The day started fairly early with a 5:00 am wake-up call so that we could be in the van ready to go to the airport by 6:00 am. That early in Quito the streets are quiet, so it only took about 15 minutes to get there. The process to get to the Galapagos (especially for 16 of us) can get a little hectic, but our tour leader from Intrepid, Diego, helped us to the point of going through airport security scanning and then our guide from Intrepid, Zambo, helped us once we arrived in San Cristobal.
Here are the steps we took to get there:
- Placed bags through screening. I believe this screening was to detect food products, but nobody told us that for sure.
- Purchased a Galapagos Tourist Card for $10. We provided the money to our tour leader the night before so he took care of this step.
- Dropped off checked bags.
- Tour leader gave one person all the baggage claim tickets.
- Tour leader gave each person our boarding pass and Galapagos entry form.
- Went through standard airport security scanning.
- During the flight the over-head baggage compartments were opened and a flight attendant walked the aisle to fumigate all the bags.
- Went through Immigration and showed passport along with Galapagos entry form.
- Paid $100 for Galapagos National Park entry.
- Found checked baggage and got baggage claim ticket for designee.
And, then we were off to some amazing adventures.
I don’t know if all tour leaders follow this process, but it worked. If traveling outside a tour group, the same steps have to happen. Other than feeling like we’ve been standing in lines since we arrived in Ecuador, the process went smoothly.
A big thanks to Diego in Quito and Zambo in San Cristobal for making the transition to the islands a pleasant experience. Also, thanks to Christen (tour assistant) and Tim (who runs Intrepid’s office in the Galapagos).
We’ve only been in the Galapagos for half a day, but have already had amazing sea life encounters. I can’t wait to share more.