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How To Get To The Galapagos Islands

How To Get To The Galapagos Islands
Charlotte Snook

Flight Options to Galapagos

Lying as they do some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador; the only way visitors can get to the Galapagos Islands is to fly.  There are no direct international flights to the Galapagos Islands, which means you first need to get to mainland Ecuador and get a connecting flight. This applies to all visitors regardless of whether they’re travelling from the UK, Europe, USA, Australia or New Zealand.

There are two options here for international travellers to get to Ecuador; you can either fly into the capital city of Quito, nestled high in the Andes, or to Guayaquil Ecuador’s steamy tropical commercial capital on the coast.

There aren’t any boats, cruises or cargo ships offering a service to the Galapagos from Ecuador’s ports.

Flying into Quito from Europe and America

Quito’s ‘Mariscal Sucre’ International Airport (code UIO) receives flights from:

  • Amsterdam and Madrid in Europe
  • New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Miami in the US
  • Several of the major cities of Central and South America including Bogota, Lima and Panama City

Flying into Guayaquil from Europe and America

Guayaquil’s Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport (code GYE) receives flights from:

  • Amsterdam and Madrid in Europe
  • New York and Miami in the US
  • Several of the major cities of Central and South America including Bogota, Lima and Panama City

Flights to Galapagos from mainland Ecuador

There are two main airports in Galapagos on the Islands of Baltra and San Cristobal.

We usually book Galapagos flights for our guests directly with the yacht operators. This is because they have allotted spaces and agreements with the airlines on certain flights to ensure all the guests for a certain yacht arrive on the same flight to avoid any waiting around at the airport. As you can imagine, the last thing you want to do after your much anticipated arrival in Galapagos is to wait around!

However, if you are booking independently, you’ll need to ensure that you book the flights to the Island where your cruise is departing from and that you arrive at the right time!

The flight to Galapagos from mainland Ecuador takes around two hours, although from Quito, the flight is usually considerably longer as most flights touch down in Guayaquil to pick up passengers.

Airlines that fly to the Galapagos Islands

At the time of writing, there are three airlines flying to Galapagos, TAME the Ecuadorean airline (www.tame.com.ec), LAN the Chilean airline (www.latam.com) and Avianca the Colombian airline (www.avianca.com).

All of these airlines operate two morning flights daily from Quito via Guayaquil to the islet of Baltra, where you can meet your cruise, or alternatively travel to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island which is around one hour away.

The flights to Galapagos usually leave in the morning (some very early in the morning!). We strongly recommend arriving in Ecuador at least 24 hours before your Galapagos flight in case of any delays with your international flights, as once your Galapagos yacht departs they must keep to a very strict itinerary and it can be very difficult, if not impossible, for you to join your cruise if you miss your flight out to join the yacht at the start of your trip.

How much does it cost to fly to Galapagos Islands?

A round-trip ticket from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos can cost as much as US$600 although they usually cost closer to the $500 mark.   Children aged under 12 years are eligible for a discount of up to 50% on the flights, and also the Galapagos National Park fee (which is US$100 for adults and payable as you enter the Galapagos at the airport).

If you’re planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands, read our Frequently Asked Questions or check out our Galapagos page for all the information you need before getting in touch with us for advice!