how to get to the galapagos islands

Whether you’re cruising the Galapagos, doing a land-based Galapagos tour, or island hopping by plane or speedboat, you must first fly to either Guayaquil or Quito, Ecuador. Making the decision of how to get to the Galapagos Islands depends a lot on how much time you have.

Short on time for your Galapagos trip?

If you’re planning to visit the Galapagos and not extending your time in mainland Ecuador, fly into Guayaquil (airport code GYE). This is the closest major airport if you’re looking at how to get to the Galapagos Islands. From Guayaquil, you’ll take a direct, nonstop 90-minute flight to the islands.

Stay a Little Longer

Make Your Trip an Ecuadorian Adventure

galapagos islands hacienda door

If you want to experience Ecuadorian culture, visit the Equator, spend some time in the Andes and stay at a hacienda, consider ending your stay in Quito (airport code UIO) after your Galapagos trip.

Another option is to take the train, the newly restored Tren Crucero, through 300 miles of Ecuador from Guayaquil to Quito. You’ll have interesting stops in towns along the way and stay at haciendas at night.

Keep in mind, though, that the elevation in Quito is 9,300 feet, so allow time to adjust to altitude at a leisurely pace. (American Airlines allows you to fly into Guayaquil and out of Quito.)

If you decide to start your trip in Quito, please be aware that many Galapagos flights depart very early in the morning, so you will have a pre-dawn airport transfer. Flights originate in Quito, stop in Guayaquil, and then continue to the islands.

Expert Tips For How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

galapagos islands travel champagne

  • We highly recommend arriving in Guayaquil or Quito at least two days prior to your cruise departure. That’s because, if your flight from the US is delayed and you miss the flight to the Galapagos on the departure day of your cruise, you will miss the miss the boat–and the entire cruise!
  • By law, no matter what ship you are on, you are allowed off the ship onto the islands in a group of no more than 16 passengers and a licensed naturalist guide.
  • We recommend a minimum of five to eight sailing days for your Galapagos cruise. On Day 1 of your cruise, you will board around lunchtime. On the last day of your cruise, you depart after breakfast.

Finding out how to get to the Galapagos Islands can be tricky as you coordinate multiple flights and schedules.

Myths and Mountains is an experiential travel company who will take care of all your travel details! Check out our inclusive itineraries for Galapagos Island trips.

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