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The individual traveller’s guide to Galápagos

Day 8 – AV1684 from GYE to GPS

You can easily take US Dollars with you, it seems it’s their main currency. Make sure to have enough cash with you (especially when you haven’t paid your hotel in advance – ours didn’t accept credit cards).

Before even being allowed to check our bags to Baltra (airport code: GPS) it cost us USD 20 per person for some tourist cards. This way they register your passport and the inbound flight you’re on to one of the islands.

Then your bags need to go through a special screening process to ensure you’re not taking anything with you that might damage the fragile ecosystem. Quito airport (UIO) is not that large and in the departure hall you will find the Galápagos registration booth and luggage screening on the far right side when you enter from the street.

We were even asked if our hiking boots were clean so we wouldn’t bring dirt from anywhere else. Equipped with a special green tag on each of our backpacks and the suitcase we were allowed to check it in and pass through security.

Arriving on either of the Galápagos Islands will cost you another USD 100 per person (entry for the National Park).

We are not exactly on a budget, but since we have some other stops on our South American expedition we’re not keen on going on a 4,000-Dollar-cruise, either. We need some basic comfiness and my days of sleeping in a dorm with a shared bathroom are definitely over.

The Airfare was about 700 USD for two, we only booked some weeks in advance.

This already sums up to USD 1,300 for two people and five nights of sleep in a decent hotel (USD 360 for a double room). We haven’t eaten yet and we are definitely not going to do nothing, so snorkeling and other activities are certainly going to stretch our budget further.

In total all five days will cost us additional USD 670 for two. That comes to a total of USD 1,970 for two people or USD 985 per person.

You can see the rest of the daily costs at the end of the post.

Cost cutting: Sure, we could have had less cocktails and we could have slept in a hostel for much less money, but missing the comfort was not worth it.

To do day trips and remain on one single island is – all in all – not the best way to fully experience the Galápagos Islands. If you have more time to spare, plan at least three days to go to Isabela Island from Santa Cruz and discover the volcanos or do another snorkeling trip. The ferry to whichever island has a fixed price of USD 30 per person, per trip and it takes about three hours to go from Santa Cruz to Isabela.

In case you are more flexible and have a bigger purse, arrive before the weekend and check out last-minute availability for a 7-day-cruise. Prices are around USD 1,900 per person, which is far less than booking in advance. Most cruises start on a Monday, so you’ll have enough time to compare prices. The value for money is great, because they have daily activities (which easily cost 100 dollars per person, per day, like the ones we booked) and usually provide breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, you get to go to all sorts of sites overnight and don’t need to plan extra time for that.

// clean and calm, around USD 50 per night: Hotel Brisas del Pací­fico

// reliable Star Alliance Airline going to Galápagos from Quito: Avianca

General costs for two

USD 700 for the return airfare (Quito – Baltra) with Avianca

USD 360 for a decent place to sleep for five nights

USD 40 baggage fee (counts per person, not per bag, we had three of them)

USD 200 Galápagos national park entrance fee


04.05. – exploring Puerto Ayora

USD 14 lunch for two

USD 19 for an appetizer and two cocktails

USD 3 for dinner (three empanadas and we were done)

USD 10 additional cocktails

USD 3.20 for the boat shuttle to Las Grietas to swim


05.05. – biking on Santa Cruz, Galápagos

USD 6.75 for breakfast

USD 40 bike rental (whole day) C/ Baltra 150 – super friendly, elderly man. The bikes came with helmets and tools, in case something would go wrong, but all was in excellent condition.

USD 20 for a taxi taking us up to Los Gemelos

USD 2.50 snacks and drinks on the road

USD 20 for dinner (consisting of ice cream for Daniel…) and drinks (cocktails, of course, and water)


06.05. – Day trip to Pinzón Island

USD 200 for the day trip including lunch, snacks and water

USD 6.50 breakfast

USD 3 for dinner (empanadas, again)

USD 20 for two cocktails & quesadillas


07.05. – Day trip to Daphne Island

USD 260 for the day trip, including lunch, Tuna Sashimi and water

USD 5.50 for breakfast (cheese sandwich, plunder, milkshake)

USD 3.50 Batido (milkshake)

USD 10 for two cocktails

USD 2 for dinner (empanadas, what else)


08.05. Leaving

USD 5 for breakfast (typical Ecuadorian breakfast: Bolón con queso y pollo, tea)

USD 13 for a shared taxi ride to the airport

USD 2 for the ferry at Itabaca Channel (to the airport at Baltra Island)

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