Red-footed booby flying over the Galapagos Islands

How to Get to the Galapagos: Prices, Flights, Airports, and Tips

User Avatar Author: Chris  Klassen
6 months ago
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For visitors that wish to experience this incredibly unique destination, the Galapagos Islands can only be accessed by plane.

There are no boats, cargo ships, or cruises that offer service to the Galapagos directly from Ecuador’s ports. Also, despite its apparent proximity to the Ecuadorian coastline on the world map, a bridge between the Galapagos and the Ecuadorian mainland does not exist. Fun Fact: Such a bridge would have to be double the width of Ecuador to reach the Galapagos – not exactly the equivalent to a Sunday afternoon drive!

The only three airlines (LATAMAviancaTAME) that do offer flights to the Galapagos only do so out of the major Ecuadorian airports that are located in Guayaquil and the capital city of Quito.

Direct international flights to and from the archipelago are non-existent.

Of course, the silver lining is that visitors can take advantage of their stopover to explore the Ecuadorian landscapes either before heading to the Galapagos Islands or after coming back from them.

Plaza de San Francisco and Church and Convent of San Francisco at night, Old City of Quito, Ecuador, South America

METROJOURNEYS TIP: If you choose to fly to the Galapagos from Quito, don’t miss out on the incredible experience of exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site from the comfort of our own Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel, which holds a prime spot right in the heart of Quito’s Old Town!

How much does it cost to fly to the Galapagos?

Keep an eye out for special prices with your flights as, occasionally, there are some excellent deals advertised. Nevertheless, average roundtrip prices tend to hover around the $400 range for flights out of Guayaquil and around $500 range for flights out of Quito. Of course, these prices can vary greatly depending on the time of the year. NOTE: For non-citizens and non-residents of Ecuador, published airfares have an added supplement of $150. Most airlines, however, will list their airfares with this supplement already included, unless otherwise noted.

Also, keep in mind direct flights into Ecuador are rare, this chart shows the airports that feature direct flights to Quito and Guayaquil, as well as the airlines that offer said flights.

Country City Airline Airport (Departure) Airport (Arrival)
USA New York-Guayaquil LATAM JFK GYE
USA New York-Guayaquil JetBlue JFK GYE
USA Miami-Quito
Miami-Guayaquil
American MIA GYE; UIO
USA Atlanta-Quito Delta ATL UIO
USA Houston-Quito United IAH UIO
USA Ft Lauderdale-Quito
Ft Lauderdale-Guayaquil
Jet Blue FLL UIO; GYE
Spain Madrid-Quito
Madrid-Guayaquil
Iberia (LATAM) MAD GYE; UIO
Holland Amsterdam-Quito KLM AMS UIO

VERY IMPORTANT: When flying into the Galapagos, immigration requires that all visitors pay for the following two items in cash only:

It is highly recommended that you have these amounts on you in cash before arriving at the airport.

METROJOURNEYS TIP: See airfare that looks incredibly cheap? Always be sure to double-check and make sure that said airfare includes checked baggage (often, they don’t!). If in doubt, be sure to ask your airline!

What’s the best option for booking my plane ticket to the Galapagos?

Taking into account that the only airlines that fly to the Galapagos are LATAM, Avianca, and TAME, it’s important to look at the benefits that you’d like to have upon purchasing your flight to the Galapagos, be it through the airlines themselves or travel agencies, such as Metrojourneys!

Benefits of booking your airline ticket with your Metrojourneys' package!
Metrojourneys offers round-trip flights to the Galapagos Islands for a fixed rate of:

International: $507.60 for adults and $382.49 for kids (under the age of 12). Nationals: $451.20 for adults, $333.50 for kids (under the age of 12), and $287.67 for senior citizens.

Worth noting is that our airfare prices include the following benefits:

  • Airport Transfers: Comfortable, shared transport to and from Quito’s biggest hotels (Casa Gangotena, Hilton, JW Marriott) or Guayaquil’s main hotels (Courtyard, Oro Verde Guayaquil, Wyndham Guayaquil, Hilton, UniPark) for your Galapagos flights. This is offered for both your departure and arrival.
  • Airport Assistance: Any problem or a language barrier is quickly resolved with our dedicated staff, which will be by your side from the moment you leave your hotel all the way to helping you glide through check-in at our exclusive express counter. We can also help you out with…
  • Taking care of those additional fees: Remember the Galapagos National Park Fee and Transit Control Card? We’ll take care of those costs so that, when you arrive in the archipelago, you don’t have to spend a frantic few minutes looking for cash.
  • Cruise Departure Guarantee: In case you experience a delay in your flight to Galapagos, we guarantee that your Metrojourneys Galapagos cruise tour will not leave without you.
  • Priority Luggage: We guarantee, through our special Metrojourneys tag on your baggage, that your luggage will arrive in the islands with you! Because it just so happens that, sometimes, airlines will actually remove luggage from the airplane due to weight limitations. And there’s nothing worse than arriving on the islands without your bathing suit! So don’t worry! We’ve got you covered!

 

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At what time do flights depart to the Galapagos?

Always book your flights with time to spare before and after your Galapagos cruise departure days, as these tend to depart in the early morning. Departure flight times are usually as follows:

As these flights depart in the morning, they don’t leave any wiggle room to explore the city beforehand, which is why we recommend spending at least one night in your chosen departure city to enjoy your time in Ecuador as well as giving yourself time to breathe between traveling and sightseeing.

Which airport should I fly from and into for my Galapagos flight?

Your best option may not be the same as the next person’s. It all depends on which international country you are coming from and your budget. However, it’s important to note that sometimes flight prices may take a dip, so keep checking between the airlines and your preferred travel agency to ensure you get the best deal.

These are the only International Airports that offer service to the Galapagos:

Plaza San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador

An added bonus of flying to the Galapagos from Quito is the ability to stay at and enjoy its Historic Center.

And these are the only national airports in the Galapagos that you can arrive in:

About those extra National Park fees...
Remember that you will be flying into one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine National Parks that happen to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This requires paying a fee (that must be paid in cash, so remember to bring a few bills along!) to assist with conservation and protection efforts. The price for this entrance fee can range from $6 to $100, depending on different factors such as nationality and age. Additionally, visitors must purchase a Galapagos Transit Control Card ($20) before flying to the Galapagos. This Transit Control Card is acquired in the mainland airports. Of course, if you wish to avoid the bother, Metrojourneys can take care of all of these fees when you book your Galapagos tour package with us!

What are the Ecuadorian mainland international airports like?

Quito: Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO)

Flight time to Galapagos from this airport: Approximately 2.5 hours (plus a layover in Guayaquil)

The Mariscal Sucre International Airport was named the 2016 “World Travel Award Winner” for the third year in a row in the category of South America’s Leading Airport. This is a highly sought-after award in the global community and is considered to be the “Oscar” of the airport industry.

Quito Airport Mariscal Sucre

An exterior view of Quito’s Mariscal Sucre Airport

There are a variety of free services available at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport, including self-check-in, charging stations, free Wi-Fi, and even a small children’s play area. The VIP Lounge at the Mariscal Sucre Airport offers flyers a luxurious and quiet place to enjoy snacks, refreshments, and a collection of reading material.

There are lots of things to keep you busy at the airport while you wait for your connecting flight. There’s an assortment of shops for you to browse as well as several different restaurants. The restaurants include both South American eateries as well as popular American franchises, including the only Outback Steakhouse in all of Ecuador!

Guayaquil: José Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport (GYE)

Flight time to the Galapagos from this airport: Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport is the closest major airport to the Galapagos. If you opt to fly from here, your flight will be a slighter shorter (a non-stop!) journey to the Enchanted Isles.

This airport has received many awards, including being one of the Best Airports in South America awarded by Airports Council International. That’s not a surprise once you read the facts: it’s open 24 hours a day and offers nonstop international flights. It also has many connecting flights that go to several different countries in South America, which makes it a gateway for accessing the rest of the continent.

Guayaquil Airport Jose Joaquin Olmedo

A snapshot of Guayaquil’s airport from the outside.

One of the main reasons why people traveling to the Galapagos use the Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport is because of the slightly shorter flight time. There are also many luxurious items such as Wi-Fi internet available at the airport that allow flyers to spend their time here more comfortably. Many waiting areas are available, along with VIP lounges.

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