How much does a Galápagos Islands cruise cost?
There's no doubt about it: a Galápagos Islands cruise may well be one of the most expensive holidays you will ever take.
We felt a little queasy handing over our credit card and we knew that visiting the Galápagos would make a severe dent in our travel fund, but you know what?
It was one of the best decisions we've ever made.
Cruise - $2000
Flights - $440
National Park entrance fee - $100
INGALA Transit Control Card - $20
Port tax at Puerto Villamil on Isabela island - $20
Bar drinks - $50
Total = $2630 per person
We booked a last-minute cruise, which meant we paid around one-third less than the advertised advance price. At $2000 per person, it still wasn't the cheapest option we could have gone with (we saw other 8-day last minute cruises for as low as $1500) but it fit our desired itinerary and class of boat.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time aboard 'Eden' and would highly recommend it. The pictures of the vessel online do not do it justice, the crew are polite and efficient and our guide Luis was fantastic.
Want to know what we got up to? We'll be publishing our day-by-day itinerary soon.
Flights to the Galápagos Islands from Quito/Guayaquil cost between $400 and $500 year-round. Whether you book one week or six months in advance, you're unlikely to see any severe price fluctuations.
We flew with Tame airline, as Avianca is typically more expensive, and it was actually slightly cheaper to book through our travel agent, Tierra del Fuego.
If you book your cruise through a travel agent, many require that you also book your flights through them (ours didn't). We received emails back from some agencies stating that the flights would be closer to $600, which gives them a sizeable profit...
The National Park entrance fee and INGALA Transit Control Card are non-negotiable; the former you will pay at your departure airport and the latter on arrival at Baltra or San Cristobal.
The listed port tax only applies if you visit Isabela as part of your itinerary.
Of course, purchasing drinks at the bar onboard is not mandatory but recommended by us... who doesn't love sailing the ocean with a cocktail in hand?
Snorkelling equipment and wetsuit hire
Our snorkels and masks were included in the cruise cost, but some boats require payment for the hire of snorkelling equipment as well as wetsuits. Wetsuit hire is usually around $10 per day or rounded down to $50 for the week. We wore T-shirts to protect ourselves from sunburn instead.
These are not mandatory, but are always appreciated if you enjoyed the service of your crew and the hard work of your guide. Many websites, individuals and travel agencies claim that $20 per day, per person, for your guide and around half that for the crew is a 'good' tip, but if you're a couple on a budget like us, an extra $500 isn't feasible.
Just remember to tip what you can afford and what you feel is acceptable for the service received.
So there you have it! Yes, the cost of a Galápagos Islands cruise could buy you a new (shoddy) car, but it's seriously worth it.