Galapagos Islands: a guide to putting together your budget

Many people’s biggest question when planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands is: just how much is this going to cost me? Figure out your budget by considering the following:

  • The cost of a round-trip flight from your home country to either Quito, Ecuador’s capital, or Guayaquil
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee: USD $100 (subject to change). This is payable in US dollars only, in cash, on arrival to the Galapagos Islands
  • Galapagos Transit control card: $20 (subject to change). Payment is in US dollars only, in cash, at either Quito or Guayaquil airport before boarding your flight to the islands
  • Hotel-based stay: prices start at around $1,400 per person for a five-day tour staying in 3-star hotels (not including flights)
  • Independent travel: public boats between the islands cost around $40 one way, inter-island flights around $160-180 (also one way), hotels start at around $40 per person and full-day trips begin at around $100 per person
  • Don’t forget to budget in extra costs (which are generally not included on a cruise or land-based tour), such as alcoholic drinks, snacks, souvenirs and tips for guides

Galapagos Travel Planner - FREE Download

Photo credit: Flickr/NH53

Charles Darwin Foundation appoints new Executive Director

The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), an international nonprofit organization which conducts scientific research aimed at protecting and conserving the Galapagos Islands, has appointed researcher Dr Arturo Izurieta Valery as its new Executive Director.

Dr Izurieta, who holds a PhD in Natural and Rural Systems Management from the University of Queensland, Australia, most recently worked as Director of the Galapagos National Park from September 2013 to April 2015. He is the first Ecuadorian to take up the position of CDF’s Executive Director in more than 10 years, and replaces Swen Lorenz, who stepped down in May after almost four years in the role.

CDF has been facing financial difficulties since last year, though generous grants and funds raised from a global campaign appear to have secured a brighter future. Lorenz has expressed concerns however about the foundation’s financial situation, saying last month that “CDF is heading into June without funds.”

Professor Dennis Geist, President of CDF, said the appointment of Dr Izurieta is “a real opportunity to take a major step forward in our scientific support of Galápagos conservation and support of national scientific capacity. Arturo is a well-known professional with experience in science, protected area management, and local issues, being an Ecuadorian and permanent resident of the Galapagos.”

Galapagos Travel Planner - FREE Download

Photo credit: The Charles Darwin Foundation 


Traveler spotlight: Galapagos Islands cruise

Starting this month, we will be publishing a monthly Traveler Spotlight where we chat with a tourist who has visited the Galapagos – we’ll find out about their experience and get some great tips. For this month’s spotlight, we spoke to Jena Davidson, who visited the islands on a five-day cruise.

  • What type of trip did you go on in the Galapagos Islands? A cruise.
  • What yacht did you choose? What did you think of it? I stayed on the Fragata yacht. I thought the boat was nice given its reasonable price and excellent itinerary. It was not luxurious, but was comfortable nonetheless. The cabins and common spaces were clean and spacious enough, and the sun deck was a great place to relax, sunbathe, and watch frigate birds and pelicans soar overhead.
  • How long did you stay for? My trip to the Galapagos was for seven days: a five-day cruise, followed by two nights in Puerto Ayora.
  • Which islands did you visit? During my time, I visited Fernandina, Isabela, Santiago and Santa Cruz islands. On Santa Cruz, I specifically visited Puerto Ayora, Tortuga Bay and Las Grietas.
  • What was your favorite experience on the islands? One of my favorite experiences was snorkeling at Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela island. It was surreal swimming among penguins, sea lions, giant marine turtles and lots of other colorful fish. They did not seem at all bothered by my presence and swam right up to me!
  • Would you have done anything differently? I don’t think I would do anything differently, except maybe staying longer! Now I know for next time. I also think a more luxurious boat would have enhanced my experience but I did not have the budget to take one at the time; the more moderate boat did not put a damper on my experience, though!
  • What advice would you give to people planning to take a trip to the Galapagos islands? I would definitely recommend considering adding a land extension to your Galapagos cruise, either before or after your tour. That way, you get both the boat-based and land-based tour experience and can extend the range of your trip. From both Puerto Ayora and Puerto Villamil, there are several free visitor sights, and it is also possible to schedule day trips to neighboring islands. You may even consider spending a few days scuba diving or getting your scuba diving certification. Both towns are nice places to stay and have their own charm.

Galapagos Travel Planner - FREE Download

Photo credit: Flickr/Steven Bedard