Table of Contents

25 Top Galapagos Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

Galapagos
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The Galapagos is a magical archipelago off the Ecuadorian Coast. Visiting this archipelago is undoubtedly a thrilling adventure. Its stunning volcanoes, beaches, and precious wildlife make it any traveler’s dream.

An adventure this unique does require some thoughtful packing! There are essentials you cannot forget when venturing to the Galapagos. Luckily, we’ve created a Galapagos packing list that will ensure you have your most epic trip yet. We’ve also included sections on what to wear on the Galapagos Islands, what NOT to bring, and answers to FAQs.

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What to Pack for the Galapagos - 25 Essentials

  • 1. Water-Resistant Travel Backpack

    Traveling light is the best way to explore the Galapagos. Light and durable backpacks can hold everything you need, without any preventable backaches. This backpack has enough compartments to store your necessities for your daily excursions around the islands. It is also weatherproof to keep your belongings safe and dry.

    Waterproof backpack blue

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 2. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    The Galapagos offers some dazzling water, which can encourage a spontaneous swim! A travel towel is great to have on hand. It works for any circumstance since it is light as a feather and dries 10x faster than traditional cotton. For beach days or being on-the-go, it’s a must-have item.

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Ecuador has been the victim of an increasing number of cybersecurity attacks, including a hacking scheme that shut down it’s largest bank! Hackers know that travelers on public networks are highly vulnerable. We always use a VPN to ensure our security when dealing with sensitive information, like passwords and account numbers.

    Also, some countries do not permit access to the same websites. VPNs thus are an excellent tool to remove censorship and surf the web just as you would back home. We’ve tried several companies and NordVPN is who we’ve been happiest with. We love that they offer unlimited bandwidth, which means your streaming will be faster and it’ll help with the notoriously spotty coverage in Galapagos.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    View NordVPN.com Options ➜

  • 4. Universal Waterproof Phone Case

    You do not need to worry about losing your phone on a boat or snorkeling trip. A waterproof phone case keeps your phone by your side at all times, ensuring you do not ruin your cherished lifeline. And let’s not forget the awesome underwater Instagram and Facebook stories you can create!

    waterproof phone pouch

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 5. Water Bottle with Built-in Filter

    The Galapagos tap water is pretty salty and not as purified as other systems. To have autonomy over your water supply while hiking, swimming, or exploring the Galapagos – we recommend bringing your own filtered water bottle. This one is high-quality and removes harmful bacteria, viruses, pathogens, and sediment. Also, buying water can get pricey and travelers for this destination in particular will probably want a sustainable option that protect the regional wildlife.

    Water Bottle with Built-in Filter

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 6. Travel Insurance for the Galapagos Islands

    As of June 2023, travel insurance is mandated and required for all visitors to the Galagos Islands. You must show proof of insurance because your domestic provider does not follow you outside of the country. Therefore, you need coverage for potential medical and air evacuation.
    We purchase coverage for all of our trips, regardless of the regulations, because it’s better to be safe than sorry. Whether it is a stolen bag, flight delay, or a health emergency – investing in travel insurance keeps your mind at ease, especially when in more remote places.

    We use Faye Travel Insurance and advise our friends who travel to do the same. As the first 100% digital provider, everything is handled through their app with 24/7 support. They offer you a custom quote for each individual trip, along with valuable add-ons like the ability to cancel your trip ‘for ANY reason’ or be covered for ‘adventure & extreme sports.’

    Travel Insurance for the Galapagos Islands

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. Universal Travel Adapter

    If you’re visiting the Galapagos from outside of the Americas, then chances are you’ll need a travel adapter to use the plugs. A universal travel adapter is always one of the first things I tell my friends to buy when they start to travel. With this one adapter, you will be able to plug in your electronics in just about every country. I especially love how this one comes with two USB ports so you can charge multiple devices at the same time.

    Adapter Plug Ports

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 8. Deet-Free Mosquito-Repelling Wristbands

    This is the simplest way to avoid mosquito bites. While bug spray is a great option, wearing a wristband offers a longer period of mosquito protection without constantly reapplying chemicals. These wristbands are also eco-friendly – a very important factor when visiting the Galapagos. With plant-based and non-toxic ingredients, you can easily avoid those annoying bites.

    Deet-Free Mosquito-Repelling Wristbands

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 9. Packing Cubes

    Organization is key for any travel adventure. Packing cubes simplify finding what you need for each daily excursion. These cubes in particular come with index cards to label each cube with all of your belongings, allowing you to stay extra organized and know what’s inside (shirts, pants, essentials, etc.). It also comes with laundry bags so you can separate your clean and dirty clothes.

    Packing Cubes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 10. Slip-on Mesh Water Shoes

    The Galapagos terrain can be pretty rugged. We definitely advise protecting your feet at all times. Water shoes keep your feet from any undesirable cuts and scrapes. These shoes let your feet breathe and dry very quickly, which in turn prevents blisters. This makes them excellent for boating and beach exploring, as they are very easy to pack.

    Water Shoes w

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 11. Affordable Underwater Camera

    You are definitely going to want to photograph the exquisite marine life in the Galapagos. An underwater camera lets you capture high-quality images and videos. It also helps you snap some amazing action shots, whether it’s a vibrant school of fish or a massive manta ray. This action camera links up to its own App so that you can edit photos on the go. Nothing like seeing and editing your snorkeling adventure while still at the beach, and way cheaper than a comparable GoPro.

    underwater camera

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 12. Discounted Tickets to Galapagos Tours

    Get Your Guide is our preferred booking service since they offer flexible cancelations and the best tours on the market!

    In Galapagos, take time to witness the wildlife on Pinzon Island, snorkel in Punta Carrion, hike through the lava tunnels of Cabo Rosa. Since this is a special location, tours are limited. But there are epic 5-day and 6-day excursions that will guide on a fully-planned week of adventures.

    Discounted Tickets to Galapagos Tours

    See all Galapagos attractions at GetYourGuide.com ➜

  • 13. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    Random rain showers should not ruin any exploring. This windproof umbrella is essential since it’s lightweight and durable. It can fit in any bag, whether a light backpack or tote bag. Bringing this umbrella is necessary if you visit the Galapagos during its wet season (January through April), but it can drizzle year-round.

    travel umbrella

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 14. Reef Safe Sunscreen (30-50 SPF)

    You will spend a lot of time outside in the Galapagos. It is always important to protect your skin, and reef-safe sunscreen is the best choice since it’s made without oxybenzone and octinoxate. These ingredients are toxic to coral reefs and can be skin irritants as well. Using reef-safe sunscreen keeps both marine life and your skin safe.

    Reef Safe Sunscreen (30-50 SPF)

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 15. Neck Wallet

    It is always best to keep your money close by, no matter what. While traveling around the Galapagos, ATMs are not often accessible. Keeping your cards and cash in reach is a priority. This wallet has multiple compartments, providing room for all types of cards, phones, passports, and currency. It also has innovative RFID-blocking technology, keeping your credit and debit cards safe from any unsolicited scans.

    Neck Wallet

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 16. Convertible Hiking Pants

    Temperatures can often vary during travel. Convertible hiking pants give you the best of both worlds. Whether it’s crazy heat or a rainstorm, these pants prepare you for any weather changes thrown your way. Convertible hiking pants are lightweight and water-resistant. You can remove the pant legs if they get wet or muddy and rock a shorter look. Here’s a great pair of women’s convertible hiking pants.

    columbia pant

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 17. Cooling Towel

    You’ll be spending most of your days outdoors exploring the fascinating ecology of the island,s which means lots of time under the sun and in the heat. All you do is wet the cooling towel, wring out any excess water, and it instantly becomes 20-30 degrees colder than the air temperature. Bring it with you when hiking, boating, or kayaking to keep cool. Once you use one, you’re going to wonder how you ever survived the heat without it!

    towel pink

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 18. Waterproof Walking Shoes

    These are the perfect everyday tennis shoe. Columbia makes activewear and high-quality outdoor apparel that is designed to last. These waterproof shoes work for urban and rural landscapes, with advanced traction that will perform well in nearly any environment.

    Waterproof Walking Shoes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 19. Waterproof Socks

    Is anything worse than wet socks in your shoes? It is pretty uncomfortable. Waterproof socks make all the difference. They keep your feet insulated and dry. You can wear them with your hiking shoes, sneakers, or even sandals. The best part is that they do not stick to your feet like wet socks. This checks another potential inconvenience off your list!

    water proof socks

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 20. Snorkeling Gear

    There is a plethora of gorgeous marine life to see in the Galapagos. Snorkeling gear often is pricey to rent at the beach. Having it on hand not only saves you money but lets you take advantage of fantastic snorkeling opportunities at any time. Kids’ snorkels may be harder to come across so get theirs separately and don’t forget the life jackets for easy floating.

    Snorkeling Gear

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 21. Motion Sickness Patches

    Large cruises through the Galapagos will have strong stabilizers, but smaller boats and transfer vessels can be super wobbly. If you tend to get sea sick or motion sickness, use these natural patches to relieve any nausea. These are the only thing we’ve found that actually work!

    Motion Sickness Patches

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 22. Activated Charcoal

    Any experienced traveler knows that activated charcoal is a necessity. In case of any contaminated tap water, tummy aches, or food poisoning – activated charcoal supplements will quickly absorb the pathogens and relieve any discomfort. Your time on vacation is too precious to suffer from stomach pains.

    Activated Charcoal

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 23. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    Since over one hundred thousand people visit the Galapagos Islands each year, they know that storage space on cruise ships or hotel bathrooms is scarce. Use this hanging toiletries bag to create a shelf-like system on any bathroom door. It unfolds to expose 4 giant compartments so you can completely maintain your routine.

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 24. Sun Hat

    The Galapagos is located near the equator’s path, which means regardless of the season, the sun will shine more powerfully here. I’d recommend bringing a wide-brimmed sun hat that is foldable and easy to pack. This one has a UFP of 50, which means it will drastically reduce the impact of UV rays on your face and neck.

    Sun Hat

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 25. Binoculars with Phone Adapter

    There are a lot of small wonders to be seen in the Galapagos. One of the biggest perks of this region is the eclectic wildlife that you will not find anywhere else! Therefore, binoculars are a must, no matter what your day’s plans are. These binoculars are compact and we love that they come with a phone adapter, easily connecting to your phone for instant sharing. Way cheaper than Vanguards and twice as practical.

    Binoculars with Phone Adapter

    View on Amazon.com ➜

What to Wear on the Galapagos Islands?

Comfort is key when visiting the Galapagos. You will spend a lot of time on your feet while seeing the archipelago’s stunning natural wonders. Accommodating clothing that leaves you feeling light and free is the best way to go. You do not want anything weighing you down on a long hike!

What you wear in the Galapagos will vary by season. The Galapagos has both a wet and a dry season. Thus, it is most practical to wear layers. There will be times when you need to pack an extra rain jacket or even shoes.

What Women Should Wear? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Women should dress simply when exploring the Galapagos. The outfits can vary per daily activity. There is room for style, especially when exploring the stunning beaches. It is important to note that the season will somewhat influence what to wear.

When walking and hiking, lightweight t-shirts, hiking pants, and hiking shoes are a must. These are all water-resistant, keeping you cool and dry. With varying elevations, it is great to dress and be prepared for temperature changes. A sports bra is essential, as it is sweat absorbent and offers easy support. A down jacket should always be packed. It is essential during the dry season when temperatures are cooler, especially at higher elevations. A sporty crossbody bag makes walking super easy and stylish. To keep your head cool, a cotton bandana is great as a headband. It is soft and doesn’t irritate your skin. Its cotton material makes it super easy to handwash as well!

When spending time at the beach, outfits can be more fun and flexible. An athletic bathing suit is very useful. You will most likely be active at the beach with a slim tolerance for wardrobe malfunctions. Cargo shorts, lightweight t-shirts, and sandals are staples for beach comfort. Don’t forget to wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses. The sun on the Galapagos can get pretty intense! Pair your outfit with an eco-friendly tote bag, to carry a sarong and any emergency undergarments.

What Men Should Wear: ?– (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Men should dress comfortably on a trip to the Galapagos. What to wear will depend on daily activities, season, and time of day. Nonetheless, it is best to pack light and simple. There will not be a need for formal wear during your trip, so you can leave the slacks at home!

Layers will be key for comfort for more active days on land. Dressing in convertible hiking pants, sleeveless t-shirts, and a button-up hiking shirt will suffice for most temperature fluctuations. It is always great to pack a fleece or lightweight down jacket when visiting during the dry season. Hiking volcanoes can bring cooler temperatures and may require another layer. Hiking shoes are the recommended shoe choice. Sneakers or boots will work, as long as the shoe is lightweight.

When venturing to the beach or going on a snorkeling trip, pack your most reliable pair of board shorts or swim trunks. The best bet is to pack an extra pair of shorts or trunks. Pairing this with a short sleeve shirt will keep you cool all day long. Hiking sandals work super well on the beach, but a pair of flip flops are convenient to have as well. A waterproof watch is a great accessory, especially if you have a random cliff jumping urge. And, do not forget a pair of polarized sunglasses. These are necessary, as the sun is hard to escape while exploring the Galapagos.

DRY SEASON – (June to December)

During these months, you will expect the lowest temperatures in the Galapagos. This is due to the Humboldt Current, bringing in cooler winds to the islands. This creates Spring-like weather. The ocean water is also chillier. It is best to pack layers, including lightweight tops, fleeces, and down jackets. Jeans are also helpful for a potential stroll in the markets. It is never a bad idea to pack a swimsuit – swimming is still a possibility, as some days can still be hot.

WET SEASON – (December to May)

This is the warmer season of the two. This is the time to dress on the lighter side. You can probably leave your down jacket at home. However, layers are still recommended, as there will be many rain showers. A packable rain jacket and convertible hiking pants are very helpful. Also, the Panama Current brings warm waters to the Galapagos. This creates ideal swimming and snorkeling temperatures, so do not forget your bathing suit, cover-up, and flip flops.

Dressing for Galapagos Activities: – (Click to expand)

Boating – There is a ton to see via boat when visiting the Galapagos. From marine life to snorkeling, there are tons to see and to do. You can even spend your trip entirely on a boat if you’d like! Nevertheless, for the best boating experience, you should not forget to apply ample sunscreen. Supplement this with a comfy sun hat for optimal sun protection. Keep your clothing light, wearing things like loose t-shirts, swimsuits, and shorts. You should also bring water shoes, as they ensure complete foot protection on and off the boat.

Snorkeling – Snorkeling in the Galapagos is an unforgettable experience. You got to do it! Pack lightly for your snorkeling adventure. An athletic swimsuit, loose t-shirt, and flip flops will get you by. For women, it is useful to bring a sarong or cover-up along as well. Remember to leave your jewelry and random accessories behind. You do not want those to get lost at sea.

Cliff Jumping – There are some impressive cliffs to take advantage of in the Galapagos. If going on a cliff-jumping adventure, all you need is an athletic bathing suit and water shoes. If you feel a little daring, bring your phone in an underwater case along as well. You never know what you will find once you splash into the gorgeous waters.

Hiking – There are some amazing hikes to take advantage of throughout the archipelago. It is a great idea to pack lightly so that you do not feel weighed down on your adventure. An ultra-lightweight backpack is necessary. Also, hiking is when you will experience the largest temperature changes. Therefore, it is always best to wear layers and pack an extra jacket. If it is the dry season, put a lightweight down jacket in your backpack. If it is the wet season, pack a rain jacket and umbrella. Do not forget your binoculars as well to spot all the incredible wildlife.

Market Strolling – There are some casual, less active experiences in the Galapagos too! Strolling through the food and farmers’ markets is a fabulous cultural experience. You will be in sensory overload, as you smell and taste all the wonderful local delicacies. A t-shirt and a comfortable part of linen pants or jeans are enough to feel comfortable. Do not forget comfortable sandals and a tote bag or cotton grocery bag to carry all your market treats.

What NOT to Bring to the Galapagos Islands:

  • 1.Skincare containing toxic ingredients

    There is a lot of precious wildlife in the Galapagos. Therefore, you should be mindful of the skincare products you bring. Make sure your products are water-soluble and non-toxic. Avoid body care products (lotions, creams, etc…) that contain microbeads, synthetic fragrances, and parabens. This also goes for makeup and bug repellant as well.

  • 2.Disposable Drinkware

    It is best to avoid bringing most disposable things to the Galapagos. You want to refrain from producing as much waste as possible. Anything that can end up on land or sea could pose danger to the archipelago’s precious wildlife.

  • 3.Stylish handbags

    While handbags look fashionable, they will become annoying to carry around. Stick to simple lightweight bags that can strap on easily. That way your shoulders and back will feel relaxed your entire trip.

  • 4.Heeled shoes

    Heels are infamous for causing pain and blisters. Also, the Galapagos is very rugged. Heels increase your chances of tripping and potentially hurting yourself. Make your trip simple by wearing comfortable hiking shoes, sandals, and sneakers.

  • 5.Jewelry

    You will be very active on your trip to the Galapagos. It is best to avoid losing any jewelry, whether on a hike or while snorkeling. It is best to keep your body light and free while exploring the islands.

  • 6.Extra electronics

    As with jewelry, it is best to pack lightly. Extra devices will weigh you down as you explore. It is best to keep it as simple as possible. We advise just to bring your phone, camera, and necessary charging devices.

What NOT to Wear to the Galapagos: – (Click to expand)

There is a lot you can leave at home when packing for the Galapagos. There are three key things to remember for your trip: simplicity, comfort, and sustainability. Simple is above all key for your trip. You can leave most jewelry at home, except for essential things like watches and wedding rings. Avoid complicated shoes, like heels or strappy sandals. A shoe that could lead to blisters will become a nuisance on your trip. Clothes that lack breathability, like items made of nylon, should be left behind. These will make you sweat and stick to you, giving you discomfort on long walks and hikes. It is also best to avoid wearing makeup. Ingredients like glitter are known to be toxic to marine life if it enters the water.

FAQs About the Galapagos Islands:

  • 1. When is the best time to travel to the Galapagos?

    This depends on what activities you hope to engage in. Both the dry and wet seasons are enjoyable times to explore the Galapagos. If you are hoping for more ideal beach and snorkeling weather, the wet season is your best bet. It will provide the warmest waters to swim in. The dry season is a better choice for hiking, as you will experience less random downpours.

  • 2. How far in advance should I book my trip?

    Galapagos is a remote and popular destination. It is best to book your travel well in advance to assure affordable prices and flexible dates. We suggest booking at least 9 months ahead.

  • 3. Is it better to explore by land or by boat?

    This is completely up to you! We advise both. This allows you to see all the beauty of the islands. But, if you feel more comfortable on a cruise, there are some great and eco-friendly tourist boats to choose from.

  • 4. How much time should you spend in the Galapagos?

    We advise at least a week. First, it takes some time to get to the Galapagos. You will want a moment to get adjusted once there. Also, flights there are a little costly and you do want to make it worth it. Not to mention the plethora of natural sites to see and adventures to have – you will never get bored!

  • 5. Can you camp in the Galapagos?

    For the most part, no. The majority of the Galapagos is a National Park. This means you cannot set up camp just anywhere since the land is thoroughly protected. If you do wish to camp, you most likely need to obtain authorization. This may come with an additional fee(s.)

  • 6. What currency do they use in the Galapagos?

    The U.S. Dollar.

  • 7. Should I bring cash or debit/credit cards?

    We advise you to bring both. When bringing credit cards, stick to Mastercard and Visa – these are the most commonly accepted. Having cash on hand is always useful, however. You can avoid potential card fees. Also, small businesses often only take cash. There are only a few ATMs readily accessible in the Galapagos. Therefore, withdrawing cash before you travel is the best option.

  • 8. Is the water safe to drink in the Galapagos?

    The tap water is not generally safe to drink in the Galapagos. We suggest bringing along a water bottle with a reliable filter to avoid any potential waterborne illness.