Quito, Ecuador (UTC-5)
Ecuador & Galapagos: Paradise Awaiting To Be Explored
At the Earth Trip we have a team of professionals with considerable knowledge and first hand expertise in putting together tailor made arrangements for the places you are planning to visit.
Ecuador is a small but very diverse country with Andean scenery, famous markets, Inca ruins, an attractive coastline and pristine rainforest. A trip to the Galapagos Islands will bring you face to face with some of the most remarkable wildlife on the planet.
With a fine colonial heritage, Andean scenery and unspoiled Amazon rainforest a trip to Ecuador has all the ingredients to give you a flavour of South America, but a trip to the Galapagos Islands will bring you literally face to face with some of the planet’s most remarkable wildlife.
THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
A journey to the Galapagos Islands is an extraordinary adventure which will bring you literally face to face with some of the most remarkable wildlife on the planet. The Galapagos archipelago consists of six principal islands, twelve smaller islands and over 40 islets and many of the species of fish, plants and reptiles are found nowhere else in the world. Indeed, many species have evolved into different forms on different islands, making them endemic to particular islands, famously recognized by Charles Darwin during his visit in 1835.
You should note that the Galapagos National Park authorities do not allow boats with more than 100 passengers to operate in the archipelago. All boats have to file their itineraries with the authorities, who strictly control the numbers of people arriving at any one place at any time. There are usually two or three landings per day.
We book a variety of Galapagos cruises ranging from luxury ships with a large choice of cabins and decks and which have facilities catering for up to 100 passengers to smaller yachts, catamarans and sailing ships with capacity from just 7 cabins on the smallest boats (i.e. 14 passengers) up to 24 cabins (48 passengers).
These pages are designed to help you consider what it best for you, according to style of boat, size, cabin choice, facilities and, of course, your budget. Please remember that bigger ships are inevitably more spacious with better facilities on board (such as a choice of dining facilities, range of decks) and tend to be faster in the water, perhaps reaching some of the outlying islands that smaller boats don’t visit. But with a larger number of passengers it takes longer to disembark onto smaller boats and zodiacs for landing on islands, all of which takes time. Smaller cruises make for a more intimate experience.
We recommend a seven-night Galapagos itinerary over shorter stays as this will give you the chance to visit more islands and the opportunity to see a greater variety of wildlife.
Welcome to Ecuador & Galapagos!
– Galapagos Islands:
- Galapagos cruises
- Fauna and Flora
- Wildlife tours
- Unique eco-systems
– Natural Beauty:
- Rainforest and Cloudforest
- Amazon cruises
- Avenue of the Volcanoes
- Devil’s Nose train
– Traditional Markets:
- Otavalo (daily, best on Sat)
- Latacunga (Tues/Sat)
- Saquisili (Thurs)
- Pujili (Wed/Sat)
– Colonial Heritage:
- Historic Hacienda
See below for just some of the reasons why Ecuador & Galapagos should be on your holiday ‘bucket list’.
Preparing For A Trip To Ecuador & Galapagos?
Visa Information / Entry requirements Ecuador & Galapagos
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Ecuador set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Ecuador entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.
If you present symptoms such as high temperature, cough, loss of sense of smell/taste or a skin rash, please fill in the Health Declaration Form. You can fill this form online or physically on arrival at the airport or land border.
As of October 2021, international cruise ship operations are authorised at the following ports: Esmeraldas, Manta, Guayaquil and Puerto Bolivar. However, there are strict guidelines and measures to comply with to obtain the relevant permissions.
If you’re fully vaccinated
There are no vaccination requirements to enter Ecuador.
If you’re not fully vaccinated
There are no vaccination requirements to enter Ecuador.
If you’re transiting through Ecuador
If you are transiting through Ecuador, you are subject to the same COVID-19 requirements as for entering Ecuador.
Airline crew members are exempt from Ecuador’s current entry requirements.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website. Please check if you will be required to present a yellow fever certificate to travel to your next destination from Ecuador. See Health.
Check your passport and travel documents before your travel
Both visitors and residents must have a minimum of 6 months’ validity on their passport from the date of entry.
This is a strict legal requirement from the Ecuadorean government. If your passport does not meet this requirement, you will be denied entry to Ecuador.
Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
If you are a British passport holder visiting Ecuador for up to 90 days in any 12 month period, you do not need a visa. If you plan to stay longer, you should consult the nearest Ecuadorean Embassy before travelling. On entry, you may be asked about your reason for travel, and asked to provide evidence of a return or onward flight/bus ticket.
You can extend your 90 days (only once) online by a further 90 days by paying a fee. If you wish to extend your stay, you must begin the extension process before the first 90 day period expires. For general immigration information, please visit the Ecuadorean Migration website. For general enquiries contact: email@example.com.
For any other lengths or types of stay, including studying or working, you should consult the nearest Ecuadorean Embassy before travelling. For further details on visa applications for Ecuador, check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Get the relevant emails for other MFA’s Coordinaciones Zonales here.
Permanent and temporary resident visas are issued electronically (digitally sent by email)
Overstaying your visa
The penalty for overstaying is a fine. You will be notified by immigration officials on departure that you have a fine pending and that your name will remain on immigration records. It is only possible to pay this fine within Ecuador. Once the fine is paid and recorded, you can return to Ecuador.
Arriving across a land border
If you enter Ecuador via the border with Peru or Colombia, you must ensure you get an official entry stamp at the border showing the date of your arrival. There have been cases of buses not stopping at the border, which has caused great difficulties for foreign visitors for failing to comply with immigration regulations. Travellers may face a fine when leaving Ecuador if their passport does not have an entry stamp. If your passport was not stamped on entry, approach an immigration office for further guidance.
All visitors to the Galapagos Islands should be ready to provide a copy of their hotel booking, or an invitation letter from a host if staying with a resident, upon entry. National and foreign tourists must also present evidence of a return flight, as well as the Galapagos Transit Control Card, to be filled out online at least 24 hours before the flight. Travel health insurance is mandatory for foreign tourists.The maximum stay in the Galapagos Islands as a tourist is 60 days.
Travelling with children
Under Ecuadorean law, children under the age of 18 born in Ecuador are automatically considered as Ecuadorean citizens, even if travelling on a British passport (dual nationals).
They, along with British minors who have resident status in Ecuador, will need notarised written consent from the non-accompanying parent(s) to leave the country. In non-straightforward situations due to a legal dispute, the child will need judicial written permission (Autorización de Viaje Judicial) issued by a judge (Juzgado de la Niñez y Adolescencia). If one of the parents is deceased, the other parent will need to submit the death certificate to a public notary, so that an indefinite notarial permit to travel with the child is issued. The immigration authorities are responsible for checking all the above legal documents.
British children (or British-Ecuadorean dual nationals) who have tourist status in Ecuador do not need these permissions.
Minors entering Ecuador with someone other than a legal guardian(s) do not need to present written consent. The obligation to check these permissions lie with the country they departed from.
Tourism Health Information – Ecuador & Galapagos
If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.
See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
Some medical prescriptions issued overseas (including from the UK) may be accepted in Ecuador. Antimicrobial prescriptions will be accepted if they are up to 3 days old, and in the case of narcotic or psychotropic prescriptions, they will be accepted up to 5 days old.
Travel can sometimes be challenging. Looking after both your mental and physical health during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
For local assistance, you should read our guidance “Ecuador: mental health support for British nationals”.
UK health authorities have classified Ecuador as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Weather & When To Go To Ecuador & Galapagos
We will advise you on the best time of the year to travel and, just as importantly, when not to go to a particular region or place. We hope the following guidelines are useful:
The best months for the Galapagos Islands are December to March, when the seas are at their calmest. You should avoid September-October as there is a sea mist at this time.
Ecuador has a very even temperature throughout the year but the wet season runs from October to April. Whilst temperatures rise to 22oC in Quito during the day, it can get quite cool at night at altitude (2850m), colder at higher altitudes in the Andes. It is generally hottest on the coast between December and April and can get quite sticky at this time in the Amazon rainforest.
At The Earth Trip we will design and plan your personalised itinerary according to the exact requirements of your trip. Whether you prefer to be on a mountaintop or under a waterfall; wake up in the middle of a jungle or have a picnic with locals in the tea plantations – we select the accommodation and activities in order to suit not only your preferences, but also your budget.Discover Tailor-Made