Selecting the appropriate clothing, equipment and handy accessories contributes to your well being during your visit to the Galapagos Islands. One of the charms of Galapagos, is that it counts with so many contrasting climate zones. Unfortunately this also requires a wide range of clothing types and particularly footwear. Though what you should bring varies with each individual, the length of your visit and even the season; finally it depends on your personal needs and interests. We will give some general indications and suggestions to start with and you decide yourself what is important to you.
The airlines allow you to check-in 20 kgs (44 lbs) for your flight to Galapagos (plus carry on hand luggage). Yacht San Jose counts with spacious furniture 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…
But less weight means less hassle, and is more ecological as well. The challenge of every traveller lies in not becoming too bulky, and just bring what is really important. Heavy luggage becomes particular unhandy when you cruise in a narrower yacht, or when you are island hopping and have to haul your luggage in local transportation. When you start and finish in the same mainland hotel you can leave luggage that you don’t need on Galapagos in its depot.
Before you check-in to your flights to and from Galapagos your luggage is X-rayed and hand-controlled to check if 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 allowed to take flash pictures of the 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 alarm 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 rather desire to walk beaches barefoot or on light airy sandals, which also serve for wet landings. During your quest for Galapagos giant tortoises in the often muddy highlands you best 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 Galapagos Odyssey; Route A Yolita II) can be muddy as well.
For ecological reasons we recommend to wash your footwear thoroughly before departure, to prevent that you will introduce 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 count with intense sunshine (especially in the hot season), drizzle and mist in the highlands, and with cooling sea breezes, mornings and evenings (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 an old T-shirt is, to avoid sunburn during snorkelling when the water is warm enough to swim without a wet-suit (the salty sea water can affect the textile). On board comfortable, casual clothing will do, but when you love to pass a lot of time on the outside decks we suggest to bring some extra pairs of long pants and sweaters with long sleeves. We don’t have laundry service aboard.
- Light cotton socks
- Shorts or bermudas
- (Lightweight) long pants
- Skirt, dress
- Long-sleeved cotton shirts (or sweaters)
- T-shirts, casual dress shirts
- Light cotton scarf, buff or bandana to protect your head/neck
- Wide-brim hat
- Bathing suit (eventually also a spare one), tank tops
- Pyjamas (optional)
- Lightweight rain jacket or wind breaker
Partly optional, depending on your special needs.
- Small backpack (for island excursions)
- Plastic water bottle (for island excursions and for filling with on board provided water)
- Waterproof watch and/or alarm clock (the program is strictly scheduled)
- Sunglasses (with a strap)
- Extra eye glasses/ extra contact lenses with lens solution (optional)
- Ear plugs 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 bird watchers)
- Pocket camera (ideal if also suitable for underwater photography)
- Full photographic camera equipment with extra lenses: wide angle, tele-zoom, (polarizing) filter
- Underwater camera or single-use underwater cameras (to take photos while snorkeling)
- 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 at the colder locations or months).
- Scuba divers that plan several days of diving better take their own equipment – except for tanks, weights and weight belts – including at least 6 mm wetsuit, hood and gloves. Don’t forget your PADI/NAUI/SMAS-license as well!
- Personal medication
- Biodegradable soap, shampoo, conditioner (not necessary when you only stay at our yacht without island extension)
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss
- Shaving gear (helps also to improve the fit of your snorkelling mask)
- Towel (when you desire your own; towels on the yacht are replaced mid-week/daily)
- Ecological 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
Best consult your doctor which medicine suits best your personal situation (especially in combination with other medications. Moreover, some medicines are prescription-only in most countries).
- Motion sickness medication. You can take for example Gravol or Dramamine, sold in Ecuador under the brand name Anautin (dimenhydrinate; makes 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 and mild diarrhea
- Immodium or Lomotil for more severe diarrhea