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  • Writer's pictureConnie George

Don't Pack These 11 Things for Your Galapagos Cruise

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

woman wearing snorkeling equipment sitting on edge of bed with legs on luggage and clothing pile

Knowing what you should not pack can be nearly as helpful as having a list of items that you do need to pack. This is especially true when you have a luggage limit that curbs your ability to include many "just in case" items. This article will let you know what you can confidently leave at home.

All flights into the Galápagos Islands depart from either Quito or Guayaquil on mainland Ecuador. Luxury cruise lines and upscale packages include your flight into the islands. Your flight will most often be into Baltra though some also fly guests into San Cristobal. We advise our clients of your flight's weight limit for your check-in bag, which will range from 44 lbs to 50 lbs. Plus you can have a carry-on bag.

1) You won't need your dressy clothes.

Even for the most upscale cruise, you'll be advised you don't need anything beyond "country club casual" clothing for evenings. That consists of nice slacks and a polo or button-down shirt for men. For women, that would be nice slacks or skirts with a nice top or a sundress. Anything dressier than that can stay home. The "don't pack dressy clothes" extends to shoes, too.

2) Leave your new shoes at home (unless you wear them in before the trip).

Don't risk blistered, sore feet limiting your experience. If you purchase any new sneakers, hiking shoes, water shoes or sandals, or evening shoes, be sure to wear them in good before you travel.

3) Don't overpack on clothing and shoes.

A Galápagos Islands cruise is a great trip to learn not to overpack if you aren't already experienced in packing light. Pants and skirts can be paired with different tops, so having two "bottoms" are plenty for evenings during the week. Consult your cruise line's packing list and, if you are one of our clients, our list that we supply will also guide you for what you do need.

Some larger ships have laundry services available. Celebrity Flora offers complimentary laundry service twice during your cruise to all guests. Silver Origin offers complimentary laundry for up to three items per guest per day. Knowing your ship's policy on laundry is a significant advantage to reduce the number of clothes you need to pack.

4) Please don't pack aerosol sprays.

Consider the environment, particularly regarding where you are visiting. When packing products such as sunscreen, insect repellent, deodorant, etc., use lotions, wipes, solids and gels. If taking hairspray, bring a non-aerosol bottle.

pearls on black background with quote saying "leave your good jewelry at home."
You won't need your good jewelry on a Galápagos cruise. Not even on a luxury ship.

5) Leave your good jewelry at home.

There's no reason to take more than a bit of costume jewelry for evenings if you want to pack jewelry other than wedding and engagement rings.

6) You can leave your snorkeling gear behind.

Most cruise lines include complimentary snorkeling gear. Particularly as we come out of Covid, updated policies will need to keep being checked. But you will likely not have to bring your own mask, snorkel or fins. You may wish to take along your own mouthpiece if that makes you more comfortable.

7) You can't bring any fruit, plants, seeds or animals into the Galápagos Islands.

Seriously, none. Even foods served to you on your cruise will be locally sourced. Anything brought into the islands even innocently can potentially present a risk to the environment, so they are understandably strict.

" At least 38 different species in the Galapagos Islands, including turtles, marine iguanas, and sea lions have been recorded entangled by plastic such as bags and lines, having ingested it after mistaking it for food or living in affected habitats."

8) Plastic bags are not permitted in the Galápagos.

Since 2018, single-use plastics have been banned. Disposable plastic bags (grocery type bags), disposable plastic bottles, Styrofoam containers, and disposable straws have all been banned. You can bring ziplock bags into the islands.

9) Metal-tipped hiking poles can't be brought into the islands.

Many cruise lines have walking sticks. They don't usually have enough for all guests, but not everyone uses them so you're not likely to be disappointed. If you prefer bringing your own that you are used to using, keep two facts in mind. First, hiking poles (trekking poles, hiking staff) and walking sticks must be collapsible to be packed for your plane rides. Secondly, tips must be rubber. Metal-tipped poles are not permitted off the ships as they can harm the islands' fragile environment.

10) You won't need to bring your water bottle.

Because of the initiative to keep disposable plastics out of the islands, most ships give their guests a reusable stainless-steel water bottle that is refillable from their filtered water. This is yours to keep.

Galápagos cruisers find "5 Essential Pairs of Shoes You Need for Your Cruise" helpful.

11) Don't bring anything your ship will supply for you.

Toiletries such as shampoo and conditioner are typically included on cruises. Upscale lines often include a moisturizer. Of course, if you have sensitive skin, I recommend bringing products that work well for you rather than trying something new while away from home.

Here are some examples of other items you can skip packing thanks to these lines:

couple lounging on bed outdoor on cruise ship, overlooking water at sunset
Celebrity Flora offers glamping. Included in your fare are reusable water bottle, drawstring totebag, sunscreen and lip balm as well as complimentary use of snorkeling equipment, wet suit, and walking sticks, Image courtesy of Celebrity Cruises.

· Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Flora is the most generous ship as they also include sunscreen and lip balm. They include snorkeling equipment and walking sticks, as well as complimentary use of wet suits. In addition to giving each guest a reusable water bottle, they also give you a drawstring backpack that is convenient for excursions.

comfortable seating area with chairs, couch and decor
Basecamp on Silver Origin is an interactive exhibit area in which guests can explore and enjoy on their own and where Galápagos naturalists will share the world they know so well. Silver Origin gives each guest a reusable water bottle and offers complimentary use of snorkeling equipment, wet suits and walking sticks. Image courtesy of Silversea. All rights reserved.

· Silversea's Silver Origin also provides a reusable water bottle and drawstring backpack for you to use and keep. They also offer complimentary use of snorkeling equipment, wet suits and walking sticks.

blue and white passenger catamaran in water with rock formation behind it to the left
Reina Silvia Voyager is a custom-built 16-passenger catamaran giving each guest a water bottle and offering complimentary use of snorkeling equipment, wet suits and walking sticks. © 2020 G Adventures. All rights reserved.

· G Adventures' Reina Silvia Voyager also includes a water bottle and complimentary use of their snorkeling gear, wet suits and walking sticks.

National Geographic Endeavour II ship in background, zodiac raft in front
Lindblad Expedition's' ships give each guest a reusable water bottle to keep and offer complimentary use of snorkeling equipment, wet suits and walking sticks.Pictured is Endeavour II. Photo credit: Lindblad Expeditions

· Lindblad Expeditions' National

Geographic Islander and National Geographic Endeavour II include complimentary reusable water bottles to keep as well as complimentary snorkeling equipment and wet suits to borrow.

National Geographic Islander in the water with a rock formation behind it and zodiac raft in front of it
Lindblad Expedition's National Geographic Islander. Photo credit: Lindblad Expeditions

By not packing what you don't need, you'll have more space for items that will benefit you during your trip. And you won’t waste space in your cabin or suite.

If you'd like to have a Galápagos cruise specialist help you plan your adventure, email me for a complimentary consultation. Don't you deserve your best possible vacation?

Happy Traveling!


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