All flights lead to Ecuador for travelers headed to the Galapagos
Some of the most worthwhile destinations in the world are also a little harder to get to. No matter where in the world you are coming from, traveling to the Galapagos requires you to connect in Ecuador, either through Quito or Guayaquil. From there you fly to the Galapagos Islands which are roughly 550 miles off the coast of Ecuador. LATAM airlines (formerly LAN) has connecting flights from New York City and Miami. TAME airlines also offers connecting flights from Ft Lauderdale and NYC. For, perhaps, the smoothest flight itineraries these two carriers should be research starting points. Unless you love this kind of research, it could be best to employ a travel specialist to sort out all of the flight variables from your home city.
Linger in Ecuador
In today’s hurry-up world it can be hard to slow down. For the least stressful travel experience, flying to the Galapagos nearly demands that you do. Sure, you can try to book close connections and short overnights en-route. But unless you revel in travel stress, you would be best to plan a few days coming and going from the Galapagos in Ecuador itself. Many people tag on Machu Picchu or The Amazon with their Galapagos visit. Simply, though, spending time in Quito or Guayaquil can be very enjoyable as well. We recommend you allow a 2-day layover if you want a relaxing trip. With that sort of schedule you can handle any sort of travel hassle!
Spend a few days in Quito
While you may want to go straight to Guayaquil where nearly all the flights to the Galapagos depart from, a visit to Quito can be very worthwhile. After all, Quito (UIO) is the Capital of enigmatic Ecuador. It is placed in the high foothills of the Andes at about 8500 feet of elevation! The city is quite charming and has a very well preserved center composed of 16th and 17th century architecture. The combination of elevation and latitude conspire to offer an eternal springtime range of temperature. Major USA carriers like United, American and Delta all fly to Quito. The airport is about an hour away from the city. Just a couple of ideas for enjoying Quito include:
- Horseback riding up in the Andes
- Downhill mountain biking in the Andes
- Otavalo Market
- Cloudforest Hummingbird viewing
- Culinary exploration
Spend a few days in Guayaquil
Guayaquil (GYE) is a port city and as such is found at sea level. It is at the equator just barely into the Southern Hemisphere and as such has tropical weather year around. It is a larger city than Quito with approximately 2.5 million people. Major USA carriers fly to here as well and the airport is quite close to the city. Most flights from Quito to the Galapagos connect through Guayaquil. So, we feel the perfect itinerary is 2 days in Quito on the way to the Galapagos and 2 days in Guayaquil on the way home. Just a few of our favorite things to do around Guayaquil include:
- Whale watching tours
- Surfing and surf lessons
- Bird watching
- Fruit markets
Fly to the Galapagos Islands
After a short break in either Quito or Guayaquil, it’s time for your final flight to the Galapagos Islands. As mentioned, if you stayed over in Quito, your flight from there will most likely stop in Guayaquil before heading to the islands. There are several flights a day offered. Most go to Baltra Island. But there are also Flights to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island too. Where you fly to will be based on where you start your cruise or land-based island adventure. TAME, Avianca and LATAM (formerly LAN) are the air carriers who fly to the islands. Read all our Galapagos Travel Tips Blog
Galapagos Interisland Flights
Depending on your interests you may want to fly within the Galapagos. There is one main air carrier called Emetebe which offers inter-island flights. There are four airports with commercial service; San Cristobal, Baltra, Santa Cruz and Isabela.