The Galapagos Islands are technically part of Ecuador so all visitors will need to arrange for a travel visa to Ecuador prior to visiting. Citizens of the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and several European nations are eligible for a free visa upon arrival in Ecuador. This tourist visa is valid for a stay of up to 90 days provided your passport is valid for at least six months past your date of entry into Ecuador.

It’s possible, but not likely, that immigration officials will ask to see a return plane ticket and proof of funds to support your stay. Travelers from all other countries should check with their local Ecuadorian embassy concerning specific visa requirements for nationals of their country.

Health and Safety

No specific vaccinations are required to visit the Galapagos Islands, but it is recommended that travelers are up to date with vaccinations against hepatitis A and B. When traveling to any new part of the world, it’s advised to stick to bottled water, and in the case of the Galapagos Islands, be careful when eating shellfish and seafood. One of the most common dishes in the Galapagos Islands is ceviche (marinated raw fish), which is usually safe and delicious but has the potential to cause stomach problems. Be sure the restaurant at which you order any raw seafood dishes looks up to snuff.

The sun is also a factor to consider in the Galapagos Islands. When out on boat cruises between islands, it’s easy to forget that the sun’s UV rays are blasting onto you. Don’t forget to lather up with sunscreen, wear a hat and even a thin long-sleeve shirt if you start to burn. During winter in the Galapagos Islands, the water is actually quite cold, so if you plan to spend time in the sea, bring a warm wetsuit with you.

There are really no safety concerns in the Galapagos Islands to worry about. Crime is virtually non-existent and the wildlife rarely appears interested in putting you on the dinner plate. Your biggest concern when visiting the Galapagos Islands should be the health and safety of the creatures that live on the islands. It will be tempting, but avoid any contact with the animals. Do not feed, touch, chase or do anything more engaging than observe them. These wild Galapagos Islands creatures are a true rarity on our planet and should be left as they are.