Travelling to Ecuador and the Galapagos During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Untitled%20design%20%2884%29.png

Notice anything different about this picture? Look closely - there's a small sign this photo was taken in the middle of a pandemic.. a mask in hand!

Yes, we've been back running trips in Ecuador and the Galapagos since March of 2021. We've become experts at navigating the unknown. Researching travel restrictions and sussing Covid-19 protocols is just another day in the office.

Telling you that you're in safe hands is one thing, but we understand it can be nerve-wracking to book an international trip without a bit more information. So we've reached out to our past guests, who've travelled on our 'Tortuga' Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure during Covid-19, to give you a first hand account of the ins and outs of travelling in the midst of a global pandemic - the good and the not so good.

We hope this short interview will ease your worries and allow you to make a well-rounded decision on if travelling in 2021 is the right choice for you. However, please understand that the following is our guests perceptions of their experience and travel restrictions can change day to day. No matter what, we'll always follow government guidelines to ensure we are delivering the safest and best experience.

What is it like travelling to Ecuador and the Galapagos during Covid-19?

While everyone's experience was slightly different, we were pleased to hear our guests found it relatively easy to fly from the USA to Ecuador and then on to the Galapagos. Everyone felt safe and felt like the process was straightforward. However, it was noted that securing the perfect flight can be challenging.

Chris (from Utah, joined us in April 2021): Our trip to Ecuador was great. No one asked to see or cared that we had our vaccination cards. They only wanted to see our Covid-19 test results. When I got out my vaccination card, and then they saw the test results, they only looked at the testing. I think I showed it five times by the time we got to the Galapagos. 

Cathy (from Pennsylvania, joined us in May 2021): The airport felt very clean, along with Quito and all of the Galapagos Islands. There was hand sanitiser all over the place, in addition to them spraying us when we entered various locations.

Barb (from Pennsylvania, joined us in May 2021): Make sure your Covid-19 test results prior to your trip are printed out from official lab paper, stating your FULL name, time and date of the test, name of Lab, type of test (PCR) and NOT a screenshot on your phone from your medical app (which you will not be able to access from Ecuador due to firewalls and protection by the medical system).

Ed (from Washington, joined us in May 2021): Quito airport is very new, modern and easy to find your way. Everyone I saw was masked. Entry at San Cristobal airport was fine, rather long, but it went smoothly, and our guide Pablo was there to greet us with an Active Adventures sign.

Sha Ma (from Kansas, joined us in April 2021): All airports we travelled to followed the protocol for Covid-19. On the first leg of the flight, we showed negative test first and then vaccination card. The counter clerk said we should reverse the process and show our vaccination cards first because the Ecuador government changed their protocol that allowed vaccinated people in. But the negative test is still necessary, as it's required when boarding a plane to Galapagos Islands.

John & Annette (from Washington, joined us in March 2021): We felt very safe on our trip both to the Galapagos and Ecuador. We had both had our vaccinations in February and we felt like Ecuador was very careful in dealing with Covid. We wore masks the entire time and we were greeted with hand sanitizer every time we did an activity and/or getting on and off of the van.

Cynthia (from California, joined us in March 2021): The airport in Ecuador was antiseptic. You could perform surgeries in there. The entry process was easy. We had our documents. There was a Tyvex-clad woman waiting for our plane and inspected everyone's test document on the way off the plane. They weren't asking for vaccination cards then but we had ours just in case.

What was it like travelling back to the USA during Covid-19?

Cathy: Active Adventures was very efficient at getting our test done to return home. We had no problems returning to the US.

Chris: The Covid-19 testing for re-entry to the USA was efficient and convenient at the hotel in Quito. We probably didn't need the extra night in Quito as suggested by Active Adventures because our Covid-19 tests were ready in plenty of time, although it did allow us a day to visit Quito. Boarding the plane was also the slowest I have ever experienced, and I have travelled multiple times internationally since Covid-19. We arrived in Atlanta, and because we have global entry, they didn't even ask to see our passport or Covid-19 testing.

Ed: No problem, though I would suggest leaving the hotel for the airport could have been 45 minutes to an hour later. (We left at 5:30 am). We arrived at the airport well before the airline began checking in passengers for the flight, then waited over an hour for boarding.

Cynthia: Active Adventures arranging for us to have tests at our hotel before leaving the country was SO HELPFUL.  

What was it like exploring the Galapagos during Covid-19? Did you feel safe?

Ed: Yes, completely safe. Locals were more consistent with mask-wearing and social distancing than I see at home. One of the things I noticed most is the lack of people, except on Santa Cruz island, but even there, it's very uncrowded. If you want to get away and enjoy nature and peaceful quiet, this is the place to go.

Chris: The islands were not crowded at all. In all but our last hotel in Santa Cruz, our group had the hotels to ourselves. On Santa Cruz, on the way to the airport, we stopped at a local market. One little lady was so excited to see our group that she insisted on taking a photo with us to show her friends and family that tourists are back.

Also, Pepo told us that 100% of the eligible people on his home island of San Cristobal would be vaccinated by the end of May. I think the wildlife was easier to see without all the tourists and either ignored us or came closer because they were curious.

Cathy: We wore our masks when we were around others, but when we were outside and just with our group, who were all vaccinated, we took our masks off due to the heat.

Sha Ma: We didn't have any safety concerns in the three islands we visited in the Galapagos. Since the islands just opened in March, there were not many tourists yet. Hotels, restaurants and hiking trails were basically just for us. Our guides and local people did a great job to keep everybody safe.

John & Annette: The Galapagos were wonderful! It is an amazing place and we thoroughly enjoyed it! Pablo was an awesome guide, enthusiastic and very knowledgeable. My favorite part of the trip was all of the snorkeling we got to do. Pablo provided us with lots of opportunities to snorkel. We both felt very safe there and our guides were very mindful of appropriate protocol for Covid.

Cynthia: The Galapagos had better precautions than the US. The alcohol spray on the way in to every restaurant, store, boat, etc. was easy. We wore masks where required, which was everywhere indoors and many outdoor places. Hotels and restaurants followed COVID procedure completely but were also friendly and welcoming and didn't make us feel like human petri dishes. It was a very pleasant change from California where we are treated like we have leprosy everywhere we go.

Enough about Covid-19, what was your favourite part of your Galapagos trip?

Barb: I loved the whole trip! From the city and Cloud Forest tours arranged by Mauro in Quito to the pristine beaches in the islands and seeing all the blue-footed boobies and sea lions, it will be in my memories forever. I swear my legs were more shapely when I got home and eating all those meals did not affect my weight at all.

Chris: First of all, I want to say that I think this is the best trip I've ever been on and I have done a lot of travelling. From the weather, accommodations, guides, wildlife to daily activities and food, all was well thought out and well planned.

Ed: The meals were just sensational, something that I didn't expect. But don't order the steak! Fish and vegetables are fresh and superbly prepared. You expect great food in Italy or France, but I didn't expect it in such an isolated place. I was wrong; meals were memorable.

John & Annette: The Galapagos were wonderful! It is an amazing place and we thoroughly enjoyed it! Pablo was an awesome guide, enthusiastic and very knowledgeable!

Do you have any insider tips or anything else you'd like others who are thinking about travelling to the Galapagos during Covid-19 to know?

Ed: The place is so unique and so empty of people that you feel like you are a huge distance from home, but it's much easier to get there than you might expect. I came from Seattle, an easy nonstop flight to Houston and just another 5+ hour flight to Quito, so no more time required than going to Europe.

Insider tip: You can pack very lightly and be fine, so no need to check luggage. I took a long sleeve Icebreaker top, 3 pairs of shorts, a couple of shirts, 1 pair of long pants, a windbreaker, wore hiking boots on the plane and packed sandals, and that was plenty. Weather was perfect, high 70's, low to medium humidity but never stifling, gentle winds.

Barb (Insider tips!): Important to bring a water bottle. I had one by Lifestraw that started leaking and was not optimal. Bring a simple one with you, and you will have lots of opportunities to refill with filtered water. Use the filtered water to brush teeth or drink, and avoid tap water for those purposes.

Chris (on getting married in the Galapagos!): The impromptu wedding was very special. Their wedding here in the USA was scheduled for June 4, but the boat captain said he could marry them, and they thought it sounded romantic, so they did. A shopkeeper provided the rings as his contribution to the occasion. The captain and his whole family came to the ceremony and decorated the boat with tulle and flowers, brought champagne and music for dancing.

Cythia: For anyone thinking about traveling to the Galapagos: GO! GO! GO! It will transform you in wonderful ways and allow you to leave all your stress behind. It will stay with you. You will love the people. You will love the animals.

Covid-19 travel restrictions in Ecuador the Galapagos

For more information regarding current travel restrictions to Ecuador and the Galapagos:

Head here for information for Americans: https://ec.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-ecu-2/
Head here for information for everyone: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/ecuador/

Thinking about joining?

If you're keen to explore while the trails are still quiet but have some hesitations, we understand. Here are a couple more links that will give you more information about what we're doing to ensure safe travel and to ensure your money is in good hands.

Active Adventures Covid-19 Policies

Active Adventures Assurance

We're also really easy to reach via email or on any of the numbers here. Give us a shout and we'll answer all your questions and help decide if our 'Tortuga' Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure is a good fit.

Related Posts

W Trek Patagonia – Everything You Need to Know

Calling Torres del Paine National Park a dramatic landscape is…

Where to Travel in 2022: Top Adventure Trip for Each Month

So, you're ready to make 2022 a year of incredible…

Podcast: Kit Parks Tell Us all About her Dolomiti Adventure

Kit Parks, from Active Travel Adventures, tells us everything about…

Travelling to Europe During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Insider Guide

Since July 2021, we've been back exploring the breathtaking trails…

Podcast: Kit Parks Interviews David and Tina About their Ecuador Adventure

Kit Parks from Active Travel Adventures interviews David and Tina…

Podcast: Kit Parks Interviews Dave and Tina About their Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure

Kit Parks from Active Travel Adventures, Dave and Tina discuss…

Keeping Up With Our New Zealand Guides

You’ve heard us say it before, and you’ll hear us…

Northern Patagonia vs Southern Patagonia : How to Choose

Planning a trip to Patagonia but can't decide whether to…

Hiking Iceland: The Best Day Hikes and Multi-day Hikes in Iceland

Iceland is a hikers paradise. Its vast wilderness calls to…

Dolomites Hiking Guide: Best Hikes in the Dolomites

Ahhh the Dolomites! Arguably one of the most stunning mountain…

Top 5 Open Destinations to Visit in 2022: Where Can Americans Travel?

The light at the end of the tunnel is finally…

Best things to see on the West Coast of New Zealand

The West Coast of New Zealand's South Island is a…

Hike or Bike the Paparoa Track

The Paparoa Track crosses 55km of the Paparoa National Park,…

North Island vs South Island of New Zealand: How to Pick?

New Zealand (or Aotearoa as it's known in the Maori…

The Eight Best Things to Do in the Dolomites, Italy

Pictures of the towering rock monoliths of the Italian Dolomites…

Top five things to do in Grand Teton National Park

Found yourself in Wyoming with your hiking boots? Here’s some…

The 12 Best Day Hikes in Utah

Utah is not only famous for having some of the…

Multi-Day Hike Packing-List for New Zealand

You and some mates have 4 (5 at a stretch)…

Discover Rakiura National Park, on Stewart Island

 Where is Stewart Island? 

Where is Stewart Island?Stewart Island is situated…

Top things to do in Mount Aspiring National Park

Mount Aspiring National Park is a hiker's paradise and a…

Podcast: Annie Allen talks with Kit about her 'Dolomiti' adventure in the Italian Dolomites

 

Most awesome active adventure“This trip was perfect, just the right…

Podcast: Linda Cohen Dickens talks with Kit about her 'Tour du Mont Blanc' adventure

 

My Mont Blanc Circuit“This trip not only provided an upfront…

Podcast: Stan Jacobson talks with Kit about his 'Annapurna Sanctuary Trek' in the Himalayas

 

5 Stars x 3“I rated this as 5 stars, "Excellent,…

Podcast: Sue Brickey and Rick Pope talk with Kit about their 'Chinchilla' adventure (Part II)

A varietal overview of Bolivia

“Such a diverse opportunity to experience…

Things to Do in Glenorchy - the Gateway to Paradise

Situated at the end of the road, there’s only one…

Discover Fiordland National Park - Things to See & Do

The largest of New Zealand’s fourteen national parks, Fiordland National…

Things to Do in Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park was formed after local conservationist Perrine…

Video: Safari Adventures in Africa

Come on a journey with us to the wildest place…

Video: How to pack for a three-day hike

Lynette, our client services rock star gives you a step…

Video: Highlights of our Elegant South 'Kakapo' trip

A short look at some highlights from our comfort-focused Elegant…

Ben Lomond

A challenging hike to beautiful vistas above Queenstown and the…

Punakaiki

Famous for its 'Pancake Rocks', Punakaiki is also host to…

Video: Nelson Lakes National Park

This section of our 'Rimu' trip is an opportunity to…

Our Favourite Hikes on the West Coast of New Zealand

The West Coast of the South Island is a unique…

Things do Do in Queenstown for Non-Adrenaline Junkies

The first thing that probably comes to mind when you…

New Zealand Glaciers You Can Easily Hike To

Many travellers to New Zealand are familiar with our 2…

Things to Do in Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch, the 'Garden City', is where the majority of our…

Things to Do in Auckland: Explore New Zealand's City of Sails

Auckland, known as the 'city of sails', was recently voted…

Peru's Rainbow Mountain and the 'Camino del Apu Ausangate' Lodge to Lodge Trek

The beautiful coloured striations of Rainbow Mountain in Peru's Andes…

Hike Peru's Lares Trek to Machu Picchu

Constructed by the Incas over 500 years ago, the Lares…

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Your Ultimate Guide

One of the most popular hikes in South America, Peru’s…

Inca Trail vs. Lares Trail: How to Get the Most out of Your Adventure

As you plan your trip to Peru and to Machu…

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu

Considering a bucket list trip to Machu Picchu but unsure…

How to Get to Machu Picchu: Everything You Need to Know

So, the once-in-a-lifetime trip to Machu Picchu is beckoning your…

The Best Way to Explore the Galapagos Islands

There are dozens of tour companies out there offering Galapagos…

Basic Facts About the Galapagos Tortoise

The Galapagos Islands are named after the giant tortoises that…

5 Best Islands to Visit in Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands are an adventures dream with plenty of…

Best Things to Do in Quito, Ecuador

If you're planning an Ecuador holiday, you'll be visiting the…

Best Scuba Diving in the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands is an internationally renowned diving destination home…

Okarito Lagoon

The sleepy hamlet of Okarito is close to the sizeable…

Siberia Experience

On our 'Tui' trip we fly into a remote valley…

Video: Franz Josef Glacier and Township

'Glacier country' - the west side of Aoraki/Mt Cook National…

Video: Ultimate South Island Adventure 'Rimu' trip

The 'Rimu' is our signature New Zealand trip. 14 days…

Patagonia Hiking Adventure 'Condor'

Patagonia is a mystical land of glaciers, mountains, and often…

What to Pack for a 2 Week Adventure Vacation to New Zealand

Lynette from our office talks you through what you'll need…

Video: Switzerland: Why I keep coming back

This video was shot in Switzerland on the Bovine Trail…

Video: An Amazing Adventure from Kathmandu to Lukla, Nepal

Learn about Sherpa life and be rewarded with mesmerising views…

Video: The trek to Everest Base Camp

Gareth Leonard from Tourist2Townie travelled on our 'EBC' adventure, here's…

Video: Essence of the South Island 'Tui' Trip

Our Essence of the South Island 'Tui' trip is 8…

New Zealand Adventure Tours

Want to know what travelling in New Zealand with us…

Rimu Trip Highlights

Our signature New Zealand trip, the Rimu is 14 days…

Our Guest Kilo's 'Rimu' adventure

Follow our guest, Kilo on his 14-day epic journey around…

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek 'AST' Trip

Experience what it's like to trek in the Annapurna Region…

Travel to Nepal: Everything you need to know

We're big believers in the journey being just as important…

Is it safe to visit Nepal?

There is nothing more exciting than planning a new adventure…

When is the best time to visit Nepal?

So, you’ve decided you want to go to Nepal? Or…

The Full Guide to Nepal’s Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

Celebrated for its amphitheatre of giant granite peaks, the Annapurna…

Hiking in Nepal: Multi-Day Treks

To hikers and trekkers from all over the world, the…

Nepal’s Everest Base Camp Guided Trekking Tour Itinerary

A trek to Everest Base Camp is a ‘bucket list’…

Learn About Lukla and its World Famous Airport

Lukla is found in north-east Nepal and sits at 2,860m…

Things to Know About Iceland Before You Go

Has Iceland been recently added to your bucket list? No…

Trek the Tour du Mont Blanc: Learn About our Guided Itinerary

Strap on your best pair of hiking boots – this…

Best Time to Hike the Tour du Mont Blanc

Thinking of joining us here in Europe for a bucket-list…

Hiking in the European Alps

A hiking & mountaineering dreamThe European Alps stretches across seven…

Discover Chamonix, the Adventure Capital of Europe

Chamonix can rightly be called the adventure capital of Europe.…

The best time to visit Tanzania

Tanzania is known for having some of the best safaris…

Hike the Rakiura Track

Although the Rakiura Track is a 29 km tramping track,…

Multi-Day Hiking in New Zealand: How to Plan the Perfect Trip for You

New Zealand has earned itself a reputation as one of…

Hike the Lake Waikaremoana Track

The Lake Waikaremoana Track, located within Te Urewera National Park,…

Hike the Kepler Track

The Kepler Track, in Fiordland National Park, is a 67…

How to Plan Your New Zealand Hiking Trip: An Easy 5 Step Guide

Not many travel companies will share these unbiased truths about…

Siberia Valley Experience and Lake Crucible

If there is one thing you can be sure about,…

Hiking Safety Tips for Tramping in New Zealand

Safety’s not as hard as you may think – New…

Hike Ben Lomond in Queenstown

Ben Lomond (45°00'24.06" south 168°36'54.76" east) is an attractive mountain…

Hike Mueller Ridge and Sealy Tarns

The Mueller Ridge hike from Mount Cook village, up past…

Best Day Hikes on New Zealand's North Island

Wherever you are in New Zealand, chances are you aren't…

The Best Day Hikes on New Zealand's South Island

Wherever you are in New Zealand, chances are you aren't…

Hike the Queen Charlotte Track

The Queen Charlotte Track offers a spectacular trip through the…

Hiking in Nelson Lakes National Park

Without a doubt, this is New Zealand's best kept hiking…

Hike the Heaphy Track

 

The Heaphy Track is known for its beauty and diversity.…

Hike the Routeburn Track

The Routeburn track traverses 33km of Mount Aspiring and Fiordland…

Hike the Abel Tasman Coast Track

The Abel Tasman Coast Track is a 51 kilometre (32…

Hike the Milford Track in New Zealand

The 53.5 kilometre (33.2 mile) Milford Track is one of…

Top 10 Guest Photos 2014

Set your resolution, adjust your white balance, focus, keep still,…

Top 10 Guest Photos 2015

Photo competitions. They're not necessarily a good thing for an…

Top 10 Guest Photos 2016

Happy New Year everybody! We love this annual photography competition…

Best Heli-Hike in New Zealand

Franz Josef Heli-HikeOn all of our summer South Island trips…

How to Prepare for a Hike: 8 Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer

“Am I too out-of-shape for an adventure trip?” It’s the…

7 Surprising Reasons South America in Winter is a Must-Visit

Looking for a better way to spend your winter instead…

14 Days in Patagonia: The Ultimate Explorer’s Itinerary

So you like to be active, huh? That’s totally cool…

Top 10 Guest Photos 2017

Hello and Happy New Year! There are certain things that…

Interesting Peru Facts

Are you about or thinking to head out to Peru?…

Huayna Picchu Hike: How Fit Must you be to Climb?

So you've made it up to Machu Picchu. After months…

Hiking Clubs USA

Hiking Clubs CaliforniaBay Area Jewish Singles Hiking ClubEight to ten…

Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Superlatives are inadequate to describe this outstanding one-day hike on…

Annapurna Base Camp Tips: Everything You Need to Know

Now that we’ve been running trips in the Nepalese Himalayas…

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Beaches in Peru

When someone mentions Peru images of idyllic mountain pastures, ancient Incan…

The Top 20 Things to Do in Peru - That Aren't Machu Picchu!

Let's be honest - it probably shouldn't come as much…

Best Day Hikes in New Zealand

As a small island nation, New Zealand is an absolute…

Hike the Copland Track to Welcome Flat

The Copland Track is located south of Fox Glacier on…

Multi-day Hiking in New Zealand's Backcountry, and 8 Reasons to Go Guided

The team here at Active Adventures are an outdoorsy bunch!…

6 Inca Trail Tips to Make the Most of Your Machu Picchu Trip

My flight was booked! My dream of hiking the Inca…

Things to Do in Machu Picchu: How to Get the Most out of Your Experience

Although it's one of the most well-known archaeological wonders of…

Top 10 Views in New Zealand

With the help of our Facebook fans and with some…

7 Fascinating Galapagos Islands Animals

The Galapagos Islands and wildlife are synonymous – you can't…

The Seven ‘Wonders’ of the Galapagos: Best Things to Do and See

As individuals who thrive on adventure, we love to travel…

The Top 10 Things To Do in New Zealand

Are you planning a vacation in the land of the…

The Top 4 Things To Do In The Peruvian Amazon

Stretching 96,922 square kilometres across the country, the Amazon comprises…

Pisac Market and Hike to Pisac Ruins

The village is perched high in the mountains and surrounded…

Mustang Adventure 2018: Trip of a Lifetime for Body, Mind and Soul

When thinking about hiking in Nepal, a lot of people…

Top 10 Guest Photos 2018

New year, new…. annual photo competition winner! Here at Active…

Top 10 things to do in Iceland!

Are you a keen explorer? In the market for a…

Top 10 Guest Photos 2019

It's that time of year again folks, it's our annual…

Replace Your New Year's Resolution with one of these Bucket-List Hikes

New Year's resolutions are notoriously difficult to stick to, most…