Galapagos Cruising Permit / Autografo

[Last updated March 2010]

There are all kinds of rumours circulating about the rules governing private vessels visiting the Galapagos islands.

Vessels may visit the Galapagos under two different regimes:

  1. Any foreign flagged vessel arriving from a foreign port may visit either Puerto Ayora or Puerto Basquierizo Moreno in the Galapagos in order to "provision". These vessels are allowed up to 20 days in port.
  2. Ecuadorian vessels, or vessels arriving from mainland Ecuador, must obtain a cruising permit (also known as an Autografo). This allows the vessel to stay in the Galapagos for 60 days and to visit the three ports.

There is a persistent rumour that the Galapagos Islands can be visited for 72 by faking an emergency. This is not required. The Capitania takes a dim view of this deception and has supposedly handed out large fines to vessels faking emergency visits.

Scream applied for a cruising permit for the Galapagos island by email. We sent scanned images of our passport and boat registrations to Bolivar Pesantes (naugala at hotmail dot com) along with the following information:

Name of Boat / Nombre del barco:
Ship's Flag / Buques de bandera:
Registration Number /Número de Registro:
Length in meters / Longitud en metros:
Width in meters / Ancho en metros:
Depth in meters / Profundidad en metros:
Gross Tonnage /Tonelaje Bruto:
Propulsion / De propulsión, motor o vela:
Captain's Name / Nombre Capitanes:
Crew Names / Los nombres de la tripulación:
Arrival Port / Puerto de llegada:
Arrival Date / Fecha de llegada:
Departure Date / Fecha de salida:
Length of stay in days / Duración de la estancia, número de días:
Type of Visit / Tipo de visita: Tourist-Only ports or Populated Centers

We were informed by email about one week after we sent our information that our permit has been approved! We later requested a copy of our autografo by email, which we needed to be able to check out of mainland Ecuador.

The fees for the boat were:

  1. Cruising Permit / Autografo $300 (includes agent's fee)
  2. Port Fees / Capitania $102
  3. Lights and Buoys $3 per gross tonne ($73.32 for Scream)
  4. Agriculture Quarantine Inspection $30

The agriculture inspectors reserve the right to have your boat fumigated, at your expense, but they decided that was not necessary.

The fees per person were:

  1. Galapagos residency control $10
  2. National Parks Fee $100

We also paid $20 per person to immigration when we first arrived in Ecuador, but not either time that we re-entered.

More information about cruising the Galapagos is available at Yachtpals.

5 thoughts on “Galapagos Cruising Permit / Autografo

  1. dad ensslen says:

    talk about a money making racket!!!

    sorry to hear that.

    and that in a poor part of the world

    too bad

    i bet the people that fly in are not stiffed like that

    can't you pirate the galapagos?

  2. SV Tula says:

    Darusha and Steven,
    I follow your blogs regularly and enjoy them and keeping up with your progress. Michelle and I wish you the very best for 2010. You are both living all our dreams. We both have just returned from skippering a 47 foot Leopard cat in the Grenadines with 8 people on board. Had a great time. Tame compared with your adventures. I enjoyed the video of the peacock and the sloth(?).
    Keep up the reporting and keep safe,
    Good luck from Mich, me and the Calgary BCA Chapter
    Captain Pedro

  3. Steve says:

    Thanks for the Galapagos Autografo information. Am I to understand that it is not possible to get an Autografo except if one is sailing from an Ecuadorian port to the Galapagos? Is it possible to get an Autografo when departing from a Mexican port ?

  4. Pedro says:

    I was told that to tour in Galapagos Islands, I had to pay $200 for each member of the crew per day and had to hire a guide, if I wanted to cruise in my own boat.Is this information true?

  5. Steven says:

    I have to reiterate that Ecuador is a bureaucratic nightmare: no one knows the rules, especially those charged with enforcing them. Please read that sentence again and try to believe it, I'm not trying to exaggerate.
    The autografo can be arranged in advance from anywhere. It is required for boats leaving mainland Ecuador, but you can get one if you arrive from Mexico. Incidentally, boats leaving Mexico for the Galapagos should not miss swimming with Manta Rays in the islands offshore Mexico.
    If you want to visit more that the three (or possibly 5) anchorages, you need to hire a guide for $200 per day for the boat. Not per person.
    Boats on a budget should seriously consider only visiting Isabella, and not getting the autografo.

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