When we left Iquitos we spent the next 13 hours catching three different flights. Each and everyone had various issues. By the time we reached the Galapagos we’d managed two hours sleep between airport floors and uncomfortable plane seats
We thought our flight from Iquitos to Quito would involve a connecting flight in Lima. However, as we found out when we arrived at Iquitos airport, it was actually two flights, with two different companies.
This meant they couldn’t transfer our hold luggage over to the next plane. We had to disembark one plane, collect our bags, go to the checkin counter, through security and on to the next plane. And we only had one hour to do it.
For someone who likes to be early for everything, that was a bit worrying.
The airline staff marked our bags with priority tickets. They told us this would mean our bags were out first and would give us more time to check them in again.
We arrived in Lima and discovered priority labels mean absolutely nothing. My bag was one of the last to be taken off the plane.
We rushed over to checkin and before even joining the queue we were asked for our ticket to leave Ecuador. We hadn’t even got into Ecuador yet! We explained we had a ticket, but couldn’t show it as it wasn’t printed and we had no phones (both being lost), and thus couldn’t show her an email either. She let us proceed to the checkin desk and we thought that would be the end of it.
At the desk we were asked to show our leaving ticket again. It wasn’t enough that we had a ticket and knew our leaving date, he needed to see the confirmation. In fact he needed to see it so bad that he gave us his laptop to use (then followed some panic when I remembered the email was on my university email which no longer exists).
Finally we found some details and he copied all of them on to his system, he wouldn’t explain why. At least the plane had been delayed by a few hours!
It turns out Ecuador will refuse you entry if you don’t have a leaving ticket. Who knows what would happen if you had been planning to get the bus out of Ecuador.
So after a flight to Quito, a few hours sleeping on the airport floor, and another two hour flight, we finally made it to the Galapagos. Where we were to encounter more silly Ecuadorian rules…
We arrived at Baltra airport in the Galapagos with our $100 each in cash (but no more) our form for custom control and our Ecuadorian immigration control form.
We were then asked for another form, which we didn’t have. It turns out there’s another $10 you have to pay to enter the Galapagos Islands.
This form can be bought at Quito or Guayaquil airports when your bags for the hold are security checked. Only, no one told us about this, nor does it say anywhere at the airport in Quito. There’s also no way you can pay by card, and there are no cash machines.
Fortunately we had some more dollars in a bag we’d put in the hold so, after some persuasion, we were able to get to our bag and pay the fee.
Who knew it could be so complicated?!