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What to Pack for a Galapagos Islands Cruise

The following packing list contains general recommendations for a small-ship Galapagos cruise. If you are currently booked on a Galapagos adventure with Nat Hab, please consult your pre-departure materials for the most up-to-date packing list specific to your trip, as packing recommendations vary based on the ship and season. You will receive these pre-departure materials 60–90 days before your departure.

Simplify your packing—shop Nat Hab’s online Gear Store for some of the key items recommended for your adventure. Look for this icon in the list below, then go to the Nat Hab Gear Store to start shopping.

Adventure-Specific Guidelines

  • We recommend bringing mostly clothing for warm weather; however, we have included a few items on the packing list for cool weather as well. This is because evenings can sometimes be a bit chilly on the boat and also at Nat Hab’s Tortoise Camp. While there is a chance you may end up not needing the extra layers, we still recommend bringing them with you, just to be safe.
  • While the Galapagos Islands are a year-round destination, some months tend to be slightly cooler or hotter than others. The hottest months are usually February through April and the coolest are August through October. Please see the When to Go section for more information on weather in the Galapagos.
  • Due to the hot and humid conditions found at sea, we highly recommend bringing clothes made of synthetic, quick-drying material. If wet with rain, sea water or sweat, cotton items may not always dry completely.
  • It’s best to wear neutral tones and use fragrance-free sunscreen while on the islands to avoid attracting wasps.
  • Include rain gear in your carry-on bag.
  • You may wish to have some nicer clothes for time spent on the mainland or for dinners on the boat, although this is completely optional.
  • Storage space is limited on the boat and some ships cannot accommodate hard-sided suitcases. Please pack your gear in a soft-sided, collapsible bag that can be stored away easily.
  • This is a sub-tropical boating journey, and you will be exposed to very strong sun, wind and water. Many guests have lived in their swimsuits with just a light shirt to protect their arms, shoulders and back from sun. Keep in mind that some of what you bring may get sweaty, wet and possibly mildewy due to ocean sailing. You will also encounter dust, sand and salt, and you may feel a little grubby from time to time. You will be able to wash out clothing in the sink and dry them on the line, on deck.


  • 2 pairs of comfortable lightweight pants
  • 1 pair of nylon, zip-off pants (useful for warm days and cooler mornings and evenings)
  • 1 pair of jeans or heavier pants (optional)
  • 1–2 lightweight long-sleeved shirts
  • 6–8 short-sleeved T-shirts  (we recommend moisture-wicking fabrics, and avoid bold colors that may attract wasps, such as red and black)
  • 3 pairs of shorts (you may not need as many pairs of shorts if you are bringing zip-off pants)
  • Undergarments
  • Lightweight wool/synthetic blend hiking socks or synthetic athletic socks (only needed on our Hiking & Kayaking adventure,  to protect against sunburn when paddling)
  • Sleepwear
  • 2 swimsuits (for daily snorkeling excursions)
  • Neck buff  
  • Rash guard (for snorkeling)

Additional Gear

  • Reusable Water bottle
  • Carabiner (to attach water bottle to kayak, if you wish to kayak)
  • Water-resistant daypack  (to carry camera gear and other equipment during island walks)
  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses with UV filter and secure strap (polarized glasses help you to see through the reflection at the surface of the water and can be very useful while looking for marine life)
  • Earplugs (useful for blocking out boat noises)
  • Toiletries (shampoo and soap are provided at all of Nat Hab's accommodations)
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen and lip balm (at least SPF30)
  • Motion sickness medication such as Scopolamine patches
  • Small medical kit (optional)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Prescription glasses/contact lenses
  • Battery-operated alarm clock or wristwatch
  • Headlamp/flashlight (optional)
  • Washcloth
  • Dry bags or reusable waterproof bags  (Bring several sizes. They are very useful for wet or dirty clothing and for protecting camera equipment.)
  • Pocket-size Spanish/English dictionary (optional)
  • Sewing kit (optional)
  • Snorkel, mask and wetsuit (Snorkeling gear and wetsuits will be provided during Nat Hab's Galapagos adventures.) 
  • Snorkeling life jacket (optional)
  • Paddling gloves (optional; to prevent blisters and protect against sunburn while paddling, if you plan to kayak)
  • Swim cap, snorkeling gloves and booties (optional; to protect against sunburn, or provide warmth, while snorkeling)
  • Extra duffel bag   (optional; to bring home souvenirs on your return trip)
  • Collapsible walking stick or hiking poles  (optional)
Browse Our Small-Ship Galapagos Cruises
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Classic Galapagos: The Natural Habitat Experience
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Classic Galapagos: The Natural Habitat Experience

Small-group adventures aboard your choice of private yachts, led by our outstanding naturalist guides. Snorkel and swim with sea lions, sea turtles and penguins on this incomparable nature odyssey.
8 or 10 Days / Year-Round, From $4995 (+air/permits)
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Galapagos Hiking & Kayaking Adventure
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Galapagos Hiking & Kayaking Adventure

Paddle and explore in places not included on typical trips! Our catamaran-based adventure offers rare access with kayaking permits.
8 or 10 Days / Year-Round, From $5495 (+air/permits)
New Itinerary!
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