10 Things to Bring

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Nicollee Hammer
May 16, 2024
  1. Microfiber towel

I read a IES Abroad blog from last year who recommended bringing a microfiber towel and I’m so glad I did. They’re lightweight, dry fast, and absorb water so much better than normal towels. A few other people on my trip also brought them, but the ones that didn’t searched to find them here but everything’s more expensive in the Galapagos so definitely bring a good towel

  1. Lots of Sunscreen

However much sunscreen you think you’ll need double it. Everyone that I was with had to end up buying more here because they either didn’t bring enough or because they’d share with other people and end up running out. Sunscreen is also extremely expensive in the Galapagos where you’ll use most of it anyway so either bring three good sized bottles of sunscreen or make sure to buy a good amount in Quito before coming to the islands. I brought three 2.4 fl oz and a face stick and it was just enough for me.

  1. Money ash)

I brought all the money I thought I’d need in cash, and it was the best thing I could’ve done. I know it may not be possible for everyone coming due to money constraints but bringing cash instead of withdrawing abroad saves you from withdrawal fees at ATM’s. The fees in Galapagos are about $4.50 each time you withdraw money which can really add up. They’re much less in Quito so either bring as much as you can from home (I brought around $2000) or withdraw a good amount (at least $1000) before coming to Galapagos. I spent my cash mostly on food/daily lunches, souvenirs, drinks with friends, and taxis/transportation. 

  1. Extra sunglasses/hats

You or someone you know will probably lose or break your sunglasses sometime abroad so it’s always good to have another pair. Many people lost their hats on the boats by being whisked away in the wind so either bring an extra hat if you like them or you can easily buy a second here (p.s. a lot of the hats here fit weird though).

  1. Good shoes

Having a good pair of hiking shoes or sturdy sneakers at least is a great idea for hikes you may do or field trips. Many of the hikes can be difficult or muddy depending on the time of year. Having a good pair of chacos/tevas would be nice too but some of my friends were fine doing hikes over lava rocks in their Birkenstocks. 

  1. Mask and snorkel (maybe fins)

I brought all the above since I was in the Marine Ecology Track and I was diving all the time so having my own stuff was great, but even other people in my track or other tracks really wish they would’ve at least brought a mask and snorkel since every beach you go to has decent snorkeling. Renting mask and fins is more expensive than you think here so either bring it if you want to use it or maybe buy in Quito. Some students that stayed half semester left their snorkel stuff for others 

  1. Good water bottle

You’re going to be drinking a lot of water here so bring a good, insulated water bottle that can hold a lot of water and stay cold for a while. I had a YETI a lot of people had hydroflask-esk bottles, and they were great to keep ice from melting and hold a lot of water for the long hikes and field trips we had. 

  1. Protein Bars/Snacks

If there’s any protein bars or snacks that you really like or give you energy, it’s a good idea to bring a pack of them with you. I brought about 12 Cliff bars that I could take on hikes or eat if we were on long field trips and I’m so glad I did. Good quality protein bars can be very expensive in Quito and far and few between in Galapagos. It was also super nice to have a snack that wasn’t plantains or other unhealthy food sometimes.

  1. Underwater Camera

If you do the marine ecology track, you should definitely bring an underwater camera. They tell you it’s recommended but all our teachers here expected us to have them and said they were “required” which we were never told. I personally really like underwater photography, so I have a pretty nice camera but most people that brought them had Go Pros or less expensive underwater cameras that still do the job. One thing to note is that most of the cameras have a max depth or need a case to go deeper so keep that in mind that some of the dives get to 60+ ft/20m. 

  1. Limited Cool Weather Clothes (Quito)

Everyone realized they wasted a lot of room packing clothes for Quito/warm weather clothes and we all look back and think that we should've limited the number of jeans we brought and long sleeves/sweatshirts since you're really only there for 5-6 weeks since one week's in the Amazon. Just re-wear clothes instead of overpacking trust me you'll want extra space to bring gifts back and also have lightweight and beachy clothes. It's also pretty hot in Quito sometimes (even though Ecuadorians dress like it's the middle of winter) and they tell you to dress with pants and long sleeves so you fit in but majority of people started wearing shorts and tank tops since it was so hot anyway.

There could definitely be other things i'm forgetting but DM on instagram if you have any questions about anything!


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Nicollee Hammer

I'm from Ohio but I've traveled since I was little so I've got to see many different countries and experience different perspectives and ways of life. I enjoy meeting new people and trying new things. I can't wait to see what Ecuador has to offer!

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Biological Sciences
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