Ultimate Galapagos Packing List • What to Pack for the Galapagos

Wondering what to pack for the Galapagos? You’re not alone. The Galapagos is a place unlike any other on earth. They are quite the trip from mainland Ecuador and tricky for most. Because of this, it may be hard to find a reliable Galapagos packing list. We had the most incredible time on our Galapagos Cruise but didn’t know what to pack for the trip. Hopefully, this list will make planning your trip to the stunning islands a bit easier.


The Ultimate Galapagos Packing List

Galapagos Cruise - Santa Cruz II

Bathing Suit

You’re going to the Galapagos and will be surrounded by water. Don’t forget at least two pairs of bathing suits. It’s always nice to be able to swap between instead of getting into a wetsuit from the day before. My favorite bathing suit for women is Andies Swim. They are supportive and make genuinely great eco-friendly products.


Wetsuit

You may want to have a wetsuit if you do any snorkeling. Most operators will provide you with a wetsuit for a charge, but you may want to pack your own if you have a wetsuit and space. We snorkeled three times in the Galapagos in June. Each time, we opted out of a wetsuit, and while the water was chilly, it wasn’t freezing.


Light and Loose clothing

Mantra Pant

Light, comfortable, loose clothing is excellent for active trips like these. You’ll stay active walking under the sun. There’s nothing that I hate more than having skin-tight clothes on in the middle of a hot day. We traveled with prAna hemp pants.


Rain Jacket

I always travel with a rain jacket just in case. A rain jacket is essential if traveling the Galapagos in the wet season (December to May). While the weather mainly stays mild in the Galapagos, the hot Panama currents and the Northeast trade winds can cause rain around the islands. Rain is typically short-lived, but you won’t want to get soaked during that time. I have this one from Kathmandu, which has kept me dry for years.


Hoodie/fleece

It gets chilly at night in the Galapagos. I was really happy I packed a hoodie to keep me warm while outside.


Bugsaway Shirt

There are a lot of little critters around the islands, and you’ll be walking around the islands exploring almost every day of your trip. For trips like this, I would recommend the ExOfficio Breez’R Shirt. It’s 100% nylon and has “Insect Shield” technology, repelling all those creepy crawlers (and mosquitos!) We traveled all over Africa on safari with them and avoided many bites. 


Lounge Clothes

Galapagos Packing List

There will be downtime while you check out the Galapagos, so make sure you are comfy. A pair of flip-flops for walking around at your leisure never hurts.


Essential Galapagos Packing List Items


Sunscreen

You’re at the equator, so you will 100% need sunscreen in the Galapagos. Most hotels and ships won’t provide this and will charge a premium to purchase on the islands, so bring yours from home. We choose eco-friendly sunscreen when going into the ocean so that we don’t release chemicals into the environment. This is the exact kind we traveled with to the Galapagos and never got burned. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen for the sake of a tan! Even the locals slather it all over their bodies here.


Bug Spray

hawaii packing list

You’ll be exploring and walking around some pretty amazing wildlife destinations here, but that also means there will be bugs. Bring a small tube of bug spray to protect yourself.


Dry Bag

If I could return and redo my Galapagos packing list, I would have 100% thrown a dry bag in. I didn’t think about it before we got to Ecuador, but once we boarded the ship, I realized how nice it would have been to stick my valuables and electronics in a dry bag while on the dingy between islands. You’re surrounded by water almost always, and a dry bag will help you protect your valuables, especially when traveling between islands.


Small Backpack

Since your main home while in the Galapagos will most likely be on a ship or Santa Cruz island, you will be packing up every day to explore from your base. A backpack to throw all your necessities in is also essential for the Galapagos. Here’s a review of all of our favorites. 


Galapagos Packing List Accessories


Sunhat

Remember what I said about the equator? There will be a lot of sun in the Galapagos, and a hat will help protect your face and eyes from it. Bring a baseball cap or sun hat from home. Or you can purchase Ecuador’s famous Panama Hats just about anywhere in the country!

(Including the airport, they are everywhere!) Hint: Don’t roll your Panama Hat into your suitcase. I made that mistake, and now it is ruined after only wearing it a few times. Instead, wear your hat on the plane when you travel.


Sunglasses

best hiking sunglasses

Sun+equator. I sound like a broken record, but I don’t want you to hurt your eyes! The Galapagos guides I spoke with recommended good quality sunglasses with UV protection in the Galapagos since the sun is so strong and often bounces off the water.


Walking Shoes

best mens travel shoes

A good pair of walking shoes is essential for touring the islands. I traveled to the Galapagos with my Hoka One Ones Speedgoat 5,  and they were perfect. Check out more of my favorite travel shoes here.


Walking Sandals

best hiking sandals

Cameron and I – and just about everyone in our group traveled with either Tevas or Chacos. That’s because there will be many times when you may be walking in water or will have a wet landing on an island. For these times, you’ll want something sturdier than a flip-flop, but you obviously won’t want to get your tennis shoes wet. Sturdy sandals are perfect for this.


Buff

I travel everywhere with a Buff because it pulls my hair back when it looks like crap, keeps the sweat out of my face, and also protects from the sun. Even the local guides were wearing their buff to protect their faces.


Cameras and Lenses

You’re heading to a seriously hard place to get to in the world. Don’t leave home without a camera to capture some of your memories. A good travel camera is essential. We traveled with a Fuji X Series camera with a 50-200 mm lens.

Along with a Canon 5D and 600mm lens, we could get some up close shots of the wildlife. If underwater photography interests you, I would suggest purchasing the Sony RX100v. We just got this camera with underwater housing and can’t recommend it enough – small, lightweight, and great image quality!


Binoculars


best safari binoculars

I think we were the only people in our group without binoculars, and it was a major bummer. Binoculars offer you the chance to view wildlife much better than your bare eye – and you’ll be seeing lots of wildlife. There are options that aren’t too expensive online, and if I could redo my Galapagos packing list I definitely would have purchased a pair to have on this trip.


Dramamine


If you’re cruising around the islands and get sick sea easily make sure to pack Dramamine in your medicine kit. Our ship, the Santa Cruz, had a doctor on board and extra Dramamine but you can’t guarantee that yours will.


Lotion


It gets really hot around the Galapagos and the sun is baking on you so your skin is bound to take a hit and get dry. Bring some kind of lotion (I like cocoa butter to keep your skin hydrated. I thought that our ship would have lotion and be well stocked with amenities like in a typical hotel room, but it wasn’t so I was happy I had back up lotion in my bag.


Lip balm


Hot sun + dry climate = chapped lips. Bring some Vaseline or chapstick.


Waterbottle


You’re cruising around one of the most biodiverse areas of our planet. Please do not buy plastic water bottles and contribute to the worlds pollution problem. Buy a travel water bottle before your trip and keep refilling it up with that.


Walking Poles


FLZ Best Hiking Poles Black Diamond

We personally didn’t bring walking poles but saw many older people venturing around the islands with them. If you are used to walking or trekking with poles than I would suggest putting them on your Galapagos packing list.


Long Socks


Best Hiking Sock1

These aren’t necessary, but I personally love longer socks when I’m hiking around areas with lots of grass and bugs.


Fitness Watch


We both travel with a fitness watch just to see how much we are walking each day and to monitor our heart rate, it truly helps us stay in shape while traveling not just in the Galapagos, but everywhere.


A Good Book


You won’t have a TV or WiFi cruising around the Galapagos. Bring a book or Kindle with you to keep you occupied at night.


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Galapagos Packing Tips


  • Keep in mind that if you on board a ship like we were staterooms will be small and transfers will be on a dinghy. It’s best not to bring big suitcases.
  • Your accommodation provider may provide biodegradable toiletries, but it’s good to keep in mind to adjust your products for the environment your in. The Galapagos are very precious and anything put on your body and then in the water goes into the ecosystem.
  • All bags are run through customs when you leave Quito or Guayaquil and again when you arrive in the Galapagos. Do not bring any fresh fruit or things that will set off the alarm.
Galapagos Cruises

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About Natasha Alden

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years, across 7 continents, experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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