The Galapagos Islands & Ecuador Are Now Open to U.S. Travelers

Though, that doesn't mean you should necessarily be traveling for pleasure right now.

Galapagos Ecuador travel
Editor’s Note: We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. As of February 2021, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends against traveling if you don’t absolutely have to. Should you need to travel, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC’s latest guidance as well as local requirements/protocols/restrictions for both your destination and home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

Ecuador, including the beautiful Galapagos Islands, is among the growing list of places opening up to travelers vaccinated against COVID-19, El Universo reports. 

Ecuador announced earlier in March that it would open to travelers who present proof of vaccination. The country will also allow travelers to enter who have a negative COVID test or provide evidence they have previously recovered from COVID-19. 

The US Embassy clarifies that unvaccinated travelers are allowed in the country with proof of a negative COVID RT-PCR or rapid antigen test taken within three days of entering the country. Though, the rules for entry to the Galapagos Islands are different. To travel there, every traveler must provide proof of a negative test "taken no more than 96 hours prior to arrival in the Galapagos," per the Embassy. 

That could be the same test you used to get into the country if that was taken within 96 hours of your arrival to the Galapagos. If not, you'll need to take a second test at your own expense. No exemption for vaccinated individuals is listed. "Travelers to the Galapagos also need a 'salvoconducto' from their tour operator, and should contact the operator directly for that document," the Embassy writes. Though the policies are changing and all travelers should check for the most recent guidelines on traveling in Ecuador. 

The broad outline of the policy is similar to what some other countries are doing. Iceland has opened to vaccinated travelers, as has Guatemala, Belize, and a short list of other countries. Despite this, it's worth noting that the CDC currently recommends against any non-essential travel, even if you're vaccinated. 

h/t Travel + Leisure

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.