Ecuador & Galapagos FAQs
What does Good Life Expeditions do?
We’re a fully-fledged travel agency, offering authentic and immersive travel experiences to Peru, Ecuador & the Galapagos islands, Nicaragua and Tanzania. Our small team of expert travel specialists have many years of experience planning unforgettable trips for all kinds of budgets and travel styles. We’re also passionate travelers ourselves, so happy to share our experiences and advice. Read more on our About Us page. Our focus is on transformative travel – experiences that will change your outlook on life. Check out our sample itineraries and experiences for a taste of what we offer.
Where does my money go?
Good Life Expeditions is unique in that we’re owned by an NGO – MEDLIFE – with profits from Good Life Expeditions funding MEDLIFE’s health, education and development projects. So, you can travel knowing that you’re making a positive contribution to the local communities you interact with. Read more in our blog about the relationship between Good Life Expeditions and MEDLIFE.
We work with a range of partners to bring your trip to life – from hotels, cruises, trekking providers, local guides and more. We ensure that our partners have sustainable, eco-friendly and ethical practices – in fact many of them support their own NGOs and community projects.
Do you arrange airfare?
Airfare is not included in our quotes, and clients usually book their own international flights to Quito or Guayaquil. If you’re not sure about how to find the best flights, we can certainly advise you and point you in the right direction, recommending flight agents that we regularly work with. With domestic flights from the mainland to the Galapagos, it might be easier to book these together with your international flights – there are often cost savings for a multi-destination trip. If not, our travel team would be happy to book your domestic flights for you.
Do you cater to solo travelers?
Absolutely! Ecuador is a wonderful and very safe country to explore on your own. We will create the perfect tailormade itinerary for you based on your interests and travel style. Some Galapagos cruises also offer special departures for solo travelers. In the near future we will also be offering some scheduled departures for group trips, a great way for solo travelers to meet like-minded adventurers along the way.
How do I get to the Galapagos islands?
First you should take an international flight to either Quito or Guayaquil. From here, domestic flights are available to take you the 500 miles (over 800km) out to the islands. You can fly into one of two commercial airports – Baltra airport (for Santa Cruz island) and Isla San Cristobal airport.
Do I need a visa to travel to Ecuador?
Probably not. For citizens of most countries, including USA, Canada and the UK, a visa is not required for short-term tourist travel to Ecuador. However, visas are required for citizens of some countries including Costa Rica, Cuba, Panama, India, Pakistan, and others. For a full, up-to-date list of countries that require visas, check with the nearest Ecuadorian diplomatic representation for more information.
You’ll be granted entry to Ecuador for up to 90 days, depending on your travel plans. Do make sure you have evidence of when you’re leaving the country (return ticket), your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return date, and that you have empty pages in your passport for entry and exit stamps.
Are there any special requirements for entering the Galapagos islands?
The Galapagos islands is a heavily protected natural environment and national park. To enter, all adults must pay for a Transit Control Card (TCC) of $20 USD and a Galapagos National Park fee of $100 USD (adults and children over 12) / $50 USD (children under 12).
There are also strict regulations of what you can bring to the islands – you will be carefully searched for prohibited items including fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, soil, seeds, etc.
What will the weather be like?
Being right on the equator line means that Ecuador is a ‘seasonless country’ – without the four seasons that exist in countries outside of the tropics. The only changing weather patterns are periods of rain and dry.
The driest period is usually between June and August – after this there is sporadic rain until about November. But the patterns are not predictable enough to call them a defined wet and dry season and Ecuador is a great destination year-round.
The Galapagos island are different, and do have a clearly defined dry season (June to November) and hot season (December to May). Each season is important for the animal kingdom, whether they’re mating, hatching or migrating, so like the mainland, the archipelago really is a year-round destination.
Do I need any vaccinations before traveling to Ecuador?
There are no mandatory vaccinations for entering Ecuador. If you are visiting the Amazon, and other low-lying regions the Center for Disease Control in the US and the World Health Organization recommend having a Yellow Fever vaccination as a precautionary measure and to travel with the certificate. When returning home, some countries will ask for evidence of Yellow Fever Vaccination if you’ve visited the Amazon. Malaria is also present in some places, so you may want to discuss precautionary malaria medicine with your doctor. Check with your government’s foreign travel advice and consult your doctor.
How do I prepare for altitude sickness?
If you’re visiting Quito and other high altitude locations in the Andes, it’s a good idea to prepare your body for the altitude. For most people symptoms are mild and include headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath. General advice is to take it easy for the first two days at altitude – walk slowly, drink lots of water, eat light meals and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Traditional coca tea and chewing coca leaves can help alleviate the symptoms. Acclimatizing in this way is essential before taking on a multi-day trek.
Diamox can be prescribed by your doctor, and is generally taken two days before arriving at altitude and continued for two days at altitude. There are also medications that help alleviate the symptoms once at altitude. Always consult with your doctor before starting a course of medication.
What should I pack for my trip to Ecuador?
Again, this depends where you’ll be visiting. Mostly, you’ll want casual loose-fitting clothes, long and short sleeves and comfortable walking shoes. In general Ecuador is a warm, tropical destination. In Quito and the Andes it can get very cold at night, depending on the time of year, so bring warm layers and a good jacket. If you’re traveling during the rainy period, particularly to the Amazon, you’ll also want waterproof gear, including a good jacket with a hood. Plastic ponchos that hold into your bag work well. For treks, you need a good pair of hiking shoes (already broken in), preferably with ankle support.
For the Galapagos, you want light casual summer clothes. At times it can get chilly in the evening so a light jacket is recommended. You’ll often be walking on uneven volcanic terrain, so good stable walking or hiking shoes are key.
A day backpack is a good idea to keep your camera, water and snacks nearby. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, camera, sunblock, lip balm, insect repellent any medication you need.
What is the currency in Ecuador?
In 1999 the Ecuadorian government adopted the US dollar as the country’s official currency. The bills are the same, but local coins are minted with country leaders and historical figures. It’s easy to withdraw money from ATMs in major towns and cities, but ensure you have enough cash on you in rural areas and the Galapagos islands (outside of the main towns).
Will my phone work and where can I access Wi-Fi?
As long as your mobile phone is set up for international roaming, you should be able to connect to local networks, often with a hefty charge. You can buy prepaid local SIM cards with credit for calls and data if your phone is unlocked. Wi-Fi is widely available in hotels, cafes and restaurants in the cities and tourist areas. In remote mountain and jungle regions, and on Galapagos cruises, there is often no phone signal or Wi-Fi, so be prepared to be disconnected at certain parts of your trip.
Voltage and plugs- will my appliances work?
The supply voltage in Ecuador is 110 volts at 60 hertz – the same as the US and Canada. The plugs are flat two pronged so travelers from North America will not need an adaptor.
When is the best time of year to travel to the Galapagos?
Galapagos is a great year-round destination and the best time to travel depends on where you want to visit and what your priorities are. You may want to take into consideration school holidays or attending local festivals. Both the mainland and the Galapagos islands have favorable weather year-round.