You may be surprised to see a check in time of 3 hours prior to a Galapagos and think “They must be kidding!” It’s a domestic flight, the planes are relatively small and security doesn’t take THAT long! They aren’t kidding.
It’s not the check in or the security. It’s the quarantine inspection. You have to have your bags inspected and pay the $20 INGALA Tourist Control Card fee before they will check you in. This isn’t mentioned and most of us got caught out and sent back to the quarantine counter. This is where the queues get built up. They type out the INGALA card individually, there are usually 3 planes departing roughly the same time and everyone has to do this procedure. Allow at least an hour as the line moves slowly. Once you have your INGALA card and your bag has passed quarantine, THEN your airline will check you in.
If you don’t have cash USD, there are several ATMs in the airport. Make sure you have the $100 cash per person to enter the Galapagos once you land (and yes, there will be another long line!
After you pass security, you then pass through a gift shop before entering the departure area. I was tempted by a coffee table book with a Guayaquil Macaw on it but the book was heavy and pricey-2 no-nos for budget travelers.
Annoyingly, gates are only announced about 40 minutes before departure so we had to hang around the departure board waiting to know what gate we had to go to. Luckily it’s a fairly small airport.
This plane only had economy class for the 2 hour flight.
The plane disembarks from both doors so don’t take a seat in the middle of the plane or you will be last off the plane and last in line to pay the Galapagos entry fee. This line moves very slowly, even more so if two planes arrive close together.
Once you finally get through, you can either take a taxi or walk to the town. We chose to walk as the distance was short and all downhill but it was pretty hot.
Some nice graffiti art to admire while walking.
Walk about 10 minutes to the main part of town. Our hotel, Mar Azul is on the left, the blue awning.