When planning a trip to the Galapagos, it's important to understand the entry and park fees that are mandatory for all visitors.
The Galapagos entry and park fees have been put in place to help fund the Galapagos National Park who protect this incredible and fragile archipelago.
Whilst the Galapagos Islands used to be free from people, let alone visitors, last year over 200,000 people came here. With so many tourists, strict rules must be applied to keep the eco-system in good health, and so Galapagos entry and park fees were born.
No matter when you visit, all visitors need to pay two fees. The first is for your Transit Control Card, and the second is the National Park fee. Both are discussed below.
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Since 2012, the Ecuadorian Government have issued Transit Control Cards or tarjeta de control de transito in Spanish. The purpose of the cards is essentially to keep track of numbers.
In the last decade, tourism has spiralled in the islands and the transit card allows the INGALA (the Ecuadorian governmental agency that regulates the Galapagos Islands) to keep solid records of the number of visitors, length of stay, etc.
The card costs $20 US and must be obtained at the airport prior to departure. You will see signs in the airport and you must present your plane ticket to purchase the card. You must pay cash only - no cards accepted!
If you are taking a cruise in the Galapagos, then your cruise agent/operator/guide may take care of the card for you on your behalf. This is more common on expensive cruises. Make sure you check this prior to departure as you don't want to waste $20.
No one entering the Galapagos can take with them more than 2 bags with a combined weight of 20kg (44 pounds). Your carry-on bag can weigh no more than 8kg or 17 pounds.
If you have more luggage than this you can either pay extra, or leave the excess luggage behind and ice it up upon your return.
All visitors to the Galapagos Islands must pay a National Park fee or 'tax'. The cost of the fee varies depending on your age and nationality. Almost all foreign tourists over the age of 12 pay $100 to enter. For children under the age of 12 the cost is $50.
Adults from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay pay $50 and children from those countries pay $25. For Ecuadorian nationals, adults pay $6 whilst children pay $3.
As noted above, this is to fund the protection and conservation of the islands for future generations. So while the $100 may seem quite high, the money goes towards an indispensable cause. Hopefully you'll also feel good about giving money to conservation, especially when you see the glorious wildlife whilst hiking, snorkelling, and diving!
Together, these Galapagos Islands agencies work together to protect the fragile environment and the creatures that inhabit it.
If you have any queries or questions regarding Galapagos entry and park fees, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.
Thank you and happy travels!
Expedition Cruise Team
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