Ever since we departed for this epic adventure I’ve been extremely conscious of our budget – and watching as our bank account takes hits for every exciting thing we choose to do. Out of the two of us, I’m definitely the one who counts the pennies, so I thought I’d break down the costs of an adventure to the Galapagos Islands for anyone who might be thinking about planning one. This is what it cost us – obviously timing plays a major role hear, as you’ll see below.

All the reading we did on travel forums recommended flying to Quito and then pounding the pavement in the Mariscal district to try and get a last minute deal on a cruise. We had read stories of travelers who got up to 50% off by doing this – which to me sounded awesome. From our reading we knew we wanted to do a 8 day/7night cruise, and Jordan was really set on a first class boat because some of the reading he’d done said that they often have better quality naturist guides, and that on the tourist class boats sometimes they don’t even speak English. So with those requirements in mind, we set off.

We visited probably a dozen tourist agencies in the area and they all said that because it was “Semana Santa” most of the boats were fully booked: no cancellations, no last minute deals to be had. They had things for a couple weeks later, but we had already booked our hike to Machu Picchu so we only had a couple days wiggle room. Eventually we were able to find a first class boat called Queen Beatriz that had space for us, but only on a 5 day/4 night cruise. We decided to take it, and just head to the islands before the cruise and do some exploring on our own.

So without further ado…


  • Cost of Cruise: $1,450USD per person ($2,900 total) – *Normally would have cost $2,305pp, though I had wanted to get it for $900USD as my target price*
  • Flights from Quito to Santa Cruz and Back: $480USD per person ($960 total)
  • Airport Exit Fee in Quito (everyone has to pay this): $20USD per person ($40USD total)
  • Entry into the National Park (everyone has to pay this): $150USD ($100 for Jordan and $50 for me because I’m South American)
  • Tips for Guide and Crew on Cruise (this is pretty much expected): $200USD
  • Bar Tab on Boat: $6USD (Jordan had a beer and I had a coke one night)
  • Accommodation in Santa Cruz for 3 nights: $50USD per night ($150 total)
  • Food in Santa Cruz for 3 days: $150USD (approximately) – this place isn’t cheap!
  • Taxi to and from airport in Quito: $26USD each way ($52 total)

TOTAL COSTS: $4,608USD (which works out to around $6000 CAD – OUCHIE!), or $2,304USD per person Value for Money: 4/5 – There’s no way around this, it was far more expensive than I wanted it to be. It works out to $658/day for us as a couple, which is in my opinion nuts, but Jordan thought it was worth it. It IS a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, though I would have preferred doing a lower class of boat (like a tourist class) and with a more flexible departure schedule I think we could have maybe even halved this total.