Heading to the Galapagos? Lucky you! These are some of our favourite islands on earth, and you’re going to have an amazing time. Before you go though, you might be wondering what to pack for the Galapagos. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
We spent nearly a month in the Galapagos, both on a tour and travelling independently, and our experiences gave us lots of ideas to help you plan your own trip – including tips for what to pack for the Galapagos! Here therefore is our guide to:
What to Pack for the Galapagos Islands
Clothes and other gear for the Galapagos
The Galapagos is bang on the Equator, meaning it gets hot and humid around the coastline, although if you go higher up on the islands, it can be cooler. Depending on the time of year, night-time can also be cool enough to warrant a fleece.
In addition, the climate can change rapidly, from glorious sunshine to rain showers in a matter of minutes. On the plus side, it’s not a location where you’re likely to be attending any balls, so you can pack functional rather than fashionable.
You’ll want to bring:
- Hiking pants, or trousers as we Brits call them. Something that dries quickly, maybe with those handy zip off legs that let them turn into shorts
- T-shirts – the hiking variety that wicks moisture away is ideal, but any t-shirt will do
- A thin fleece for when it gets cooler in the evenings or at higher elevations
- A raincoat for when the weather turns inclement
- Lots of waterproof sunscreen, ideally factor 30+ as well as sun protection lip balm. If you’re snorkelling, don’t forget to apply this to exposed regions like the backs of your arms and legs
- Insect repellent, although depending on the time of year you visit this might not be necessary. If you are planning any trips to the higher parts of the islands this might come in handy.
- A dry bag for putting your gear in if your trip includes boat rides between or onto the islands (it will!)
- Flip flops for everyday use, trainers for general trail walking, hiking boots if you’re planning any serious hikes, although these are unlikely to be necessary if you’re just doing a couple of day hikes
- Water bottles / hydration pack systems. You’ll need to drink a lot of water, and every hotel has large canisters of drinking water available from where you can fill up your containers and save generating plastic bottle waste
- Travel insurance – there’s no real hospital on the island, so if something happens to you, you’ll want to be covered for medical evacuation expenses
Photographic Gear for the Galapagos
You’re going to want to take a lot of pictures in the Galapagos. Everything is so photogenic, from the landscapes to the wildlife. Here’s an idea of the sort of gear you might want to consider taking:
An underwater camera like a GoPro:
The marine life in the Galapagos is amazing, with the snorkelling experience we had at Kicker Rock easily the best I’ve ever done anywhere in the world. If you want to document this, then a camera like the GoPro with underwater housing is the way to do it.
A “normal” camera with a good zoom range:
If you’re a serious photographer, then you’ll probably already have an idea of the sort of gear you’ll want to take with you.
The good news is that you can get very close to nearly all of the wildlife, with just the odd bird proving a tad elusive.
We took a range of lenses, covering a variety of focal lengths (17mm to 300mm) on our full frame camera (a Canon R5) and a crop sensor mirrorless Sony – between them they let us get all the shots we wanted, from close ups of boobies to wide angle landscape shots.
For most of the shots on the site I was actually using either a wide angle (17-40mm) or an 85mm prime on the full frame Canon – everything was that close!
Only for some shots of further away birds did we need to switch to the 55-210mm on the Sony (full frame equivalent up to 300mm).
We also took a tripod and wireless remote release, which let us capture some great star shots and play around with timelapse a bit.
If you’re not into photography quite as obsessively as us, and just want to capture some great moments from your trip, then take a camera with a good “zoom range” that will let you get all the wildlife and landscape shots you want whilst not breaking either your back or bank account. We have a full guide to the best bridge cameras for travel to help you decide which would be best.
Plenty of storage media:
We took well over 100GB of photos and video during our time in the Galapagos, although we might be a special case! We back this all up onto two ruggedized external terabyte hard drives and a laptop, to keep it all safe should anything fail.
If you’re shooting JPG format stills on a recent camera, you’ll want to take at least one 32GB memory card, and more likely two, to be on the safe side. If you’re planning on doing a lot of video, then you’ll want to take a lot more.
That’s enough on the photography side. If you want to read more about the photography gear we travel with, check out our full photography gear guide.
Further Reading for the Galapagos
Now you’ve got your packing list sorted, you’re going to want to know more about your trip. We have a number of posts to help you plan your trip, including:
- Our detailed guide to planning a Galapagos trip
- A review of our 10 day adventure with Galakiwi in the Galapagos
- A guide to visiting the Galapagos as an independent traveller
- Photo essays of the Galapagos wildlife and the Galapagos landscapes to get you excited for your trip
And that sums up our guide to how to pack for the Galapagos Islands! We hope you found it useful – as always, share your comments and feedback with us in the comments section below!
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