Packing for Galapagos can be a bit daunting. But one thing is consistent – it is always casual. Our list is comprehensive.
There is a per person weight limit of 44 pounds (20 kg) of luggage to the Galapagos Islands.
If you are staying at a hotel in Quito or traveling outside of the Galapagos Islands, you may want to consider arranging to leave non-Galapagos items at your hotel. It’s a good idea to have a small extra bag to fold into your regular luggage for this purpose and to accommodate anything you might buy and accumulate during your trip.
There is only one underlying guideline for clothing: Think casual! For traveling in the Galapagos clothing ranges from informal to very informal. Here are our comprehensive packing suggestions for land and cruise tours:
- Sneakers or walking shoes for dry landings and hiking on sand, lava, boulders and volcanic rock and compacted ash. Having an ample amount of tread is important. On the cruise ships, usually walking sticks are also available to help you with your balance.
- Waterproof shoes such as Tevas for wet landings on beaches. Shoes with toe protection are best because you also will use these on some of the rocky trails.
- Sandals or other casual shoes for evening on the boat or in town, although some passengers never put shoes on when they are on a the boat. The shoes you wear on the island visitor sites may not be worn on the boat because of cross contamination, so do plan on bringing an extra pair.
- Shorts for hiking and most wet landings. This is a subjective decision as some people like to avoid the sun completely by covering their legs as well. If you choose not to bring shorts, be sure that at least some of your long pants can roll up for when you do have a wet landing.
- At least one pair of light-weight pants. Sometimes the hikes will take you to areas that are buggy and you may want to cover your legs. Or, you may simply want to wear long pants for sun protection. If you are a person who prefers long sleeves and long pants, pack a few of each. You can rinse them out, but the boats don’t tend to have laundry service. Another thing – if you are going to Galapagos in the warm winter months (late December – early April) pack more than you will in the cooler summer months because your clothes will get wet because of the heat and humidity.
- Long sleeved and short sleeved lightweight shirts. Wicking shirts are the best. Many people pack only short sleeved shirts or tank tops and find that the sun on their arms is too much. It’s a good idea to prepare for this possibility.
- Bathing suits – some prefer two, one for swimming and one for under a wet suit.
- A wide-brimmed hat; consider one with U.V. protection.
- Wind breaker or light jacket for evenings and in case of rain.
- Casual clothing for evenings, such as shorts and shirts, sundresses or anything comfortable. Also a wrap or sweater for the cooler evenings when you want to go outside to look at the stars!
- Socks for your hiking shoes and sneakers and other personal items.
Other items on your packing list
- Sunscreen – pack plenty and never go anywhere without it
- Insect repellant
- Lightweight daypack or backpack. You will carry this each day of touring and hiking.
- Water bottle to put in your pack or one on a belt to wear around your waste for the times you aren’t carrying your pack
Snorkel and Scuba Gear
Bring your own wetsuit if you have it because then you will be assured a correct fit. If you don’t have your own, the cruise ships always provide for their guests and, for those staying at hotels, excellent products are available for rent in the towns on Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. I suggest that you bring your own goggles too, including prescription ones if you have them. Flippers will be provided and because they are a little more difficult to pack, even those guests who bring their own wetsuits opt to borrow these.
Taking beautiful and memorable photographs will be one of the highlights of your trip to the Galapagos Islands. Make sure you bring everything you personally need to memorialize your adventure.
- Extra memory cards
- Extra batteries
- Extra lenses. Zoom lenses are a wonderful asset
- Video camera or capability
- Underwater camera equipment, disposable or other
- Your iPad or tablet outfitted to download the great photos you take every day, though you will not have internet service
Medicine and Miscellaneous
- Sea sickness patches, ginger pills, medicine, wrist bands just in case
- Prescription glasses, both regular and sunglasses
- All personal items that will make your trip more comfortable