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Your essential Galapagos Packing List

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So you are ready for your lifetime vacation to the spectacular Galapagos Islands but you are unsure about what to bring? This Galapagos Packing list will help you bring the essentials to your amazing trip.


For information on Ecuador, entry requirements check out by Galapagos Islands Vacations guide.

I was backpacking through South America, and I had so much with me. I left some of my clothes and accessory in a Quito hotel and took the essentials with me. I was happy with my choice, but I wished I had some other accessories that would have made my life easier or, let’s say, more practical, such as a dry bag, for example.

The good news is that you don’t really need much to enjoy the Galapagos thanks to the warm climate.

It’s a very laid back place and even if you are staying in one of the few luxury hotels, they have still a quite casual ambiance.

me photographing iguanas on the beach in Santa Cruz
On the beach in Santa Cruz – I am shooting with my Canon 6D and Tamron 300

Here I am showing you how your Galapagos packing list is the shortest you have ever had! 🙂

  • Windbreaker or a jumper, evenings and boat rides can get chilly. I love my North face 3 seasons, but I have an older version. This one is the new model, which is much cooler and in nicer colors. I find it quite practical because you can take in and out the internal layer according to the temperature.
  • Reusable water bottle. Lifestraw is what I am going to purchase as soon as I get to a place for a while where I can get deliveries from Amazon. While on the road it’s difficult to shop online :). Life Straw is what I have been raving about as it has a filter on it so you can get tap water and drink good purified water. Perfect when you travel either for saving money and to look after your stomach! 🙂
  • Underwater Camera or GoPro or similar: you will want to take some turtles and sharks back home with you, at least in pictures. I got the GoPro 4 when it came out and paid it a fortune. I can see that they have accessible prices now. The latest model is GoPro hero7 and on Amazon is less than 400 USD. But if you are not a super pro and still want good resolution video, the GoPro 5 works amazingly as well and it’s only 237 USD.
  • Camera with a zoom, you don’t want to miss capturing the spectacular wildlife. I have a Canon 6D, a grand angle Canon 16-35 f/2.8 LII, which I love for landscapes, but I stayed on the cheep for my zoom lens and a Tamron 75-300 f5.6.It was not exactly ideal, or what I wished I had, but it worked well. Also because the wildlife in the Galapagos is extremely friendly and fearless, so you can get very close, as you can see from my pictures.
  • Flip flops, I always go for Hawaianas, although I admit they left me barefoot a couple of times in the middle of the road. It was embarrassing but I always make a laugh about my embarrassing adventures. At least I have something funny to tell.
  • Gym or hiking shoes. I have these Merrell and I love them. I have been wearing them almost every day for 2 years and are still good although a little worn out.
  • Wet suite and snorkeling gear if you have your own, otherwise you can rent it anywhere (it’s normally 5 USD for short wetsuits and 10 USD for long per day and the snorkeling gear 10 USD per day. If you want to have your own, it is understandable. About the wet suite I don’t like the long one but I don’t even like to be cold. I was in Galapagos during the coldest season and the short one was good enough, although my friend still preferred the long. It’s a very personal choice. You will also need to check on the thickness. They normally go from 3 mm to 7 in very cold water. For the snorkeling gear I also love to have my own and now you can find very cheap ones on Amazon.com
  • Binoculars. I am not an expert on binoculars, so I will leave you this general link to a page with a variety of brands and prices.
  • Dry/waterproof Bag. This is one of the best gifts I have ever received. Too bad I left it in a hostel, like many other important stuff I have left behind. I missed it in several occasions. So if you have space in your bag you should get one. Here a link to my choice.
  • Motion sickness pills, if it’s really unbearable. I prefer to avoid it and just sit back in the open air and watch the horizon, but I know for many it’s not enough.
  • My camera bag, the one that you see in the picture is a Temba and I loved it, but now I have bought a bigger and more functional one which you might like too.

Further reading on the Galapagos

white lion cub on a camera bag - pixabay pic
How to find the best camera bag for your travel adventures
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