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Galapagos...by land?

New York, New York
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73 posts
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Galapagos...by land?

We are two adventurous naturalist types. We've always wanted to go to the Galapagos but always thought it was out of our price range. I did some searching around and it seems like there are some pretty decent budget land based options.

We figured out when we'd go (August 10-18), air to Ecuador then to the Galapagos but anything past that we're lost. Would we be missing the wildlife by not taking a cruise? What islands would / could we visit through ferry? What islands can we stay on? What islands have budget options? We prefer a room to ourselves as opposed to a dormitory hostel type situation (though if the price difference is too much, would sacrifice this extra comfort). Also, what are costs of living such as food in the Galapagos? Any suggestions as to the islands, accommodations, resources etc. would be helpful.

I am also an avid diver (my travel companion doesn't dive, only snorkels), and would love to do a dive (but realize it's very expensive, so probably wouldn't do more than one/two).

Thanks a lot,


Garden Grove...
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1. Re: Galapagos...by land?

The Galapagos are not very budget friendly. You can do a land tour, but you really will be missing out on many of the islands. There are no "ferry" options per se, although there are boats that leave for the other islands out of Santa Cruz. The main town is Puerto Ayora, which is on Santa Cruz Island. There are hotels on 2 other islands, but they are very small towns. You will be able to do day trip dives out of Pto. Ayora.

If budget is really a problem, I suggest saving for a while to take a cruise. It is worth it wait and take a cruise so that you can really see the diversity of the different islands.

Here is an approximate breakdown of what you will pay, just to get to the islands.

Ecuador to Galapagos Flight: $400 pp (I believe it might be less from Guyaquil rather than Quito.)

Park Entrance fee- (said to be going up soon) $100 pp cash

Immigration card- $10 pp cash.

Knoxville, Tennessee
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for Pigeon Forge
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2. Re: Galapagos...by land?

If you are "Naturalist Types" you are going to LOVE the Galapagos. I know you know that but it can not be overstated. The animal life is incredible.

There are varying opinions over whether land or boat based trip is best here. We choose to stay on land for a week and took 3 or 4 day trips to the nearest islands which are also the most visited by the cruise ships.

We just wanted a more private and quite trip than the cruise boats allowed. It's all in what you want. As I recall the trips ran between $75 and $100 each per person. We used Nortada Tours which was the best according to our research. Our hotel arranged the trips for us months in advance as their trips fill up very early. The ride was great in that it was short, sunny and we saw lots of fish, turtles and rays. I remember there were about 15 people on each trip and the boat was about 50 feet in length.

The islands we visited were North Seymour, Bartolome and North and South Plaza Islands and saw a wonderful variety of animals.

You can have a great experience with a land based tour and see hundreds of animals of all types from fish, turtles, iguanas, penguins and many many more. We also had great snorkeling (included in price) at Bartolome and South Plaza islands with lots of fish and young sea lions. A group of tropical penguins were also on Bartolome. Amazing!

Have a great trip no matter how you visit the islands.


3. Re: Galapagos...by land?

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