The Ultimate Female Travel Packing List for the Galapagos Islands

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For the ultimate bucket list destination, explore the wondrous Galapagos Islands! From its clear turquoise waters and dazzling white sand beaches to its vibrant collection of unique wildlife that is ecologically protected you'll be awed by this magical place. But don't expect all islands to look alike; each offers a different adventure with Isla Isabela featuring lush palm trees and sandy beaches while Santa Cruz boasts an arid landscape filled with desert cacti, volcanic rock formations. Witness the fascinating geological variation among these amazing islands for yourself – it's sure to surprise you!
Before embarking on your once-in-a-lifetime Galapagos trip, ensure that you’ve considered the things we learnt from our own experience. We've created a special packing list to help you out so get ready and let's plan for an unforgettable adventure!

When packing for a trip to the Galapagos Islands, it's important to keep in mind the unique climate and activities you'll be doing. Here are some recommended items to pack:
  • 2-3x shirts: I’d recommend packing at least one quick-dry athletic shirt for any bike rides or long walks, it can be really humid on the islands and you’re likely to sweat
  • Jumper or warm jacket: Even though the afternoons can be toasty, you’ll want an extra layer like this cozy jumper in the evenings or on early morning boat tours
  • Rain jacket: Regardless of whether you’re visiting the Galapagos in the rainy season or the dry season, there’s a good chance you’ll get at least a little bit of rain during your stay
  • 1-2x shorts: A pair of athletic shorts are great for any bike rides you might do or even to wear over a wet swimsuit, and then a pair of denim shorts or similar for more casual use around town 
  • Skirt: I like bringing a wrap skirt when I go on island trips; it can easily be worn over my swimsuit, but also looks nice for dinner and drinks
  • Tights or comfortable pants: Especially in the dry season, you might want a pair of pants like these tights for the evenings when the temperature drops slightly
  • Summer dress: A lightweight summer dress is great for going to dinner or just to throw on over your swimsuit in the afternoon
  • Sandals: I’d recommend packing a pair of versatile waterproof sandals like these Tevas; I wore them on all of the snorkelling and diving tours, as well as into town with a skirt for dinner
  • Runners & socks: For biking or hiking on any of the islands, a lightweight pair of runners will be really handy. If you aren’t planning any hiking, though, you can definitely get away with just a pair of Tevas, even for biking 
Beach bits
  • Water shoes: Bring water shoes that can get wet for walking on the beach and in the water.
  • Dry bag: A dry bag to take to the beach and on dive boats or day tours is a great way to keep your camera, phone, wallet, etc protected from the salt water; get one with a sling to double as a carry bag when you’re riding a bike or walking around town
  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the strong equatorial sun with a high SPF sunscreen.
  • Sunglasses and hat: Bring sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes and face from the sun.
  • Snorkel gear: If you have your own snorkel gear, bring it along. Otherwise, you can rent gear from local shops.
Tech & travel essentials
  • Insect repellent: Mosquitoes and other insects can be a nuisance, especially during the rainy season. Bring insect repellent to avoid bites.
  • Camera: The Galapagos Islands are a photographer's paradise, so bring a camera to capture the unique wildlife and landscapes.
  • Binoculars: Bring binoculars to get a closer look at the wildlife, especially birds.
  • Cash: The US dollar is Ecuador’s currency. Only a few ATMs are available on the Galapagos Islands. Since the islands are 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, it is mandatory to bring cash. Some establishments accept credit cards, but each transaction may incur a 10% surcharge.
  • Eco-Friendly Cups and Water Bottle: The Galapagos Islands authorities have recently banned single-use plastics as part of their conservation efforts. But we still think you should carry your own eco-friendly travel supplies with you to your trip to help minimize your plastic waste and environmental footprint.
  • Medications: Bring any necessary medications, as some medications may not be readily available on the islands.
  • First aid kit: Bring a basic first aid kit with items such as band-aids, antiseptic, and pain relievers.
  • Adaptors Ecuador uses 110-120V electricity and plug types A and B. Both the voltage and the outlet are the same as those in the US.American visitors won’t need an adaptor for their electronics or chargers. But foreign visitors should bring the right adapter so they can use and recharge their electronics.
If you have any health is sues, talk to your doctor before you leave, and don’t forget to pack any personal medications you might need.
The remoteness of the Galapagos Islands limits the accessibility of medical services. Most cruise ships offer basic medical care on board, and the majority of them have a trained health professional on board.
A first aid kit is important on every trip. Here are some first aid must-haves for your Galapagos trip:
  • Medicine for motion or seasickness
  • Medicine for diarrhea such as Imodium or DiaResQ
  • Medicine for fever, headaches, and colds
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Alcohol
  • Povidone iodine, or Betadine

Finally, When packing for your trip to the Galápagos, don't get weighed down with a heavy suitcase! Keep things simple and practicalit will make travel between islands much easier. Be sure to check airline baggage limits when buying tickets so you know how much luggage is allowed. Make sure that you pack enough of what's necessary while avoiding overpacking remember, taking an underwater camera could turn out be one unforgettable experience! To save yourself from any financial surprises on your last day in the archipelago, plan ahead by allowing budget room for at least USD $600 as tip money for your guide and crew.

FAQs About the Galapagos Islands:

1.When is the best time to travel to the Galapagos?
The best time to travel to the Galapagos Islands depends on what you want to see and do. The high season is from mid-June to early September and from mid-December to mid-January. During these months, the weather is dry and sunny, and the sea is calm, making it the ideal time for snorkeling and diving. The peak tourist season is from late December to early January, and it can be crowded during this time. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting in the shoulder season from April to May or from September to November. During these months, the weather is still pleasant, and you may be able to find better deals on tours and accommodations.

2.How far in advance should I book my trip?
It's recommended to book your Galapagos trip at least 6-12 months in advance, especially if you plan to visit during the high season (June to September and December to January). This is because the Galapagos National Park limits the number of visitors to the islands to protect the fragile ecosystem, and tour operators and accommodations can book up quickly during peak times. Booking in advance also gives you more time to plan and prepare for your trip, such as obtaining necessary visas and vaccinations, and researching activities and tours. However, if you're flexible with your travel dates and can travel in the shoulder season, you may be able to book closer to your travel dates and still find availability.
3.Is it better to explore by land or by boat?

Land-based tours allow you to stay in hotels or lodges on the islands and take day trips to nearby islands on small boats. This type of tour is ideal if you prefer a more relaxed pace and want to explore the islands on foot, as you'll have more time to hike, snorkel, and interact with the local communities. You'll also have more freedom to explore the islands on your own and customize your itinerary.
Boat-based tours, on the other hand, allow you to stay on a yacht or cruise ship and visit multiple islands during your trip. This type of tour is ideal if you want to cover more ground and see a variety of landscapes and wildlife. You'll also have access to remote islands that are not accessible by land, and you'll be able to snorkel and dive in different locations. Boat-based tours typically offer more guided activities and have a set itinerary, so you'll have less flexibility than a land-based tour.

Ultimately, the choice between a land-based or boat-based tour depends on your travel style and preferences. If you have the time and budget, you could also consider combining both types of tours to get the best of both worlds.
4.How much time should you spend in the Galapagos?
The amount of time you should spend in the Galapagos Islands depends on your interests and budget. However, it's recommended to spend at least 5-7 days in the islands to fully experience the unique wildlife, landscapes, and culture.

If you're interested in exploring multiple islands, you should consider a boat-based tour that lasts 7-10 days. This will allow you to visit different islands and see a variety of wildlife, including sea lions, giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and blue-footed boobies. You'll also have time to snorkel, dive, and kayak in different locations.

If you're interested in a more relaxed pace and want to explore the islands on foot, you could consider a land-based tour that lasts 5-7 days. This will allow you to stay in hotels or lodges on the islands and take day trips to nearby islands on small boats. You'll have more time to hike, interact with the local communities, and learn about the history and culture of the islands.

Ultimately, the more time you can spend in the Galapagos Islands, the better, as there is so much to see and do. However, if you have limited time and budget, a shorter trip is still worth it to experience the unique beauty and biodiversity of these remote islands.
5.What currency do they use in the Galapagos?
The official currency of the Galapagos Islands is the US dollar. It's important to note that there are limited ATMs on the islands, and some places may not accept credit cards, so it's recommended to bring enough cash for your trip. It's also a good idea to bring small bills and coins, as some places may not have change for larger bills. Some tour operators and hotels may accept payment in other currencies, such as the Euro or the British Pound, but it's best to confirm with them in advance.
6.Is the water safe to drink in the Galapagos?
The tap water in the Galapagos Islands is not safe to drink. It's recommended to drink bottled water or water that has been filtered or purified. Most hotels and restaurants in the islands provide filtered or purified water, and bottled water is readily available for purchase. It's also a good idea to avoid ice in drinks unless you're sure it has been made with purified water. Additionally, it's important to avoid drinking water from natural sources, such as rivers or streams, as it may contain harmful bacteria or parasites.