Do you think you are ready for your trip to the Galapagos Islands? Even if you already have the dates, flight, accommodation and itinerary ready, you might be forgetting to consider something very important that could prevent you from accessing the Enchanted Islands.
As the Galapagos Islands are a protected Natural Park, the Government of Ecuador takes the protection of this natural area very seriously, and has established a series of rules to follow and entry procedures, which are very important for you to know in order to complete them as quickly as possible, and avoid starting your vacation with stress.
Here we tell you everything you need to know to avoid problems when traveling to Galapagos:
1. Flights and accommodation in the Galapagos Islands
As a first requirement, you will need to have an accommodation reservation for all the days you are going to be on the island. You can do it through Booking or with an email from a hostel or hotel will be enough. You will also need to have a round trip ticket in and out of the Galapagos Islands. There are many other things you can improvise on during your trip to Galapagos on your own, but don’t do it with accommodation or flights or you won’t be allowed in.
At Galapagos Low Cost in addition to tours and itineraries we also offer accommodation options. If you want us to send you options do not hesitate and write us.
2. Valid passport
Entry to the Galapagos Islands does not require a visa, unless you belong to a very small list of countries. You will only need your passport, which must be valid for at least six months from the date of your entry. It is therefore important that you verify that your passport is not about to expire before traveling to Galapagos. If you are a resident of Ecuador, it is sufficient to identify yourself with your identity card.
If you belong to the reduced list of countries that require a visa to enter Ecuador, you will not have to pay the entry fee for foreigners to the Galapagos National Park, which is currently $100, so you save that money.
3. Pre-registration form
This form is very similar to the one requested at the entrance of other countries, and is necessary to obtain your transit control card, which is mandatory to travel to Galapagos. It asks for the reason for the trip, length of stay and where you will be staying. To avoid unnecessary waiting, you can complete the form through the following link: //siiws.gobiernogalapagos.gob.ec/siicgg_web/
The web sometimes gives problems and in some internet browsers it is not possible to access it. In case you can’t do it online don’t worry, you can do it at the airport during the check in and baggage inspection process you will go through at the airport. The form has the fields you can see in the picture.
4. Ingala Tourist Card – TCT Transit Control Card
Before taking your flight to the Galapagos Islands, either from Quito or Guayaquil, you must go to the offices of the Government Council of the Special Regime of Galapagos that are located at the departure airports to obtain the Transit Control Card. At these offices they will check that you have filled out the pre-registration form (and if you have not done so, they will make you fill it out on the spot) and they will check your luggage to verify that you are not carrying any of the restricted products. This control of your luggage is done BEFORE sending it to the hold, that is, before you deliver it to the counter of your flight. Don’t worry, because at the airport they know very well that you have to do this before boarding, so the flight attendants of your airline will tell you where to do this before they start their procedure. That is why we recommend you to go with a good margin of time even if it is a domestic flight.
These are some photos to familiarize you with the place where you will be checked at the Guayaquil Airport, the TCT and an affidavit that you will have to sign about the type of objects you are carrying in your luggage.
The opening hours of the offices at each airport are:
Guayaquil: from 6.30 am to 1.30 pm.
Quito: from 5.00 am to 12.00 noon.
To expedite the procedures we recommend that you do not bring animal or vegetable products, as they will be thoroughly checked. The complete list of prohibited products can be found here.
Once your luggage has been checked, you will have to pay $20 to obtain the Transit Card. You can do it with a credit card or cash, but keep in mind that the entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park can only be paid in cash. So if you do not have a lot of cash, better use your card to pay the fee.