How to Visit the Galapagos on a Budget

Going to the Galapagos is a once in a lifetime trip. It's also a drain on travel funds! By doing some homework and making a few decisions about what you really want to do and see, one can find different ways to see the islands and make traveling there less of an expense and more of a journey!


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    Do some homework beyond the guidebook. Things in Ecuador change quickly. Guidebooks cover a lot of ground but don't include all the options that you have. Spend some time on travel forums and find some real people that have traveled to the Galapagos or live in Ecuador. Use non-traditional sites such as Couchsurfing as well.
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    Decide what you want to do within a clear budget. Once you have an idea of what options there are: cruises, volunteer programs, activities such as diving and snorkeling, Decide what a reasonable budget is and how long the trip is going to be. For example, an eight-day cruise costs upwards of two thousand dollars. A three-week volunteer program including flights costs roughly the same. If seeing the islands in style is what is important then a cruise is the best option. But if spending time volunteering in conservation is appealing, then three weeks on three different islands in safari-like conditions can afford more sights with options for more activities during the time set aside for exploring.
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    Contact the people who run the programs and last minute websites. People behind the scenes in tourism know the business. Finding people to work with a budget is possible and a common practice for the good operators. Instead of flying to the Galapagos and searching for a tour, email or call companies and ask if they have a cruise or program that fits your budget. The smaller companies are more than happy to custom fit a trip to a specific time frame and budget if it's reasonable.
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    Make the call and get ready! Once the homework has been done, the decision has been made, and the people have been contacted, sign up and get a confirmation that lists specifics such as boats, destinations, sleeping arrangements, and all costs. People tend to be laid back when handling business in Ecuador so be upfront when handling details and making payments.


  • Knowing the details of the Galapagos before you contact people is important. For example, Airfare is 435.00 to and from the islands. There is an entrance fee for going to the park as well of 115.00. Tour operators can't change these costs. There are also standard practices for transportation between the islands that are either included or additional depending on how you want to travel.
  • Finding people to give you clear information is paramount. The travel forums are packed with people with the wrong ideas and who have a lot of time on their hands. Use them to find links to people in Ecuador who has the experience or contacts that can help.
  • Make the most of the people who you find. If you are communicating with a volunteer organization, ask for their contacts. Email previous volunteers and the people running the projects for a better idea of what the program is about and their thoughts about what they do.

Things You'll Need

  • A good attitude toward traveling
  • A lot of patience for research
  • A bit of luck for finding the right contacts
  • A valid passport

Sources and Citations

  • Volunteer programs.
  • bartender newsletter-, newsletter in the subject.

Article Info

Categories: Reduce Travel Cost