The Galapagos Transit Control Card is an immigration control measure set by INGALA, the Ecuadorian Governmental agency that regulates all things pertaining to the Galapagos Islands. This card is designed to help control migration to the Galapagos Archipelago, which boomed in the 1970's due to the lifestyle offered by the islands and the higher salary wages as a result of tourism.
INGALA instituted this card to help keep track of who is entering and leaving the Islands, and to monitor the duration of everyone's stay. It is like your own personal Galapagos ID and everyone who visits the islands must purchase the card before arrival to Galapagos.
You will not be allowed aboard a flight to Galapagos if you do not have a valid Transit Control Card and you will be required to show this card upon arrival to the islands.
How much does the Transit Control Card cost?
The cost per card is fixed at USD $20 per person, for both Ecuadorian nationals and foreigners, and is paid in cash only at the airport. Certain cruise companies, like Quasar Expeditions, allow you to prepay these cards along with your cruise.
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How do I get the Transit Control Card?
In both the airports of Quito and Guayaquil, where all Galapagos flights originate from, there will be an INGALA window in the domestic flights terminal. You will need to go to this window before you check in for your Galapagos flight and present a flight reservation or boarding pass and a valid ID / Passport to obtain your card. They will need:
- Your full name
- Passport or ID number
- Date of birth
The $20 one-time fee for the card is used by INGALA for many different purposes, including population monitoring on the islands, conservation and sustainable development projects and long-term planning for all aspects of life on the islands.
If you are traveling with Quasar Expeditions and flying to the Galapagos on the same day your cruise begins, Quasar will purchase your Transit Control Cards in advance and our representative will have them waiting for you at either Quito or Guayaquil airport when you arrive there to check on to your Galapagos flights.
However, if you plan to fly to the Galapagos a day or more ahead of your cruise or a day or more after it has begun, then you will have to purchase your own card using cash ($20) at the airport kiosk. In this case, we suggest you plan to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your flight’s departure in case of lines.
One of the questions we get asked the most at Quasar is this -
What's the best time of year to travel to Galapagos Islands?