Ecuador & Galapagos Vacation Tips

ecuador galapagos vacation

Before you arrive in Ecuador

Before you leave for departure you obviously need to arrange certain things: Find out if it’s necessary to have a Visa as this differs from country to country however, generally as a tourist you can stay up to 90 days in Ecuador without needing a visa.

Click here to view Visa information

For flights, there are two main international airports in Ecuador, Quito, and Guayaquil. When travelling to the Galapagos islands you can choose to fly from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra or San Cristobal. Depending on where you fly from and whether you prefer comfort or saving money you can often pick either a direct flight or one with (multiple) stopovers. Personally, I went for the last option and had a stopover in Frankfurt and Panama-city.

Make sure you have the right vaccinations if needed. It may be wise to book an hotel/hostel or other form of accommodation beforehand to get you started for the first few days. Transport is not needed, as it can be easily arranged at the airport itself.

Ecuador’s currency is the U.S dollar so depending on your origin country it may be a good idea to have some dollars beforehand. Do not bring many bills larger than $20 as they are often not accepted. For public transport as well as daily purchases it may be wise to keep small change. I have noticed that $1 coins are popular in Ecuador. I took the bus to get around in Quito which costs no more than $0,25.

Make sure you read about the customs in Ecuador. Man greet each other by shaking hands, while girls give one kiss on the cheek. (I made the mistake of thinking it was three kisses like in the Netherlands). Furthermore Ecuador is a country where the Catholic religion is well present which is noticeable by the many gorgeous churches.

Bag Packing For Ecuadorian Vacations

So, you have booked your tickets to Ecuador or/and the Galapagos Islands, and arranged accommodation and other necessities, great job! The day has come that you can start to pack your suitcase or backpack. Personally, I choose to take a backpack with me as it’s more convenient to take with me when travelling through the country. Bringing a suitcase is possible, however I would only recommend this if you are planning to stay in one or two locations. You don’t want to lug your suitcase around endlessly from place to place.

Below you can find my backpack and everything I decided to bring with me. I chose to take a 68 liter backpack.  I’m staying for several months and want to be able to just shove everything in there. For a few weeks of vacation in Ecuador a 50 liter backpack will most likely offer you plenty of room.

Cabin Luggage 

You don’t want to put your expensive electronics at risk of being damaged or broken. Baggage handlers are known to handle baggage on a rough way and backpacks are especially vulnerable. Below you can find my cabin luggage for my trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

  • Sealable bag with liquids: deodorant, contact liquid, gel, hand sanitizer.
  • Glasses case
  • Papers including flight ticket, copy of passport, emergency information and information about Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
  • Passport wallet for passport, money, boarding passes, and other small documents.
  • Wallet, passport and vaccination booklet.
  • Laptop, laptop charger, phone charger
  • Notebook and pen
  • Nintendo switch and powerbank
  • Camera bag including lenses and charger.
  • Rain cover
  • Inflatable cushion

Checked Baggage

My 68 liter backpack which contains all my clothes, toiletries and other neccesities.

  • Toilet bag including small shampoo, razor blades, toothbrush and paste, contact liquid, sun screen etc.
  • First aid kit just in case
  • Flashlight, power strip and converter
  • A lock and multitool
  • Rain jacket.
  • Fleece jacket and Soft-shell jacket
  • Microfleece towel
  • Water bladder and daypack
  • Hiking and zip-off pants
  • Shorts and jeans
  • Flight bag and TSA approved lock
  • Underpants, socks
  • T-shirts and tank-top
  • Blouse and sweater
  • Leisure shoes

I am planning on doing many climbing tours such as the CotopaxiChimborazoCayambe and others. This is why I brought different layers of clothes. While during the day you most likely won’t need a fleece jacket, at higher altitude it can get chilly. Even though the temperature is pleasant year round, it is custom to wear long jeans while in the city.

One thing that is ideal for packing your back are packing cubes. Packing cubes keep your backpack nicely organized and prevent it from becoming one big mess in which you will never be able to find the thing you just needed.

When you visit the Galapagos Islands vacation, definitely bring sunglasses, a hat or other face cover. If you get sunburned easily bring some UV-proof clothes for the water. The sun is notoriously fierce at the equator and it is very easy to end up burned.

I hope this post helped you getting an idea of how your backpack could look like and inspires you to pack your stuff and start your own adventure! Follow this blog to keep in touch with my experiences within this beautiful county.

Not sure what to do in Ecuador? Contact Gentle Tours & Travel an Ecuadorian tour operator. Their reliable and professional service will help you to make the most of your vacation.


  • Guest post by Wesley Vanderbuen