Galapagos Islands 1 – How to Plan

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And finally I visited Galapagos Islands that inspired one of the most argued theories in the world, the Evolution Theory of Charles Darwin. I was wondering all the time that how a group of teeny tiny islands in the middle of the ocean can have such influencing power. Maybe that’s the reason why I observed everything I see around with great curiousity and hunger for knowledge! At the end of this adventure, I had collected some of the most amazing and unforgettable memories of my entire life.

In the following articles, I’ll be giving you some tips about why this journey will be a lifetime asset. Leave all the experiences aside and get prepared for sunbathing with iguanas, swimming with turtles, sea lions and other sea creatures, exploring giant turtles and breathtaking wonders of nature.

Some Information about Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands contain 19 islands which are located at 1000 km west of Ecuador. The biggest of them is Isabela Island, 4640 sq km. Other populer ones are Santa Cruz, Santiago, Baltra, Fernandina, San Cristobal, Florena, Santa Fe.

There are two airports for transportation to Islands. One of them is on Baltra, other one is on San Cristobal. To those airports, there are scheduled flights everyday from Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador.

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From an island to another you can take boats on scheduled times, but you have to get your tickets in advance –at least one day before- from the tourism agencies on the islands.

Planning Phase

First I have to tell you that you will not have enough time to complete every single event on the islands even though you stay as long as possible. It’s because that you can go different points or do various types of activities, such as scuba diving, trekking, visiting beaches, and all those takes too much time, so there is no limit. There are some tourists spending only five days, so are spending one month. If you ask my opinion on this “limit”, accommodating for 5 nights is enough to have a couple of different experiences I mentioned.

You can spend those 5 nights on one island or you can choose experiencing two different islands to stay. The second option will let you catch different events at different locations more easily. However, keep that in mind, the transfer between the islands takes 2-3 hours and one way ticket costs 30$ each person.

The Cost of Such Trip to Galapagos

Unfortunately, Galapagos Islands is not a cheap destination to visit. Transportation, accommodation, events and the other expenses you will have during your visit will be higher when it’s compared to your previous trips to other locations. I wrote down my expenses, which you can find below in bullets, in order to give you some idea. Please do not forget that some of them may change according to your preferences:

  • Round Trip: There are couple of options as airlines companies, e.g. Avianca, Lan, Tame, to Galapagos. Prices may vary between the companies and the time interval you are planning to visit. I bought my tickets as round trip a couple of days before for 175$ from Avianca Airlines and it’s approximately the average.
  • Tax for Going to Galapagos: I named this tax like this due to a reason. You have to pay a 20$ tax if you want to take the airways from Quito to Galapagos. I do not know whether other airports also have this tax, but most probably they do. Before your check-in, you complete this tax-transaction, go through X-ray and get a Galapagos sticker to attach on your bag. If you do not complete this step, unfortunately you cannot go anywhere.
  • Head Tax for Entering Galapagos: Before you leave the airport and enter Galapagos Islands, this costs a 100$ tax you have to pay.
  • Accommodation: On the islands, you have a variety of hotels or hostels starting from 15$ for one night to choose among. Do not forget to check whether 12% tax and commision for using credit card are included or not -probably they are not.
  • Daily Tours: The most important expense item. This expense’s amount varies in terms of how many and what type of activities you’d like to involve, type of the boat that is arranged for the tour, the tourism agency you will buy your tickets from. In general, these daily tours’ prices are between 80-200$ according to those criteria I mentioned above. Please do not forget to check whether 12% tax is included or not.
  • Food&Beverages: I stayed at Santa Cruz during my 5 day trip in Galapagos, so I’m not familier with the prices on the other islands. I don’t think that they have a huge difference between them. The official currency of Ecuador is USA Dollars and you are on an island –so the prices are a little bit higher than you expect them to be. For example, 2 liters of bottled water is for 2.5$, an average breakfast costs 5$, again an average lunch/dinner is for 15$. Please do not forget to check whether 12% tax and 10% service fee are included or not on menus.

You can check all the expenses in these criteria for my 5 days trip on the table below. I hope it will help you, if you are planning such trip to Galapagos.

Type of Expense Price ($)
Round Trip Plane Ticket (compulsory) 175
Tax for Going to Galapagos (compulsory) 20
Head Tax for Entering Galapagos (compulsory) 100
Accommodation (5 nights) 125
Daily Tours (amount: 2) 245
Food&Beverages (average) 125
Total for 5 days (average) 790

This post is also available in: Turkish

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