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What To Pack For The Galápagos Islands


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Kessiah Gosnell



Planning a trip to the Galápagos Islands? Congratulations! You’re in for a truly extraordinary experience. Known for its incredible wildlife, unique landscapes, and vibrant marine ecosystem, the Galápagos Islands offer a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. However, packing for a trip to this remote and diverse destination requires some careful consideration.


Located off the coast of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands are a volcanic archipelago with a delicate ecosystem. As a protected natural area, there are specific guidelines and restrictions in place to ensure the preservation of the islands’ biodiversity. When preparing for your trip, it’s important to be mindful of these regulations and pack accordingly.


In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide on what to pack for your Galápagos Islands adventure. From essential clothing and accessories to specialized gear for underwater exploration, we’ll cover all the essentials to make your trip comfortable and enjoyable.


Whether you’re planning to snorkel with sea turtles, hike along lava fields, or simply soak up the sun on pristine beaches, having the right gear and clothing will enhance your experience and keep you comfortable throughout your journey. So, let’s dive in and discover what should be in your packing list for the Galápagos Islands.


Essential Clothing and Accessories:

When it comes to choosing clothing for your Galápagos Islands trip, it’s important to prioritize comfort and versatility. The islands have a subtropical climate, which means temperatures can vary throughout the day. Here are some essential clothing items and accessories to consider:

  • Lightweight and breathable clothing: Pack plenty of quick-drying shirts, shorts, and pants. Look for fabrics like cotton or moisture-wicking materials that will keep you cool in the daytime heat.
  • Long-sleeve shirts and pants: These are crucial for protecting your skin from the sun and insects, especially during hikes and outdoor activities. Opt for lightweight, UPF-rated clothing for added sun protection.
  • Swimsuit cover-ups: A lightweight cover-up or sarong is handy for transitioning between water activities and exploring the islands.
  • Sun hat: Choose a wide-brimmed hat that provides shade and protects your face and neck from the strong equatorial sun.
  • Sunglasses: Invest in a good pair of polarized sunglasses to shield your eyes from the glare and protect them from harmful UV rays.
  • Waterproof jacket: Even during the dry season, there’s always a chance of rain or sea spray. Pack a lightweight, waterproof jacket to stay dry and comfortable if the weather changes unexpectedly.
  • Swimwear: Don’t forget to pack a few swimsuits, as you’ll have plenty of opportunities to snorkel, swim, and relax on the beautiful beaches of the Galápagos Islands.
  • Adequate underwear and socks: Choose moisture-wicking and quick-drying materials to keep you fresh and comfortable throughout your trip.

In addition to clothing, there are a few essential accessories to consider:

  • Daypack or backpack: A small, lightweight backpack is essential for carrying your water bottle, camera, sunscreen, and other essentials during day trips.
  • Reusable water bottle: Staying hydrated is key, so be sure to bring a refillable water bottle to minimize plastic waste and have access to clean drinking water at all times.
  • Insect repellent: Mosquitoes and other insects can be present on certain islands, especially in the highlands or during dusk and dawn. Pack a DEET-based insect repellent to protect yourself.
  • Dry bag: To keep your valuables, electronics, and spare clothing dry during boat rides and beach visits, pack a waterproof dry bag.
  • Snorkel gear: While many tours provide basic snorkeling equipment, bringing your own mask, snorkel, and fins ensures a better fit and greater comfort.

By packing the right clothing and accessories, you’ll be ready to make the most of your Galápagos Islands adventure, exploring the diverse landscapes and immersing yourself in the unique wildlife that these enchanting islands have to offer.


Swimwear and Snorkeling Gear:

With its incredible marine life and crystal-clear waters, snorkeling is a must-do activity in the Galápagos Islands. To fully enjoy this experience, it’s essential to pack the right swimwear and snorkeling gear. Here’s what you should consider:

  • Rashguard or wetsuit: Depending on the time of year and your personal preference, you may want to bring a rashguard or wetsuit for added warmth and protection while snorkeling.
  • Snorkel mask: Invest in a high-quality, well-fitting snorkel mask to ensure a comfortable and clear view of the underwater world. Choose a mask with a silicone skirt for a proper seal and adjustable straps for a customizable fit.
  • Snorkel: Look for a snorkel with a purge valve and a comfortable mouthpiece to make breathing easier while underwater. A dry-top snorkel can also prevent water from entering the tube if waves splash over you.
  • Fins: Swim fins are essential for efficient propulsion in the water. Opt for lightweight and adjustable fins that fit securely on your feet.
  • Snorkel vest or floatation device: If you’re not a strong swimmer or want extra confidence in the water, consider bringing a snorkel vest or floatation device. It will provide buoyancy and ensure your safety while snorkeling.

It’s worth noting that many tour operators in the Galápagos Islands provide snorkeling gear as part of their excursion packages. However, if you prefer to use your own equipment or have specific preferences, bringing your own gear is recommended. Additionally, having your own snorkeling gear gives you the flexibility to explore the underwater world at your own pace on uninhibited beaches.


Remember to properly maintain and clean your snorkeling gear to prevent any issues related to fit, fogging, or leakage. Rinse your gear with fresh water after each use and allow it to air dry to extend its lifespan.


So, make sure to pack your swimwear and snorkeling gear to enjoy the mesmerizing underwater world of the Galápagos Islands. Whether you’re swimming alongside sea lions, observing colorful tropical fish, or marveling at the graceful movements of sea turtles, this will undoubtedly be a highlight of your trip.


Hiking and Adventure Gear:

The Galápagos Islands offer a diverse range of landscapes, from volcanic craters and lava fields to lush highlands and pristine beaches. To fully explore these natural wonders, it’s important to pack the right hiking and adventure gear. Here are some essentials to consider:

  • Daypack: A sturdy daypack is essential for carrying water, snacks, sunscreen, camera gear, and any other necessities during your hikes and outdoor adventures.
  • Hiking shoes or boots: Opt for comfortable, closed-toe shoes with good traction to navigate the uneven terrain and lava rocks. Make sure your footwear is broken in before your trip to avoid blisters and discomfort.
  • Hiking socks: Pack a few pairs of moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry and prevent blisters during long hikes.
  • Hiking pants or convertible pants: Choose lightweight and quick-drying pants that offer flexibility and protection against the elements. Consider convertible pants that can be worn as shorts for added versatility.
  • Long-sleeve shirts: Pack a few lightweight, breathable long-sleeve shirts to protect your arms from the sun, insects, and plant scratches during hikes.
  • Sunscreen: The equatorial sun can be intense, so bring a high SPF sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Opt for reef-safe sunscreens to minimize environmental impact.
  • Wide-brimmed hat: A wide-brimmed hat with a chin strap will keep the sun off your face, neck, and ears while hiking.
  • Binoculars: The Galápagos Islands are a haven for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Bringing a pair of lightweight binoculars will enhance your wildlife encounters.
  • Camera gear: Don’t forget your camera to capture the incredible landscapes and wildlife. Whether you prefer a DSLR camera or a waterproof compact camera, make sure you have enough memory cards and spare batteries.
  • Trekking poles: If you’re planning on tackling more challenging hikes or walking on uneven terrain, trekking poles can provide stability and reduce strain on your knees.

Depending on the specific activities you plan to undertake, you may also want to consider additional gear such as a dry bag, headlamp, or a lightweight hammock for relaxing on the beaches or in nature.


By bringing the right hiking and adventure gear, you’ll be well-prepared to explore the mesmerizing landscapes and embrace the adventurous spirit of the Galápagos Islands.



Choosing the right footwear for your Galápagos Islands adventure is essential to ensure comfort, safety, and enjoyment throughout your journey. With diverse terrain and a range of activities, it’s important to bring the appropriate footwear for different occasions. Here are some essential footwear options to consider:

  • Hiking shoes or boots: Sturdy and comfortable hiking shoes or boots are a must-have for exploring the Galápagos Islands. Choose footwear with good traction, ankle support, and waterproofing to navigate the volcanic terrain and varied landscapes.
  • Water shoes: Whether you’re snorkeling, swimming, or exploring rocky shores, water shoes are invaluable. They provide protection, grip, and comfort in wet conditions, allowing you to easily transition from land to water without worrying about sharp rocks or slippery surfaces.
  • Sandals or flip-flops: Lightweight sandals or flip-flops are perfect for relaxing on the beach or strolling around towns during leisurely moments. Look for durable and water-friendly options.
  • Walking or running shoes: If you’re planning on exploring towns or taking leisurely walks, a pair of comfortable walking or running shoes will suffice. Opt for breathable and lightweight options for added comfort.

Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to break in your hiking shoes or boots before your trip to avoid discomfort or blisters during hikes. Additionally, make sure your footwear is suitable for the specific activities you plan to undertake, such as snorkeling or hiking on lava fields.


Regardless of the footwear you choose, it’s crucial to pack socks that are appropriate for each activity. For hiking, bring moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry and prevent blisters. For water activities, consider neoprene socks or quick-drying socks to provide additional protection.


Remember to consider the weight and size of your footwear when packing, as you’ll want to keep your luggage as light and compact as possible. Consider wearing the bulkier shoes during your travel to save space in your suitcase.


By having the right footwear for each adventure, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the diverse landscapes and activities that the Galápagos Islands have to offer, while keeping your feet comfortable and protected.


Protection from Sun and Insects:

When exploring the Galápagos Islands, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself from the strong equatorial sun and potential insect bites. Here are some essential items to bring for sun and insect protection:

  • Sunscreen: The intense sun in the Galápagos Islands calls for high SPF sunscreen. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays and apply it generously and frequently to all exposed areas of your skin.
  • Sun hat: A wide-brimmed hat not only protects your face and neck from the sun but also helps to keep you cool during outdoor activities. Opt for a hat with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating for added sun protection.
  • Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the harsh glare and harmful UV rays with a good pair of sunglasses. Look for sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection and consider polarized lenses to reduce glare from the water.
  • Insect repellent: While the Galápagos Islands don’t have a pervasive mosquito problem, there may be areas where they are more prevalent, especially during dusk and dawn or in the highlands. Pack a reliable insect repellent containing DEET to ward off mosquitoes and other biting insects.
  • Long-sleeve shirts and pants: Wearing lightweight, breathable, and loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts and pants can provide excellent protection against the sun’s rays and insect bites. Look for clothing with UPF rating for added sun protection.
  • Bug spray or lotion: In addition to using insect repellent, consider bringing a soothing bug spray or lotion to alleviate any discomfort from insect bites should you encounter them.

It’s important to note that certain areas of the Galápagos Islands have regulations in place to protect the delicate ecosystem. When applying sunscreen or bug spray, try to use biodegradable or reef-friendly options to minimize any potential harm to the environment.


Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen and insect repellent regularly, especially after swimming or sweating, to maintain their effectiveness.


By taking the necessary precautions and bringing the right items for sun and insect protection, you can fully enjoy your time exploring the Galápagos Islands while staying safe and comfortable.


Medications and Personal Care Items:

When traveling to the Galápagos Islands, it’s important to pack a well-stocked travel medical kit and personal care items to ensure your health and well-being. Here are some essential medications and personal care items to consider:

  • Prescription medications: If you take any prescription medications, be sure to bring an ample supply to last throughout your trip. Keep them in their original packaging and carry a copy of the prescription, just in case.
  • Over-the-counter medications: Pack a selection of common over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, antihistamines, motion sickness tablets, and digestive aids. These can come in handy for minor ailments or discomfort that may arise during your trip.
  • First aid kit: A compact travel-sized first aid kit is essential. It should include adhesive bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and any other items you may need for minor cuts, scrapes, or injuries while exploring the islands.
  • Personal hygiene items: Bring travel-sized toiletries, including toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, soap or body wash, and any other toiletries you may require. Consider eco-friendly options to minimize your impact on the environment.
  • Insect bite relief cream: To alleviate itching and discomfort from insect bites, pack a soothing insect bite relief cream or gel.
  • Hand sanitizer: It’s always a good idea to have hand sanitizer with you, especially when water and soap may not be readily available during your outdoor activities.
  • Personal medications: If you have any specific personal medications or treatments, such as allergy medication, asthma inhalers, or EpiPens, make sure to pack them as well.

In addition to these items, it’s also advisable to purchase travel insurance that covers medical expenses and emergency evacuation. Consult with your healthcare provider before your trip to ensure you have all necessary vaccinations and medications required for travel to the Galápagos Islands.


Remember to pack all medications and personal care items in your carry-on bag, ensuring easy access during your journey and minimizing the risk of losing them in transit.


By being prepared with a well-stocked travel medical kit and personal care items, you’ll have peace of mind during your Galápagos Islands adventure, allowing you to fully enjoy the experience.


Electronics and Photography Gear:

Documenting your Galápagos Islands adventure through photography is a great way to capture the beauty and uniqueness of the islands. To ensure you have everything you need to capture those memorable moments, consider packing the following electronics and photography gear:

  • Camera: Bring a camera that suits your photography preferences. Whether it’s a DSLR, mirrorless, or compact camera, make sure it’s in good working condition with enough memory cards and spare batteries.
  • Underwater camera: If you plan on snorkeling or participating in underwater activities, consider bringing an underwater camera or a waterproof case for your camera to capture stunning shots of the marine life.
  • Lenses: If you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera, pack a variety of lenses to cover different focal lengths and capture a range of perspectives, from wide-angle shots of landscapes to telephoto shots of wildlife.
  • GoPro or action camera: A compact action camera like a GoPro is perfect for capturing footage during adventures, such as snorkeling, kayaking, or hiking.
  • Tripod or monopod: A lightweight and portable tripod or monopod can be handy for stabilizing your camera during long exposures or capturing steady shots from various angles.
  • Extra memory cards and batteries: Ensure you have enough memory cards and spare batteries to last throughout your trip. The Galápagos Islands offer countless photo opportunities, and you don’t want to miss out due to a lack of storage or power.
  • Chargers and adapters: Don’t forget to pack the necessary chargers and adapters for your electronic devices. Note that the Galápagos Islands use Type A and Type B power outlets, so make sure you have compatible adapters if necessary.
  • Laptop or storage device: If you plan to edit and backup your photos during your trip, consider bringing a laptop or portable storage device to store and manage your images.

Remember to respect the natural environment and wildlife when taking photos in the Galápagos Islands. Follow the guidelines provided by your tour operator and always maintain a safe distance from the animals to avoid disturbing them or compromising their natural behavior.


With the right electronics and photography gear, you’ll be well-equipped to capture the incredible landscapes, wildlife, and natural beauty of the Galápagos Islands, preserving your memories for years to come.


Travel Documents and Money:

When traveling to the Galápagos Islands, it’s crucial to have all your necessary travel documents and finances in order. Here are the essential items to have with you:

  • Passport: Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date from the Galápagos Islands. Make a copy of your passport and keep it separately from the original, in case of loss or theft.
  • Visa requirements: Check the visa requirements for your country of residence. Depending on your nationality, you may need to obtain a visa or entry permit to visit the Galápagos Islands. Be sure to have all necessary documentation before your trip.
  • Flight tickets and itineraries: Keep all your flight tickets, including any domestic flights within Ecuador, as well as your itinerary for your stay in the Galápagos Islands. It’s also a good idea to have digital copies stored on your phone or email.
  • Travel insurance: Purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses, trip cancellation or interruption, and emergency evacuation. Have a copy of your insurance policy and contact information easily accessible.
  • Cash and cards: While credit cards are widely accepted in tourist areas, it’s a good idea to have some cash (Ecuadorian dollars) on hand for smaller establishments or remote areas that may not accept cards. Inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any issues with your cards while abroad.
  • ATM access: Check the availability of ATMs on the islands and consider withdrawing sufficient cash in advance, as ATMs may be limited and have transaction limits.
  • Travel organizer or wallet: Keep all your important travel documents, such as your passport, tickets, insurance documents, and cash, in a secure travel organizer or wallet to keep them safe and easily accessible.
  • Emergency contacts: Carry a list of emergency contact numbers, including your embassy or consulate, tour operators, and accommodations, in case you need assistance during your time in the Galápagos Islands.

It’s always wise to have a contingency plan in case of unexpected events or emergencies. Share your travel itinerary with a trusted person back home and keep them informed of any changes or updates to your plans.


By having all your travel documents organized and ensuring you have access to funds, you’ll have peace of mind and be ready to fully enjoy your Galápagos Islands adventure.


Miscellaneous Items:

In addition to the essentials, there are a few miscellaneous items that can enhance your experience and ensure a smooth trip to the Galápagos Islands. Consider packing the following:

  • Reusable water bottle: Staying hydrated is important, so bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout your trip. This helps reduce plastic waste and ensures you always have water handy.
  • Travel adapter: Galápagos Islands use Type A and Type B power outlets, so depending on your home country, you may need a travel adapter to charge your electronic devices.
  • Binoculars: The Galápagos Islands are teeming with incredible wildlife and having a pair of binoculars can enhance your wildlife-watching experience, allowing you to observe animals from a distance.
  • Guidebook or map: While tours and guides provide valuable information, having a guidebook or map can be handy for exploring on your own and learning more about the islands’ history, geology, and wildlife.
  • Reusable bags: Bring a couple of reusable bags for carrying groceries or souvenirs, as single-use plastic bags are banned in the Galápagos Islands to reduce environmental impact.
  • Snacks: Pack some of your favorite snacks for long hikes or boat trips, as food options may be limited during certain excursions or remote locations.
  • Travel pillow and blanket: If you have a long journey or plan to sleep during domestic flights or boat rides, a travel pillow and blanket can make your travels more comfortable.
  • Small waterproof dry bag: Protect your valuables and electronic devices from water damage by bringing a small waterproof dry bag to keep them safe during boat trips or water activities.
  • Travel-sized laundry detergent: Being able to wash a few items of clothing during your trip can help you pack lighter and stay fresh throughout your time on the islands.

These miscellaneous items may seem small, but they can make a big difference in terms of convenience and comfort during your Galápagos Islands adventure. Remember to pack them along with the other essentials to ensure a memorable and enjoyable trip.



Preparing for a trip to the Galápagos Islands requires thoughtful consideration of the essential items you’ll need to make the most of your adventure. By carefully packing the right clothing, swimwear, hiking gear, and protection against the sun and insects, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience on this unique archipelago.


Don’t forget to gather all your necessary travel documents, including your passport, visas, flight tickets, and travel insurance. It’s also important to have access to funds by carrying a combination of cash and cards, while keeping them secure in a travel organizer or wallet.


In addition to the essentials, consider bringing electronics and photography gear to capture all the breathtaking moments you’ll encounter on your journey. Whether it’s a camera, underwater gear, or a drone, these items will help you preserve your memories of the stunning landscapes and incredible wildlife.


Finally, don’t overlook the importance of packing miscellaneous items like a reusable water bottle, binoculars, and reusable bags. These seemingly small items can greatly enhance your experience and have a positive impact on the environment.


As you embark on your Galápagos Islands adventure, keep in mind the rules and regulations that are in place to protect this pristine ecosystem. Respect the wildlife, follow the guidance of your tour operators, and leave only footprints behind.


By packing thoughtfully and ensuring you have all the necessary items, you can fully immerse yourself in the natural wonders, captivating wildlife, and unique landscapes of the Galápagos Islands. Enjoy your trip and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime!