Galapagos – 15 tips to save a heap of money
I have wanted to travel to the Galapagos Islands for years but the islands aren’t as budget friendly as one may hope. It’s very easy to fall for tourist traps and booking things while there will save you a lot of money.
Learn from my mistakes and save a heap of money:
Flexible travel dates
Often flights and accommodation are cheaper in the shoulder seasons. Play around with dates to find the best deals. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast though! Sometimes there is a reason why prices are low.
Book seperate tickets
Book two separate tickets to save money. Book one ticket to Quito or Guayaquil and another one to the Galapagos Islands. Save up to 300€.
Only book a place to stay for the first night
It is so much cheaper to find accommodation on the islands. A lot of hotels aren’t on booking sites. You can definitely use booking, etc to give you an idea of what is on offer though.
This is a great alternative if you are travelling with friends.
Don't book day trips and activities online
Daytrips and activities are cheaper if booked on the islands.
Vendors can definitely lower the price but only by USD 10 or so. Every little helps, right?
Share taxi rides
The drive from/to the airport on Baltra (airport for the island of Santa Cruz) is quite long and costs about USD 25. Try asking some travellers on the ferry to Puerto Ayora if they want to share a ride with you.
Take advantage of the Menu del Día
Look out for smaller restaurants offering set menus (starter, main and dessert) at prices between USD 5-8. Larger restaurants tend to be ridiculously overpriced.
Puerto Ayora: many of those smaller restaurants can be found in the Charles Binford street. Isabela: head towards the beach to find them.
Bring enough sunscreen
Sun screen and after sun is very expensive. Very expensive.
Cheap or free activities
Many, many tours are being offered but I found a few things you can do for free or cheap (ish) like Las Grietas, Darwin Center, Los Gemelos (perfect if you are coming from or are on the way to the airport),…
Bring your own food
Don’t forget to check what you can bring. Check out the goverments official list of foods you are allowed to bring into the islands (the list is in Spanish but it is quite easy to translate it using tools like Google Translate)
Examples of what you can bring: peanuts and rice.
Bring your own snorkel equipment
You can find various spots where you can snorkel on your own (for free!)
Diving without liveaboard
Book your dive trips on the islands. Doing this can saves you up to USD 80 per day.
Diving with liveaboard
It is also cheaper to book your liveaboard trip on the islands. You can find last minute offers and can save up to 60%.
No plastic money on Isabela
There aren’t any ATMs on Isabela und most places do not accept debit and credit cards. Don’t forget to bring enough cash with you or you will have to wire yourself money with Western Union (fees can be quite costly!).
There is only one more thing for me to add: have wonderful time exploring the Galapagos Islands and start saving now 😉