Hearing the word “Galapagos”, people usually jump to the conclusion that this Ecuadorian archipelago costs a fortune. Most of the time, this is a common misconception. Going to the Galapagos might require travelers to spend more money, such as the extra flight and the 100 USD fee for entering. However, it is actually possible to enjoy the Galapagos Islands solo and on a budget. I visited the Galapagos for one whole week during the New Year and ended up spending around 600–700 USD (excluding flight tickets). Want to know how? Keep reading this article!
Skip the cruise
The Galapagos Islands are famous for their cruises, but these cruises normally cost an arm and a leg. Sure, it is possible to get a last minute cruise deal for a cheaper price, but you will still end up paying a large sum of money. So, instead of taking a short cruise to all the islands, go island hopping and stay on the islands instead. Boat rides from each island will cost about 25–35 USD and are offered by multiple companies on the three main islands (Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristóbal).
Create a DIY tour
When planning your trip to the Galapagos Islands, be sure to look at free things to do on each island. There are a wide variety of free activities that you can do on the Galapagos Islands including snorkeling, visiting tortoise breeding centers and cycling along the coast. You might need to rent snorkeling gear or bicycles, but that should not cost more than 10 USD. Create your own itinerary and save the tours for destinations that you truly cannot reach on your own, such as the lava tunnels in Isabela Island.
Don’t be afraid to change accommodations
If you are going to the Galapagos during the high season, it is understandable to want to book your accommodations ahead of time. However, you might want to consider being more flexible. There are many budget accommodations in the Galapagos that are not listed online. Therefore, many travelers actually book a room for the first few days and go room hunting when they get there. There were plenty of rooms available during the high season, so you do not really have to settle for high accommodation prices.
Plan your meals
Those visiting the Galapagos Islands will find both expensive and inexpensive food options. Santa Cruz, the main island of Galapagos, has a street called Kiosco and is a favorite for budget travelers due to the cheap food. During lunchtime, you can get menú del día (menu of the day) consisting of soup, an entrée and drinks for just 4–5 USD; prices for el menú on other islands range around 5–7 USD. Restaurants, however, offer higher prices for their food. Hostels on the Galapagos normally provide a kitchen, so cooking is also an option. You can easily get groceries from local supermarkets on the island and make your own meal.
Start planning your trip to the Galapagos Islands
These are a few ways to enjoy the Galapagos Islands on a budget. If the Galapagos is on your list, do not let people convince you that it is impossible to travel there solo and on a budget. While it does require planning, in the end it is all worth it. Now, what are you waiting for? Start planning your dream trip to the Galapagos Islands today!
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