Drone Laws in the Galapagos

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Galapagos Islands

General Directorate of Civil Aviation of Ecuador (GDCAE) is the directorate responsible for Ecuador which governs the Galapagos Province, however, the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) has strict rules governing photography and drone use in the Galapagos.


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in the Galapagos

The Galapagos agency responsible for drone safety, GNPD, has provided several internet-accessible details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details go to the link above.

Are drones allowed in the Galapagos?

According to GNPD, drones are allowed for limited purposes in the Galapagos, subject to strict GNPD regulations. Read on for more details.

Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in the Galapagos:

Tourists are NOT permitted to fly camera drones anywhere in the Galapagos Islands.

Camera drones may be used for research and monitoring purposes only, subject to strict regulations.

Authorities do acknowledge, however, that many travelers pass through Galapagos on their way to or from other countries. As a result, tourists are permitted to bring drones into Galapagos without fear of confiscation at the airport or elsewhere (unless the drone is caught being used in the air).

Full information can be obtained by contacting the GNPD.

Additional Notes For Tourists

GNPD does acknowledge that many travelers pass through Galapagos on their way to or from other countries. As a result, tourists are permitted to bring drones into Galapagos without fear of confiscation at the airport or elsewhere (unless the drone is caught being used in the air). However, tourists are not permitted to fly drones in the Galapagos.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in the Galapagos

Not allowed. See general rules above.


Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in the Galapagos

The use of drones on the islands is strictly restricted to research and monitoring purposes or with special permission for commercial purposes.

The Galapagos Islands’ wildlife and history make them an appealing location for film and television producers, as well as professional photographers. Any film or professional photography project taking place in protected areas of the Galapagos National Park must submit a formal application to the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) at least 15 working days prior to the start date. Fees vary according to the classification of the project. 

Drone operations can only be undertaken under strict permission from GNPD. Contact the GNPD for more information.


Useful published information on flying drones in the Galapagos

Here is a sample of what you might expect if you were allowed to fly a drone in the Galapagos…

NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


Traveling with a Drone?

Click here to read our Comprehensive Guide For Traveling With A Drone



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IMPORTANT NOTE

The content on this site is collated by volunteers from public general information. This material is not presented as legal advice of any kind, and we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Do not substitute the information you find here for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction. When in doubt, contact the local aviation authority responsible for drone safety, utilize a licensed drone service operator, and/or consult a qualified attorney.

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