While in the Galapagos, it seemed every traveler there was well equipped with GEAR. And for good reason. Trust me, you will want to be prepared for salt water, terrain, boats, mosquitos, rain, and sun. It’s no joke.
See below for our top recommendations…
Things we recommend:
- RASH GUARD TOP!!!!
Nearly every excursion or boat tour will offer snorkeling. We snorkeled probably a dozen different times. Sunscreen will not cut it here! My rash guard was in storage in NYC, so Danny insisted that we buy one on the islands and it was worth every penny of the $40. (Danny pointed out that the sunscreen alone for the trip would have practically have been more than the $40! Not a bad point to consider.) I even went so far as to wear my very thin Uniqlo Heat Tech leggings while snorkeling and they were AWWWESOME! I saw another woman with red hair and pale skin doing the same thing.
- HAT – *SPECIFICALLY ONE THAT WON’T BLOW AWAY!*
You will be exposed to the equatorial sun on the boats, on the beaches, and during walks on land. You absolutely do not want to be without a hat in that blazing sun. At times it seems to just beat upon you. There can also be wind strong enough on the moving boats that your hats will certainly go FLYING. So, my friends, take a hat with a neck strap, like Melissa’s awesome packable hat, from Orvis. Highly recommended! Otherwise, baseball hats could also work well. Mine stayed put.
- WATER BOTTLE
You shouldn’t drink tap water anywhere in the Galapagos (or in Ecuador). Most hotels and boats will provide filtered water, so it’s nice to have your own bottle to fill up. I recently bought this amazing Japanese glass water bottle by Takeya and I’m loving it. I have this thing with me all day long. I also love the Kleen Kanteens and we just bought a couple to take on the Incan Trail and to Machu Piccu (our next expedition.)
- FEATHER WEIGHT PANTS & LONG SLEEVE SHIRTS
Hiking around the island and seeing the animals and terrain means you’re in the direct sun for sometimes 1-2 hours at a time. And then at times the mosquitos come out. People were covering as much skin as they could. All the guides and the most savvy travelers had on their expedition long pants and shirts. The Japanese were especially savvy about covering their skin with scarves, knee socks, leggings, hats, arm gloves. One girl we met had this awesome UV top from Uniqlo that also offers coverage on your hands. I’m sold on these and just bought one while in NYC.
- SEA SICKNESS MEDS & SEA BANDS
I usually get motion sickness on boats. Even if you don’t, I would recommend bringing something because you just never know what the weather will bring or how rocky the water will get! Ginger (like candied ginger) is also supposed to be helpful. And I would absolutely take some sea bands. I also used these homeopathic tablets, which seemed to help. Except that one time… (my apologies to the boat crew!!!)
Ok, probably obvious. But in case you’ve never done a boat trip before – know that this is not about fashion, but protecting your eyes from the intense glare of the sun & sea. You will be squinting like crazy without them.
- BOOKS OR PODCASTS
If you book a boat tour over several days, you will absolutely have some downtime. They work in several hours a day for just lounging on the boat (siestas, anyone?!) We spent a considerable amount of time reading on the top of our boat. I loved it so much I even skipped one of the snorkeling excursions.
- DAY PACK
Each time you head from the boat to a new island, you’ll likely want a small backpack for water, camera, sunscreen, snacks, and mosquito repellent. This Burton backpack is still our favorite day pack.
- MOSQUITO REPELLENT
Mosquitoes most definitely are an issue in the Galapagos. We were so glad to have our spray. I like the all natural herbal spray from Badger.
- UNDERWATER CAMERA
Melissa bought a waterproof/underwater case for her iPhone so she could use it underwater. SO AWESOME. If you don’t want to invest permanently in this item, you can buy one on E-Bay and then sell it when you return.
- WATERPROOF BAG FOR EQUIPMENT
So many people had these roll-up waterproof bags designed to keep your equipment and phones free of salt water. These were SO handy while hopping on and off boats or dinghies, because it’s possible you will get splashed with water during all the maneuvering. We just bought some for our upcoming hiking trip to Machu Piccu.
- WATER FLAVORING
It turns out that a lot of the water we drank in the Galapagos tasted kind of salty. People were adding little packets of flavorings and Danny did the same as the water taste was driving him crazy!