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What Should I Take On a Galapagos Cruise

Whether you are a pro at packing or not, when it comes to preparing for a Galapagos cruise, you want to be careful and make sure you have got a list carefully prepared. The Galapagos islands require your most practical self, so you need to keep it as simple as you can. Other than that, remember that the Galapagos Islands are a very remote destination, so you really can't afford to forget any of your essentials as you may not be able to get them whilst you are there.

So where should you start? Keep reading and start packing!

Choosing the Right Luggage

First off, it is always good to remember that the lighter you travel the easier everything will be for you, especially, when it comes to making transfers. Plus, when you are on a Galapagos cruise most cabins are small, so it is definitely good to keep the luggage to a minimum. If you do intend to travel with a lot of luggage then all you have to do is speak with one of our Travel Specialist about it so that they can ensure that you will stay in the best ship and cabin for your needs. You might also want to double check with one our Galapagos Travel Specialist if there are any luggage restrictions for flights to the Galapagos. All that said you will need; a small rucksack where you can keep all your daily necessities such as - flight tickets, camera, phone, batteries, water bottle, sunscreen, sunglasses, windbreaker, pills, or anything else that you might require. Try keep it as light as possible for your own comfort. Next on, you will need a small suitcase or larger backpack where you can pack most of your belongings. Make sure to choose one that is well made and water resistant so that what is inside is keep safe at all times. If you like shopping whenever you are traveling, then you might also want to bring a spare small bag rolled up in your main luggage. Finally, the last thing you need to add to your luggage is a few dry sacks which are great for keeping important items dry while on your excursions in the Galapagos Islands.

Covering Up

When it comes to clothing, this is obviously very personal and depends entirely on your own preferences. Still this type of cruise does require very practical, easy to wear garments, so there are a few 'go to' essentials that you should pack. As the Galapagos weather is pleasant all year round you will only need light summer clothes. With this in mind make sure to pack two pairs of walking shoes/boots one pair (you can keep dry and the other one you can use for wet landings), you should also take a comfortable pair of flip flops or sandals, socks, two pairs of shorts, a few t-shirts, two pairs of swimwear, some lightweight trousers, skirts, dresses or shorts (depending on what's suitable for you), one light short sleeve shirt, lightweight, breathable waterproof jacket, and a jumper (in case you catch a cooler day) and finally, you should also bring a hat to protect your head from the hot sun. There are plenty more things that you could bring but these are the essentials.

Staying Protected

The Galapagos is famous for its tropical, hot weather, which is just another reason why it is impossible not to love the islands. Since the sun shines here most of the time, it is crucial to keep yourself protected by using lots of sunscreen during your trip. The equatorial sun can be quite harsh so even though you will be using waterproof sunscreen (remember that you will be spending lots of time in the water), that is not quite enough and you should also pack: sunglasses with security strap (polarized lenses will help you seeing more when looking in the water so that you are able to spot turtles and rays), bring scarfs (or anything else that protects your neck), hats, lip balms, and of course, keep a bottle of water with you at all times. As there is lots of swimming and snorkelling it is also important to always wear a wetsuit as these are additional protection from the sun, plus, they are great for flotation!


While on your cruise trip you will be doing lots of walking on your land activities so having the right shoes is crucial for you to be able to enjoy the day. You will need comfortable socks as well as shoes that you have worn multiple times before. In general, you will need different shoes for the different moments of your trip - when you are outside exploring the islands you will need comfortable walking shoes or light hiking boots. Sandals are also good for wet landings as you will be stepping out of small boats onto the shore. There might be some small waves and your feet will get wet so sandals with a heel strap are definitely the best option. Lastly, you can also bring some rubber-soled shoes, boat shoes or even flip flops to wear onboard when you are lounging on the boat. In case you want to be even more comfortable while onboard, know that on the cruises it is also allowed to go barefoot.

When You Go Swimming or Snorkelling

In the Galapagos a big part of the activities will include spending lots of time in the water. This is great because you really get to experience wildlife in a completely unique way while having fun in the water. But if you want to keep up with the sea lions and make the most of your time in the sea, you will need to be prepared. First off you will need two swimsuits - it will be good to have alternatives and also this way you can use one when the other is still wet. You can also bring a lightweight neoprene wetsuit, but usually this is unnecessary, as you can either rent one or use the one provided on your cruise. If you would prefer to you can also bring your own. The same goes for the snorkel and mask, you will also be able to rent these or to just use the ones provided by your cruise. Still, if you already have one at home it is always good to bring it, as you will know that it fits you perfectly. As mentioned above, you will be spending a lot of the time snorkelling and this way you can avoid having to use an ill-fitting mask in the water.

Travel Accessories & Essentials

Although travel essentials may vary from person to person, there are a few things that are generally good to bring no matter who you are or what your preferences are. So, what could these be? A first aid kit. - Yes, your Galapagos guide will carry first aid kits, still, you are responsible for bringing along your own personal medical kit including all necessary medications, prescription drugs, or vitamins that you take regularly. You might also want to have your own reserve of pain killers, motion sickness pills, or indigestion tablets. Even though the Galapagos waters are usually very calm, you never know when rougher conditions might arise. Make sure to bring some ginger with you as it can help you with seasickness. It is also a fantastic alternative to tablets. A refillable water bottle is also very good to have around as you will have access to filtered, purified water on your trip (whether you’re on a cruise or on a land-based activity) so you can fill it up anytime you would want. A toiletry kit is also very helpful to have with you and this could include - a tooth paste, toothbrush, shaving kit, nail clippers, etc. You might also want to bring your own shampoo, conditioner and soap for your stay in mainland (Ecuador), but when in the Galapagos you will be provided with biodegradable soaps so make sure to use them. Another great addition to your list is an insect repellent. The Galapagos are usually mosquitoes free, but you never know. Sunscreen and chap stick with SPF as well as sunglasses is a definite must. Also, don't forget to bring an aloe vera gel to use in case you get sunburn. You can also bring a hand sanitizer, camera (more on that below), travel alarm clock and books to read.

Capturing the Moment (Essentials)

It is entirely up to you how you decide to savour every moment in the Galapagos, still we know you want to make the most out of it, so here a few things you might want to consider – an underwater camera; as mentioned previously, you will be spending a lot of your time in the water making incredible experiences. The wildlife will be rich and truly up close when you are in the sea so as great as it is to be there and live it all, you will be also grateful if you take a few snaps that you can keep with you forever. As the Galapagos is filled with incredible things to capture (in and out of water) you will need lots of storage so do bring a Hard Drive, just in case. You will also need a waterproof bag or dry Sack to keep all of your camera gear safe. Because sometimes pictures are not enough, you might also want to bring a video camera so that you can make lots of videos with unique Galapagos moments. Just imagine having a video of the blue-footed boobies mating dance! (Yes, that is possible!) If you would like to capture the animals in the distance, then bring a telephoto lens as these are quite good for that. You will also need extra film or memory cards, extra batteries, adapter plugs, chargers, binoculars and maybe even a journal (or digital recorder) so that you can, not only capture images and moments, but also your own thoughts so that you can revisit them later. In the end, it's up to you how much you want to bring, as for many people a smart phone is all they need to fully enjoy the islands.

Anything Else You Want or Need

Because this is your trip, only you know what the little things are that can make it extra special. We will be with you all the way supporting you and ensuring that your holiday is exactly the way you want it to be. Your dedicated Travel Specialist will always be your main point of contact for anything you need, but you will also have the Latin Routes Concierge team always available for you as they will be handling all of the finer details of your trip. This includes anything from – special requests such as birthday surprises; dinner reservations; any extra tours that you might want to do; administrative queries; and so much more. Still, while in the Galapagos you really shouldn't need anything else other than the basic human essentials. Traveling to these islands is one of those experiences that goes way beyond any words, and that is mostly about what this place can bring to you, rather than what you bring with you to it. So, whatever it is that you need, trust us, most of it is already there. All you have to do is relax, enjoy the trip, and be sure that this will be a holiday of a lifetime.

You can go back to the main guide page by clicking here or read the next article in the guide, what will I see on a Galapagos cruise?

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