What to Pack for the Galapagos

Following are some Galapagos packing tips and a handy packing checklist curated by the Galapagos experts at Natural Habitat Adventures.  As a rule of thumb for all trips, we recommend packing light! Our experience tells us the lighter you pack, the happier you will be.

General Packing Recommendations for Your Galapagos Adventure

  • Bring sturdy, soft-sided luggage, which is easier to stow throughout the adventure and to carry in our vehicles during transfers.
  • Carry any necessities, including travel documents, money, medications and other vital supplies, in your carry-on bag and not in your checked luggage.
  • Pack a change of clothing and any essentials (including toiletries) in a carry-on bag in the unlikely event your luggage is delayed or lost by the airlines.
  • Pack only casual, weather-appropriate clothing.
  • Check with the Travel Security Administration to determine which items are suitable for carry-on baggage, and which items should be packed in your checked luggage.
  • If you plan to lock your luggage, use a TSA-approved security device.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation requires any lithium batteries packed in checked or carry-on luggage remain in the electronic device (camera, cell phone, laptop, etc.), in their original packaging, or in a separate re-sealable plastic bag.
  • Leave expensive jewelry at home! A good rule of thumb: if you would be heartbroken to lose the item, then don’t bring it along. Find a cheap version to replace it during your travels.
  • You and your travel partner (if applicable) may wish to temporarily combine belongings in your luggage during flights. If one set of luggage is lost or delayed by the airlines, half your gear is better than none.
  • Keep cash in more than one place. Should something happen, not all will be lost.
  • Check the current Galapagos weather on weather.com or your favorite weather website so you can be prepared for any unexpected weather during your trip to the Galapagos.

Essential Gear

  • Lightweight, breathable, waterproof (not water-resistant) rain jacket, with hood
  • Sun hat, with brim – Make sure you have something to secure your hat when it is windy, as you do not want it to get blown overboard.
  • Warm sleepwear as our night at the campsite may be chilly
  • Binoculars


  • 2 pairs of comfortable lightweight pants
  • 1 pair of nylon, zip-off pants – Useful for warm days and cooler mornings and evenings
  • 1 pair of jeans or heavier pants (optional) – For cooler nights on the boat
  • 2 long-sleeved shirts
  • 6 –8 short-sleeved t-shirts
  • You may also want to bring an extra t-shirt to wear while snorkeling if you sunburn easily.
  • 3 pairs of shorts -You may not need as many pairs of shorts if you are bringing zip-off pants.
  • Undergarments
  • Sleepwear
  • 2 swimsuits (for daily snorkeling excursions)

Additional Gear

  • Photography equipment and chargers (see “Photography Information & Gear List” section of this booklet for a detailed list of suggested gear)
  • Water bottle – In an effort to travel with as little impact on the environment as possible, we recommend you bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the trip.  By doing this, you will avoid using multiple disposable plastic bottles. Natural Habitat Adventures gives all of its guests a reusable steel water bottle for their Galapagos adventure. We provide safe drinking water throughout the trip for our guests to refill their bottles.
  • Sunglasses – With UV filter and secure strap. Polarized glasses help you to see through the reflection at the surface of the water and can be very useful while looking for marine life.
  • Earplugs – Useful for blocking out boat noises.
  • Toiletries – Shampoo and soap are provided at all of our accommodations if you do not wish to bring your own.
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen & lip balm (at least SPF30)
  • Motion sickness medication – If you are sensitive to motion sickness, we strongly recommend you come prepared. Ask your doctor about Scopolamine patches.
  • Small medical kit
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Prescription glasses/contact lenses
  • Battery-operated alarm clock or wrist watch
  • Wake-up service is available on the boat.
  • Washcloth – Washcloths are not available on the boat.
  • Zip-lock baggies – Bring several sizes. They are very useful for wet or dirty clothing and for protecting camera equipment.
  • Pocket-size Spanish/English dictionary
  • Snorkel, mask & wetsuit [Optional] – Snorkeling gear and wetsuits are provided on all Natural Habitat Galapagos adventures.  However, we recommend bringing your own gear if you already have it to ensure a better fit. If you are at all sensitive to cooler water temperatures, you will probably want to wear a wetsuit while snorkeling regardless of the time of year. If you have had issues in the past with snorkeling masks fitting your face, we highly recommend bringing your own. Also, if you wear glasses for distance, we suggest bringing disposable soft contact lenses to wear while snorkeling, or bringing your own mask with built-in prescription lenses, as it is nearly impossible to snorkel while wearing glasses under a mask.
  • Swim cap [Optional] – To protect against sunburn, or provide warmth, while snorkeling
  • Extra duffel bag – If you wish to purchase souvenirs in while in Ecuador, we suggest bringing an empty, collapsible duffel bag for your return trip. You can then fill this extra bag with your purchases. Keep in mind that you will have to pay for any excess weight over the 50-pound weight limit on the flight from the Galapagos Islands to the mainland, but excess luggage can be safely stored in Quito during our visit to the islands.
  • Collapsible walking stick or hiking poles [If needed] – As you may encounter rocky and uneven terrain at times, some travelers may find it helpful to bring a walking stick or hiking poles for use during island walks.  If you are bringing poles, make sure they fit in your checked baggage, as you generally will not be allowed to carry them on the plane.

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