The Galapagos National Park has a pretty big job:
Protect all the islands and their plant and animal life.
The National Park Entry fee helps fund these initiatives. Learn more about how your Galapagos entry fee is used.
Why Galapagos Rules are Important
With approximately 160,000 tourists visiting the islands every year (more than 400 arriving every day) the islands are under a certain amount of pressure.
The rules established by the Galapagos National Park help minimize the risks, while still allowing people from around the world to enjoy this incredible diversity.
14 Visitor Rules: Galapagos Protected Areas
The following rules are for the protection of the islands and the people who live and visit there:
- Any visit within the protected area of the Galapagos National Park must be accompanied by a naturalist guide authorized by the Galapagos National Park Directorate.
- Avoid bad experiences by contracting tourism services and boats authorized to work within the protected areas of the Galapagos Islands.
- For your own security, and to ensure the conservation of the unique natural heritage of the islands, please keep to the trails and respect the signs at all times.
- Keep a distance of at least 2 meters (6 ft) from animals to avoid disturbing them. Respect both their space and freedom.
- Galapagos animals do not need to be fed by humans. Offering food can create health problems.
- Please take photos and videos without flash to avoid upsetting the animals. Professional photography and videos recorded for commercial purposes must be authorized by the Galapagos National Park Directorate.
- There are designated areas for camping. Request authorization at the Galapagos National Park’s offices with at least 48 hours notice.
- It is your responsibility not to introduce food, animals or plants into the archipelago. Please cooperate with the inspection and quarantine officials at the airports and docks of the islands.
- Do not buy any products and/or souvenirs made from banned substances such as coral, shell, lava rock, animal parts and endemic material. This is an illegal activity and must be reported.
- Please do no leave traces of your presence on the islands. Instead take home unforgettable memories and experiences from your stay.
- Please take your trash with you until you find a suitable place to dispose of it. The centers of all populated villages have effective waste management systems.
- Smoking and lighting campfires in the protected areas of the Galapagos National Park is strictly prohibited. There is a serious risk of causing major damage by fires.
- Fishing is not allowed. It is only permitted on recreational fishing boats authorized by the Galapagos National Park Directorate.
- Motorized aquatic sports, mini-subs and aerial tourism are not permitted in the National Park.
The above rules and related images are courtesy of the Galapagos National Park.
In general, you don’t need to worry about breaking an unknown rule. When you are in protected areas, you’ll generally be with a trained naturalist guide.
Otherwise, just remember these three rules.
When in the Galapagos, don’t:
- get too close to the animals
- litter or go off the trails
- bring or take prohibited items
These rules are not an exhaustive list. For all the details, please contact Galapagos Park.
It’s important to understand these are the rules and limitations that all tour operators work under. Following them helps protect the animals, plants and eco-systems of the Galapagos Islands.