Galápagos

Galápagos

Galapagos Islands are the Eden garden on Earth. Imagine a beautiful pacific island, with turquoise crystal waters and astonishing volcanic landscapes. Walking among playful sea lions, idle marine iguanas and fearless giant turtles are certainly a dream come true for nature lovers. Undoubtedly, what it makes these islands so unique is that they are bursting with incredible endemic wildlife. It’s believed that a trip to the islands is very costly. Purchasing a 7-day cruise can be insanely expensive, but if you plan it on your own, you might be surprised to see the difference.


The main expense in this trip is the flight to the islands. It costs around $480 return from Quito. Ecuadorians can enjoy a lower fee ($280) while this is even lower for locals ($200). Foreigners cannot benefit of any discount from the airline. It’s cheaper to fly from Guayaquil. The second main expense is the entry ticket to Galapagos National Park. Babies under 2 are free of charge. International tourists pay ($100, $50<12 years) Latin- Americans ($50, $25<12 years) and Ecuadorians ($6, $3<12 years). Once the tourist arrives to the islands the cost of life is a lot more manageable. Accommodation starts from $30 per couple, a full meal is $5 and taxies charge a flat rate of $1.5 within the city. Ferries between the islands cost $30. ATM machines are available in the most populated islands. Credit card payments entail a 28% commission and very few establishments accept credit cards. It’s recommended to withdraw cash before you reach the islands to avoid these high fees.


It’s quite easy to spend more than a week exploring the fascinating landscapes of Galapagos without spending a cent. However, some of the most spectacular attractions are away from the villages. Daytrips work daily and can take you to these fantastic destinations. Prices range from $35 to $200, depending on the activity and the trip. To sum up, to make the most of your experience in Galapagos, it’s required to spend 7 to 15 days and at least $80 a day. Most people dedicate 6 to 9 days. It’s not advisable to spend less than 5 days.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

Flight Quito – Santa Cruz. Arrival to the hotel at midday. Visit the Charles Darwin Center in the afternoon. Buy the boat tickets to Isabela Island for the next morning.

Book the tikets here
Muro de las lagrimas

Isabela

The boat to Isabela leaves at 7.00am and it takes 2 and a half hours to arrive. Most hotels are walking distance from the port unless you are carrying heavy luggage. Check-in at the hotel. Visit the historic Muro de las Lagrimas (The Wall of Tears) by bike (rent $5/ day) or by foot (12km return, 4 hours). Along the way, there are numerous stopping points such as lookouts and little beaches replete with marine iguanas. It’s a truly beautiful pathway. Keep your eyes open, you might sight a giant turtle rambling in the forest.

Concha y Perla

Concha y Perla

Go snorkeling to “Concha y Perla”. This accessible snorkel point, nearby the port, is the perfect place to encounter seals, turtles and other marine animals. Snorkel gear is available to rent in hotels and shops. It’s recommended to go during low tide to avoid strong currents. Note that seals are often seen swimming in “Concha y Perla” in very sunny days. Visit the Galapaguera, Isabela’s turtle breeding center. Follow the same direction as to El Muro de las Lagrimas, after you’ve passed the last hotel, turn right. There it is the pathway that will lead you to La Galapaguera. This pathway is built on a wetland. Along the side way there is the “Laguna Salinas”. Take a few minutes to observe the abundant bird life that inhabits this natural spot. Bird photographers will be mesmerized by the beauty of the wild flamingo. Continue straight, and you will reach the breeding center in 30 minutes. Amazingly, here you’ll come across turtle species from every Galapago Island. Buy the tour for Sierra Negra and Los Tuneles ($110).

Volcn Sierra Negra

Volcán Sierra Negra

Tour to Sierra Negra Volcano ($35, $25 extra on horseback). It’s a walk to the volcano crater where you’ll be able to observe the adjoining islands.

Los Tuneles

Los Tuneles

Tour to “Los Túneles” (“The Tunnels”). This is probably one of the best tours in Galapagos, and there are only 100 quotas per day. You’ll be picked up at the hotel in the morning and taken by boat to a spot to snorkel for a few hours. You’ll be able to sight sharks, marine turtles, stingrays, seahorses, seals and a wide variety of endemic fishes. The agencies usually surcharge a $5 fee for the wetsuit

Tortuga Bay

Tortuga Bay

Return to Santa Cruz by boat. Walk to “Tortuga Bay”, the most famous and beautiful beach in Santa Cruz. Your pictures won’t make justice. It takes 40 min each way. You need to arrive to a park and follow a pathway to the beach. Note that the park is fenced and there are opening hours. If time permits, walk to “Las Grietas” ( The Clefs), these are natural pools. You need to catch a water taxi ($1) and then follow the pathway. It takes around 40 min walk each way. Finally, visit the country house of “El Chato” ($3 per person). In this setting, giant turtles live in their natural habitat. It’s possible to rent a van and a driver for 2 hours that will wait for you and take you back for $30. The country house is 12km away from town (20 min) Buy the tour to “Bartolome island” ($180)

Quito

Regreso a Quito

This fantastic tour includes 2 dives and all the equipment that you need. Return to Quito. Buses Santa Cruz-Baltra operate from 7am.

transporte iwanatrip

TRANSPORT INSIDE THE ISLANDS

BALTRA AIRPORT SANTA CRUZ

From Baltra airport there is a free bus to the ferry that goes to Santa Cruz. The boat cost $1 per person and it takes 5 minutes to cross to the other island. Once you are in Santa Cruz, there is a bus that costs 2$ per person that takes you to the city. You can also catch a taxi (white van) and this cost $18 to town. It takes 40 min. You can then walk to the hostel or get another taxi (white van) that charges a flat rate of $1.5 to any place in the city.

SANTA CRUZ ISABELA ($30)

Boats with capacity for 24 people are run twice a day in both islands: Santa-Cruz-Isabela (7am & 2pm) and Isabela-Santa Cruz (6am & 3pm). It cost $30 per person per trip. Tickets are sold at any travel agency or hotel in Santa Cruz or Isabela and it’s possible to buy them in advance.

SAN CRISTOBAL SANTA CRUZ ($30)

Boats covering this journey operate exactly in the same way as Santa Cruz- Isabella in terms of price, frequency, capacity and distribution of tickets. Timetables are as follows: San Cristobal- Santa Cruz (8am & 2pm) and Santa Cruz-San Cristobal (7. 30am & 2pm).

AIRLPLANE TRASPORT BETWEEN THE ISLANDS

Light aircrafts with capacity for 9 people operate between the main islands. The aircraft is subject to the following schedule and itinerary: San Cristobal- Isabela (7am), Isabela-Baltra (8.30am) Baltra-Isabela (1pm) Isabela- San Cristóbal (2pm).Each section of the itinerary can be bought for $155 (foreigners), $125 (Ecuadorian) or $95 (Galapagos residents) and it takes about 30min.