We're thrilled that you are joining our 5 Gyres Galapagos Expedition! We’ll be traveling through Indonesia to research microplastics and explore solutions to the problem of plastic pollution. This private page lists the steps to get prepared.

Important information!

***Make sure to consult with your physician at least a month prior to the voyage to make sure your vaccinations are up to date. No vaccinations are specifically required for travel in the Galapagos. Malaria precautions are not considered necessary in Galápagos; however it can be present in the Guayaquil area. Make sure you protect from mosquito bites during the short period in the city.

If you are a woman planning to get pregnant, or a man in a relationship in which pregnancy is a possibility, you should consult the CDC's website and talk with your doctor about Zika, which is minimally present in the Galapagos. See more info here.

To travel, you must have:

  • passport - make sure it is current for at least six months or you will not be allowed to travel to the Galapagos; keep in carry-on luggage

  • copy of passport - stored separately from your travel documents

  • international travel medical insurance or DAN (Divers Alert Network) membership

  • Proof of Health Insurance is required to enter the Galapagos - personal health insurance is sufficient 

  • International flights should arrive in Guayaquil on/before July 26 (Leg 1) or Aug 2 (Leg 2) || International flights home should be booked after 7PM on Aug 3 (Leg 1) and Aug 10 (Leg 2)

  • If you want to rent a wetsuit (recommended if you do not have your own) - cost is $25/week/person to pay on board.

  • We recommend you purchase Travel Ex trip insurance to protect your trip should you have to cancel at the last minute.

  • Hotel on first night, Galapagos park fees, in-country flights, tips for boat crew, and all activities are included

1. Read these materials prior to boarding:

5 Gyres has partnered with two Ecuadorean environmental groups, Plastico and Mingas Por El Mar, to carry out TrashBlitz Guayaquil.  TrashBlitz Guayaquil aims to analyze plastic trash trends upstream, identifying top brands and types of items found in the streets and on beaches. This data will be used to support local campaigns throughout Ecuador. Our Expedition to the Galapagos Islands is a way to bring local and international groups together to talk about solutions and all plastic trash catalogued on the Expedition will be incorporated into TrashBlitz efforts in Guayaquil.

#5GyresTrawlshare Protocols

#BreakFreeFromPlastic Protocols


We just completed TrashBlitz LA and we are excited to bring this project to Ecuador. Please read the TrashBlitz LA Final Report and watch this video that shows what type of data we collect.

On our Expedition, you will see firsthand how important solutions to plastic pollution through exploration in one of the most protected areas of the world. This is a problem that cannot be solved simply by recycling, which affects 1,200 animal species -- including humans. 

5 Gyres 2014 Global Estimate was the first publication to assess how much plastic floats on the surface of the world's oceans, while our recent BAN (Better Alternatives Now) List 2.0 study analyzes plastics for toxicity, recoverability, recyclability, and more. Data from our Expedition will contribute to forthcoming updates of these studies, including future BAN List reports and TrashBlitz Ecuador!

What's happening in the Galapagos to solve the problem? Read these:

In 2018, the Galapagos National Park passed a resolution to phase out single use plastic items (straws, single-use plastic bags, takeout containers, and plastic bottles). In February 2019, the last phase of the project was executed. Read it here.

In addition, the Break Free From Plastic global network is working on related projects in the region, including trash audits and zero waste initiatives.

For more information on the most important work on plastic pollution, check out the 5 Gyres Science Research Hub.

2. Learn more about our partners:

Our crew includes representatives from Ecuadorian NGOs and research institutions, which are establishing consumer, corporate and legislative campaigns to combat plastic pollution in the Galapagos. Many are working on community-based, zero-waste solutions that prevent the flow of plastics to local waters in the region. Through the 5 Gyres Expedition, we will share our past research knowledge, train all participants in TrashBlitz protocols, and discuss global and local solutions. Click through to find out more!


Mingas Por El Mar

Charles Darwin Foundation

Galapagos Research Center

3.  Suggested packing list:


  • electronics*


  • Klean Kanteen water bottle 

  • Stasher bag

  • Reefsafe sunscreen in bulk for all

  • ChicoBag 

  • ToGo Ware bamboo utensil set

If you choose to bring additional sunscreen, please make sure it does not contain these chemicals:

avobenzone — ranking “2” on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

homosalate — ranking “4” on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

octisalate — ranking “4” on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

octocrylene — ranking “3” on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

The chemical of most concern is oxybenzone, which ranks “8” or a “high hazard” on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database because it is a human and animal endocrine disruptor and is linked to the damage and death of coral reefs, as well as to exacerbate coral bleaching

The National Park Service states that sunscreens with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide (both natural ingredients) are found not to harm reefs.



  • 1-2 long pants

  • 4-5 shorts

  • 8-12 shirts

  • 2-3 bathing suits

  • rashguard and swim pants or light wetsuit / dive skin (for sun and jellyfish protection)

  • 2 longsleeve shirts

  • waterproof windbreaker

  • sweater or fleece

  • deck shoes or watersafe sandals

  • walking shoes

  • undergarments

  • pajamas

  • sarong


  • dry bag (optional)

  • quick dry towel

  • sunglasses

  • head lamp

  • snorkling gear - mask, snorkel and fins

  • toiletries/medication***

  • anti-nausea medication if this is an issue for you

  • anti-diarrheal medication just in case **

  • antibiotic ointment and bandages - cuts can quickly become septic in the tropics

  • DEET insect repellent - 25-40% concentration recommended

4. Itinerary: Click here for more info

Please note weather or other events may cause the actual itinerary to vary from what is outlined below. 

SECOND LEG August 2 to August 10

Day 1, August 2nd: Guayaquil Arrival

Day 2, August 3rd: Santa Cruz Island, Black Turtle Cove

Day 3, August 4th: Genovesa (Tower) Island: Darwin Bay & Prince Philip’s Steps

Day 4, August 5th: Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay

Day 5-6, August 6th-7th: Santa Cruz Island

Day 7, August 8th: South Plazas Island

Day 8, August 9th: Española (Hood) Island

Day 9, August 10th: Santa Cruz Island: Los Gemelos & Baltra Island

FIRST LEG July 26 to August 3

Day 1, July 26th: Guayaquil - Arrival 

Day 2, July 27th: Baltra Island, Santa Cruz Island Highlands

Day 3, July 28th: Floreana Island

Day 4, July 29th: Navigation & Whale Watching

Day 5-7, July 30th-August 1st: Isabela Island and Fernandina Island

Day 8, August 2nd: Santiago Island: Buccaneer Cove

Day 9, August 3rd: North Seymour Island & Baltra Airport