If you live in Los Angeles, and if scuba diving the Galapagos Islands is on your bucket list, you may be wondering how to get to Galapagos from Los Angeles.
To get from Los Angeles to Galapagos, first book a flight from Los Angeles LAX Airport to Ecuador’s Guayaquil Airport. Then book an internal flight from Guayaquil to Seymour Airport on Baltra Island or San Cristobal Airport on San Cristobal Island depending on your liveaboard departure port.
If you’re travelling to Galapagos via Los Angeles, make sure you leave enough time between connecting flights, as I’ve been caught out connecting through LA when my bags didn’t make it onto the plane. This is a problem if the bag that is missed off your flight to Galapagos has your dive gear inside.
You can book flights for the complete trip from Los Angeles to the Galapagos Islands if you prefer, but this tends to be more expensive when you book internal flights as a part of an international route plan. Internal flights are often cheaper when you book them independently of the international leg of the journey.
Plus some of the Galapagos liveaboards will help with the internal flight booking in any event, which will leave you to just book the flight from Los Angeles to Guayaquil in Ecuador. Of course you will have to pay the liveaboard operator for the internal return flight, but hopefully this will be cheaper when booked this way.
When you arrange your international flight from Los Angeles to Ecuador, make sure to book a flight that arrives in Ecuador in time for your flight that departs from Guayaquil, as many flights from Guayaquil to Galapagos depart first thing in the morning.
The best way to dive anywhere in the world, including scuba diving the Galapagos Islands, is by a scuba diving liveaboard. You can check the latest and best deals on liveaboards using the following window:
For travel to Galapagos National Park, this involves an international flight to Ecuador, which is followed by a domestic flight to one of two islands, depending on where your Galapagos liveaboard departs.
Top Tip: The quickest and cheapest option is to book flights from Los Angeles Airport (LAX) to José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (GYE), Guayaquil, and then book a connecting flight to one of two airports on Galapagos, and chose the best airport on the island nearest to your departing liveaboard. I recommend this route, as the connecting flights from Guayaquil to the Galapagos are cheaper and quicker than from Quito.You can still fly via Quito, but your outbound and inbound flights to and from Galapagos will stop in Guayaquil and this will add at least an hour to your overall journey time.
So can you fly direct to Galapagos from Los Angeles?
Can you fly direct to Galapagos Islands from Los Angeles?
There are no direct flights from Los Angeles to Galapagos, so you’ll need to fly to Guayaquil, Ecuador and fly from there to Baltra Seymour Airport or San Cristobal Airport in Galapagos. The best airlines are Copa, Avianca and JetBlue who fly to Guayaquil with one stop enroute via Panama or Bogota.
Most flights from Quito to Galapagos stop in Guayaquil, so it’s best to fly direct to Guayaquil for a shorter overall journey time from Los Angeles to Galapagos, which can also be booked with flights going via Panama City with Copa Airlines or Bogota with Avianca Airlines.
Best way to organise your flights from Los Angeles to Galapagos
The best way to book your flights from Los Angeles to Galapagos is to work backwards from which Galapagos Island port your chosen Galapagos liveaboard departs from.
When flying to Galapagos, most people use LATAM Airlines as this airline flies to Baltra Seymour Airport and San Cristobal Airport.
As there are no direct international flights to Galapagos from Los Angeles, you need to stop via one or other of the Ecuadorian cities of Quito or Guayaquil.
But it’s quicker to go via Guayaquil, as most flights to Galapagos from Quito stop in Guayaquil. Whereas flights from Guayaquil fly direct to Galapagos, thereby reducing your overall travelling time by at least one hour.
When you arrange your flights to Galapagos, it’s important you select flight times that carefully consider your Galapagos liveaboard departure and return days. You don’t want to miss the departure of the liveaboard, and you don’t want to miss your home-bound flight back to Los Angeles at the end of your trip either.
The last night of your dive trip will be spent on the liveaboard, and on the following morning you will be transferred by the liveaboard team to your departure Galapagos airport.
Top Tip: Before you arrange and book your flights to Galapagos from Los Angeles, research the Galapagos Liveaboards first. Only once you’ve chosen a liveaboard and reserved a cabin should you proceed to booking your flights. This makes sure you have a place on your chosen liveaboard, before committing to pay for flights to Galapagos from Los Angeles. Having said that, before you choose your Galapagos liveaboard dates, make sure that flights are available to Ecuador for these dates that arrive and depart inline with your liveaboard’s departure and return dates. Only after you’ve booked and paid for your flights should you confirm and pay the deposit on your Galapagos liveaboard trip.
How do you get to the Galapagos from Los Angeles?
To get to the Galapagos from Los Angeles, firstly choose your departing Los Angeles airport and book a flight to Guayaquil Airport (GYE) in Ecuador. Then book an internal flight from Guayaquil to one of the two Galapagos airports; Seymore Airport on Baltra Island or San Cristóbal Airport on San Cristóbal Island.
How you get to the Galapagos from Los Angeles in more detail.
Firstly, there are two major airports in Galapagos:
- Seymour Airport (Airport code: GPS) on the island of Baltra (and connects to Santa Cruz via water taxi and bus);
- San Cristóbal Airport (Airport code: SCY) on the island of San Cristóbal (and connects to Isla Lobos Island).
You can fly to either Galapagos airport from the following two major airports in Ecuador:
- José Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport (Airport code: GYE) which is located in Guayaquil;
- Mariscal Sucre International Airport (Airport code: UIO) is in the capital city of Quito (flights go via Guayaquil).
Liveaboards depart from the following Galapagos Islands:
- Baltra Island liveaboards: Fly to Seymour Airport (GPS) from Quito or Guayaquil and the liveaboard crew will pick you up from the airport.
- Santa Cruz Island liveaboards: Fly to Seymour Airport (GPS) from Quito or Guayaquil, which is on Baltra Island and transfer by water taxi or bus, but the liveaboard crew will collect you from the airport on arrival.
- San Cristobal Island liveaboards: Fly to San Cristóbal Airport (SCY) from Quito or Guayaquil and the liveaboard crew will pick you up from the airport.
- Isla Lobos Island liveaboards: Fly to San Cristóbal Airport (SCY) from Quito or Guayaquil and the liveaboard crew will transfer you from the airport to Isla Lobos Island.
Please note that all Galapagos dive liveaboards provide airport transfers, most of which are free but some will charge for this service. To find out which ones charge for airport transfers, please click on the “Review Link” or the “Booking Link” in the table of Galapagos liveaboards below when you have chosen a Galapagos liveaboard you like.
However, the first table includes some of the flight options for getting from Los Angeles to Ecuador enroute to The Galapagos Islands from Los Angeles (LAX).
It’s important to note that the flights in this first table are flights from Los Angeles to Guayaquil in Ecuador only and not to Galapagos. Which means that in addition to booking this first flight, you will also need to book a flight from Guayaquil in Ecuador to either Seymour Airport or San Cristóbal Airport in The Galapagos Islands.
Some Galapagos Liveaboards leave from Baltra Island, but many don’t. This means you need to arrange the correct internal flight from Ecuador. But some liveaboards will arrange flights from Ecuador to Galapagos for you, then you simply arrange your flights from Los Angeles to either Quito or Guayaquil in Ecuador.
There is no accommodation on Baltra Island, so you may be better to book into a hotel near Quito or Guayaquil airports on your day of arrival in Ecuador enroute to Galapagos, and on the night before your flight departure back to Los Angeles, especially if your flight departs early morning.
Flights from Guayaquil take 1.5 hours to get to Galapagos, whereas flights from from Quito take 2.5 hours, as the flights stop on route via Guayaquil Airport. Most Galapagos liveaboards depart between midday and 1pm, which means that if you arrive to the Galapagos airport in the morning, you will have plenty of time for the transfer to the boat.
Flights From Los Angeles To Guayaquil in Ecuador, enroute to Galapagos
|Starting Airport Los Angeles||Airline||Stops||Duration||Final Destination|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||Copa Airlines||(1 Stop) Panama City, Guayaquil||10:32-11:05 hours depending on outbound or inbound flight chosen||Guayaquil (GYE), Ecuador|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||Avianca Airlines||(1 Stop) Bogota, Guayaquil||9:50-10:55 hours depending on outbound or inbound flight chosen||Guayaquil (GYE), Ecuador|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||Copa Airlines + JetBlue||(1 Stop) Panama City, Guayaquil (Returns via New York JFK)||11:05-15:28 hours depending on outbound or inbound flight chosen||Guayaquil (GYE), Ecuador|
Table of Galapagos liveaboards
This list of Galapagos liveaboards is in descending customer rating order, followed by Scuba Diving Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating, see below), so the liveaboards with the highest customer rating and the best SDE lux rating will be at the top of the list. If you want to change the list order, use the “Sort by” dropdown below. For example, if you want to see these Galapagos liveaboards in “Liveaboard Departure Port” order, use this column to sort the list.
|Discover Liveaboard||Customer Rating||SDE Lux Rating %||Flexible Booking||Airport||Liveaboard Departure Port||Airport transfer||Free or Paid Airport Transfer|
|Review: MV Tiburon Explorer; Book: MV Tiburon Explorer||9.7||85%||NO||Baltra Seymour Airport (Code: GPS)||on Baltra Island - Galapagos||YES||Free|
|Review: MV Galapagos Sky; Book: MV Galapagos Sky||9.5||81%||NO||San Cristobal Airport (Code: SCY)||on Isla Lobos Island (San Cristobal Island) - Galapagos||YES||Free|
|Review: MV Calipso; Book: MV Calipso||9.4||85%||YES||San Cristobal Airport (Code: SCY)||on San Cristobal Island - Galapagos||YES||Free|
|Review: MV Galapagos Aggressor III; Book: MV Galapagos Aggressor III||9.1||65%||NO||Baltra Seymour Airport (Code: GPS)||on Baltra Island - Galapagos||YES||Free|
|Review: MY Aqua; Book: MY Aqua||9||65%||YES||Baltra Seymour Airport (Code: GPS)||on Baltra Island - Galapagos||YES||Free|
|Review: MV Humboldt Explorer; Book: MV Humboldt Explorer||8.9||58%||NO||Baltra Seymour Airport (Code: GPS)||on Baltra Island - Galapagos||YES||Paid Service|
|Review: MV Galapagos Master; Book: MV Galapagos Master||8.6||69%||YES||San Cristobal Airport (Code: SCY)||on San Cristobal Island - Galapagos||YES||Free|
The Scuba Diving Earth Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating) is explained on each liveaboard review when you click the “Discover Liveaboard” link, and is my own Liveaboard Luxury Rating I’ve assigned to all liveaboards. Choosing between liveaboards is helped by customer scores, and if you get stuck choosing between two or three liveaboards, where each one has a high customer score out of 10, you can use the SDE Luxury Rating to help narrow down your choice.
Think about it like using Booking.com when searching for the best hotel. Booking.com also use a customer score where each customer rates hotels out of 10. This is similar to the liveaboard customer rating, which is also rated out of 10. But let’s say you only like to stay in hotels rated 8 and above on Booking.com, but you also want the hotel to have WIFI or parking, or to have a swimming pool etc. The features each hotel has is usually secondary to the score out of 10. The same applies to liveaboards, as different liveaboard features are more important to each person.
Map of the Galapagos Islands
You will see from the map of the Galapagos Islands that the small Island of Baltra is on the tip of the larger Island of Santa Cruz, and is closest for the liveaboards going to Darwin and Wolf Islands.
So if your intension is to scuba dive Darwin and Wolf Islands in the Galapagos, a liveaboard departing from Baltra Island might be your best bet. Plus it means the transfer from Baltra airport will be the quickest too.
How long does it take to get to the Galapagos Islands from Los Angeles?
Total flight time from Los Angeles to Galapagos is about 11.5 hours depending on the airline you choose to fly with. Your journey is split between an international flight to Guayaquil in Ecuador, and an internal flight from Guayaquil to Galapagos which of itself takes 1.5 hours.
I hope you enjoyed this article about how to get to Galapagos from Los Angeles
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about how to get to Galapagos from Los Angeles), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.
Have fun and be safe!