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 correctly 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!
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. Usually, it is cheaper to book Galapagos flights from Guayaquil, because it is the closest major airport to the Galapagos.
How to book Galapagos Flights?
Once you already have your flight to Ecuador mainland and an amazing cruise or island-hopping package waiting for you, it is time to book your flight to the Galapagos. It is highly recommended to ask one of our destination experts to help you with this step, however, if you want to book them yourself there are some things you might want to take into consideration.
Galapagos tickets for foreigners
There are special ticket classes for foreigners that you need to buy. Subsequently, if you buy a (cheap) ticket class for locals, you would have to pay a fine at the airport. This value can differ between 50 and 300 USD.
The different airports in the Galapagos Islands
At the Galapagos Islands, there are 3 different airports; Baltra (GPS), San Cristobal (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 other the other two islands mentioned before.
Airlines flying to the Galapagos Islands
There are three different airlines that provide flights to the Galapagos from Ecuador. These are Avianca, LATAM, and EQair. The latter is a new local airline. At the different airlines, there are benefits for example saving miles, getting chocolates (EQair), and international connections. If you would like to book flights from Galapagos to Lima, Bogota, or any other international destination it is recommended to buy the complete itinerary with an international airline like Avianca or LATAM.
How to buy flights to Galapagos yourself step bt step
Booking flights to Galapagos with Avianca
- Go to Avianca website
- You will see a message displayed on Avianca website, which establishes that the XS, S, and M sizes are only available for Ecuadorian nationals or residents. Therefore, foreigners who buy these sizes will be subject to extra charges of 150 USD at the Airport.
- Choose a LARGE rate and avoid paying additional charges at the airport.
- Buy your ticket in a LARGE rate
- Enjoy your trip to Galapagos Islands!
Booking flights to Galapagos with Latam
- Go to Latam website (Latam Ecuador)
- The message you will see on Latam website (Ecuador- Spanish) establish the following:
For foreign passengers non-Ecuadorian residents, it applies exclusively TOP rate. Any other rate may have an additional charge of 150 USD + taxes at the airport. Due to the National Government’s disposition, every passenger who does not live in Galapagos has to present their passport to enter the Islands.
- Choose the TOP rate to avoid paying additional charges at the airport.
- Buy your ticket in TOP rate
- Enjoy your trip to Galapagos Islands!
**If you go through Latam website in English, this would be the message you will see:
(*)Depending on the cabin and type of aircraft (**) Depending on the type of aircraft (***) With extra charges depending on destination and subject to local government restrictions.
Booking flights to Galapagos with Equair
- Go to Equair website
- On Equair website the message displayed establishes that PROMO rates to Galapagos apply only to Euadorians and permanent residents with a citinzenship card. Foreigners are able to choose SUPERFLEXI or PREMIUM. If there’s a failure to comply with this rule it will generate charges.
- Choose SUPERFLEXI or PREMIUM rate and avoid paying additional charges at the airport.
- Buy your ticket at SUPERFLEXI or PREMIUM rate
- Enjoy your trip to Galapagos Islands!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Airports to Start & 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. I 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 Islands hopping tours starting & ending in Baltra
Some Galapagos Islands hopping tours starting & ending in San Cristobal
Some Galapagos Islands hopping tours starting in San Cristóbal & ending in Baltra
Airports to Start & 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.
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.
Did you like this blog? You might also like:
- Vacation in the Galapagos Islands: Useful Information for your trip
- Can you visit the Galapagos Islands on a budget?
- Why Should Ecuador Be on your Bucket List?