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By No owner — last modified Aug 16, 2018 07:23 AM

 Galapagos - General Info

Time Zone

UTC -6

Yachting Essentials


Water is available (in containers) at Puerto Villamil, Wreck Bay and Acadamey Bay. Water from the desalination plant is available in Academy Bay.


Diesel is more expensive if delivered to the boat, and you have to pay for a $50 fuel permit. All in cash. Alternatively, you can obtain this permit from your agent and take jerry cans in a taxi to the gas station, where diesel costs half the price.

Small quantities can be purchased in cans at Puerto Villamil, Wreck Bay and Academy Bay.


Sucre (S) of 100 centavos.

US$ are accepted.

All official expenses have to be paid in “cash” on the islands, paying with a Credit Card is not an option. Shops rarely take credit cards and they will add an extra % for using one - up to 14 %! Bring plenty of one-dollar and five-dollars bills to pay taxis and small purchases.

There are ATMs available on several of the largest islands. Most permit a maximum withdrawl of 600 dollars per 24h per card (3 withdrawls of 200 dollars).

There is an ATM (Pacific Oceans Bank) in San Cristobal town right by the pier.

Note, that it is not possible for foreigners to get cash on Isla Isabela. Whilst there are 2 banks here, they do not have ATMs and it's not possible to get cash from the counter using a credit card. If this is your last stop for re-provisioning prior to the Pacific crossing, go prepared.


International Dialing Code for Galapagos is +593.

Internet is problematic but available. In the main painfully slow.

Lots of internet cafes, some work better than others. Charges about $1-2 per hour.

One can buy a 3G - 4G Data connection SIM cards for I-phone or latest model IPad air at the main CNT office (Ecuadorian national phone company). They sell special priced SIM cards for tourists. Ask your agent.

This system will work better than any Internet place and will work on your vessel in the harbour.

Reports from cruisers are that other providers, such as “Claro”, are used by too many people and do not work well.

Local simcards such as Digicel & Calor, can easily be bought in San Cristobal and Santa Cruz.

Last updated March 2015.


The three airlines flying to the Galápagos Islands are:

Tame (
Avianca (

All operate two morning flights daily from Quito via Guayaquil to the Isla Baltra airport (two hours), which is just over an hour away from Puerto Ayora by public transportation.

Diplomatic Missions

British Honorary Consulate
C/o ETICA, Planta baja, Barrio Estrada , Puerto Ayora , Isla Santa Cruz
Tel:(+ 593 5) 526 157/ 526 138 / 526 159 Fax:(+ 593 5) 526 591


Puerto Ayora: In emergencies one should use VHF channels 16 or 26 and ask for Costera Santa Cruz, the Coast Guard service run by the Naval Base in Puerto Ayora. Between midnight and 0600 the generator in Puerto Ayora is shut down and only channel 26 is monitored. Channel 26 has repeaters throughout the islands and can be used to communicate with Puerto Ayora over long distances.

Red Cross Tel. 129.


Imray & Adlard Coles Pilot Books can be purchased with an exclusive Noonsite discount of up to 15% by visiting our Imray store if shopping from the UK or Europe.
For North America and the rest of the world visit Bluewater Books & Charts. When ordering through Bluewater be sure to enter the coupon code NOON during checkout to save 10%.

The Pacific Crossing Guide
By Kitty Van Hagen
Published by RCCPF  (3rd Edition October 2016)
See The Pacific Crossing Guide 3rd Edition
See latest update here.

Landfalls of Paradise: Cruising Guide to the Pacific Islands
By Earl R. Hinz and Jim Howard
Published by University of Hawaii Press (5th edn. 2006)
ISBN 9780824830373
The fifth edition of this sailing standard includes updated charts and text reflecting changes in regulations and facilities for most countries and specific ports of entry. New appendices include procedures for entry to Australia, which are more exacting than most Pacific landfalls, and an extensive list of information sources: cruising guidebooks, important general tourist guides, chart suppliers, and key web sites for the countries covered by "Landfalls of Paradise"

South Pacific Anchorages
By Warwick Clay
Published by Imray (2001)
DISCOUNTS available through Imray and Bluewater Books (see details and links above)
Details of harbours and anchorages in the pacific south of the equator between New Guinea and South America.
ECUADOR CRUISER'S GUIDE (Revised Feb. 2010), with section on the Galapagos, produced by SV Soggy Paws and compiled by cruisers. An excellent resource.

Explore Central America - Part 2
Published January 2008 (6th ed. Aug. 2011, continually updated)
This is an e-book available from
The most comprehensive guides ever written about cruising the Pacific coast of Central America from Mexico to the Panama Canal. In a two part set, these books provide over 325 GPS waypoints, over 112 charts and city maps, detailed weather descriptions, forecasting information and surfing locations. These books highlight dozens of anchorages not in other books and tons of local information that sailors care about. Also included are detailed procedures for clearing into and out of the Central American countries as well as Ecuador, the Galapagos and Mexico.

South Pacifi Cruising Strategies
Download this article fro SV Soggy Paws at
Useful advise from the crew of SV Soggy Paws who made their way from the Panama Canal to Australia in 2008 and who stopped at many pacific islands on the way.

Galapagos Islands

See the Noonsite page on Routing/Pacific Crossing for other useful reports and links.

Using a Stern Anchor
Yacht Adina visited the Galapagos in 2014 and found that they needed to use their stern anchor extensively to keep the boat facing the swell that predominates in many anchorages here. Their useful notes are well worth a read if you are not familiar with the art of using a stern anchor.

The Last Reef of Galapagos (November 2018)

Baby Tortoises - First time in 100 Years

Update History

March 2019: Weather, Pet information and 'Arribo Forzoso' term added and updated with the help of SERVIGALAPAGOS (Superyacht Galapagos).
July 2018: All fees, clearance procedures and documents updated with the help of Yachtgala Galapagos Yacht Agency.
March 2018: All formalities checked & all updated except fees. If you have recently visited please contact us with any changes to the fees published here.
August 2017: Clearance section checked with ServiGalapagos agents via World ARC - AIS requirement added.
March 2017: Galapagos fees checked and updated.
March 2016: Clearance updated with difficulties at Isla Isabela courtesy of Karsten Staffeldt.
October 2015: Fees updated from
June 2015: Publications checked
April 2015: Re-wrote paragraph about 72hr emergency stop.
March 2015: Medical inspection and agent fees from SY Bonobo.
March 2015: Clearance information and new fees sent by Ricardo Arenas.
March 2014: Fees and inspection updates from Tom Patridge of SY Adina.
February 2014: New regulations added (including environmental inspection) and all info. checked with agent Ricardo Arenas.
March 2013: Clearance, documents, restrictions and fees checked/updated with information from Suzie and Robin, S/Y True Blue 1.
May 2012: Recycling information sent by the WWF and added to restrictions with link to article published.


Noonsite welcomes information and updates especially regarding clearance, customs and immigration procedures from cruisers visiting this country.
Please E-mail noonsite with any new information, updates or corrections. Even just a short email confirming that the current data is accurate would be most helpful.

Charles Ferault
Charles Ferault says:
Feb 25, 2019 05:41 PM

We spent a month and a half in Galapagos from jan 12th to feb 23rd.

We hired Javier Piua Rizzo from YachtGala as an agent and everything was perfect.
We paid about $2200 for the autografo, the extension above the 30 days limit and all the agency fees, government fees etc. Javier has an American, Equatorian and PayPal account which makes it really simple. All was payable upon arrival, no money to pay in advance.

We had to do the initial entry in Puerto Baquerizo on San Cristobal, were we met Carmela Romero, his agent on the island. She handled everything for us, and took care of the trash for free for the duration of our stay. Our fumigation certificate was outdated, but the guy in charge was nice enough to give us a new one without doing it for real, we still had to pay the extra $120, but the inside of the boat wasn't ruined.
The sanitary inspection is very weird, we had chia seeds in two bottles, one labeled "chia" and the other labeled "rice", and the first one was taken (obviously), but. they did not take the second one ! The bottom of the hull must be really really clean as well, a diver will check almost every squared centimetre of the boat. If you don't comply with this, you'll have to sail 40nm away (they check it on the AIS), and do it in open water (which is not really fun).

When we sailed from island to island, we always had the zarpes in less than 5 hours, which was really nice, and no problem at all when we arrived. All the security checks were handled by the local agent: Danny Bunenao on Santa Cruz and Steven on Isabela. The tarps were $15,75 for the clearance out and another 15,75 for the clearance in.
Yachtgala seems a bit overpriced compared to other agencies, but the service is worth it. Javier speaks perfect English if needed, and has very well done documents about everything important there: how to get fuel, were to anchor exactly, what to do and not to do etc. The rules there can be pretty strange, so those documents are more useful than what they look like !

They also organised some repairs on the boat with a carpenter and an electrician at no additional cost, and were always available whenever we had a problem or a question.

I would strongly recommend this agency if the extra money can be afforded.

Filip Makowski
Filip Makowski says:
Aug 16, 2018 06:39 AM

Based on recommendations here, we engaged Bolivar Pesantes as our agent in May 2018. Unfortunately we did not have a good experience.

As svblueeye noted, Bolivar told us that we needed an autographo as the one-port stop without autographo was no longer possible. He emailed us an itemised list of fees and we went ahead. An hour before arriving in San Cristobal at 11am we notified Bolivar of our impending arrival but had to wait til 3pm for his response which meant check-in with the officials the next day. Not a huge deal, but we know others had to wait a long time too. The biggest problems:
1. Bolivar overcharged us. When he asked us to pay the full amount (cash of course!) before the officials arrived, we didn’t have internet access to check against his emailed list of fees. When we did, we found he had overcharged us $170. Total $2095 instead of $1925, so already more expensive than any other agent we contacted. He also didn’t mention that we would need to pay an extra $200 when checking out of Isabela.
2. Bolivar did quote the fees that needed to be paid between the three islands of San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Isabela but didn’t tell us we needed to get zarpes (clearances) when travelling between each island. Once we discovered the above overcharged amount, we emailed Bolivar to check whether this was was to cover the inter-island fees, but didn’t hear back. When his agent Ronny Sanchez came to our boat in Santa Cruz, we said as far as we knew we had sorted everything with Bolivar and didn't need to pay any more money. Again, Ronny did not mention the need for zarpes.

When we arrived in Isabela, the Port Captain said this had happened before - Bolivar overcharging yachties and failing to mention and complete the zarpe process. The Port Captain asked us to file a formal complaint, which we did.

We're still unsure as to whether or not the middle option at the top of this page is still possible, one-port stop without autographo. We will post an update if we hear back from the Port Captain, but while we have limited internet access we wanted to post our experiences of dealing with Bolivar. After discussing with other yachties over the past two months, we found that they had similar experiences but did not want to post here on noonsite. I know it doesn't feel nice to complain especially to contradict positive comments, but I'd encourage you to, so that our big community of sailors can find out about these things. We're "all in the same boat"!

Mike Milota
Mike Milota says:
Jul 27, 2018 10:09 PM

We visited the Galapagos in February/March 2018 and used Ricardo Arenas as the agent. Arrival at San Cristóbal was smooth. His representative (Carmela Romano) met our boat 20 minutes after we anchored and all the officials came on board at 8 am the next day. When we wanted to fuel, she had it delivered to the boat in 45 minutes at $3.75/gal. She was helpful in directing us to various services and got the zarpe in a timely manner. We could not have been happier.

At Santa Cruz, Stefanie was less accommodating. She came out for our zarpe shortly after we arrived, but didn’t return until the next day, leaving us not knowing when she would return. She was late getting our zarpe to Isabela and told us to go to the port captain’s office upon arrival. We did and were scolded for leaving the boat and told that we had to have an agent and should not have gotten off the boat. Fortunately, we were helped through this by another agent not representing Arenas, James Hinkle. Evidently Arenas pulls this stunt frequently and has no one representing him on Isla Isabela.

James can be found at the Booby Trap bar and restaurant and is a great resource. He bailed us out of a bad situation. The Booby Trap has good food, too. Isabela is no longer a port of entry and there is no immigration on the island. We paid and agent to come from Santa Cruz. Although it started well, I would not use Arenas again as an agent.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 06, 2018 09:09 PM

Local Galapagos Authorities are now charging a new TAX for sailboats entering the Galapagos. Known as a "VESSELS CONTROL PASS" it costs US$140.00 - to be paid in cash on arrival. This is in addition to the current fees.

svblueeye says:
May 17, 2017 04:35 PM

It goes without saying that things change in the archipelago often, but this is what we learnt from our visit to the Galapagos in May 2017.
- We contacted Bolivar about using his agency services for our desired 20-day stopover. He told us - unless there was a significant amount lost in translation - boats could only visit the Galapagos with an autographo.
- We contacted Johnny Romero and he said the one port stop was fine, and even said we could go to Isabella, as we initially desired, and there would be no issues with clearance and with obtaining diesel. We changed our minds about Isabella, which is lucky because he emailed our satphone as we were en route to say that we must in fact come to Santa Cruz. Once we were there, it seemed we had no choice but to stay, which was alright by us as we had engine troubles. Unfortunately for some friends of ours on another boat, they arrived in Isabella under the admission of Johnny, only to swiftly asked to leave for Santa Cruz where they must clear in. They then also had to stay there.
- We never actually met Johnny Romero, but dealt with his agent Javier who was friendly and competent.
- The inspection for us - and for other boats we talked to - was very relaxed. One official snorkelled around the boat with a GoPro, which had us very worried as a lot of our antifoul had been sacrificed in our scrubbing, but he deemed everything satisfactory.
- Of the four other officials on board, they checked nothing in any detail and only asked us to fill in paperwork and tell them how long we'd like to stay. However, they did note that the boat was clean and that the garbage disposal system was in place, so these aspects are clearly important. Everybody, as we had read to expect, was very friendly.
- It was not at all a problem that we had not been fumigated (we didn't want to waste the money in Panama after reports that a fumigation certificate there is invalid in the Galapagos - we cannot confirm whether or not this would have been the case in Santa Cruz). We paid $80 to be fumigated the next day, which took no time at all and was very easy to arrange through our agent.
- Diesel is $3.50 per gallon if delivered to the boat, and you have to pay for a $50 fuel permit. All in cash. Alternatively, you can obtain this permit from your agent and take jerry cans in a taxi to the gas station, where it was $1 per gallon at our time of being there. For some reason we still had to pay $2 per gallon as per the fuel permit, but it was worth it for the money we saved and only an hour of work.
- Also, we were able to use our dinghy and the dinghy dock in Santa Cruz. There is a risk of a sea lion making a bed of it, though this only happened to us once over three weeks. Otherwise it is $0.80 per person for the taxis who you can call on Channel 14.

Overall, we would still recommend boats prepared for a vigorous inspection - particularly if going to San Cristobal where perhaps it is more strict - despite our experience. The state of the hull and the cleanliness of the cabin, along with the garbage disposal system, appear to be top of the priorities for the inspectors. Speak to your agent before you arrive and ensure you stay in constant contact with them during your passage over, and your time there.

Most of all, enjoy. It is a sensational place, which you can read about in our blog at:

Alasdair says:
May 23, 2016 06:01 PM

Today we leave one of the most amazing places we have ever visited...
We used Johnny Romero as our agent he was excellent and is also the agent for Fed Ex and TNT which proved very useful when we needed parts delivered, however be aware that he is not good at replying to email...don't panic he will have organised things, he just will not tell you...
We had to stay here for an extra few weeks, six weeks in total and my advice would be to plan to stay here for as long as you can...It is worth it.
A couple of people who also helped us and might prove useful...
Luis Veno. Mechanic +593 984174370. Fixed the waterpump on our Volvo Penta and was excellent value. Santa Cruz
Martin Schreyerg +593 998795455,can solve most problems, speaks great English. Santa Cruz
James Hunkle, Booby Trap Cafe, Isabela. Channel 67 VHF. Again can solve most problems
My final point. Do not be put off by the cost or the hoops you have to jump through. It is worth it when you get here and all the officials have been charming and helpful to us.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 08, 2016 09:34 AM

Arriving in the Galapagos without an Autographo:
Some yachts have reported from the Galapagos that they have encountered problems arriving with a clearance from Panama to the Galapagos. Read noonsite's formalities information carefully before arrival. Yachts arriving at the Galapagos without an Autographo and no agent pre-arranged, are considered "in transit" and should have a clearance from Panama to the next foreign port after the Galapagos (e.g. Marquesas).

SVJoana says:
Apr 03, 2015 07:23 PM

We are about to leave Galapagos and I would be remiss if I did not offer my comments. We used the agent Johnny Romero to obtain an Autographo, for 1 month (all we needed) and 3 ports. Admittedly, it was a bit pricey, but it is mostly government fees, and proportional to boat length, tonnage and the number of crew. In our case, we arrived with 5 people, 3 people flew out, and 1 crew flew in to join us for our sail to the Marquesas. We cleared in at Cristobal, sailed to Santa Cruz and then at Isabella. Johnny's sister and brother took care of our clearances and tour on Cristobal. We met Johnny himself at Santa Cruz, where he took are of formalities and diesel (pumped into our tanks). He also took care of our Zarpe to Isabella and finally, our International clearance to leave Isabella. Johnny is a very well connected and efficient clearance agent. I can positively recommend him and dealing with him has been a very positive experience. He is a busy man, but his command of the English language also made this an advantage. Kudos to Johnny Romero.

bonobo says:
Mar 04, 2015 12:40 AM

We are still in Panama and I contacted the well known agent by mail ...
Now, what he states is not at all what this website says about some points of the entry requirements and the "prices"
Some examples ....

First, his fee is 200$ non negotiable ... So NOT a max of 150$ as state above ...

I was interested in the 12h "free" stay to take food, water and diesel, etc ...

A one day stay will cost you over 600$

To have diesel one need a four day period to obtain the "paperwork" ????

""the 12 hr. does not exist and if you need fuel it takes 4 days to get the dispatch order""

He also states one need a Medical certification ... a new thing ...

""Here in Galapagos the situation is different, we have changes at least once a month if not daily. Does Noonsite mention anything about a pre medical inspection now in all Galapagos Ports?""

Good luck guys ....

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 13, 2015 02:30 PM

Posted as seen on the Pacific Puddle Jump - Thursday January 8th, 2015
We just arrived in the Galapagos on the 1st. Bananas and pineapples....we were told to put into the refrigerator. They saw tomatoes, potatoes, and onions. Never looked in the refrigerator....never looked in the freezer.
WAY more interested in making sure that there are ABSOLUTELY no barnacles on the bottom of your boat!

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 24, 2014 10:46 AM

A new Port Captain was appointed in Puerto Villamil mid-March 2014, and to begin with was interpreting the rules differently and not permitting boats without an Autographo to clear-in there. However, this has now been resolved and boats without an Autographo can once more clear-in at Isabela and be granted a one-island 20 day stay. See the formalities page for further information.

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