Galapagos Islands On A Budget – Everyone wants to know, “Is it expensive to go to the Galapagos?” SO. No question about it. But lucky for you, we’re going to share our top tips for traveling on a budget because we believe it’s not just a place for the rich to visit.
Soaking up the sun and hanging out with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands seems like a distant dream, doesn’t it? But it is not necessary.
Galapagos Islands On A Budget
But lucky for you, we’re going to share our top tips for traveling on a budget because we believe it’s not just a place for the rich to visit.
Visiting The Galapagos On A Budget
We’ll even share the exact amount we spent so you have an idea of what you’re getting into.
Although not as budget-friendly as many other South American destinations, it’s definitely possible to visit this amazing archipelago even if you’re not a millionaire.
While traveling through South America, we had no intention of visiting the Galapagos. From everything I read I knew it was insanely expensive and that was enough to keep us away. After all, we were on a pretty tight budget. But after countless travelers we met along the way told us stories about this magical place, we were finally convinced that since we had already been to Ecuador, a trip to the Galapagos would never be cheaper.
We thought of it this way: sure, in 10 years we’ll (hopefully) have more money in our savings account, but there’s a good chance the environmental wonder won’t be the same. The ecosystem on the islands is already largely damaged by tourism.
How To See The Galapagos Islands On A Budget
Side note: When visiting the Galapagos, travel with awareness. Don’t litter (go the extra mile and pick up some bits of litter while you’re there!), choose companies that care about the environment and don’t harm animals!
Realizing that there is no better time to visit the Galapagos Islands than now, we disagreed and bought a last minute plane ticket. We were fully aware that this excursion would break the budget we had set for our 3 month trip, but we were determined to do everything we could to keep costs as low as possible. And we did very well!
Perfect! I promise this is a trip of a lifetime that you won’t regret. There are so many things to do in the Galapagos Islands that you will be talking about for years.
And we’re here to help you plan! We’ve learned a lot along the way, and we’re excited to share everything we know about budget travel to the Galapagos so you can get the most bang for your buck!
Days On A Budget Galapagos Islands Tour In San Cristobal By Ecuador Galapagos Travels
And that includes having the right travel gear. Our friends at Practical Wanderlust have a great Galapagos packing list to prepare you for any island adventure.
I’m going to share all of our top tips for traveling to the Galapagos on a budget, but first let me break the bad news… Even if you follow these tips exactly, you’ll still be spending a lot of money when you visit the islands. Yes, these tips will save you money (hopefully a lot!), but it’s still a very expensive place to travel. There is no way around it.
What you can do is have a solid budget plan. That way you will be prepared and it will be much more fun than if you come in with unrealistic expectations.
Tip #1: The cheapest city to fly to is usually Guayaquil. And yes, that means you need to calculate the cost of your trip to Ecuador first. Tip 2: If you’re flexible with your time, use Skyscanner’s ‘all month’ feature to find the cheapest dates to fly. (When selecting departure and return dates, click “whole month” instead of a specific date.)
Helpful Tips For Your Galapagos Islands Vacation!
I know you don’t want to hear this, but the cost of accommodation, food and entertainment in the Galapagos Islands is much more comparable to the US than the rest of Ecuador. Be prepared to spend at least 3 times what you would in the rest of the country.
If you already know it will break your budget, consider a cheaper option: visit Isla de la Plata (also known as “The Poor Man’s Galapagos”).
The absolute cheapest way to explore the Galapagos is to stay on land. You can take day trips to the sea and island hopping. If you’re on a budget, this is definitely the way to go!
Another way to see the islands is on a cruise. Although I don’t have personal experience of traveling around the islands in this way, we have met travelers who have had both good experiences and terrible experiences. If cruising seems more your style, there are a few things to consider.
Your Once In A Lifetime Trip To The Galapagos Islands On A Budget
Sure, there are ads for “budget cruises,” but remember, you get what you pay for. Why come to one of the most amazing places in the world only to have the experience of being in a cramped boat with bad staff and mixed food. There are some good mid-price carriers out there and there are some advantages to traveling this way, but make sure you go with a quality, ethical carrier before you book.
Check out reviews and ratings for every cruise you’re going on. We did some research for you and we like Liveaboard.com. They have quality boats from all over the world in their network and can arrange the best Galapagos trip for you. They specialize in diving, so if you want to see this magical place underwater, look no further.
Remember that you can see everything you see on a boat with island stops and day trips out to sea. That way, even if you stay in a bad hotel, you only need to sleep there. If you’re on a cruise, you’re stuck.
We found that there are plenty of options for luxury and mid-range accommodation, but budget hotels are sorely lacking.
Diverse Ecuador And The Galapagos Islands On A Budget
If you are only looking for budget rooms, you have limited availability. Let me tell you, some of these budget places are just disgusting. Think rude owners, rooms with stained sheets and rotten ceilings…oh, and waking up in the middle of the night with a cockroach scurrying across your face is also unpleasant.
When we first arrived on the islands, we stopped at two of these places because we didn’t do our research.
The good news for you is that you can avoid bullshit. The bad news is that decent, affordable hotels book up quickly. Internet in the Galapagos is also very slow, so you need to do your research beforehand.
A great place to relax, each room has a kitchenette and an unlimited supply of purified drinking water. This place is a bit out of the way – about a twenty minute walk to the centre. Although taxis are cheap on the island and if you don’t want to walk, it only costs $1 to get downtown.
Planning A Diy Trip To The Galápagos
You can’t always control the time of year you visit, but high season (June – September and December – January) will obviously cost more than low season.
In addition to the time of year, consider how many days you want to spend in the Galapagos. Visiting for a short period of time does not always mean you will save money. Generally speaking, the longer you stay, the less you’ll actually spend per day.
It goes without saying that a month in the Galapagos will cost you a small sum. You have to find that sweet spot where you have enough days to travel slowly, but not so many that you spend unnecessary money.
We spent a week in the Galapagos, enough to see the three main islands. Although we had to rush a bit the last couple of days which cost us more money than we would have otherwise spent. In my opinion, 10 days would be ideal.
Day Itinerary And Budget For The Galapagos
While most tourists flock to Italian pizzerias and Western restaurants, keep an eye out for locals for cheap Ecuadorian food.
On Santa Cruz Island: At night, look no further than Binford Street for great people watching and even better food. The seafood looks delicious and is undoubtedly very fresh, but it is still expensive. Instead, sit at one of the many outdoor restaurants and order Cazuela de Camarones, a traditional “stew” made with plantains, spices and shrimp. This $12 dish was delicious and more than enough for the two of us to share.
As with most of our travels, we bought drinks at the market to avoid paying top dollar at the bars.
There are countless restaurants that advertise happy hours that last most of the day. Despite the discounts, the drinks still aren’t cheap. Too much for our backpacking blood!
How To Visit The Galapagos Islands On A Budget
So grab a case of wine or a bottle of rum, head to the beach and enjoy
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