Is There A Boat From Ecuador Mainland To Galapagos Islands?

Speedy boat ride from Santa Cruz to Isabela Islands on Galapagos

Yes, there are boats that depart from mainland Ecuador to Galapagos Islands. However, it is not as comfortable as luxury cruise ships or tourist yachts since these are cargo boats. Plus, it takes three days to travel from the mainland to Galapagos Islands by boat. Still, the best way to get to Galapagos Islands from mainland Ecuador is by taking a flight.

Nevertheless, if you are considering an adventurous boat journey from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands, here are a few details that you should know.

Three-Day Travel Time

A boat trip to the Galapagos Islands from Ecuador’s mainland means setting aside approximately three days for the journey. Unlike the swift flight option, this sea voyage requires a longer time commitment.

Cargo boats often come with a one-way fare of approximately $150.00, which can be just as pricey or even more expensive than a flight. It’s crucial to remember that the three-day sea journey involves additional expenses for food and drinks during the trip.

Travelers should be prepared to dedicate these three days to the adventure, so it’s crucial to plan accordingly and consider if this fits well with your overall travel schedule.

Adventure and Unique Experience

While traveling by boat takes longer than flying, it provides a unique and thrilling adventure that cannot be recreated in any other way. If you are an adventurous soul, you will find sailing across the vast Pacific Ocean to be awe-inspiring and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The calm and serenity of the ocean may be soul-stirring, offering time to withdraw from the hectic world and reconnect with nature’s raw beauty.

Flying to Galapagos Islands: Convenience and Efficiency

Airplane from LATAM to fly to Galapagos Islands

Flying offers convenience and efficiency for travelers eager to reach the Galapagos Islands. Avianca and LATAM airlines offer flights from Quito and Guayaquil airports on Ecuador’s mainland. 

Regular flight schedules allow you to choose a departure time that suits your travel plans. Unlike the three-day boat journey, flying takes only a few hours, allowing you to maximize your time exploring Galapagos once you arrive.

The flight from Quito to Guayaquil typically lasts between 30 to 40 minutes, while the flight from Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands lasts approximately 2.5 hours. You can relax on the plane ride while looking forward to the experiences that await you on the Galapagos Islands.


While boats are available for those seeking a more adventurous and immersive experience, flying to the Galapagos Islands remains the preferred and practical option for most travelers.

Flying offers undeniable benefits in terms of convenience and efficiency. The speed of air travel allows travelers to optimize their time on the islands.

While cargo boats present an exciting option for adventure seekers with ample time, the three-day sea journey, coupled with additional expenses for food and drinks, can be a consideration for budget-conscious travelers.

Whether you choose the adventurous boat journey or the fast and comfortable flight, the Galapagos Islands will undoubtedly captivate your heart with their pristine beauty and extraordinary wildlife. 

About the author

Oleg Galeev

I'm Oleg, and together with my wife, we've explored Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, journeying through more than 20 cities (Quito, Cuenca, Banos, Tena, Puyo, Guayaquil, Riobamba, Otavalo, Mindo and more) and nearly every island in the Galapagos (including iconic ones such as Bartolome Island, San Cristobal Island, Isabela Island, Santa Cruz Island and more). In this blog, I give you my real thoughts about each place we visited. This info can help anyone planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands or mainland Ecuador. I'm just a traveler, not a tour company, so I'm not trying to sell anything. That means I'll tell you the truth—both the good and the bad — about traveling in Ecuador based on what we experienced.

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