Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Galapagos Ecuador and Peru
Galapagos Travel, Amazon Travel, Ecuador Travel, Peru
Coronavirus in Galapagos Ecuador and Peru - syringe

Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Galapagos Ecuador and Peru

Updated October 7th, 2020 – Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Galapagos, Ecuador, and Peru. All facts regarding protocol are taken directly from the U.S. embassy websites and official governmental decrees.

If you are reading this, you are all too familiar with the news surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19), the rapidly spreading virus that spread out of Wuhan City, Hubei Province. This global pandemic has impacted almost every country in the world, killing over one million people globally and spreading to many millions. Within this blog, we discuss the risks of traveling to the South American countries, specifically Galapagos, Ecuador, and Peru.

Visiting Galapagos, Ecuador, and Peru during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic


Travelers must provide the results of a PCR (polymerise chain reaction) COVID test taken within the last ten (10) days prior to arrival in Ecuador. If a negative PCR test is not provided, testing will be conducted immediately at the airport at the cost of the traveler, and they must quarantine until the results are provided.


The Government Council is constantly updating decrees to keep up with the evolving situation and keeping Galapagos safe. issued a decree that caused many to get concerned about the possibility of entering the Galapagos. Currently, these protocols include:

a) Identity document (ID or passport). 

b) Round trip air ticket to the province of Galapagos. 

c) Negative result of an RT-PCR test carried out up to 96 hours before entering the province. IF tests are carried out in Ecuador, they must come from a laboratory recognized by the Quality Assurance Agency for Health Services and Prepaid Medicine (ACESS) Tests carried out abroad will be accepted, as long as they are current, that is, they have been carried out up to 96 hours before entering the province.  

d) Safe conduct issued by the tour operator or the Galapagos tourist accommodation establishment that will provide services in said province. Tourist services must be hired in establishments that have a tourism registry and with established biosafety protocols. 

e) Traffic control card issued by the Governing Council of the Galapagos Special Regime. 

f) Form of Declaration of Health of the Traveler in order to identify the place of their stay, for the tourists who start the trip in Ecuador. For tourists who start the trip abroad, this form will be filled out upon arrival in the country. 

g) Mandatory health insurance. Applies only to foreign tourists (Art. 49 of the Organic Law of the Special Regime for the Province of Galapagos). 

If your Coronavirus (Covid-19) test will expire because you cannot enter within 96 hours (The one you took in your home country), you can do the testing again in Ecuador. This COVID-19 test can be taken in the hotel, and results are typically provided within 24 hours after the quick swab.  Speak with our trip experts in the chatbox for more information.

It may seem excessive at first having to do a second test if you cannot enter the Galapagos within 96 hours of your test. However, keep in mind that tourism makes up the majority of the economy of the Galapagos islands. Moreover, the inhabited areas in the Galapagos only make up 3 percent of the total land area, which means the population density is quite high. Without the resources of other countries, the Galapagos islands MUST protect its civilians and the tourism economy.


Currently, the CDC has issued a level 4 Travel Health Notice for Peru due to COVID-19. The State Department has also issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for Peru. Read the Health Notice and Travel Advisory. Additionally, international borders are closed and international flights are grounded, with exception of cargo and humanitarian repatriation flights.

Transmission History – Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Galapagos, Ecuador, and Peru


The spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) into Ecuador is was confirmed by the Minister of Public Health in Ecuador, Catalina Andramuño, to be a woman in her 70s and an Ecuadorian citizen living in Spain. Once considered the epidemic of the virus, Ecuador now ranks seventh in Latin America and 27th globally. Ecuador is open for international visitors.


The spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) spread into Peru on March 6th, 2020, after a Covid-19 positive 25-year-old man returned after traveling through Spain, France, and the Czech Republic. Peru is currently ranked 6th globally for positive cases. The borders are currently closed to international visitors at this moment


Regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Galapagos, there have been 197 cases as of October 2020, 1 death, and one probable death. Of those 197 cases, 48 were staff members of a cruise ship in April, where they quarantined. Since the Galapagos islands have added very tight restrictions to stop COVID-19 from entering the region. The islands are open to visitors, with protocols for visitors listed above.

Tour operator biosecurity protocols for Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Galapagos

  1. All flights require masks, international and commercial
  2. Upon arrival, guides will provide a “COVID kit” which includes new PPE equipment and hand sanitizer.
  3. Avoid greeting with physical contact, including shaking hands, to other tour guides, suppliers, as well as visitors. The safety distance must be respected whenever possible of at least 2 meters.
  4. If the tour guide experiences any symptoms of the disease, even mild, he must refrain from providing the service.
  5. Wear a mask (or protective screen) at all times, except in water activities or for eating.
  6. Permanently inform tourists about the mandatory use of the mask.
  7. Explain the technique for disposing of the mask according to the manufacturer’s instructions and its shelf life. In cases where a protective screen or reusable mask is used, it must be properly disinfected after each use.
  8. Throw away any personal hygiene waste –especially, disposable tissues-, immediately into the bins or authorized containers.
  9. Recommend to tourists the use of non-disposable personal protective equipment.
  10. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or, if this is not possible, use a disinfectant solution such as 70% alcohol gel. This is especially important after coughing or sneezing and after touching potentially contaminated surfaces (doorknobs, railings, etc.)
  11. Frequently disinfect items for personal use with soap and water and, if not possible, with a disinfectant solution, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. To disinfect electronic work equipment, use disinfectant products applied with a cloth, or disinfectant wipes.
  12. Avoid, as far as possible, sharing work equipment or devices with other tour guides or tourists. In the event that there is alternation in the use of certain equipment or devices (walkies, radio guides, telephones, umbrellas, etc.), the tourist guide must establish guidelines focused on cleaning and disinfection, and otherwise, in the use of personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of contagion.
  13. The tourist guide must urge tourists to comply with the measures that arise from the GUIDELINES FOR THE ENTRY OF TOURISTS TO THE PROVINCE OF GALÁPAGOS – SAFE TOURIST CORRIDOR FOR THE GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS.
  14. The administrator of the accommodation establishment or the captain of the boat must keep a tourist log with the daily monitoring of symptoms and signs related to Covid-19. The instrument will be provided by the Ministry of Public Health.
  15. Regarding the number of passengers in the vessels, they may operate at 100% of their capacity. However, the capacity allowed by the Galápagos Provincial COE for the development of common activities, such as food service, talks, disembarkation, among others, will be observed.
  16. Regarding the number of passengers in the cabins of tourist boats with overnight stays, they cannot be occupied by more than 1 person except in the case of belonging to the same family nucleus or social group.
  17. Disinfection of life jackets must be carried out before and after each use, with a dilution of hypochlorite with 3 tablespoons for each liter of water.
  18. Disinfection of devices for aquatic and terrestrial sports should be carried out before and after use, with a dilution of hypochlorite with 3 tablespoons for each liter of water.
  19.  Recommend the use of personal equipment for aquatic activities (snorkeling and/or diving equipment).
  20. The location of tourists in restaurants on the Islands and on boats should be guaranteed in ventilated areas, preferably outdoors. Avoid more than one family per table.

Symptoms of Coronavirus – COVID-19

If you experience any of Coronavirus (Covid-19 symptoms) while abroad in Ecuador, Peru, or Galapagos, it is important not to panic. The first step, in this case, is to remain in your hotel room to prevent the spread to others. If you are traveling with an agency, alert them immediately, and they will assist you in following all Covid-19 protocols, and in contacting local authorities regarding health measures that need to be taken.   Secondly, call your health provider and/or insurance company to discuss is more detail on what you should do.

  • New continuous cough
  • High temperature
  • Loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
Coronavirus in Galapagos Ecuador and Peru Corona Virus Diagram

Avoidance – Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Galapagos, Ecuador, and Peru.

Studies have shown that Coronavirus (Covid-19) can sustain on plastic surfaces for 72 hours, stainless steel for 48, and in Aerosol for three. Alcohol-based disinfectants can significantly reduce the survival and decay time of the virus. Between every flight to Galapagos, Ecuador, and Peru, flights are fully disinfected and cleaned. Nonetheless, it is important to bring your own, and constantly use it or wash hands. We all know how hard it is to open those bathroom doors inside planes without using your freshly washed hands. Airports are also allowing for larger bottles of hand sanitizer!

Clean your hands often

Scrub your hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. Alternatively, wash your hands using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60 to 95% alcohol. lastly, cover all parts of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.


Currently, the CDC has issued a level 4 Travel Health Notice for Peru due to COVID-19. The State Department has also issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for Peru. Read the Health Notice and Travel Advisory. Additionally, international borders are closed and international flights are grounded, with exception of cargo and humanitarian repatriation flights.

Airplane Tips for Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Galapagos Ecuador and Peru

When traveling to these three regions, it’s important to give yourself a reminder to be aware. Typically, as we walk through isles on planes, we tend to relax on seats while travelers in front of us struggle with their luggage, or to balance us as we walk through with awkwardly packed suitcases.  Try to avoid those rigid patterns of behavior that we typically follow, and hug your arms in until you are seated. Don’t worry about other passengers looking at you like your crazy. Pull out those sanitizing wipes and go crazy. We’re talking seatbelts, tray tables, armrests, entertaining touch screens, and seat pockets. Even the food trays if you are feeling it. Moreover, make sure you stay hydrated while traveling, eat nutritious foods, and get at least eight hours of sleep the night before. As a result, your system is ready to fight off any bacteria or virus the minute you come in contact with harmful germs.

COVID-19 Galapagos Prevention Measures

  1. Staff will frequently sanitize and deep clean all areas of the ship daily, especially in the social areas.
  2. Antibacterial soap and gel dispensers are available in each cabin and social area.
  3. Towels will be labeled for each individual guest for use during their stay
  4. No use of hot tubs until further notice
  5. Common areas have furniture more spread apart to increase social distancing.
  6. Buffets will cease until further notice. Table service will be implemented, and tables will be separated by groups (If you are a couple or group, you will be placed together!) Tables will maintain at least two meters of distance.
  7. Signage with proper handwashing procedures within bathrooms.
  8. Cabins will be cleaned twice daily. There will be one staff member assigned to each cabin throughout the duration of the stay to prevent any potential cross-contamination.
  9. After departure, the ship is sanitized top to bottom, along with a fumigation procedure.
  10. Staff will be consistently refreshed in training protocols. Additionally, the staff is required to take tests to pass safety, sanitation, and hygiene standards.
  11. Monitoring and replacing air conditioning filters upon every new departure.
  12. Guides will assure social distancing measures during briefings. Every evening, guides give a 10-15 minute briefing to guests on the following day’s activities, Galapagos animals likely to be seen, and what to bring.
  13. Traditionally, the Galapagos has a 1:16 ratio for guides to guests. Now, the new ratio will be one guide per eight guests, meaning cruises will have additional guides. This benefits guests in that they will have a more personalized experience, with more time for questions!
    What happens if someone gets sick on a cruise?

What happens if someone gets sick on a Galapagos cruise?

Guide, crew members, and passengers will immediately be informed of any illness, and procedures will determine whether the guest has COVID-19 or another illness. Until a determination is made, the guest will maintain two meters (six feet) from other guests. If the guest has COVID-19 symptoms, the guest will be isolated temporarily in the cabin with all companions that share that room until intervention by local authorities. The guest will have in-room dining, and a staff member trained in disease prevention trained would be charged with cleaning the cabin and assisting the passenger in any way. Additionally, The guest would be requested to wear a mask and will be given a biohazard waste bag. The cruise will immediately return to the port, and the ill passenger will be transported to a local hospital. The rest of the guests can then continue the cruise, but guests will have to be assigned to a specific hotel for quarantine before continuing travels.

How will Galapagos cruises be cleaned?

Galapagos cruise lines are acquiring electrostatic sprayers and ultraviolet light devices. These disinfect the ship in a quick and efficient manner. These lights will be placed at entry points and doors when guests enter, so guests will be rapidly disinfected reducing the risk of bringing Coronavirus( Covid-19) onto the ship. Foot baths will be used, with sanitized mats available at all times. Baggage will be disinfected before entering the ship and will be carried by crew members on board (This is normally done anyway). All cruise lines will be undergoing international certification to make sure they are following international standards and protocols correctly. Suppliers of food, transport, and more will be required to follow these measures too.

Food on the Galapagos cruises – COVID 19

Multiple cruises in the Galapagos have begun sourcing food from local farms in the Galapagos that implement hydroponic technology, which allows them to reduce the need for any food transport and limit contamination from COVID-19 or other sources. It also reduces carbon emissions from transport, recycles filtered rainwater, and provides delicious food out of season. Other benefits include no pesticides or antibiotics, better nutritional yield, and helping the local economy.

Hotels – Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Galapagos, Ecuador, and Peru

All hotels in Ecuador, Galapagos, and Peru will follow Coronavirus (Covid-19) protocols implemented by the ministry of tourism. Common spa areas will be discontinued until further notice. Instead, spa treatments will be available in-room, with hygienic protocols to keep guests safe. Hotels will arrange private in-room dining, and social distancing is currently in place. Staff members must shower before shifts, and change clothing after transportation.

Covid-19 in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador

Lodges in the  Amazon rainforest in Ecuador are currently not running yet due to low customer demand. They are clear as far as COVID-19 restrictions. Most lodges are announcing that they will reopen and start receiving customers late October to early November. However, specifics are still to be determined.

Ecuador has one of the best and closest access points to the Amazon rainforest. Within three hours by car, guests can arrive at this pristine destination. Regarding buses, they will travel at minimum capacity, and travellers will have social distancing on buses. Moreover, flights of 40 minutes are available that travel directly into the Amazon. Additionally, guides and drivers will be trained by the ministry of tourism on sanitization, proper hygiene, and social distancing protocols. For lodging, each group or couple will have a private bungalow, perfect for social distancing. Additionally, there are large properties with plenty of space between each area to allow for plenty of distance between guests.

Has your travel plans been impacted by Coronavirus in Galapagos Ecuador and Peru?

If the pandemic affects your travel plans, please contact your trip advisor. We are addressing our soon-to-travel customers, assisting in the postponement of their trip(s). Make sure to check out our story about the future of Galapagos Cruises post-Covid-19.
We understand these are unprecedented times, our heart goes out to all of those affected by the pandemic. Here is a video to keep your spirits up.

About Angel Nunez

Ecuador & Galapagos Travel Consultant, Blogger, Fitness & Health Aficionado, Amateur Photographer & Designer. Here to guide you through stories and visuals, what Ecuador, The Galapagos Islands & Peru have in store for you!

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