How to Pack for the Galapagos

How to Pack for the Galapagos
Luisana Suegart

Earlier this year, Jody and I were extremely lucky to spend seven nights cruising around the spectacular Galapagos islands with our amazing client, Ecoventura. As excited as we were to embark on our journey, we couldn’t help but stress over how in the world we were going to pack for a seven-night cruise that involved hiking, nature walks, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, zodiac rides and captain’s dinners— sometimes all in the same day. (I know, #firstworldproblems.)Ecoventura’s website offers a pretty spot-on packing list for travelers heading to “the Galaps.” Still, if they’re anything like me, it will be any over-packers nature to question it. I mean, can you really go on a seven-night cruise with only two swimsuits? To my surprise, yes. Here’s what else we learned.The first rule is to keep things casual and comfortable. As Ecoventura puts it, “informality is basic to all activities.” (Read: no need to dress to impress.)

As Ecoventura suggests, you’ll want to start with a collapsible, soft-sided suitcase. While the brand new MV Origin will feature 10 very spacious cabins, you’ll want to enjoy the extra room and not be minding your way around your bags. Side note: If you want a peek at the new MV Origin launching in 2016, click here.

Now, time to break down Ecoventura’s packing list:

• LONG PANTS (lightweight, khakis)
Two pairs will do. Remember, it’s okay to reuse these. Ladies, workout leggings work wonders on these trips. They are comfortable and protect you from the sun.
• SHORTS (Bermudas or other)
Two pairs for activities (beach walks), one pair of casual for boat wear.
Four to five. With these, you want pack more than you think you need as you’ll be changing often!
Yes! I used mine over and over again. My personal recommendation: ExOfficio’s Rain Logic
A thin hoodie is also perfect for evenings
Most passengers hang theirs out to dry on the sun deck, so you can reuse them in no time.
One pair
I didnt’t want to take mine off. Wore them every night for dinner.
Regular flip flips will do and are comfy on the boat.
• Small backpack is the most comfortable. A lightweight cross body bag will also do.
Do bring a reusable water bottle. You’ll be filling it up over and over while on board.
• CAMERA (with extra memory cards, polarized lenses and waterproof bag)
This is not somewhere you want to run out of memory.
• Or purchase an underwater case for your smart phone. I like these. Cheap and efficient. 😉
A must. Even if you think you don’t get seasick. Better to be safe.
• …. and don’t forget your PJs, undies and socks!

Also good to keep in mind: the MV Origin comes with laundry service so if you’re worried about your clothes starting to smell…worry not. :)

This leads me to things you think you need, but don’t:

• fancy attire (it’s not that kind of captain’s dinner)
• heels or dress shoes
• fashion accessories (I didn’t use 90% of the accessories I brought)
• a different outfit for every day of the week (it’s okay to reuse clothing — everyone does it!)

And here’s what else you should leave behind because it’s provided for you: beach towels, wet suits (3mm), mask + snorkel (unless you’re more comfortable with your own), flippers and hair dryers.

Finally, if this helps paint a better picture, here are my day-to-day suggestions if you’re cruising on Ecoventura’s Itinerary A.

Sunday  / Arrivals
Puerto Baquerizo, San Cristobal — arrivals (comfy travel clothes)
Captain’s welcome – casual

Monday / Day 1
Cerro Brujo, San Cristobal – beach walk (swimsuit and loose fitting clothes, flip flops)
Punta Pitt, San Cristobal – hike (t-shirt, loose fitting pants, walking / hiking shoes)

Tuesday / Day 2
Punta Suarez, Espanola – walking trail (lose fitting shorts or pants, t-shirt, walking/hiking shoes)
Gardner Bay – beach walk / kayaking  (swimsuit and loose fitting clothes, flip flops)

Wednesday / Day 3
Punta Cormorant or Champion – snorkeling
Post Office Bay, Floreana – beach walk (swimsuit and loose fitting clothes, flip flops)

Thursday / Day 4
Highlands of Santa Cruz – giant land tortoise day! (t-shirt, loose fitting pants, walking / hiking shoes)
Afternoon in town – casual wear

Friday / Day 5
Bartolome – hike (t-shirt, loose fitting pants, walking / hiking shoes)
Las Balchas – beach walk (swimsuit and loose fitting clothes, flip flops)

Saturday / Day 6
South Plaza Island – walking trail (lose fitting shorts or pants, t-shirt, walking/hiking shoes)
North Seymour Island – walking trail (lose fitting shorts or pants, t-shirt, walking/hiking shoes)
Captain’s welcome – casual

Sunday / Day 7
Departures – comfy travel clothes

I’ll leave you with some packing inspiration:

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View Comments (2)


  1. Cheryl

    March 3, 2016 at 7:00 am

    What a great list – I think you hit it spot on! I love your day by day break of what to wear as well. The only thing I would add is a camping clothesline. It was helpful for us when hanging out bathing suits and other clothing that may have gotten wet. Like you mentioned, everyone hangs their bathing suit from the top deck, and we found it helpful for us (and others!) to have the camping clothesline. Sounds like you had a great trip!

  2. Paige

    March 7, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Thanks for this – my mom and I are excited for our trip on the MV Origin in October and this looks like the most practical list we’ve found so far!

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Luisana Suegart

On any given day, you might find Luisana trekking the hills of Machu Picchu, sipping tequila in Cancun or hand-rolling tortillas in Guatemala. When she's not busy taking Latin America by storm, Lu can be found at home whipping up something good in the kitchen and snuggling with Maggie, everyone's favorite Frenchie

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