When travelling through Ecuador, the question of the Galapagos arises inevitably.
TO GO OR NOT TO GOT TO THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS ?
Of course, because visiting the Galapagos, as many travellers you’ll meet will tell you, it’s VERY expensive.
I’m kind of like, since I’ve gone so far I won’t stop there. In any case, it would cost me much more to come back 😉
The question didn’t arise for very long then.
As I was volunteering in hostels in exchange of accommodation, I had the chance to meet many travellers who gave me their tips and feedbacks from their own trip.
LET’S GO FOR A WEEK IN THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS !
We flew in the morning from Quito to Baltra airport in Santa Cruz.
1st mission: finding accommodation.
Quickly, Jb found us a private room at 30$ the night. So far so good.
2nd mission: organizing our week in the Galapagos.
We went around all the local agencies. First, we were thinking of combining a cruise with day trips to cover a maximum of different things. But we quickly realized that cruises were a waste of time and money as the first and last days of the cruise are dedicated to boarding/disembarking without any activity and it is impossible to combine other excursions on those days because of the schedule.
After all, an agent introduced us very well the Galapagos and in 30 minutes, he planned an itinerary, lodging and trips adapted to what we were looking for with the best deal. No more thinking, we organized our week with him. He took care of everything : boat transfers between the islands, day trips, accommodation, we just had to enjoy our time.
2 nights in Santa Cruz
Day 1 Excursions planning
Day 2 Day trip to Santa Fe
Day 3 Boat from Santa Cruz to Isabela + Los Tuneles Excursion
1 night in Isabela
Day 4 Volcano Excursion + Boat from Isabela to Santa Cruz
2 nights in Santa Cruz
Day 5 Turtle center visit for Juju and Day trip to Daphne for JB
Day 6 Boat from Santa Cruz to San Cristobal + Kicker Rock Excursion
2 nights in San Cristobal
Day 7 Visitor center + last swim with the sealions
Day 8 Return flight from San Cristobal to Guayaquil
There are two airports in the Galapagos, depending on your itinerary, it might be wise to arrive at the first one and leave from the other one, you’ll save on time and boat ticket.
Better to organize your excursions on site since there are often last minute offers and it will always cost you less anyway than booking through an agency before hand.
However, once you are there, book your excursions at the beginning of your trip, you’ll avoid unpleasant surprises and wasting time organizing the following day every time.
We had planned 7 nights / 8 days, the first day being dedicated to the organization of our week. We were very happy because it gave us a good overview of the Galapagos, it was just the right amount of time for us, not to shot nor too long.
It seems like there really is a low season in the Galapagos, we were there in October and we were able to negociate private rooms between 30$ and 35$ a night.
Besides each meal won’t cost you $50 (as per some rumors), there are 7$ menus which you’ll easily find in the street.
Though it is possible to spend about $50 (for 2) in Santa Cruz for exemple, where you can choose your own lobster fresh from the fishermen and cross over to the restaurant which will cook it for you.
Also include in your budget, the National Park entrance fee of $100.
You’ll find banks in Santa Cruz and San Cristobal Islands only. They also exchange currencies at a good rate. Bring enough cash if you are going to Isabela because there isn’t any bank or ATM over there.
The Galapagos landscapes are volcanic and astonishing. In The Galapagos, it’s like entering a different world, a world where wildlife and human beeing cohabit and respect each other. It is usual to sit on a bench where your neighbor is a sealion. Or to eat an icecream on the pier and see rays underneath. Just as normal to have a baby sealion bitting your fin while you are swimming. Because here humans are not seen as predators but rather like playmates coming to pay a visit.
The wildlife is incredible, here is a glimpse of some animals which crossed our path : Sealions, turtles, rays, sharks, dolphins, penguins, seahorses, iguanas, the famous blue foot boobies, ….
To enjoy with respect so that this Garden of Eden can remain.