Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are open for travel and welcoming back important number of visitors. It is safe to travel. If you are thinking of taking a trip to the Galapagos Islands or to the Ecuadorian mainland, you may have some questions about the situation and the Covid-19 travel protocols in place at the moment. Here is all the information you need to help understand the current situation in the country. If you have other questions, please do contact us. We will be happy to help and provide advice.
All of the adult population of the Galapagos Islands is now fully vaccinated with two doses. Tourism is up and running in the Galapagos Islands. Both hotel-based tours and cruise tours of the archipelago are operating under near-normal conditions. All businesses are open, including restaurants, hotels, museums, and stores. The requirement in local towns is that people wear masks at all times. The majority of cruises are operating and have been throughout May, June and July. A lot of cruises are fully booked up for trips departing over the summer. Flights between the Ecuadorian mainland and the Galapagos Islands are operating daily via AVIANCA and LATAM. At the moment most of the visitors are from the United States. There are a very few from Europe but almost none from Canada or Australia. There are no visitors currently from the UK, locals and colleagues from the tourism sector expect this to change soon to be able to receive more visitors. Some cruises are still experiencing issues with low occupancy. In many cases this is because they are still receiving requests for reschedules from some clients who were unable to travel last year, but these are mainly coming from clients who were signed up to come from the UK in the weeks ahead. Locals are hoping the UK lifts its restrictions on visits to Ecuador as that would boost tourism significantly.
Approximately 35% of the adult population is already vaccinated as of now late July. The goal is that 75% of adults on the Ecuadorian mainland will be vaccinated by early October. The vaccination process is moving along relatively quickly. Travel in Ecuador mainland and in the Amazon Rainforest is happening, and it is safe to visit. The situation is near-normal for both locals and tourists. While earlier on in the pandemic there were driving restrictions, these have been removed. The hospitals are no longer full. Schools and universities are up and running again, and most other businesses are operating as normal. Dancing clubs are not yet allowed to open, but bars, restaurants, hotels, museums, and other tourist places are operating as normal. People are expected to wear masks at all times. Tourism started to pick up again back in March, and it has increased quite a lot during the summer, though it is still slow with the number of visitors lower than pre-pandemic. Most visitors are from the USA.
Visitors with a vaccination certificate can enter Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands if they have had had the complete number of doses of the vaccine. If a visitor does not have a vaccination certificate, they will need results from PCR test taken within the last 72 hours from their arrival for Ecuador mainland, as well as 72 hours within the departure time of their flight to the Galapagos for travel to the Islands. This applies to all children over 2 years old. (Your vaccination card or certificate is only valid if your final doses is taken 14 days or more before your trip). Please note that as of July 15th, the Ecuadorian authorities are no longer accepting rapid antigen tests, for those who are not vaccinated or do not have a vaccine certificate only a PCR negative test will be accepted. At the current time, the USA still requires a rapid antigen test within 72 hours of boarding a flight to the USA. We can help with organizing rapid tests for re-entry into the USA after a trip, or for onward to the next destination. Results are available quickly. There are options to do this at the airport or at certain hotels. We recommend doing this before the airport as the lines there for tests can be long. Our experience has been that processes at the airports in Quito, Guayaquil and in the Galapagos are running smoothly, as are tours in both the Galapagos Islands and on the mainland. We have had many visitors come in with no issues in the last few weeks. There is no additional testing required to travel within Ecuador mainland or to re-enter mainland after visiting the Galapagos.
Please do contact us for the most up-to-date information on Covid-19 protocols or assistance with booking new trips. We can help with the services you may need. As we are local, we have our ear to the ground and can help you with anything travel-related, including testing prior to travel back to your home country.