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Planning and packing for your Galapagos adventure

Secondary Categories: Galapagos IslandsGuide

Taking the time to plan and pack properly will help you to get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Read on for tips from people who’ve been before…

The inspiration behind Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the Galapagos archipelago is one of the most incredible places on the planet. Home to penguins, tortoises, marine iguanas and myriad other fascinating species, the dramatic surroundings will inspire you to spend your days hiking, snorkelling and generally exploring. Take a look at our packing tips to ensure that you have everything that you need to enjoy an unforgettable adventure.

Pack Light

Whether you opt for a cruise or a land-based adventure, packing light will save you time, stress and potential additional airline fees. We’ve found that the best way to reduce your luggage is to plan ahead and make a list of the most essential items.

Galapagos Sea Lion (Photo: Dag Peak)

Travel Basics

We hardly have to tell you to pack your passport, credit cards and some US Dollars. And don’t forget to bring enough personal medication to last you the duration of your trip. Sunglasses, a hat and sun cream are also essential. Play your part in protecting the ecosystem by packing reef-safe sunscreen and beauty products. Remove any unnecessary packaging before your trip and don’t dispose of any used toiletries on the islands.

Travel Equipment

Invest in a comfy and durable daypack for exploring the islands. The daypack should be compact but have enough room to include things like a swimming towel, water bottle and binoculars. If you’re a photographer, you’ll want a fairly long lens for wildlife shots while a waterproof action camera like a GoPro, or a trustworthy waterproof smartphone holder, is great to have on snorkelling trips.

Photographic opportunities (Photo: Max Goldberg)

Clothing and Shoes

You’ll need both short sleeve and long sleeve shirts for your trip – a lightweight long sleeve shirt offers extra protection during the day and is usually more than warm enough at night. When the weather is hot, lightweight cotton or synthetic shorts will help to keep you cool while comfortable long pants are useful in the highlands and at night when it’s cooler. Also bring a sweatshirt and a rain jacket – especially if you’re visiting between December and May when most of the rain falls.

You’ll also need underwear and bathing suits (plural) so you can have a dry one to change into after snorkelling. Comfortable walking shoes are a must for anyone visiting this beautiful wildlife sanctuary as you’ll have to walk on a wide range of different terrains. You’ll need shoes that can handle sand and rocks and they’ll also need to offer you good traction to prevent slipping. We’d advise bringing hiking boots with extra ankle support, some amphibious sandals for the water landings, and a comfy pair of shoes that you can relax in when you aren’t hiking. And don’t forget to bring some decent socks.

Expert guides (Photo: Pantxorama)

Travel Accessories

While it’s advisable to keep extra items to a minimum, you don’t want to travel like a monk either. Be sure to remember all of your chargers and cables and bring a spare camera battery or two. It’s not a vacation if you don’t bring a good book (here’s a great Galapagos reading list) and you may also want to take a journal along to record the details of your experience. If you’re picky about snorkelling gear we’d advising bringing your own mask, even though a complimentary snorkel set will be available to you. A waterproof bag  (sometimes called a "dry bag") can also come in handy to keep your electronics and documents dry.

Now that you know what you need to take along with you, you can start preparing for your adventure in the Galapagos. If you haven’t already booked, check out our range of Galapagos itineraries or speak to one of our whizzkid Destination Experts about creating your own tailor-made adventure.

Credit to Paul Krawczuk for the cover image of this blog.

Time to reflect (Photo: Nelson de Witt)

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