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Booking your Galapagos Flights Step by Step Guide

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The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife viewing, its isolated location contributed to creating the perfect environment for animal and plant diversity found nowhere else in the world. However, due to its location, you might want to be informed on how to book your Galapagos flights, so you can start your vacation without any inconvenience. Without a doubt, the Galapagos is an earthly paradise waiting for you to discover it!

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Arriving in Continental Ecuador

The Galapagos archipelago is located about 1,000 km from Ecuador mainland. Therefore, in order to begin your adventure in the archipelago you’ll have to get to Ecuador mainland first. Fortunately, Ecuador has a strategic location in the world as a consequence the country has direct flights and connections to major North American and European destinations. JetBlue, Delta, American Airlines, LATAM Airlines, United, Air Europa, KLM, and Avianca, among other airlines, are operating on a daily basis to domestic and international destinations. 

Ecuador has two international airports; Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito and José Joaquín de Olmedo Airport in Guayaquil. Both of them had been ranked among the  50 best airports in the world. Additionally, Quito airport was recognized as the Best Airport in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 2020 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards

Depending on your schedule you might have to stay overnight on Ecuador Mainland. You can use this opportunity to discover the city you land in. In Quito city, you can visit the magnificent old town that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage. On the other hand, if you decide to land in Guayaquil, you can visit ¨Las Peñas¨ a neighborhood full of colorful houses, cafes, and art galleries that lead up to a lighthouse and magnificent views of the city.

Quito Airport

Quito International Airport.

Galapagos Tickets for Foreigners

Once you already have your flight to Ecuador’s mainland and an amazing cruise or island-hopping package waiting for you, it is time to book your flight to the Galapagos. First, let’s look at some things you might want to take into consideration. When traveling to the Galapagos Islands, be aware that airlines may offer different ticket classes for foreign visitors compared to nationals. It’s important to purchase the correct ticket type, as buying one for nationals as a foreigner can result in fines at the airport. This pricing structure is intended to manage tourism sustainably and support the local community. Always verify ticket details and regulations with the airline to ensure compliance and avoid unexpected fees.

The Different Airports in the Galapagos Islands

At the Galapagos Islands, there are three different airports: Baltra (GPS), San Cristóbal (SCY), and Isabela (ISA).

Firstly, Baltra Airport is closest to Santa Cruz Island, and it works 100% with renewable energy. Second, San Cristóbal Airport is smaller but it is just 10 minutes away from the city and has modern facilities. Lastly, Isabela Airport only receives flights from the other two islands mentioned before.

Baltra green airport

Courtesy of EcoGal.

Airlines Flying to the Galapagos Islands

Two different airlines provide flights to the Galapagos from Ecuador. These are Avianca and LATAM. Each airline has benefits; for example, saving miles and international connections. If you would like to book flights from Galapagos to Lima, Bogotá, or any other international destination, it is recommended to buy the complete itinerary with an international airline like Avianca or LATAM.

Avianca airline provides flights to the Galapagos from Ecuador

Avianca Airlines offers flights to the Galapagos from Ecuador.

How To Buy Flights to Galapagos Yourself Step by Step

The rates depend on your nationality, so check the prices on the airline’s website first. The lowest rates may not include luggage, so make sure you’re choosing one that does. When choosing your flights, we recommend opting for the earliest one for the arrival day and the latest one for the departure day. That way you maximize your time in the Islands. We also recommend doing your web check-in in advance (24 to 48 hours) so you can go directly into checking your luggage upon arriving at the airport.

Booking Flights to Galapagos With Avianca

  1. Go to the Avianca website.
  2. Pick between roundtrip and one-way.
  3. Choose the departure city.
  4. Choose a Galapagos airport.
  5. Choose your travel dates.
  6. Select age and number of passengers.
  7. Select a rate.
  8. Select your seat.
  9. Enter luggage details.
  10. Enter card details.

Booking Flights to Galapagos With LATAM

  1. Go to LATAM website (LATAM Ecuador)
  2. Pick between roundtrip and one-way.
  3. Pick class.
  4. Select age and number of passengers.
  5. Choose the departure city.
  6. Choose a Galapagos airport.
  7. Choose your travel dates.
  8. Select your flights.
  9. Select your seat.
  10. Enter luggage details.
  11. Enter card details.

Buy Galapagos Flights With a Cruise

If you book a cruise to the Galapagos Islands it is usually obligatory to buy the flights with the cruise line as well. The reason for this; there are yearly contracts between airlines and cruise companies on the volume of cargo that will be used from Ecuador mainland to the Galapagos Islands. Consequently, the airline asks in return for a minimum number of passengers that buy flights to the Galapagos with that airline, as a result, if you don’t book those flights, it is possible that you will be charged a fine. Therefore, whenever you want to buy a cruise in the Galapagos Islands, always ask for the obligatory flights and the fee for those flights.

Buy Galapagos Flights with a cruise

Buy Galapagos Flights with a cruise

Flights Times When Taking a Galapagos Cruise

The cruise lines always tell you which flight you should take. This is because usually the complete group arrives on the same flight and departs on the same flight. Sometimes you already have your flights so you have to accommodate the rest of the group nevertheless there is a risk that you lose your cruise because your Galapagos flights have a delay or have been canceled. In any case, if you have already booked different flights try to arrive at least one day prior to your cruise. This will make sure you don’t lose any part of it!

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Buy Galapagos Flights With an Island-Hopping Program

If you book an island hopping program it is recommended to take a good look at your itinerary, on which airport you start and where you end the trip. Also, make sure to buy flights arriving early and leaving late to the islands. In some island hopping programs, there are also internal flights on the islands included. Hence, take a good look at your itinerary to be fully aware if this service is provided.

Please make sure to ask your destination expert about the recommended flights or tell them asap when you already have flights to the Galapagos Islands. 

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Tourists posing with a sea

Tourists keeping a safe distance to pose with a sea lion

Which Airport Should You Fly Into for Galapagos Islands?

Since there are different airports in the Galapagos Islands you have to be careful when booking your flights. There are two main airports, Baltra Airport (GPS) and San Cristóbal Airport (SCY). 

Some trips start from Baltra, close to Santa Cruz Island, and others from San Cristóbal. If you have to travel from Baltra to Puerto Ayora, the town in Santa Cruz, it will take about 1 hour since you have to take a bus, a boat, and a car. When you arrive in San Cristóbal it’s just 5 minutes by car to get to the village of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. 

Baltra airport.

Baltra airport.

Airports To Start and End Your Galapagos Trips

There are Galapagos Islands hopping tours that start and end in Baltra, start and end in San Cristobal, and trips that start in San Cristóbal and end in Baltra. We always recommend taking a trip starting in San Cristóbal and departing from Baltra. This will save you more time to get to know new places

Some Galapagos Island-Hopping Tours Starting and Ending In Baltra

5 Day Galapagos Expedition

8 Day Galapagos Island Hopping Budget

5 Day Galapagos Multisport

5 Day Luxury Galapagos

Some Galapagos Island-Hopping Tours Starting and Ending In San Cristóbal

3 Day Classic San Cristobal

4 Day San Cristóbal Expedition

Some Galapagos Island-Hopping Tours Starting in San Cristóbal and Ending In Baltra

8 Day Galapagos Island Hopping Classic

8 Day Galapagos Multisport

5 Day Super Luxury Galapagos

6 Day Galapagos Expedition

Airports To Start and End Your Galapagos Cruises

If you take a cruise in the Galapagos Islands you also have to be very careful when booking your flights. Usually, the flights are bought with the yacht. However, you would have to make sure to know where your cruise starts and ends.

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Cruising the Galapagos Islands.

Cruising the Galapagos Islands.

Be prepared to enjoy one of the most spectacular places on Earth! If you want to plan your dream trip to the Galapagos Islands contact us and one of our Destination Experts will be happy to help you every step of the way. Certainly, you would have a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

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