Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I help support conservation in Galapagos?
  2. Do you have membership for children?
  3. Why do I have to pay an entry fee on arrival in Galapagos?
  4. What projects does the Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT) fund in the islands?
  5. Can I volunteer in Galapagos and if so, how do I go about applying?
  6. What is the best time of year to travel to Galapagos?
  7. How do I travel around the islands?
  8. How many people visit Galapagos each year?
  9. What is Project Isabela?
  10. What is Lonesome George?

1. How do I help support conservation in Galapagos?

There are many ways in which you can support conservation in the islands. You can become a member of your nearest Friends of Galapagos organisation (for location details, visit Friends of Galapagos) or make a donation.

Leaving a legacy is a valuable way to support Galapagos, as is Payroll Giving as it provides a regular source of income.

We can help if you wish to hold an event in your area, or we always welcome volunteer help in our London office.

As a thank you for your support of conservation in Galapagos, we keep you up to date with news from Galapagos by sending you our biannual newsletter, Galapagos News.


2. Do you have membership for children?

Yes, GCT has a Junior membership available for children under 16 years of age, for £10 per year. Upon joining, you will receive a membership pack with fact sheets, a map, poster and sheet of stickers. A biannual newsletter will keep our Junior members up to date with news from Galapagos. For further information, visit Junior membership.


3. Why do I have to pay an entry fee on arrival in Galapagos?

The entry fee varies depending on your nationality but non-resident foreign tourists pay US$100, which is paid on arrival at Baltra airport. The fee was designated under the Law of Special Regime for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of Galapagos Province, and helps to fund community and conservation work in the islands. Specifically, the breakdown received by each institute is:

Galapagos National Park 40%
Municipalidades de Galápagos 20%
Consejo Provincial de Galápagos 10%
Galapagos Marine Reserve 5%
Sistema Nacional de Areas Protegidas 5%
Instituto Nacional Galápagos INGALA 10%
Sistema de Inspección y Cuarentena de la provincia de Galápagos 5%
Armada Nacional 5%


4. What projects does the Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT) fund in the islands?

Since 1995 GCT has been raising funds for, and awareness of, conservation in the Galapagos Islands. GCT has supported many projects over this period, details of which can be found by visiting Current Programmes.

There are about 560 species of natural plants in the islands, in other words, plants that arrived in the islands by natural means. Of these, almost one third are endemic to the islands.

Although only three Galapagos endemic plants are thought to have so far gone extinct, many others have experienced dramatic declines in recent years. An assessment carried out between 1998 and 2001 revealed that 20 out of the 230 endemic plant species and subspecies are facing immediate extinction (Critically Endangered), while another 10 have not been seen for many years (Data Deficient).

Please visit our secure server to make an online donation, or contact GCT on gct@gct.org for further details of any project you are interested in supporting.


5. Can I volunteer to work in Galapagos and if so, how do I go about applying?

There are volunteer opportunities both at the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Galapagos National Park. Most volunteers assist with research, conservation and education, public relations or administrative activities.

The Charles Darwin Research Station ask that their volunteers are with them for at least six months, and volunteers are responsible for paying their own costs to and from Galapagos, and accommodation costs while in Galapagos.

To volunteer at the Galapagos National Park, email volunteer@spng.org.ec and ask for an application form. If you would like to volunteer at the Charles Darwin Research Station, visit http://www.darwinfoundation.org/misc/opportunities/volunteer1.html for full details.


6. What is the best time of year to travel to Galapagos?

There is no "best time" to visit the islands as there is an abundance of unique flora and fauna year round. However, it is warmer and may be wet between December and April, and cooler from June until November (the "garua" season). During the garua season, so called because of a fine mist (garua) that falls constantly at this time of year, the vegetation in the highland areas is lush and green. The sea is generally also calmer during the warm season. The one endemic species that is absent for a part of the year is the Waved Albatross. You will find the albatross on Espanola between May and December.


7. How do I travel around the islands?

Most tourists to Galapagos travel on a cruise, and all are required to be accompanied by a guide at the designated visitor sites. Cruises vary in length from day trips to several weeks, and itineraries depend on the boat you wish to travel on. The number of passengers on each boat also varies, but will range from as few as ten through to as many as one hundred.

There are companies listed on our website at Tour operators that will be able to assist you with your travel arrangements. It is also possible to stay on one of the populated islands, at a hotel or guesthouse. If you are not joining a cruise at Baltra then you must travel by bus and ferry to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz.

The visitor sites of the National Park that have been established for public use are clearly marked and found on almost all of the main islands of the archipelago. There are 54 land sites to visit and 62 marine sites.

Please note, there are different requirements if you wish to bring your own boat to the Galapagos Islands. Visit Admission procedures for foreign ships for further information, or visit the Galapagos National Park website.


8. How many people visit Galapagos each year?

The following chart lists the total visitor numbers to the Galapagos Islands between 2000 - 2004. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station website for further information on the development of tourism in Galapagos.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total:
2000 5503 5269 6303 4858 5110 5321 7527 7400 4461 5597 5720 5787 68856
2001 6234 6193 6593 6535 5777 6579 8245 7854 4860 6173 6161 6366 77570
2002 6401 6334 7897 5977 6470 7067 8229 8832 4697 6515 6300 7507 82226
2003 6793 6471 7319 6390 6804 7292 10289 9894 5946 7464 8201 7670 90533
2004 7224 8229 9023 8712 8782 8944 11509 11733 7167 8500 9008 9605 108436


9. What is Project Isabela?

Project Isabela is a bi-institutional project to protect the native animals and plants from invasive species on Isabela island, and restore the biodiversity of Northern Isabela.

The project's immediate objective is the eradication of introduced goats. Left unchecked, these animals will cause irreparable damage to the island's ecosystems, leading to the extinction of endemic animals and plants.

For full background details, visit Project Isabela.


10. What is Lonesome George?

Lonesome George is a Galapagos Giant Tortoise from Pinta Island in Galapagos. He is the only remaining tortoise left of his species, and once he dies, his race will die with him.

He currently lives at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz island, with two females from a closely related species, in an attempt to entice him to breed - unsuccessfully so far. There have been concentrated efforts over the years to find another Pinta tortoise, both on Pinta island and in zoos around the world but with no positive results so far. A $10,000 reward has been offered for a Pinta tortoise.