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What’s the Best Galapagos Airport? (3 Options)

Posted in: Ecuador Travel, Galapagos Islands

In this post, we’ll help you determine which is the best Galapagos airport.

Galapagos airport

There are three airports on the Galapagos Islands.

The busiest is Seymour Airport on Baltra Island and the other is San Cristobal Airport. There is also a small airline / landing strip on Isabela Island.

In this post, we’ll talk about airports in the Galapagos. And help you determine which airport on the mainland would best fit your travel plans.

Choosing the Best Galapagos Airport

Let’s start by taking a look at each one.

  • Seymour Airport on Baltra Island
  • San Cristobal Airport on San Cristobal Island
  • Emetebe on Isabela Island

Seymour and San Cristobal are both modern airports. Your choice may just come down to your travel plans or your personal preferences. Emetebe is an inter-island airline with a basic landing strip.

About the Airport on Baltra Island (GPS)

The airport on Baltra Island is called Aeropuerto Seymour / Seymour Airport, it’s also known as Galapagos Ecological Airport. The airport code is GPS.

This is the world’s first green airport. It opened in 2012.

Ecological Galapagos airport

The following photos were taken in 2013 when our family visited Galapagos.

Galapagos-Seymour-airport-Baltra-island

A lot of recycled material (80%) was used in the construction including steel tubes (from oil drilling in the Amazon) and material from the former airport. It operates on solar and wind power.

There are small souvenir shops and a restaurant at the airport.

Airport-on-Baltra-island-Galapagos

Baltra-Island-Galapagos-Airport

The following video talks a little more about Seymour Airport.

Galapagos Airport on Baltra Island, World’s first Green Airport

Watch on Youtube via euronews (in English)

Where is Seymour Airport Located?

The Seymour Airport is located on Baltra Island. The following map shows its location.

Galapagos Airport on Baltra Island

Galapagos-Airport-Map-Baltra-Island

Map via G Adventures

Approximately 300,000 people travel through the Seymour Airport each year. This is the busiest of the two Galapagos airports.

The signs are in both Spanish and English as are the announcements.

Why is the Baltra Airport Often Called the Santa Cruz Airport?

The Baltra airport is often called the Santa Cruz airport because there’s nothing to do on Baltra Island. Transportation to either Santa Cruz Island or your cruise ship is provided at the airport.

If heading to Santa Cruz, you are taken by bus to a water taxi which will take you across the Itabaca Channel to the island.

ferry-to-santa-cruz-island-galapagos

Santa Cruz is the most populated island in the Galapagos. There are hotels (we stayed at Aventura Lodge), restaurants and lots of tourist shops in Puerto Ayora. From Santa Cruz you can arrange travel (by boat) to the other Galapagos islands.

Read more about what to do in Santa Cruz.

Baltra Island-Airport-Galapagos-islands


About the Airport on San Cristobal (SCY)

The airport on San Cristobal Island is in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The airport code is SCY. The new airport opened in 2014.

galapagos-airport-san-cristobal

san-cristobal-galapagos-airport

On average 400 people pass through this airport every day. The announcements and signs are in both Spanish and English.

You can find refreshments and souvenirs at San Cristobal Airport.

airport-on-san-cristobal-island-galapagos

In the following video, you’ll see what the inside and outside of this new airport looks like.

The New Galapagos Airport on San Cristobal Video

Watch on Youtube via Television Municipal Chatatham (including photos)

Where is San Cristobal Airport Located?

San Cristobal Airport is located in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

Map of Galapagos Airport on San Cristobal Island

glapagos-airport-map-san-cristobal

Map via Wikipedia

San Cristobal is the second most populated island of the Galapagos. And you’ll find a selection of hotels and restaurants.

The island offers a lot to see and do. From the San Cristobal you can get tours to Galapagos attractions like Kicker Rock and Isla Lobos.

Read more about what to do on San Cristobal.


About the Airline on Isabela Island

The airline on Isabela is called Emetebe.

Galapagos airport Isabela Island Emetebe

Emetebe offers flights to San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. They also offer private charter, island transfer, scenic flights and emergency medical evacuation.

galapagos-airport-island-transfer-with-emetebe

Their aircraft is the Britten-Norman BN2 Islander, a light utility aircraft.

Is There a Galapagos International Airport?

There is no international airport in the Galapagos. All flight to the Galapagos come from mainland Ecuador.

Read more about Ecuador travel.

The two major airports offering flights to the Galapagos islands are:

  1. Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito (airport code UIO)
  2. Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil (airport code GYE)
New Quito International Airport

New Quito International Airport

guayaquil-airport-ecuador

Guayaquil Airport

You should arrange your flight to one of these major airports at least 2 days before your Galapagos flight. The flight from the mainland to the Galapagos lasts around 2.5 hours.

It’s important to check your flights times regularly because schedules change frequently. Your flight plans could easily be thrown off due to weather, or scheduling mix-ups.

Flight Times from Quito to the Galapagos

Flight times from Quito to Galapagos are listed on Quito airport website, they depart in the morning and usually make a stop in Guayaquil. So if you click on the above link look for “GUAYAQUIL,GALAPAGOS” or “GUAYAQUIL,SAN CRISTOBAL”.

Flight Times from Guayaquil to the Galapagos

Flight times from Guayaquil are listed on the Guayaquil airport website and also depart in the morning. Flights from Guayaquil are a little shorter (because they are direct) and may cost less.


Are There Extra Fees to Visit The Galapagos?

There is a $10 fee for the INGALA Migration card, which you’ll pay before your Galapagos flight. And the $100 fee for entrance into the Galapagos Islands National Park once you arrive on the islands.

These fees are paid in cash at the airport and are in addition to the cost of your flight. You’ll want to have cash on you because there are no ATMs at the airport.

Read more about the Quito airport and the Guayaquil airport. And here is a little more reading to help you decide which airport to use getting to the Galapagos, Quito or Guayaquil.

Which Galapagos Airport Will You Choose?

Choosing the best Galapagos Airport really depends on what travel plans you’ve arranged in the Galapagos. You’ll want the one that puts you closest to the attractions you want to see.

Chances are your tour agency will decide for you. But if you are making travel plans from scratch I hope this post has helped you to decide which airport to use.

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Meet the Author

Since moving to Ecuador in 2009, Dena and Bryan have made their living as bloggers. Dena is a partner at Storyteller Media, a content marketing company for Canadian travel brands. She is a contributor to Bryan Haines and is co-founder of Click Like This - a photo tutorial blog.

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