you can get good shots without one, a good zoom is the difference between close and in that baby's head.

    back off, bub
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    • Backpacking
    • Photography

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  • The water here is COOOOOOOLD!

    by zoechance Written Sep 21, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: It's worth bringing your own snorkel gear whether you're snorkeling or diving. The gear on the ships (both cruise ships and dive ships) isn't warm enough for the Humboldt current and isn't stocked in enough sizes to take care of everyone. Bring a mask, booties, fins, a hood, and a warm dive shirt. If you want to bring a full wetsuit, bring 5mm for snorkeling or 7mm for diving. The water is coooooooold during the dry season, but you'll see more animals.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Beaches

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  • cybergenic's Profile Photo

    Some boats have electricity some don´t

    by cybergenic Updated Dec 12, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Medium sized weather proof backpack

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: board shorts, tshirts, waterproof sandals, walking shoes, sunglasses, wind cheater

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sea sickness pills, lots of sun cream 30+ Toilet Paper, soap, good water proof bandages (not bandaids)

    Photo Equipment: heaps of batteries especially if your digital. Some boats have 12V power and some have 110V The boat with 110V power outlets made recharging easy

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Sun hat, torch, wetsuit

    Miscellaneous: Take your own alcohol from Ecuador as it costs a bit more on the Islands and even more on the boat. The boat i was on was charging US$2 per small lite beer.
    There is a fairly well stocked bottle shop on the wharf where most of the tours depart from.

    anyone seen my body?
    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Backpacking
    • Cruise

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  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo

    Take it or do without

    by easterntrekker Written Oct 7, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Pack as light as possible , back packs are the best for storing in your cabin.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Make sure you take good footwear . The terrain is often very rough and you need water sandels for those wet landings. We had one person on our boat whose hiking boots came apart . We taped them up withduck tape but it was rough going. Yoo need a sun hat , a light long sleaved shirts are best ( you can always roll them up , long pants , and one pair short pants, bathing suit, water proof jacket and a fleece. Wet suit . The waters are cold. ( our boat provided them ) Leave your formal wear home!!

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Anything you need. There are no pharmacies!! Sea sick pills, head ache pills.

    Photo Equipment: lots of digital memory. We could recharge the batteries on board.

    Our motley group
    Related to:
    • Cruise
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Birdwatching

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  • nattybabe's Profile Photo

    Wetsuits are a very handy item!!

    by nattybabe Written Sep 4, 2006

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Wetsuits are definitely in order if you are going in the “Summer” season (April – Nov). I believe that you can get them in the islands but if you are starting a package tour starting on the mainland you won’t have time to hire one as you usually go straight to your boat to start cruising. Ours were organised from Quito and we paid US$30 for 8 days. They were waiting on the boat when we arrive. Well worth the expense as the water is freezing at that time of year!!

    Related to:
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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Galápagos Islands Hotels

  • Finch Bay Eco Hotel

    Barrio Punta Estrada S/N, Puerto Ayora, 00000, Ecuador

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

  • Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge

    Puerto Villamil, Isabela Galapagos Islands, , Ecuador

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

    Hotel Class 3 out of 5 stars

  • Hostal Casa de Laura

    Before coming to San Cristóbal I had read in my guidebook about Hostal Casa de Laura and it seemed...

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Comments (1)

  • jmhultin's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    A simple pointer - upon checking our bags for every flight in SA, the authorities sealed our checked baggage with a heavy plasitc band. When we arrived at our lodgings, those bands are difficult to remove, and any knives or scissors we carried were inside the suitcase. We finally learned to pack a knive in one of the outside zippered compartments of the suitcase.

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