Most people associate luxury cruises they could never afford with the Galapagos and that’s exactly how the majority travels the crown jewel of Ecuador. But as we are on a world trip budget and it was a main travel goal for us, we had to find another way.
It starts with the flight which is approx. $200 return for locals but $400 for foreigners. If you try to trick the airline you risk a fine of $170 per way or an involuntarily upgrade to the most expensive booking class at the airport.
To get on the island you also pay $20 for tourist control and $100 park conservation fee. But once on the island it gets better. Accommodation and food are not particularly expensive. A basic double room is about $40 and a delicious seafood dinner about $10. Further on you can get last minute deals for boats down to $1’500 per person in a bunk bed for an 8d/7n cruise. This price didn’t include diving, so we asked for alternatives. And that’s the point when our travel agent Andrea was getting started.
She mapped us an entire plan for our 11 full days on the Galapagos, reaching the same points as the cruise including three full days of snorkeling and animal watching trips, two full days of diving, a volcano hike and free experiences we could do on our own for “only” $900 per person.
That was even less than what we had expected and after about an hour we went for dinner with the knowledge that our Galapagos adventure was ready to get started the very next day.