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Galapagos – A Reminder of Entry Regulations - Updated

By Sue Richards last modified Nov 06, 2009 03:06 PM

Published: 2009-11-06 15:06:02
Countries: Galapagos

This report was originally published on 31 October 2009, however details about Isabella as a port of entry were not very clear, so we have clarified and re-published.

Many cruisers are now planning their itinerary for the Caribbean season and probably already thinking what to do after that. Transiting the Panama Canal and crossing the Pacific, with a stop in the Galapagos, may well be part of your planning. If so, here is a timely reminder of the current Entry Regulations for this archipelago of fascinating Islands.

Within the last couple of years, the Galapagos National Park and Navy have been forced to change the rules and regulations for yachts and people arriving by air, due to a growing number of tourists and boats which obviously puts pressure on the sensitive nature of the Islands, their animals and the fragile ecosystem in general. At the same time, the local people are trying to get their share of the growing tourism seeing the opportunities available. Solutions for this very difficult balance are hard to find.

Clarification of the Current Entry Regulations:

· Non-commercial boats arriving without a cruising permit (autographo) are allowed to visit ONLY ONE port for a maximum stay of 20 days. If the need is genuine (and the Port Captain may well come and inspect the problem), there is a possibility to stay longer should the Port Captain permit it.

· An autographo can be applied for through an agent should you wish to see more of the Islands in your own yacht, however this process takes between 4 and 6 weeks, is very expensive and is not guaranteed. A much simpler and cheaper option is to leave your boat for a few days and take one of the many local guided tours.

· It is MANDATORY to use an agent in the Galapagos for Clearance, however immigration can be done without the use of an agent. Usually though the agent will carry out immigration without charging an extra fee, however confirm this in advance.

· The maximum number of crew permitted on board visiting yachts is 10.

· A Fumigation Certificate is required and the navy check all yachts on arrival. It is best to get this in your previous port, however can be arranged on the Islands at a cost of $4 per metre of yacht length.

· There is an admission fee to the Galapagos National Park area of $100 per adult and $50 for children under 12 and must be paid by anyone visiting the Galapagos.

· On entering, $10 for every crew member has to be paid to Immigration for a Personal Immigration Card, plus $30 per boat for clearing in and out.

· The maximum amount of Diesel supplied to each visiting yacht is 400 Gallons (without additional paperwork). The paperwork to apply for diesel must be done through an agent who will submit it to the Navy. Diesel can then be obtained from the local service stations or via your agent (although it is likely this will incur an extra fee).


It is recommended that visiting yachts send a copy of their boat registration, passports, plus estimated time of arrival, to their agent in advance in order to make the entry procedure smoother and faster on arrival. This will also ensure your yacht’s details are “in the system” should you encounter a Patrol Vessel on the approaches to the Galapagos.

Out of the three available ports of entry (Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz, Puerto Baquerizo in San Cristobal and Puerto Villamill in Isabella), Puerto Ayora offers the best services, entertainment, activities and tour options, whereas Puerto Banquerzino may have better shelter.

Puerto Villamill on Isabella is still very much of a beach town with only a few services. Whilst on paper it is indeed an official port of entry, there is no immigration here (so passports have to be sent to Santa Cruz) and no agents, which in reality makes it impossible to currently clear in here.

There are a handful of places on each Island that can be visited on your own without a day tour or certified Naturalist guide. These currently are:
San Cristóbal - Playa Ochoa, Cerro tijeretas, Cerro chino, Laguna el junco;
Santa Cruz - Media Luna (highlands, The tortoise reserve), Las grietas , Tortuga bay, Los túneles;
Isabela - The wall of tears, Las tintoreras.

For further details plus more information on fees see noonsite Galapagos Formalities.

Our thanks to Galapagos Ocean Services for assisting us with clarifying some of the points in this report.