Before You Go to Ecuador & the Galapagos
The months and weeks before a vacation can be an exciting but nerve-wracking time, but Galapagos vacations shouldn’t be a stressful experience. Having a pre-trip plan can keep your vacation on the right track and maximize the excitement with minimal stress.
3-12 Months Before
Unless you’re planning to book a last-minute deal on a cruise, then it’s generally a good idea to lock in your reservations up to a year in advance. If you are traveling during the low season (April/ May & September/ October) then you’ll probably still be able to find cruises on the boats/ itineraries you want a few months before.
Start browsing Galapagos cruise itineraries and figuring out which sites you want to see, which activities you want to do, and which boats look best to you (considering your budget). Contact your trip planner (that’s us!) to get started planning the journey.
Galapagos Cruises 4-1-1
- You can find cruises that are Luxury, First Class, Mid-range, and Budget
- Galapagos boats are usually 16-20 passenger yachts (like catamarans, motor sailors, and single-hull yachts) or 100-200-passenger ships - catamarans and larger ships are the stablest options.
- The best bilingual guides and accommodations are on the luxury and first class cruises.
- Weeklong itineraries generally either do an Eastern/ Southern tour or a Western tour of the Galapagos archipelago.
- 3-4 day itineraries tend to stick to the bigger islands, while 15-day itineraries tend to explore the whole archipelago.
- All itineraries usually include snorkeling, hiking, and nature exploration.
- If your schedule is flexible, you can save thousands of dollars on a last-minute deal.
Once you’ve determined which dates work best for you and talked with the travel planners, it’s time to book your cruise!
When you have your cruise booked, you should also buy your airline tickets. Make sure that you check with the travel planner to make sure that you are flying into the right airport in the Galapagos.
1 Month Before
Confirm your trip details, including the cruise tickets or hotel reservations, any activities and lodging you’re planning to do in mainland Ecuador before or after the trip, and your airfare. The advantage to working with a travel planner is that we help guide you through this and make sure that all of the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted.
1 Week Before
Pack! This is the fun part. Packing in advance means that you have enough time to buy any last minute items and enough time to remember anything you might not have packed. It also gives you enough time to weigh your bags and re-arrange anything to make sure that each checked bag will not weigh more than the 50-lb weight limit.
When packing, it’s strongly recommended that you use a tailored Galapagos packing list. Every time you put something in the suitcase, cross it off the list and don’t take it out of your suitcase again.
You can also use this time to make any arrangements for while you are away - setting your “Away Message” on your work email, asking neighbors to pick up your mail, arranging a place for your pets to stay and someone to take care of them, planning a menu so that most of your perishable food isn’t going to sit in the fridge for a week.
1 Day Before
Unplug everything in your house that isn’t necessary. Obviously, the refrigerator, stove, and any major appliances can be left plugged in, but otherwise most things can be unplugged for safety and economy. If you are leaving in the winter, you should consider leaving the thermostat set to 60 degrees to make sure that your pipes don’t freeze.
Put your suitcases by the door (or in the car) and collect any last-minute items that you haven’t packed yet. Make sure you have a way to get to the airport - Is a friend picking you up? Do you need to reserve a taxi? Are you driving?
Day Of Your Flight
Get to the airport at least 3 hours in advance since you will be taking an international flight. This will give you time to check your bags and get through security with time to spare.
Depending on when you are flying, consider your meals for that day. If you are planning to eat in the airport before your first flight, then you should get there even earlier.
On Your Cruise
Relax! You deserve it.