April 22nd, 2016
When heading to the Galapagos Islands for a trip, you have two options: to join a cruise boat hosted by a multitude of tourism agencies, or choose to go off the beaten path and enjoy your trip on land. While there are pros and cons to both types of travel, here are four reasons why staying on land and taking day trips in the Galapagos might be the way for you to have the trip of a lifetime and stay within your budget.
Most 5 day / 4 night cruises in the Galapagos are above $2,500 USD per person. While this does include all activities, food and lodging, staying on land is easily the more affordable way to travel. For four land tours on your five days (including transportation to and from the airport), a Bucket Pass Galapagos goes for $550. Add meals ($150), lodging ($50/night), and any extra activities or costs ($100), you could price this for around $1,000 or less. While you may not get the variety of experiences, you will save half the cost of traveling on a cruise boat. If you’re looking for ways to really budget your travel, this blog includes a price breakdown, information about free activities on the islands, and ways to make your trip even less.
When tourists stay on land, they get to make their own itinerary by choosing day trips and selecting the order in which they would like to go on them. Do you want one day to just lay on the beach in the middle of your trip? Or perhaps you are a bit spontaneous and like to take recommendations from people you meet on your way. By staying on land, you can easily decide to scuba with sharks on Monday, tour the beaches by yacht on Tuesday, then take Wednesday off before hang gliding through a canopy of trees.
Reasons to Stay on Land in the Galapagos
#3. Be More Local
Want to walk the streets with the local Galapagueños or even eat at the restaurants with them? By staying on land, you better support the local economy and encourage employment on the islands. This option gives you much more diversity of sights, sounds, and flavor of authentic culture. It’s a less touristic experience, giving you time to have real conversations, learn about the local politics, and explore the town streets. For food, cruise down the back roads to find authentic cuisine. The plato del día (plate of the day) at a local dive, including a drink, entree, and side, can be found for less than $5. We recommend a favorite called K.F. Williams for dinner, a place for locals and tourists alike.
Beds on boats can be cramped and rocky to say the least. By staying on land, you can check out some of the cute boutique hotels on the island for a more custom experience and comfort at night. Some of the top ranked hotels on the island include Hotel Solymar ($350/night), Hotel Fernandina ($150/night), or try a hostel with a shared room for less than $15 a night. Not to mention, if you’re one prone to seasickness, this the best way to go.