Packing for a week in the Galapagos was a bit of a challenge. We had to keep our luggage under 10 kilograms! That meant luggage, carry-on, personal item, everything! Steve and I always go carry-on only and pack light for all our travels, but even we struggled a bit to pack light for such an epic trip, knowing anything we might need may not be avaiable on any of the islands. When packing for your Galapagos adventure, here’s your no-fuss, no-stress packing list, including the best luggage to pack it all in well!
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That’s right, three! Don’t be afraid to rinse and rewear if necessary. Choosing light, breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics will keep you comfortable on all your Galapagos adventures.
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Honestly, you could get away with just two! The best advice about bottoms is to pack neutrals, or at least make sure all your bottoms can go with all of your tops so you can make the most different outfits! I suggest one pair of shorts and one pair of capris, plus possibly one more. Here are a few options:
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1 Sun Dress
If there’s one thing from this list you don’t pack, make it a dress. You won’t really need it, but let’s face it, sometimes a girl just wants to feel a little bit pretty! If you do choose to bring a dress with you, make it one that can be a dress, skirt, and/or bathing suit cover-up all in one! Here are a couple of options:
Essential info: What Every Woman Should Pack for Every Trip
1 Light Jacket
The Galapagos Islands are scattered smack on top of and all around the equator, so it’s pretty much the same temperature all year round, but occasionally the ocean breezes can be a bit chilly at night, and when it rains, you might want a little something to keep you warmer and dry. Here are a couple of options. Choose the one you think is best, and I suggest wearing it on your travel days instead of packing it, just to save weight and space!
More here: What Minimalist Packers Leave Behind
Bathing suits can be fantastic multi-purpose items. I like to wear a tankini top with shorts for a hike or just a day of exploring the islands! One of our tour guides took us to a local swimming hole and then out for a day of hiking, kayaking, and seeing the local animals, and I loved having a top that I could swim in that also dried quickly so I could do more exploring without needing to change! I recommend two tankini swimsuits whose bottoms and tops can be worn interchangeably.
Keep reading: How to Pack the Perfect Carry-on
Having the right shoes is very important because the best way to see everything is on foot! I don’t recommend flip flops or sandals; you will want close-toed shoes at all times!
Water shoes are perfect for those wet landings you’ll have, and you’ll be glad you have a pair! I never travel to a beach or island without them. Ever.
Hiking and Walking (choose 1)
There’s not a lot of rugged hiking on the Galapagos, but you will be walking a lot, and some of that walking is over hardened lava, rocks, marshland, sand, etc. Bring one of the types of shoes below and roll with it! Also, I suggest wearing the pair you choose on the plane so you don’t have to pack them, as this will save space and weight in your bag!
I know, it seems gross, but washing and re-wearing socks is actually not that bad! You can certainly pack a pair for each day, but consider bringing four pair and simply washing and rewearing them a time or two.
I won’t lie to you, I prefer to bring one fresh pair for every day I travel. However, that’s not always practical, depending on how long you’re going. These quick-dry athletic undies are perfect if you need to save space and weight in your luggage!
What’s a wet landing? Check out
What to Know Before You Visit the Galapagos!
Packing is about more than just clothes. Here are the most important things to pack to keep you safe, comfortable, and hydrated!
Just a little swipe of this on your ankles, knees, arms, and the back of your neck will keep the bugs off. It even works for my husband, who is beloved by all bugs, all over the world! And the solid stick means it doesn’t take up any of your coveted liquids space when traveling!
It’s so important to use reef-safe sunscreen in the oceans, and especially in such a delicate and protected eco-system such as the Galapagos Islands. This solid form is perfect for saving weight and space in your liquids bag on travel days!
More here: 5 Practical Ways to Travel Sustainably
32-ounce Water Bottle
You cannot drink the water on the Galapagos Islands except on Isabela and Floreana. However, I did get sick after drinking the water on Isabela. So if your tummy is sensitive like mine, and even if it’s not, you will want to bring a refillable water bottle with you to fill up with clean water before you leave for the day. I suggest 32 ounces because anything more is just a little much to carry around, and anything less will not be enough to get you through.
Sunglasses are essential because your eyes need protection!
I always prefer a visor so I can pile my hair up and out of my way, but choose a hat that fits you best! You will definitely want to keep the equatorial sunshine out of your eyes and off your face as much as possible.
Packing light starts with light luggage. Don’t bother bringing your laptop or other havy electronics—there is a very real possibility that your luggage could end up in the water on a wet landing!
Carry-on (36-40 L)
You will want to stick with a bag that is 36-40 L (“L” stands for liters and is the sizing standard for backpacks). Anything more than that and you will be more likely to go over the weight restrictions! This is similar to the one I used for my trip. It fit everything I needed, and the extra pockets at the waist straps came in so handy. I also love that it opens from the top and the bottom! It can also be adjusted to fit your height, which is super important for shorter ladies like myself!
I was late to the packing cube game, but I am never going back to life before them! It’s the ultimate way to keep organized and save room in your bag.
You’ll want somewhere to put your wallet, camera or phone, water bottle, and snacks on your day trips and excursions. This one is packable when you don’t need it, and sturdy enough to hold the essentials when you do!
Those tight weight restrictions are no match for a digital luggage scale! I highly recommend getting one so you’ll know how heavy your bag is before you leave!
Read next: 10 Ultimate Packing Hacks
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