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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Traveling to Galapagos solo. From Quito to Baltra airport. Ecuador. February 2018.

Living in Ecuador for 10 years I never been in Galapagos. After all I had to take it off from my bucket list so I decided to do it in February, solo, independent, meaning I only booked flight and hotels, no on-board cruises for me. I was interested in two islands: Isabella and Santa Cruz. 

I booked round trip, direct flight from Quito to Island Santa Crus - Baltra airport. 
TAME airlines, departure from Quito at 9:10 a.m. arriving to Baltra airport at 10 a.m. local time. There is a 1-hour time difference between Ecuador mainland and the Galapagos islands.
In Quito airport tourists going to Galapagos pay $20 for Transit Control Card (TCC) before their check in. It's a good idea to do TCC Pre-Registration for Galapagos visit.  

All luggage is weighted and opened in Quito airport prior to check in to Galapagos. Tame carry on policy - 1 piece of 8 kg (17lb).  Unfortunately my little suitcase weighted 9kg and I was forced to checked it out.
Upon arrival to Baltra airport all checked out luggage are sniffed by the detection dogs. I still regret that I didn't take picture of this process. They (dogs) were walking over the luggage and sniffing. 

You have to pay the Galápagos National Park entrance fee at Baltra airport. In my case it was $6. If you are not part of the organized tour - you have to pay, pay and pay again and again, starting in Quito airport and thereafter. As a part of organized tour you are paying even more but not as often, I saw many organized tours ending up with two tour guides.
To work as a "Galapagos Naturalist Guide" person has to have permanent Galapagos residency. Without "Galapagos Naturalist Guide" tourists cannot go places, so many organized groups end up with their original guide, from Quito, for example and Galapagos Naturalist Guide.  

Tip: Pack as light as possible for independent, not on-board travel to Galapagos. Somehow even mild temps there will make you sweaty and feeling sticky, even after shower. Clothing for Galapagos have to be absorbent and fast drying. Also it is such a relaxing atmosphere at Galapagos, that the jewelry, make up and evening attire not needed, even uncomfortable for this kind of climate.

to be continued..

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