National Park Rules

The Galapagos Islands are one of the few places in the world that remain relatively untouched by human exploitation. The preservation of the environment is everyone’s responsibility. By following these simple Galapagos National Park Rules you can help to maintain the Archipelago’s fragile ecosystems:

  • Hire a guide – any visit within the Galapagos National Park must be accompanied by a naturalist guide authorised by the Galapagos National Park Directorate.
  • Take only photos – with over 200,000 visitors a year, it is very important that everything that belongs on the Islands, remains on the Islands. Whether it is a rock, a shell or a plant, please refrain from the temptation to take it home.
  • No flash – when taking photographs, please do not use the flash to avoid disturbing the animal.
  • Don’t transport stowaways – the introduction of non-native species has caused a huge amount of problems to Galapagos’ fragile habitats. Please take every care to ensure that no animals, seeds, plants or insects are brought in to the Archipelago by cooperating with inspection and quarantine procedures.
  • Don’t touch the animals – they may appear incredibly tame, but they are still wild animals and as such should not be touched or petted. This is for both their safety and yours.
  • Don’t feed the animals – Galapagos animals do not need to be fed by humans and doing so may cause them health problems.
  • Keep your distance – many species will abandon their nests or territories if you disturb them which may negatively impact the animal. Please keep at least two metres away from all animals.
  • Stick to the path – visitors sites at the Galapagos National Park are marked to guarantee your safety and you should not stray from these paths. 
  • Leave only footprints – rubbish not only looks terrible, but also interferes with the natural ecosystem and can present a threat to Galapagos wildlife. All rubbish should be put into a designated refuse bin.
  • Buy responsibly – when purchasing souvenirs, do not buy anything made from the flora, fauna or rocks of the Islands. This includes black coral, marine tortoise shells, sea lion teeth, seashells and lava rock. 
  • Do not graffiti Galapagos – it is not polite or sustainable to write names or phrases of any type on rocks, walls or any other surface. Please refrain from leaving your mark on Galapagos.
  • No smoking – camp fires and smoking inside the National Park is forbidden. A fire sparked by a cigarette could cause uncontrollable bushfires, obliterate vegetation and endanger lives. 
  • No fishing – fishing on board tourist ships is not permitted. It is only allowed on recreational fishing boats authorised by the Galapagos National Park Directorate. 
  • Camping – if you wish to camp on one of the authorised sites you will need to request a permit from the Galapagos National Park Directorate at least 48 hours beforehand. The first step in this process will be contacting staff at any of the GNP offices located on the inhabited Islands (San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Isabela or Floreana).
  • Water sports – motorised aquatic sports, mini-subs and aerial tourism are not permitted in the National Park.