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Heading on an adventure and don’t know how to pack for the Galapagos Islands?
I visited the Galapagos for the first time of what I hope will be many in September of 2019 (it was one of my last big trips before the Pandemic). I traveled with my best friend from the first grade, Caitlin (you’ll hear a lot about her on this blog). We decided to combine our Ecuador mainland trip and the Galapagos Islands into a 3-week adventure. Of course, trying to figure out how to pack for the Galapagos Islands was no easy task.
When compiling your Galapagos Packing List it is important to remember that most of your days will be spent in full adventure mode. This means you will be out on the water (and in it!), in the sun, or hiking. Lightweight, comfortable, breathable fabrics and layers are the way to successfully pack for the Galapagos Islands.
I highly encourage you to keep reading on to find out my favorite Galapagos Packing Tips and make it your own. Make sure to adjust for the season you will be visiting, and any other destinations along the way!
The Essentials you need to pack for the Galapagos Islands
Sunhat // Your packing list for the Galapagos (perfect for female travelers!) would not be complete without a sunhat! The sun blazes down in the Galapagos, as the Galapagos is right on the equator, so for my fashion-forward Boho Travellers, an adorable Boater Hat like this one from Etsy will do the trick! Otherwise, don’t forget your ball cap or bucket hat!
Sunglasses // Don’t leave your best sunnies behind! Polarized lenses will save your eyesight from the reflection of the sun on the water while in the Galapagos. The Erika Ray-Bans Frame have been my go-to for easy travel & active sunnies that still look cute for about 5 years now!
Sunscreen // Reef-safe and smells delicious, Sun Bum is my go-to sunscreen for the last 6 years! This travel-size kit is perfect for packing for the Galapagos.
Water Bottle // Definitely do NOT forget your pack your refillable water bottle when you go to the Galapagos! Some people like to travel with a collapsible water bottle, like this one from Hydaway, but I prefer to have a filtered bottle so I know what I am drinking is safe. You’ll rarely ever catch me without my Brita Water Bottle!
Raincoat/Windbreaker // Rain is inevitable for a trip to the Galapagos (as well as wind) so you will want to pack a light coat that does both of these things! I LOVE this Kirkwall raincoat from Helly Hansen as it is lightweight and also offers a lot of coverage!
3-4 Tanks // When on excursions or hikes that tend a bit towards the strenuous side, you’ll want some loose-fitting tanks which serve the dual purposes of cute and practical. I basically live in these ribbed tank tops and linen blend tank tops from H&M. They come in a variety of colors and are great for layering & pairing with multiple outfits to help ease your struggle of trying to pack for the Galapagos!
3-4 Tees & Longsleeves // Keeping things simple, be sure to pack a few of your favorite simple tee shirts and long sleeves to pair with your linen pants, shorts, and skirts!
2-4 Flowy Tops/ Tunics // I love this Utility Top from Banana Republic as it just screams “Galapagos Safari”. Having a few loose and flowy tops in your packing for the Galapagos gives you additional flexibility in your wardrobe pairings, and can take a workout sports bra and leggings to a cute leggings & tunic pairing!
1-2 Waterwicking // I adore this simple water-wicking long-sleeve shirt from Helly Hansen – it’s simple and will keep your body out of the sun when you are in and out of the water on snorkeling trips in the Galapagos Islands. You can wear it in or out of the water and stay comfortable, and it dries incredibly fast! A short sleeve or tank top option is also great for heavy hiking days!
Light fleece/Cardigan/ Midlayer // You might have guessed by now that Helly Hansen is my go-to for active and outdoor gear, that is why there is so much of it listed in this Galapagos Packing Guide for Female Travellers! Their mid-layer stuff is just as good as their base and outerwear, and I am in LOVE with all of my Helly Hansen Fleece Midlayers!
1-2 pairs of Linen Pants // I pretty much exist solely in these linen pants, they come in a multitude of colors and are so comfy, and pair well with pretty much any top. I also like this pair of wide-leg linen pants, and this pair of “safari-esque” linen joggers.
1-2 Pairs of Linen Shorts // Linen is the best – it is comfy, breathable, and has that loveable “lived-in” look. These are my favorite pair of linen shorts from Old Navy, but I also really dig this pair from Gap.
2 Leggings // I love my Lululemon leggings (honestly who doesn’t) but you may not want to get them mucky and muddy on your adventures in the Galapagos! I for my trip to the Galapagos I also packed this pair from Target that I didn’t mind getting messed up!
2-3 Flowy Skirts // I can’t travel without packing at least one flowy skirt in my bag! I am currently obsessing over this skirt from Free People. I also love this wrap skirt from J. Crew (who doesn’t love a good wrap skirt?) and this simple linen skirt. I also really like this Remie Fabric skirt from Banana Republic! Oh, and both the Free People and J. Crew skirts can double as dresses!
Outfits to pack for the Galapagos
1-2 Tea Length / Maxi Dresses // You know I love a good cottagecore or boho style maxi or midi dress, so my female traveler’s packing guide for the Galapagos would be incomplete without listing a few! Packing 1-3 dresses when you go to the Galapagos Islands will make your evenings on board your cruise feel like a special occasion (which they are) and this open-back midi dress will make you feel like a Galapagos Queen. I also love this linen safari-style midi dress. I have a Kara Thoms dress that looks like this one here from Free People, but this one is a third of the price!
1 Jumpsuit // I personally love my “dino digging ‘fit” and it’s great for Safari, Morocco, and Galapagos! Unfortunately, the one I wear is no longer available, but there is this great option from the Banana Republic and a super cute version very similar to mine in dark olive from L.L. Bean.
Accessories & Shoes
Belt // This is my go to belt for everything from Madewell – you can get it for less than $50 at Nordstrom and it will last you ages! I also usually pack a wider belt to change up looks with maxis and tunics. I like this adorable corset belt from Anthropologie.
Purse // There are three key elements when packing a purse for travel 1. you want it to zip 2. you want it to be crossbody 3. you want it to be comfortable and cute and able to carry all you need. If you are not a photographer, you can bring any bag from home that fits these three elements (and if you’re shopping I stan this Madewell bag). If you are a photographer (don’t forget to check out my photography gear down below!) then you may want to also consider packing a camera bag that doubles as a purse! I recently discovered this Claremont Bag from Lo & Sons via The Blonde Abroad – and have decided to go with it after a long and arduous journey of finding the perfect camera bag! I hope it can help you out too!
Scarves & Hair Scarves // Spice up your look and cover your hair in the wind, and add a cute touch to any outfit with a silk or linen scarf around your neck or hair. Also helps to keep you out of the Galapagos sun!
Dry Bag // For day excursions where there may be a wet landing, or for your snorkeling trips to keep your belongings dry, you will definitely want to pack a dry bag for your trip to the Galapagos.
Activewear // A trip to the Galapagos is full of adventure, so don’t forget to pack your activewear!
Socks // Never forget to pack these! 2-3 pairs should do the trick.
2-3 Bathing Costumes // You will definitely be in the water during your trip to the Galapagos islands, so be sure to pack 2-3 pairs of swimsuits! I love to purchase reversible swimsuits so it’s like a 2-in-1!
1 Shorties/ Wetsuit // The water in the Galapagos can get pretty chilly, so I recommend packing a shortie wetsuit, especially if you plan on doing a lot of snorkeling or diving excursions. This is not a “must” as you can always rent, but I do think it is a good idea to invest in one if you like this sort of travel!
See a full list of my camera equipment here.
Pro Tip: Drones are not allowed in the Galapagos! You can bring it with you (I did, as I had been traveling before and after I went!) but be sure not to fly it as you could endanger wildlife and also get some hefty fines!
Camera Bag // While I love the Lo & Sons bag for everyday use, I usually bring quite a bit more gear with me on the trip than I bring out during the day. I use a WANDRD backpack as my personal item to store all my travel gear, and I don’t think I could live without it. It is compact, easy to use, and has great customizable storage compartments that seem to never end but are always easy to access. It’s also comfortable to wear and expandable.
Fujifilm XS10 // This is the most recent addition to my camera family, and while I didn’t travel to the Galapagos with it when I went in 2019, I know it would perform well there. I traveled with. DSLR, the Canon Rebel T6, and she performed well, though was a bit heavy to lug around.
GoPro // There is nothing that will beat. a GoPro for all of the underwater adventure filming and photography you need.
Bubble Dome// If you want cool half-in-half-out-of-the-water shots, you should look into a housing dome for your GoPro. This will allow you to get that look, though it is a bit much to travel with.
Memory Cards // There is nothing worse than getting somewhere and realizing that you forgot to put your memory card in your camera! I recommend traveling with 3-4 128 GB memory cards. This way you can hold enough photos for 1-2 days but not too many that if something happens to it, you’ll lose your footage from the en. ire trip! 1TB memory cards scare me!
Suitcase // An Away Suitcase will be your forever suitcase should you choose to invest! Away offers free replacements should your bag get destroyed.
Packing Cubes // Keep your luggage organized with packing cubes! They are truly a lifesaver.
Backpack Duffel // If you aren’t a fan of a rolling suitcase, you can never go wrong with an Osprey Backpack. I also love this Helly Hansen bag.
Sleep Mask // For those long & red-eye flights, an eye mask will be your BFF.
Kindle PaperWhite // While I love a physical book, there is nothing better to travel with than a paper white to ease the burden of traveling.
IS YOUR TRIP PROTECTED?
If the unprecedented Covid-19 Pandemic taught me one thing, it’s to never ever book travel without travel insurance.
Travel Insured is the ONLY company I use to ensure my travel, and I highly recommend looking into their yearly plans. They also have a “cancel for any reason” policy add-on which allows you peace. of mind no matter what comes to happen.