These destinations have unique geographical features that require careful consideration when packing for a trip. Mainland Ecuador has varying altitudes and Amazon forests, while the Galapagos Islands offer plenty of water activities. Understanding these regions’ distinct dry and wet seasons will help you choose the proper clothing, gear, and essentials.
We are sharing our packing list below to help you enjoy your time in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
You will never know what can happen on your trip, so make sure you always have medicines on hand. If you are taking prescribed medicines, bring them with you with your doctor’s prescription.
Use a travel pill case to store your medicines so you can easily organize them and put them in your bag. We have listed some must-have meds for your Ecuador trip.
Chlorophyll is a must-have when it comes to acclimating to high altitudes effectively. It is available in most health food stores in pill, liquid, powder, or tablet form.
It is recommended to start taking ChlorOxygen at least a week before your trip to ensure a smooth transition and minimize altitude-related discomfort. This natural supplement assists the body in adapting to changes in oxygen levels, allowing you to adjust more comfortably to the altitude. If you plan to visit Quito and not to mention Quilotoa Lake or Cotopaxi National Park, I would say it’s a must-have for making your trip pleasant.
Motion Sickness Bracelets or Pills
We saw fellow travelers experiencing bouts of nausea and vomiting, which can be unpleasant to happen to yourself. Thankfully, we are prepared by having these medicines handy to enjoy the inter-island boat rides with greater ease and comfort.
Bringing anti-diarrheal medicines is highly recommended when traveling to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. You’ll never know if you’ll get traveler’s diarrhea while on your trip.
The change in water, different food types, and unfamiliar bacteria can sometimes upset the digestive system, leading to an uncomfortable experience.
Water Bottle with Filter
Bringing a water bottle with a filter is wise when traveling to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
Access to safe and clean drinking water can sometimes be a concern, especially in remote areas or during outdoor activities. You cannot drink tapped water on Galapagos and Ecuador’s mainland.
With this handy item, you can confidently refill your bottle from water sources without worrying about contaminants or impurities. You also contribute to reducing plastic waste by reducing the need for single-use water bottles.
Mini First Aid Box
A mini first aid box for traveling is an essential item to include in every trip. You must be ready for any minor injuries or health-related issues that may arise especially in Ecuador since you are about to hike many trails on high altitude.
A well-stocked first aid box can provide the necessary supplies to handle common ailments or mild allergic reactions. You may include items like adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, adhesive tape, tweezers, scissors, and pain relievers to address minor injuries or discomfort.
Additionally, it’s recommended to pack any personal medications you may need, such as prescribed medications or over-the-counter remedies for headaches, allergies, or upset stomachs.
Remember to carry essential medical information, including emergency contacts and health insurance details.
Vitamins provide immune support, bridge nutritional gaps, and boost energy levels. While a well-balanced diet is ideal for obtaining essential nutrients, the demands of travel and unfamiliar food choices may sometimes make it challenging to maintain optimal nutrition.
Consult with a doctor to determine your specific needs and ensure compliance with any import regulations.
Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, and Aspirin are over-the-counter pain relievers that can help alleviate common discomforts such as headaches, muscle aches, or minor pain that may arise during your trip. They can also provide relief from fever or inflammation.
Sleep Aid Medicine
Sleep aid medicine can be helpful for you when visiting Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Adjusting to new time zones, unfamiliar sleeping environments, or the excitement of exploration can sometimes disrupt your sleep patterns.
Band-aids are practical and essential items to include in your first-aid kit. You can do many outdoor activities in Ecuador and Galapagos Islands, and these adhesive strips are convenient solutions for minor cuts, scrapes, or blisters.
Safety and Personal Protection
Ecuador’s Mainland has high crime rates, especially in bigger cities, so I highly recommend taking precautionary measures to protect yourself and your belongings.
However, if your travel itinerary focuses solely on the Galapagos Islands, you can skip this section, as the Galapagos Islands are known as one of the safest places in the world. You can be at peace knowing the islands’ serene and secure environment.
Below are some essential items we brought during our Ecuadorian trip and a few safety tips to ensure a secure and worry-free travel experience.
Anti-theft bag or Cross Body Purse
These bags and purses are equipped with features such as slash-resistant materials, hidden zippers, and secure locking mechanisms, making it more difficult for thieves to access your belongings.
Using a travel belt is essential for me when visiting Ecuador, as it is a cash-focused country. I keep all my cash securely stored in the belt, ensuring it always remains hidden and close to my body.
With the travel belt, you can confidently navigate through the bustling streets of Ecuador, minimizing the risk of theft or loss.
Door Stop Alarm
Using door-stop alarms is a smart precaution, especially when staying in Airbnb or non-secured hotels in Ecuador. Thankfully, I didn’t have to use it in our room, but once, I heard someone trying to break into our building through the outside door. I immediately activated the door-stop alarm, and the noise scared the intruder away. These handy little devices are super simple yet effective.
Portable Travel Safe
We recommend bringing a portable travel safe, primarily if your accommodation doesn’t provide one.
This compact and secure device allows you to store valuable items, such as cash, electronics, and important documents, while you’re out exploring. It’s a practical investment that allows you to enjoy your trip without worrying about the security of your belongings.
Get VPN on your laptop and phone.
During my trip, I had an interesting conversation with the guy who sold me the SIM cards. He informed me about the potential risks of connecting to Ecuadorian routers, as hackers may attempt to access personal information.
Using VPN encrypts your internet connection and safeguards your data from prying eyes. Additionally, with a VPN, we could access Netflix from our home country, which made downtime more enjoyable. I have been using Surfshark VPN for many years, it’s quite cheap and efficient.
Whether you’re staying at hotels, using airport baggage services, or simply leaving your luggage unattended, having luggage locks helps deter unauthorized access and potential theft. Remember to choose durable and TSA-approved locks for hassle-free travel.
Bringing a pocket knife can be a valuable tool to include in your travel essentials when visiting Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. It is compact and versatile, which can come in handy for various situations during your trip.
Protection Against Insects and Sun
Packing a strong mosquito repellent should be included in your Ecuador packing list. You must protect yourself from mosquito bites to minimize the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses especially if you are about to travel to Amazon regions.
When traveling to the Galapagos Islands, choosing reef-friendly sunscreen is important to protect the delicate marine ecosystem. Selecting sunscreen labeled as “reef-friendly” or “ocean-safe” ensures that the ingredients are less harmful to coral reefs and marine life.
The sun’s rays can be intense in the Mainland of Ecuador, especially in high-altitude regions. It is crucial to pack a very strong sunscreen with a high SPF. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that can protect you against UVA and UVB rays.
Clothing & Footwear
When it comes to packing clothing for a trip to Ecuador, your choices will largely depend on your specific travel route and destination.
In our case, we spent a two-week adventure in Ecuador’s Mainland, ranging from 0 altitude and temperatures of around 35 degrees Celsius to altitudes of 5000m where temperatures dropped to -2 degrees Celsius. Then, we spent another two weeks exploring the Galapagos Islands.
To help you understand what clothing to bring, we have listed all the clothes we packed during our Ecuador trip.
- Rain Jacket Essential for high altitudes and unpredictable weather, opt for a Gore-Tex rain jacket.
- Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes: Provide comfort and protection for various terrains and weather conditions.
- Warm Hat and Gloves: Prepare for chilly temperatures, especially on volcano summits.
- Pants: Pack both casual and hiking pants for versatility.
- Shorts: Ideal for warmer climates and leisure activities.
- Short/Long-Sleeved Shirts: Pack a mix of short and long-sleeved shirts for layering and adapting to changing temperatures.
- Underwear and Sports Bra.
- Sun Hat with Brim: Shield yourself from the strong Ecuadorian sun.
- Jacket, Sweater, Windbreaker: Layering options for variable weather conditions.
- Swimming Suits/Shorts: Enjoy beach days or water activities.
- Casual Sneakers: Comfortable footwear for exploring towns and cities.
- Flip Flops: Perfect for relaxing and beach outings.
- Portable Chargers: Keep your electronic devices powered up on the go.
- Ecuador Power Adapter: Ensure compatibility with the local electrical outlets. The power plug sockets in Ecuador are type A and B. The standard voltage in the country is 120 volts, with a frequency of 60 Hz.
- All Chargers: Bring chargers for all your electronic devices (phones, cameras, etc.).
- Underwater Camera: A must-have for capturing unforgettable moments in the Galapagos Islands. I highly recommend getting a GoPro or try a cheaper camera but it’s a must-have to pack for your memories!
- Mask defog: Prevent fogging of your snorkel or dive mask for clear underwater vision.
- Dry Bag: Keep your belongings safe and dry during water activities or rainy conditions.
- Underwater Camera or Waterproof Phone Case: Capture incredible underwater moments in the Galapagos Islands.
- Snorkeling Kit: Bring your own snorkeling gear if you prefer to ensure comfort and familiarity.
- Travel Towel: Lightweight and quick-drying, ideal for beach visits and water adventures.
- Download Spanish Translator on Google Translate: Have a handy language tool to aid communication during your trip.
What Not To Bring to Galapagos & Ecuador
When packing for your trip to Galapagos and Ecuador, it’s also essential to be mindful of certain restrictions and consider what not to bring. Here are some items you should consider leaving at home.
Restricted Items in Galapagos
The Galapagos Islands have specific regulations to protect the unique ecosystem. Avoid bringing any seeds, plants, or organic materials that could potentially introduce non-native species. Be sure to research and comply with the Galapagos restrictions to preserve the pristine environment.
Ecuador is not the country for high-heel boots. With varying terrain, including uneven surfaces and cobblestone streets, opting for comfortable and sturdy footwear like hiking shoes or sneakers is more practical.
Expensive Jewelry or Luxury Items
It’s advisable to leave expensive jewelry or luxury items at home. Displaying valuable possessions may attract unwanted attention and increase the risk of theft. It’s better to prioritize safety by wearing minimal or inconspicuous accessories.
Ecuador’s climate varies depending on the region, but generally, you won’t need heavy winter clothing. Packing bulky winter wear is unnecessary, as the country experiences mostly mild to moderate temperatures. Instead, focus on bringing layers and adaptable clothing to adjust to different weather conditions.
It’s important to pack wisely when traveling. Your trip to Ecuador and Galapagos Islands can be convenient and more enjoyable if you have travel essentials with you. Consider each destination’s unique geographical features, diverse climates, and specific restrictions. when packing.
Packing smartly and being prepared will maximize your comfort, safety, and enjoyment while exploring the wonders of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.