The majestic Galapagos islands are full of surprises and things to do. Below are some things to keep in mind before traveling in order to make this the best experience possible.
Before taking the plane
Before flying to the Galapagos, there are a few things to be aware of. Once you arrive in Quito or Guayaquil, you must buy a US $20 Transit Control Card that will be used to enter and exit the islands. This card can only be purchased in cash and is available at any airport in Ecuador.
The Transit Control Card System is used by INGALA to monitor the amount of visitors to the islands and their length of stay. It also helps keep track of conservation and sustainable development projects as well as aid in long-term planning for all aspects of life on the islands.
Before traveling to Galapagos it’s important to make sure that you have at least six months of validity on your passport. If it expires in less than six months from the date of your arrival, you might have some problems getting out. Upon arriving in Ecuador, immigration officers will check your passport and any proof of onward transport.
You also cannot fly out of the U.S for more than 90 days without a special visa. If you are planning on extending your stay and your tourist visa, it is highly recommended that you arrange it before entering Ecuador.
What not to bring
It is important to keep in mind that the islands face a serious threat from non-native plants and invasive species. There are strict controls at the airport to prevent any pets, food, plants, or any form of agriculture from entering the Galapagos Islands.
At the Galapagos airport you will need to pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US $100.00 in cash. This money is used to finance the conservation of flora and fauna biodiversity, terrestrial and marine life, and benefits the local community by improving basic services for visitors and residents.
Cars and other forms of self-transportation are hard to come by at the Galapagos. However, there are free airline shuttles available at the airport that will take you to a ferry at the Itabaca Channel. You will then cross the channel and either hire private transportation or hop on a line bus that will take you to Puerto Ayora.
In Puerto Ayora everything is close, you can walk almost anywhere. Thanks to Ikala Hotel’s prime central location, you can easily explore Puerto Ayora on foot. Take advantage of what this beautiful port city has to offer; visit some of the boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and bars that are scattered around. Ikala Galapagos Hotel has close relationships with local tourist service providers that can offer island hopping tours and much more. Learn about day trips from Puerto Ayora here. There is always something to do!