What you should bring varies with each individual, the length of your visit and even the season; it depends on your personal needs and interests. We will give some general indications and suggestions to start with and you can decide for yourself what is important to you.
The airlines allow you to check-in 20 kg (44 lbs) for your flight to the Galapagos (plus carry on hand luggage). Motor yacht Galapagos Odyssey has ample space to store your luggage. The crew helps to carry your luggage safely on-board and to your cabin. One of the few complications of a cruise is that the planned route seldom passes by a shop where you can buy something you have forgotten…
Less weight means less hassle, and is more ecological as well. The challenge of every traveller lies in not overpacking, and only bringing what is really important. Heavy luggage becomes particularly unhandy when you cruise in a narrower yacht, or when you are island hopping and have to haul your luggage in local transportation. If you start and finish in the same mainland hotel, you can leave luggage that you don’t need on the Galapagos in its depot.
Before you check-in to your flights to and from the Galapagos your luggage is X-rayed and hand-controlled to check that you are not bringing or taking prohibited items that seriously threaten the unique ecosystem on and around the islands.
- Butter, cheese and other dairy products
Besides forbidden items, more luxury yachts provide items that you don’t have to bring either (unless you prefer your own items, brands, or have booked an island extension and will stay longer).
- Soap (We provide ecological soap on-board).
- Shampoo (We provide ecological shampoo on-board).
- Bathroom towels
- Beach towels
- Hair dryer
Photographers can leave their flashguns at home as well, because it is not permitted to take flash pictures of wildlife (unless they want to take interior pictures during the cruise, of course).
Money & documents
- Copy of passport
- Sufficient cash - US$ (low denomination bills US$5 to US$20): see also What is included?
- Travel Insurance documentation and emergency numbers
- Credit card or bank card (not accepted on-board, but for emergency situations or ATMs)
- Scuba divers: PADI/NAUI/CMAS-licence/certification
Please bring clean sporting shoes with rubber soles for on-board use when you don’t want to walk barefoot. Walks over rough lava fields require sturdy hiking boots, while you probably prefer to walk on beaches barefoot or with light airy sandals, which also serve for wet landings. During your quest for Galapagos giant tortoises in the often muddy highlands you should wear rubber boots, which are provided by the tortoise farm you visit (except for large shoe-sizes; some plastic bags can offer a practical solution for this short walk). The hike to Sierra Negra (Route C) can be muddy as well; in case of really severe climatic conditions we will head to the Concha de Perla snorkelling site as an alternative.
For ecological reasons we recommend you wash your footwear thoroughly before departure, to prevent introducing undesired plant seeds on the islands.
- Sports shoes with rubber soles
- Sturdy, but comfortable walking boots/shoes (mud-resistant for Sierra Negra)
- Sandals with thongs, Tevas or water shoes
- Flip flops
You have to be prepared for all kinds of weather; from intense sunshine (especially in the hot season), drizzle and mist in the highlands, to fresh morning and evening sea breezes (especially in the evenings, or in the second half of the year). Shorts or bermudas are very practical for hot days and wet landings, as well as an old t-shirt to avoid sunburn during snorkelling without a wetsuit (the salty seawater may affect the material).
We don’t have a dress-code, so whilst on-board comfortable, casual clothing will do, but if you want to spend time on the outside decks we suggest you bring some extra pairs of long trousers and jumpers. We don’t have laundry service aboard.
- Light cotton socks
- Shorts or bermudas
- (Lightweight) long pants
- Skirt, dress
- Long-sleeved cotton shirts (or jumpers)
- T-shirts, casual dress shirts
- Light cotton scarf, buff or bandana to protect your head/neck
- Wide-brim hat
- Bathing suit (plus a spare one), vest tops
- Lightweight rain jacket or wind breaker
Partly optional, depending on your individual needs.
- Small backpack (for island excursions)
- Plastic water bottle (for island excursions and for filling with water provided on-board)
- Waterproof watch and/or alarm clock (the programme is strictly scheduled)
- Sunglasses (with a strap)
- Extra glasses/ extra contact lenses with lens solution (optional)
- Earplugs for reducing engine noise (just in case)
- Padlock (optional; only if you feel more comfortable locking your luggage; it’s safe on-board)
- Plastic bags (always handy, for example for laundry)
- Field guide-book (optional, we have a small library on-board)
- Galapagos map (optional)
- Reading book (optional)
- Notebook and pen (optional)
- Pocket torch/flashlight (optional)
- Swiss army knife (optional)
Optional equipment, depending on your special interests and needs.
- Tablet or e-book reader
- Binoculars (especially for birdwatchers)
- Pocket camera (ideal if also suitable for underwater photography)
- Full photographic camera equipment with extra lenses: wide angle, tele-zoom, (polarising) filter
- Underwater camera or single-use underwater cameras (to take photos while snorkelling)
- Underwater case/hull (check well before you leave home, because not all makes are reliable)
- Video camera and lightweight tripod
- Enough video tapes, flash memory, mobile hard disks, image tanks or laptop
- Charging devices, with adaptor to US-style electrical outlets, and enough spare batteries
- Waterproof camera bag or case, and plastic (self-sealing) bags to protect equipment against splashing water in the inflatable dinghy
- Maintenance (dust brush, sensor cleaning set, lens cleaning, cloth to remove sand and salt)
- Personal snorkel gear (your own mask generally fits best)
- A thicker wetsuit than a standard 3 mm when you are chilly or when want to stay longer in the water (particularly in colder locations or months).
- Scuba divers that plan several days of diving should take their own equipment – except for tanks, weights and weight belts – including at least 6mm wetsuit, hood and gloves. Don’t forget your PADI/NAUI/CMAS-license as well!
- Personal medication
- Biodegradable soap, shampoo, conditioner (not necessary when you only stay on our yacht without island extension)
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss
- Shaving gear (also helps to improve the fit of your snorkelling mask)
- Towel (if you desire your own; towels on the yacht are replaced mid-week/daily)
- Biodegradable washing powder
- Sun block lotion (depending on skin type; at least SPF 30)
- Sunscreen cream (depending on skin type; at least SPF 30)
- Lip salve (depending on skin type; at least SPF 30)
- Skin creams or Vaseline (dry climate; Vaseline also useful for better fit snorkeling mask)
- Insect repellent (just in case for highlands and wet season)
Motion sickness & first aid
You should consult your doctor to find out which medicine best suits your personal situation (especially in combination with other medications. Moreover, some medicines are prescription-only in most countries).
- Motion sickness medication. You can take Gravol or Dramamine, sold in Ecuador under the brand name Anautin (dimenhydrinate; makes you a bit drowsy) or Bonine (meclizine). Others prefer stronger Scopoderm (scopolamine) patches (prescription-only).
- Salted crackers, pantoprazol or omeprazol (to absorb stoma acids).
- Candied ginger or 500 mg ginger tablets (start treatment some days/hours before)
- Aloe vera cream or aftersun gel
- Bandaging aids
- Antibiotic cream
- Tylenol or other mild pain relief
- Pepto Bismol or Kaopectate for stomach upset