Health & Safety in Galapagos & Mainland Ecuador - Travel Deals

Health and Safety in the Galápagos Islands

We want you to be fully prepared for the realities of traveling in the Galápagos Islands. Medical facilities are limited and doctors are not always on hand in emergency situations. Travelers should also be aware that evacuation can take time, be difficult, and costly. 

Come prepared with any prescription medications you may need, as well as insect repellent, remedies for bites or stings, and basic over-the-counter meds like pain relievers, antidiarrheals, and rehydration salts. Even though you can get some things in the Galapagos Islands, it's wise to bring your own. 

The following information is general advice only and we recommend you confer with your doctor at least eight weeks pre-travel for the latest on immunizations specific to you. Requirements change frequently, so verify with your GP or the CDC before you go.

Hepatitis A is a food and water-borne illness, so be vigilant with hygiene practices throughout your journey. A vaccine is available and may be recommended by your GP, together with Hepatitis B, which spreads through bodily fluids. We also recommend getting a tetanus vaccine before traveling and some doctors may advise taking precautions against rabies.

Yellow fever is an issue in some lowland jungle and beach destinations around Ecuador, although it’s not present in the Galápagos Islands. Malaria is also a concern in the Amazon and some coastal regions, so consider taking anti-malarial medications if you are visiting these areas before or after your Galapagos trip.

While Ecuador has had cases of Zika Virus in the past, there are currently no reports of an active outbreak. However, information is limited, so new cases could potentially go undetected for some time. For your safety, be vigilant about preventing mosquito bites when spending time outdoors.

Here are some steps for preventing mosquito bites:

  • Apply insect repellents registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and which contain DEET, oil of eucalyptus or lemon, picaridin, or para-menthane-diol.
    • It may be difficult to purchase repellent at your travel destination, so we recommend packing enough to last the entire trip.
  • Keep skin covered as much as possible by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in and sleep in screened-in/air-conditioned rooms when possible, or use a mosquito bed net if sleeping outdoors.
  • Wear permethrin-treated gear and clothing. These items can be purchased pre-treated or you can treat them by yourself.

Check the CDC’s page on avoiding bug bites for a more detailed breakdown. 

Evidence also suggests a risk of sexual transmission for Zika and that infected pregnant women can spread the virus to unborn babies. The CDC’s warnings now extend to men and women alike—pregnant or hoping to be—in terms of taking preventative measures against transmission.

You can learn more about the CDC’s recommended vaccinations and travel precautions here

Seasickness in the Galápagos

While the Galápagos waters generally remain calm, some travelers are susceptible to seasickness or motion sickness. If you are susceptible to motion sickness, or even unsure, we recommend bringing some sort of seasickness medication with you.

Travel Insurance - Protecting your Adventure

In addition to the above precautions, we highly recommend that guests take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers them in case of medical emergencies or trip cancellation due to health circumstances. 


Galápagos Travel FAQs