Clothing and Packing Suggetions For The Galapagos Islands and Peru
Clothing and Accessories
For the daytime in the Galapagos, you will most likely want to be in shorts and a loose comfortable t-shirt or tank top. Also, long, light-weight pants with zip-off legs are a good choice. Columbia and Magellans make this type of pant. A wide-brimmed hat or long-billed cap and a pair of are essentials for protecting your face, eyes, ears and neck. For the evenings, on the cruise ships have a relaxed country-club casual dress code. A shirt and long pant for the men and a simple sundress for ladies might be a good idea. Also, bring a light sweater or sweatshirt for being up on deck at night. You will pass through Quito, which is also on the Equator, but high in the mountains with a cool climate. Arriving at the airport, being dressed for a little cooler temperature is wise, so pack a light jacket in your carry-on. A waterproof jacket that can double as a raincoat in the islands is a good idea.
Without a doubt, water-proof/water-resistant, shoes/sandals like the Teva brand are the most useful footwear you can bring to the island. They can be worn during dry or wet landings on the islands, protect your feet from the hot, harsh volcanic landscape and keep them cool. Alternatively, you might want the protection and support of tennis shoes or sneakers. If so, bring an older, broken-in pair rather than a new pair that will suffer the damage of saltwater, volcanic rock, and sand. If you wear sandals or aqua shoes for the wet landings, you can take these off - dry off your feet with the towel provided by the ship and put on tennis shoes or sneakers with socks for the walk on the island. It is important that you wear comfortable footwear as much of the walking is over uneven surfaces and rocks.
The sun hits the equator hard and can burn you before you know it. Use SPF 45 or higher, waterproof sunscreen, and apply this everywhere, especially for those with lighter skin.
Swimwear and Snorkeling Equipment
simple swimsuit is perfect for the water. If you have your own snorkeling equipment it may be a good idea to bring it with you. Often it is better to have your own equipment with which you are comfortable and certain of the fit. However, if you do not have your own, or do not wish to pack it, the ships do provide or rent snorkel equipment for use during the cruise. For those that like to spend hours snorkeling and diving deep, you might consider a "shorty" wet suit for the deeper, cooler water.
The Galapagos is one large photo opportunity after another, and you will return with many photos that can never be repeated. Bring twice as much film as you think you will need. If you run out of film, getting more can be expensive or difficult. For those that have quality 35mm cameras, bringing a wide-angle/macro lens and a 70-210mm zoom lens is advisable. The zoom lens will let you frame animals at any variety of distances, and reduce the amount of camera equipment you lug with you to the islands. A polarizing filter helps to reduce the glare of the sunlight on the water. If you do not have an underwater camera (as most of us don't), Kodak, Konica, and Fujifilm all make disposable ones which work surprisingly well and let you take photos of the sea lion you befriend or the sharks that make you look twice. Bringing video equipment, means that you capture not only the image of the blue footed boobies, but their courtship dance as well. If you bring a video camera or a tripod, make it a lightweight non-bulky one as you'll have to hike with it. Binoculars are nice to have, but make sure they are lightweight.
The official currency on mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos is the US Dollar. It would be wise to already bring some Dollars in cash with you. Carry your money and credit cards in a money pouch (held close to your body). Charges onboard can be put directly on a credit card.
First Aid kits are provided on all ships. Always travel with all prescription medicines that you may need. If you are prone to motion sickness, then it is advisable to pack motion sickness medication. Quito is at 9,500 feet, (3,000m) and some people experience symptoms of altitude sickness which in most cases can be remedied by drinking lots of water, getting lots of rest (which can be difficult when traveling), or by taking aspirin. If you experience severe headaches or respiratory problems, consult a doctor immediately. Remember that you are on an isolated ship in isolated islands 600 miles from the nearest continent. So if there is something you can't do without, then be certain to bring it with you and preferably packed in your carry-on. Prescription medications should always be packed in your carry-on luggage.