The cost of a trip to the Galapagos Islands largely depends on whether you are looking at a cruise or a land-tour. Galapagos cruises do cost more than most land-based tours, and rates vary widely depending on which ship, cabin, or season you are traveling in. While all cruises include meals and activities, some pricier ones include wetsuits, snorkeling gear, wifi, and gratuities.
Be sure to check the specifics of what’s included in your Galapagos trip cost so you don’t have any surprises. Keep in mind, too, that there are expenses in addition to the basic cruise cost. Here is a checklist of Galapagos tour costs to consider when planning a cruise:
1. Getting to the Galapagos Islands
Airline tickets are a large factor in the cost of trips to the Galapagos Islands. We highly recommend that you arrive into mainland Ecuador (Guayaquil or Quito), at least two days prior to your departure. Most flights from the USA arrive in Ecuador late at night, so if there is an unexpected glitch causing a delay or your flight is cancelled, you may miss your morning flight from the mainland to the Galapagos. And that flight is timed to connect with your cruise departure. Delays are likely to cause you to miss your cruise. And that’s too costly an investment to risk.
A round-trip ticket from the mainland to the Galapagos can cost as much as $600. Children aged 11 and under (at time of travel) can get up discounts up to 50% depending on the airline for flights, but also for the Galapagos national park fee and migration card.
Learn more about the best way to get to the Galapagos Islands in our other blog post.
2. Peak Season for Galapagos Cruising
Summer (June to September), December, and January are high-seasons when demand, and, therefore, cost is highest.
3. How Many Days Will You Spend Cruising the Galapagos?
- Short cruise (5 days or less): Average rates are $2500 per person and up, depending on the cabin category and season.
- Longer cruises (8 days or longer): Average rates are $4500 per person and up, depending on the cabin category and season.
4. Park Fees
Most foreign tourists over age 12 pay $100. (About 40 percent of that goes directly to the park.) In addition there is a $20 per person migration card, fuel surcharges (up to $350 per person), local taxes and service fees.
5. Size and type of Ship
Choosing a ship is one of the most important decisions you will make in looking at the cost of a trip to the Galapagos Islands. There are about 70 ships cruising the Galapagos, ranging from tourist class to luxury ones, small yachts to catamarans and expedition ships. You can go tourist class for about $350 a day or cruise in your own five-cabin charter for $150,000 a week.
Some ships are small, carrying no more than 20 passengers. Large ships carry as many as 100. Amenities and cabin sizes vary accordingly.
6. The Newest Way To Tour the Galapagos
When time is short but you want to visit a variety of islands and/or see the most wildlife is to island hop by plane. This is also the way to go if you’d like to spend several days on certain islands that have hotels and take day-trips to nearby islands from there.