Visitor and visa entry requirements to enter Ecuador and the Galapagos
Always check with your local embassy or consulate to determine whether or not you need a VISA for Ecuador (see our Ecuador travel planner for more info). A passport is a must, though, so be sure to get your papers settled before traveling abroad. It’s smart to take photocopies of all important documents (passport, travel insurance, credit cards etc.) and keep them in a safe place apart from your originals.
To enter Ecuador only a valid passport is required. No visas are required for U.S., Canadian, and most European citizens unless you plan to stay more than ninety days. Check with local immigration offices or the Ecuadorian consulate prior to sailing to determine if a visa is necessary.
Visitors must have a current passport valid for more than three months, adequate funds to support themselves and a return ticket. Be sure to bring your C-card or proof of certification.
There are also some requirements to enter the Galapagos Islands. Here you can read all about the Entry Requirements.
Park Entrance Fees
The Galapagos Islands feature an amazing diversity of animals, many endemic, which are unusually tame due to lack of predation and many years of protection. This protection must continue to preserve the uniqueness of Galapagos for future generations.
One of the most important entry requirements is the National Park Fee. Upon arrival to the islands, a park officer will collect this National Park fee of $100 US. (Cash only, no travelers’ checks.) Everybody must pay a park entrance fee of $100.00. In the past, they accepted student cards to give a discount, but now they don’t. The only ones exempt from this important fee are the residents of the islands, residents of Ecuador, or those in the pacto-Andino (and they still have to pay $50.00). Do not lose your park tax receipt; boat captains need to record it. A 50% reduction in the national park fee is available to children under 12.
The entrance fee helps fund the maintenance of the parks and other national projects.
The park entrance fee is distributed as follows: 40% Galapagos National Park; 20% Galapagos Municipalities; 10% Galapagos Province Government; 10% Galapagos National Institute (INGALA); 5% Galapagos Marine Reserve; 5% Galapagos Province Inspection and Quarantine System; 5% INEFAN (National Park Service); 5% National Army. In total, these fees assist in the protection and preservation of the Islands.
Park Entrance Fees
At the airport, your bags will be inspected. It is not only safety precautions found on all flights around the world. The inspection will also be to avoid introduction of harmful species to the Islands.
Many visitors in the past have innocently introduced species that have caused ecological damage to the Galapagos Islands. In general terms you are not allowed to bring the following on your trip to the Islands:
Plantlife in form of Fruits, seeds, flowers or other live plants that could possibly be planted or carry diseases to the Islands.
Animals: NO PETS ALLOWED!
Alien species continue to be the biggest threat to the fragile Galapagos ecosystems. The increased human movement to the Galapagos augmented the risk of alien species introduction through various pathways such as cargo boats and airplanes. Therefore to prevent further incursions, the Galapagos inspection and quarantine system (SICGAL) was established in 2000.
The Invertebrate Department assists the Ecuadorian Plant Quarantine Service (SESA) in the implementation of an efficient quarantine system specific to the Galápagos Islands. In December of 2002, the Ecuadorian President signed into law the new “Regulation for the Total Control Plan for Invasive Species.” CDRS is working closely with SESA to facilitate the implementation of this important regulation, to train SICGAL inspectors and to help elaborate and set up the necessary quarantine and inspection procedures. In an effort to detect new incursions of invasive species, the CDRS, in collaboration with SESA, is implementing a long-term surveillance and early detection system in the four inhabited islands, as part of the second barrier of the Galápagos Quarantine System.