Galapagos Trip Cost Explained

May 2, 2024 • Todd Smith
A breakdown of Galapagos trip cost and other factors that affect your budget. Our experts share money saving tips. Contact us for a free quote. One call can save hours of internet research.
A bright blue sunny day in the Galapagos a mother and two kids explore an island filled with green cacti and bright red plants

The Galapagos Islands – a haven for unique wildlife, volcanic landscapes, and unparalleled ecological wonders. It’s no surprise it tops many travelers’ bucket lists. But how much does a Galapagos trip or a Galapagos cruise actually cost? Fear not, intrepid explorer, our experts share their insider knowledge to answer the question “How much is a trip to the Galapagos Islands?”

The average cost of a 5-day Galapagos cruise is about $3,000 per person. The average cost of a 5-day Galapagos land tour is about $2,500 per person. Luxury trips can cost $5,000 per person or more.

IN THIS POST – Galapagos Trip Cost:
Galapagos Price Factors
Galapagos Cruise Cost
Galapagos Land Tour Cost
Galapagos Cost by Season
Galapagos Trip Price – What’s Included?
Galapagos Flight Cost
Extra Galapagos Costs
Why Are Galapagos so Expensive?
Deals & Tips to Save
How Much Does it Cost to Visit Galapagos?

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The Breakdown: Galapagos Price Factors

Firstly, understand there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Your Galapagos Islands trip cost hinges on several factors including your travel style. Whether you book a cruise or land tour, the time of year you travel, when you book, level of luxury and more will affect the overall price.

In addition to the trip price, there are additional expenses travelers should account for to calculate the full Galapagos trip cost. These added costs include flights, arrangements in mainland Ecuador and national park entrance fees.

Galapagos Cruise Prices Explained

Many travelers will consider a cruise to make the most of their time in the Galapagos. See our detailed post on the differences between Galapagos Cruise or Land Tours.

Two of the most common questions we receive are: “How much does a Galapagos cruise cost?” and “Why are Galapagos cruises so expensive?” We’ll break down the answers in detail below. 

Galapagos cruise cost varies widely based on several factors. The number of days, the time of year, when you book, the ship itself and cabin category are the primary factors influencing Galapagos cruise prices. 

How much does a Galapagos cruise cost?

The average cost of a 5-day Galapagos cruise is about $3,200 USD. Breaking it down further, using the factors described above our experts detail prices for budget, mid-range and luxury cruises.

Budget Galapagos Cruise Cost

The most affordable Galapagos cruises cost about $1,500 for a 4-day cruise or $2,500 for an 8-day cruise or about $300 per person per day.  At this price level expect simple accommodations and basic meals. Boats may have bunk beds and no air conditioning. Guides may speak limited English. Shore excursions and snorkeling are always included, but you must rent snorkel gear. Budget cruises operate aboard older and smaller boats carrying 16-20 guests.

Photo collage of budget Galapagos yacht exterior and interior cabin, lounge, dining areas.

Mid-Range Galapagos Cruise Cost

Mid-range cruises run about $5,000 for an 8-day cruise or about $600 per person per day. At this price level you can expect comfortable accommodations with a variety of bed and cabin configurations. Guides speak English and snorkel equipment is usually included in the cost. A huge variety of Galapagos ships and yachts carrying 16-100 guests operate mid-range cruises.

Luxury Galapagos Cruise Cost

The most luxurious Galapagos cruises start at about $7,000 and can cost up to $15,000 or more per person for an 8-day cruise. At this price level expect luxurious accommodations with elegant interiors, superior service, high crew-to-guest ratios, exquisite cuisine and five-star service. The best, most experienced guides in the Galapagos work aboard the most luxurious boats. Luxury yachts and small ships typically carry 16-48 guests.

A private Galapagos charter cruise starts at about $40,000 and can go up to $100,000 or more for 16-20 guests. A full boat charter can save about 10-30% over booking individual cabins. 

Photo collage of luxury Galapagos yacht exterior and interior cabin, lounge, dining areas.

Cruise Length and Cost

Cruise itineraries vary from 4 days to 14 days. We recommend 6- or 7-day cruises. See our post on choosing the best Galapagos cruise itinerary

Obviously longer cruises cost more, but they also offer more value. When you consider the cost of international and domestic flights, pre-cruise hotels and national park fees (more on these costs below) longer cruises offer a better value than short cruises. All things being equal, as the cruise gets longer your overall price per day comes down. 

Cabin Category and Galapagos Cruise Price

Once you have selected your ship or yacht, the cabin category will have a significant impact on the cruise price.

Many smaller boats have only one cabin category. But larger yachts and ships may have a variety of cabins to choose from.

In general, cabins lower on the ship are the least expensive. These cabins may be at the waterline and feature portholes instead of view windows. Cabins lower on the ship are more susceptible to the noise of engines and generators. 

As you get higher on the ship the staterooms often get nicer and feature more space, large view windows and sometimes balconies. Higher decks are closer to the outside observation decks and the nature of the Galapagos islands. 

Suites can offer more space, with a sitting area in addition to the bedroom. Luxury ships might offer upscale amenities such as in-suite air conditioning, in-room WiFi, entertainment system or even private guide service. 

A white small ship floats in the ocean behind a sandy shoreline covered in black marine iguanas sunbathing.

FIND GALAPAGOS CRUISES

See the full list of Galapagos cruises and sort by price.

Galapagos Tour Price

Galapagos land tours are available for travelers not interested in travel by boat. Land-based Galapagos tours are fully guided and feature exclusive itinerary and activity options allowing you to discover the islands at your pace. Like cruises, Galapagos tour prices vary based on factors such as length, time of year, when you book, level of luxury and more.

Budget Galapagos Tour Cost

Budget tours start at about $1,000 for a 4-day tour. At this price level expect simple accommodations, limited meals, shared transfers, light activities and entry-level guides. Guides may speak limited English. Budget tours will stay on only one island and activities are limited to that island. 

Mid-Range Galapagos Tour Cost

Mid-range tours cost about $2,500 per person for a 5-day tour. Expect comfortable accommodations, most meals included, private transfers, all-inclusive activities, and excellent guides. Mid-range tours will stay on only one island, but activities may utilize day boats to reach outlying islands and beaches.

Luxury Galapagos Tour Cost

Luxury Galapagos tours start at $3,500 for a 5-day tour and may include island hopping between a variety of islands. Expect luxury accommodations, delicious cuisine, a wide range of activities and explorations in the company of the most experienced guides. At this price tours may travel from one island to another, staying on and exploring multiple environments. Luxury tours are often private or part of a small intimate group. 

On a blue sky day a group of Galapagos travelers walk on a wooden pathway up through volcanic landscape.

FIND GALAPAGOS TOURS

See the full list of Galapagos land tours.

Galapagos Islands Trip Cost by Season

What is the cheapest time to travel to the Galapagos Islands? The best time to score a Galapagos deal is in early December, just before the holidays: early January, just after the holidays; and in September after the summer season is over.

The most expensive times to travel to the Galapagos are during the Christmas Holiday, and during Easter and Spring Break holidays. Summer from June through August is also considered peak season. 

Learn more in our best time to visit the Galapagos post. 

Galapagos Vacation Cost for Solo Travelers

Some ships offer a willing-to-share program to help solo travelers keep costs down. If you are willing to share with a same-sex roommate, then you will be paired with another traveler to avoid paying a single supplement. Other ships might offer dedicated single cabins at a reduced rate. Or single travelers can opt to pay a supplement to guarantee a cabin of their own. The Galapagos Islands are popular with solo travelers, so we advise you to book early to get the best price.

A white chested bird with brown wings and bright blue teal feet stands on volcanic rock against the blue ocean in the Galapagos.

Galapagos Trip Price – What’s Included?

When researching your Galapagos trip price be sure to review inclusions and exclusions carefully. Some luxury cruises will have a higher initial price but often include mainland hotels and flights to the Galapagos. Luxury cruises may also include complimentary amenities such as park fees, snorkel gear, wetsuits, alcoholic beverages, gratuities and WiFi. 

Budget-minded cruise will not include any extras and may even add port fees or fuel surcharges to the advertised price. These costs can add up so be sure to include them when calculating your overall Galapagos trip price. 

Galapagos Islands Flight Cost

Flights are the most expensive addition to your Galapagos trip cost. The only way to reach the Galapagos Islands is to fly from mainland Ecuador.

Domestic flights from Quito or Guayaquil in mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos average $450-$650 per person round-trip. Flights from the mainland are typically purchased along with your cruise or land tour.

Round-trip flights from North America to mainland Ecuador average $800-$1,200 USD. Flights can drop as low as $400 if you plan ahead or go as high as $1,600 if you book last-minute. Learn more about flights and how to get to the Galapagos Islands

Extra Galapagos Trip Costs to Budget

Park Entrance Fees – Galapagos national park fees cost $100 for adults and $50 for kids under 12. An IGALA migration card is required and costs $20 per traveler. View Galapagos Islands entry requirements. Park fees increase to $200 per adult and $100 per child starting August 1, 2024.

Flights – Domestic flights from mainland Ecuador are required. See Galapagos Islands flight cost.

Pre & Post Accommodations – The only way to get to the Galapagos is through mainland Ecuador so plan to spend at least one night in Quito or Guayaquil before proceeding to the islands. We encourage travelers to arrive into Ecuador 2 days before flying to the Galapagos in case international flights are delayed. Most travelers will spend 2 nights prior and 1 night after their visit to the Galapagos.

Snorkel Gear & Wetsuits – During the cool season you will want a wetsuit for snorkeling, so plan to bring your own or rent one. If not provided you can bring or rent snorkel gear.

An underwater photo of a Galapagos sea lion and a snorkeler in wetsuit swimming in bright blue water.

Why are the Galapagos Islands so Expensive?

Let’s face it, travel to the Galapagos is expensive. It’s easy to say that supply and demand cause cruises and tours to be expensive. With limited ships, lodges and permits to operate in the Galapagos, operators can charge a premium for a limited supply. Over time, budget-friendly boats and hotels are replaced by more luxurious yachts and lodges.

But also consider that the Galapagos Islands are extremely remote with limited infrastructure. Everything needed to supply tourism and the local community must be barged or flown to the islands. Food, fuel, building materials, hotel supplies and more are shipped from mainland Ecuador. Likewise, all trash and recyclables are removed and processed. 

Conservation efforts are at the forefront of the Galapagos supply chain. Everything must be carefully inspected to prevent the introduction of invasive species, which can be devastating to the island’s endemic wildlife. These efforts have a cost that is passed on to travelers. 

Galapagos Deals & Tips to Save

Stretch your Galapagos budget with deals and special offers. There are no shortage of agencies advertising cheap Galapagos cruises. Be careful because there are unscrupulous agencies out there.

We advise travelers to focus not only on price, but also on value. Picking the right trip is as important as finding the best price. See our selection of Galapagos deals and money-saving tips. Then contact our experts to get the best value and price on your Galapagos vacation.

VIEW GALAPAGOS DEALS

See the full list of Galapagos cruise and tour deals.
Money-saving tips.

So How Much Does it Cost to Go to Galapagos?

Remember, the Galapagos experience is priceless. By carefully planning and considering your budget, you can unlock this natural wonderland without breaking the bank. So, start charting your course, and soon you’ll be swimming with sea lions and marveling at giant tortoises in this unforgettable archipelago!

A yellow Galapagos land iguana walks on gravely path between bushes as a group of travelers watch in the background.

MORE GALAPAGOS RESOURCES:
Galapagos Trips
Galapagos Luxury Travel
Galapagos with Kids
Galapagos Diving
Galapagos Cruises
Galapagos Charters
How to Choose the Best Galapagos Cruise
Galapagos Island Hopping or Cruise?
Galapagos Land Tours
Best Time to Visit Galapagos
How to Get to Galapagos
Galapagos Islands Animals
Galapagos Trip Reviews
Galapagos Travel Guide
Galapagos Cruise Deals

Have a question about the price of Galapagos travel? Please use the comments below and our experts will answer right away. Or sign up for the AdventureSmith Explorations newsletter to have the latest about Galapagos delivered to your inbox. Interested in a free quote or want to check availability? Contact us.

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  • Marilyn McLean says:

    Would this be enjoyable (& not too physically strenuous) for a family to celebrate a 90th birthday?

    • AdventureSmith Explorations says:

      Hi Marilyn,
      Galapagos family cruises & tours are an excellent way to celebrate, with daily opportunities for activity and relaxation for all ages. Some ships offer programs geared toward kids, others feature multiple viewing decks, glass-bottom dinghy rides alongside snorkeling, interconnecting cabins and other family-friendly features. A Galapagos specialist will be in touch to help you hone in on the best option for your family. In the meantime, read our president and founder’s review of his own multigenerational Galapagos cruise.

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