Travelers seeking flights to the Galapagos Islands will quickly discover an obligatory journey through the Guayaquil airport (Aeropuerto Internacional José Joaquín De Olmedo). The bustling, historic port city rests in the southern palm of Ecuador, South America’s tiny equatorial country. But, Guayaquil is far more than a layover stop, worthy of at least a few days before and after an escape to the renowned Galapagos Islands.
Regardless of where travelers initially land in Ecuador, a trip to the Galapagos will inevitably loop through the Guayaquil airport. The Galapagos Islands do not receive any international flights, therefore, travelers must choose a connecting regional flight. While it is possible to fly direct from Quito, the flights are limited and the majority link with a layover at the Guayaquil airport.
Fortunately, flights to the Galapagos Islands depart daily. Coming from abroad, knowing where international flights arrive in Ecuador largely depends on the departure city and the airline carrier.
From the USA, flights from Miami and New York land at both the Quito and Guayaquil airports. Flights departing from Atlanta, Dallas and Houston land in Quito. Travelers will need to book an additional regional flight that connects to Guayaquil. Flights from New York and Miami are serviced by American Airlines. Fort Lauderdale flights are serviced by Jet Blue and land in both Guayaquil and Quito. United Airlines brings flights from Houston. Flights from Atlanta come via Delta Airlines.
When landing on the Galapagos Islands, there are two airports. For those who plan to take a cruise around the Galapagos Islands (after flying in), ensure that the flight lands at the correct departure port for your cruise. There are two options, the Islands of Baltra and San Cristobal.
Most travel companies and tourism boards recommend that all travelers flying to the Galapagos Island land in Ecuador at least 48 hours prior to their departure flights. Arriving early at the Guayaquil Airport will not allow only time to explore the city, but also ensures a buffer zone for any unforeseen travel delays.
The flights from Guayaquil Airport to the Galapagos Islands have a duration of approximately one and a half hours. Departure times vary. Flights from Quito take two and a half hours and typically leave early in the morning. When possible, it is recommended to book your flights in conjunction with your cruise. Not only does this offer cost savings, but it is helpful when flight delays occur, as it’s easier to notify the cruise provider when arrival times to the Galapagos Islands will be impacted.
The Galapagos Islands are one of the most ecologically preserved places on the planet. Setting for on this precious soil is no light endeavor. All visitors are expected to travel here with the utmost care and consideration. There are few special precautions to consider before flying to the Galapagos Islands.
All who enter the Galapagos Islands must have the following (according to the Galapagos Special Regime Government): a round trip ticket, a reservation that corresponds with the dates on the ticket (hotel or tours), a documented invitation from a Galapagos resident for extended stays, and a traffic control card issued by the Galapagos Special Regime Government Council. Travelers will also need to show proof identity with a passport or Ecuadorian identity card.
For the ultimate experience in Ecuador, from Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands, stay in the lap of luxury with the Oro Verde hotel group. Boasting the most elite hotel in Guayaquil, the Hotel del Parque Historico (a member of Relais & Chateau) provides superior experiences and packages from Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands and beyond. Ensure an unforgettable trip to the Galapagos Islands with a stay at the exclusive Villa Escalesia.