Galapagos – 15 tips to save a heap of money

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.

Galapagos Iguana

Learn from my mistakes and save a heap of money:

  1. 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.

  2. 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€.

  3. 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.


  4. Airbnb

    This is a great alternative if you are travelling with friends.

  5. Don't book day trips and activities online

    Daytrips and activities are cheaper if booked on the islands.

  6. Haggle!

    Vendors can definitely lower the price but only by USD 10 or so. Every little helps, right?

  7. 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.

    Galapagos Krabbe

  8. 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.

  9. Bring enough sunscreen

    Sun screen and after sun is very expensive. Very expensive.

  10. 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),…

    Galapagos Isabela Flamingo
    Flamingos on Isabela
  11. 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.

  12. Bring your own snorkel equipment

    You can find various spots where you can snorkel on your own (for free!)

  13. Diving without liveaboard

    Book your dive trips on the islands. Doing this can saves you up to USD 80 per day.

  14. 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%.

  15. 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 😉

Keep on travelling


  • Wow! Excellent advice and gorgeous photos, too. Thanks for all the tips – esp about the no plastic! So many of us rely on that when traveling, so it’s good to know these things up front. Really excellent tips!

  • This is a super fun article with great tips! I feel like I could use these tips wherever I choose to travel. My husband and I are beginning to plan a trip for this summer, so I will definitely be sharing this with him. I love your pictures, too! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Great Suggestions!! Especially the booking while on the island for excursions and adventures. I find that true most places, but I had never considered cooking lodging on the island! That makes sooooo much since!

  • Great tips – I’m always nervous about NOT booking places to sleep, that is one of my biggest worries, having had terrible “shut out” experiences. So I commend you for being so bold. How long were you there?

  • great tips. I bookmarked this. Visiting the Galapagos Islands is definitely on my bucket list but every time I look at a trip its always so costly to do the organized group tours. Love that you can find local accommedations and Menu del Dia…feels like walking the Camino again

  • I’m not sure I would be brave enough to only book one night’s accommodation, although everyone always tells me you can always find somewhere to stay once you’re there! Great tips!

  • I used to want to be a marine biologist or work with endangered animals, so the Galapagos is a super romantic place to me. I am so jealous of every one who has been there. Love the photo of the seal passed out on the park bench! My family had a psuedo pet seal way back in the day that came to live with them when it was trying to escape a pod of whales.

  • These are great tips- and most of them apply to multiple places in South America- especially the haggling part and not booking hotels ahead of time beyond the first night. Thanks for your great suggestions!

  • We loved the Galapagos, and yes, it can be done cheaper by spending a little extra time to book it all yourself and piecemeal. I didn’t go diving, but I did take a boat cruise for five days. It was a tiny boat and well worth it. Shop around.

  • OMG I love your picture of the seal on the bench! Love the tips about not booking online in advance too – I’m a planner and its hard for me to leave it until I get to a destination, but if it saves me that much money – I’ll really try!

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