A rundown of the new changes to entry requirements for the Galapagos Islands in 2018 and what they mean for visitors.
One note to help you get through the inevitable confusion that accompanies changes in laws and policy in Ecuador. There can be a noticeable gap between the announcement of laws and their enforcement. The guide below outlines the new laws and gives you the most up-to-date info available. As a rule, when in doubt here, print it out- to show the officials at the airport and customs.
The new changes to entry requirements for the Galapagos Islands in 2018 require that you have a reservation with a cruise or land-based hotel, a return ticket, and proof of health insurance(not yet in place) before leaving for the islands. To help facilitate this, pre-registration for a transit card(previously taken care of at the airport) is available online.
The transit control card was established to keep track of people entering and leaving the Galapagos Islands. The card is issued at the airport and then shown upon entering the Baltra Airport in the Galapagos. After returning to the mainland, the card is relinquished.
There is a new system in place where you register your details online. The website is initially in Spanish and can cause a security flag. For a breakdown in English about what you need to complete the form, reference this page.
The form asks for your personal info, and then specific dates and reservations while you are in the Galapagos. Once entered, the system calculates how many days you have to spend based on the legal limits of 60 days per year for travelers. After completing the form, you will be given instructions for receiving and paying for your card at the airport.
For people who are visiting the islands and staying in a private residence, or other places not referenced in the new laws, a personal invitation from a resident of the Galapagos is required. The invitation should include specific dates that coincide with the previously mentioned legal limits of 60 days. Here is an example of a sample letter in Spanish. (Courtesy of the Galapagos Conservancy.)
Check with your travel agent (If you booked your Galapagos cruise with Happy Gringo, don’t worry we will answer all of your questions before your trip)to find out new developments in the implementation of this rule, as of now, it has not being set in place despite numerous talks from the government.
While normally, round-trip tickets are purchased as a matter of course, the new law mandates that you have a ticket in advance, and the Transit Card online system references your flight dates with your reservations.
These new changes to entry requirements for the Galapagos Islands in 2018 are additions to the laws in place governing the flow of visitors to the islands. You are required to have a valid passport for six months, will need to pay for the preregistered Transit Card at the airport on the mainland, and the $100 national park fee in cash upon arrival in the islands.
There are also a series of control checks at both locations to prevent invasive species from entering the islands. Check out this post for more information about traveling to the Galapagos Islands.