Here is what you need to know to plan your trip to the Galapagos Island and Ecuador!
- Start your planning with the Galapagos then add your mainland activities.
- Pick a Galapagos Cruise or Island Hopping
- Beyond the Galapagos — Top Activities in Ecuador
- Getting to Ecuador and the Galapagos
- When to Go
1) Start your planning with the Galapagos then add your mainland activities.
If you are doing a Galapagos cruise, they start on certain dates, so ideally, you want to pick that first, then add your other activities around these dates. If you book an Island Hopping trip, you have more flexibility. We recommend at least 5 days in the Galapagos (8+ is better!).
Most people do this general itinerary:
- Start in Quito and spend a few days there.
- Do other activities around the Quito area (Otavalo, Amazon, Cotopaxi, etc.).
- Fly to the Galapagos (start with these dates and work around them).
- Fly from the Galapagos home (through Guayaquil/Quito).
2) Pick a Galapagos Cruise or Island Hopping Trip
The Galapagos cruises are typically 4, 5, or 8 days long (a few have 6 or 7 day itineraries, but it is not as common). Most boats are 16 passengers. The largest boat allowed in the Galapagos is 100 passengers. They are not what you think of as “cruises”, they are more like “yachts”. We can book any of the boats in the Galapagos.
For us to find the best boat option for you, we need to know:
- When you can travel and for how long
- What your budget is, or what level of accommodation you prefer (mid-range, first-class, or luxury)
- If there are any specific islands or animal/birds you want to see
- If you want and specific activities/amenities: sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboard, jacuzzi, yoga, etc. All the itineraries will have hiking and snorkeling. Scuba diving is best with an island-hopping extension.
With an Island Hopping tour, you can start on any day and stay for any number of days. We recommend 5-8 days or more to explore the islands. There are a variety of accommodations to stay at, and we can customize the itinerary. This is also a nice option for multi-generational families that have diverse interests.
- Galapagos Cruise vs. Island Hopping
- Picking the Best Galapagos Cruise
- Planning Your Galapagos Island Hopping Trip
3) Beyond the Galapagos — Top Activities in Ecuador
Quito is a lovely city and worth 1-2 days there.
The other most popular trips around Quito are
4) Getting to Ecuador and the Galapagos
The flights to the Galapagos go from Quito through Guayaquil (on the coast) and then to the Galapagos. The return flights make this same path back. In Guayaquil, you stay on the airplane while some people get off and on.
Most people get their international flight into Quito. It is typically easier and cheaper to fly into Quito, and also there is more to do in and around Quito.
However, if you are just doing the Galapagos and nothing else, you may want to get your international flights into Guayaquil. Quito is 9350 feet in elevation, which can bother some people who do not do well at altitude.
5) When to Go
You can visit the Galapagos all year!
The hottest months in the Galapagos are Feb-Apr. The nice thing about this is that the water is very warm, and you probably won’t need a wetsuit. However, hiking in the afternoon can be a bit hot.
The coolest months in the Galapagos are Jul-Sep. Nicer for walking, but you will want a wetsuit for snorkeling.
November at Cotopaxi can be rainy.