Active Galapagos Trip Expenses

People have asked me how much my trip to the Galapagos cost and whether it was worth it to use Intrepid travel.  I’ve decided to share the total cost of my Bird and a Tortoisetrip, so everyone can make their own judgment.

But for me, using Intrepid was definitely worth it…

Aside from the expenses, the logistics of getting to/from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos, getting around the islands and even between the islands made me very glad that I let Intrepid take care of all the details.

Intrepid Tour

I got an amazing deal from Intrepid on their Active Galapagos tour.  The regular price for this trip was $3,195 (although it’s estimated at $2,528.25 on their website right now).  The regular price was just too steep for me, so I called their 800 number and asked if they were running any specials.  After putting me on hold to check, the gal surprised me by saying “yes, we are running a two for one special that started today”.  All I could think was “this is destined to be”.  In the end, the cost for me was $1,597.

The tour package included:

  • 9 nights hotel
  • 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 4 dinners
  • airfare from mainland Ecuador to/from Galapagos
  • all other transportation (expect for international airfare and corresponding airport transfers)
  • tour leaded and daily activities (snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, etc)

Drift Wood Santa CruzTrip Insurance

Until this trip I had never purchased travel insurance, but Intrepid requires it and I completely understand.  There were a lot of planned strenuous activities.  The cost of my travel insurance was $116, but that included both my Galapagos and Peru trips.


I purchased my airfare early because I’m frequently worried that if I wait I won’t get the flights I need.  The cost of my airfare from Seattle, Washington to Quito, Ecuador (via Houston) cost $1,177.20.  About a month after purchasing the ticket the airfare came down a few hundred dollars, but after calculating the change fees it wasn’t worth changing.  I’m definitely not an expert on finding the cheapest airfares, but a friend that works at Expedia says the best airfares happen around the “14 days prior to travel” mark.  I’ve been following Nomadic Matt’s website for a while and he has some good tips for finding cheap tickets.


Most of my accommodations were included but I arrived in Quito a day early due to flight scheduling.  The extra night’s stay cost $30 for my portion (split with the friend that came with me).


As I mentioned above, many of my meals were included in the tour cost.  I spent the following on excluded meals:

  • $23.87 for lunch and dinner in Houston
  • $45.73 for meals in Quito (two breakfast, one lunch, and two dinners)
  • $89.50 for meals in Galapagos (including one lobster dinner for $37.50, that wasn’t worth it)


I spent a small amount of money on extra entertainment:

  • $7.99 for Direct TV on my international flight
  • $1.00 for entrance into the Basilica in Quito

Zambo at Darwin CenterTips

When traveling in Ecuador it’s important to look at restaurant bills prior to tipping.  In Quito a service fee was always included; in the Galapagos service fees were not included and tipping was expected.  I didn’t detail the restaurant tips, but here are a couple of specific tips I gave:

  • $5 for the boat captain (we had the same boat and captain for the entire trip)
  • $20 for the tour leader (the tour leader stayed with us for eight days)


I bought souvenirs for both myself and my family, have decided to leave those details out of this post.  Souvenir shopping is personal and knowing what I spent isn’t useful information.


There were other expenses as well:

  • $10 for the Galapagos Transit Control Card (required for all visitors)
  • $100 for entrance into Galapagos National Park (required for all visitors)
  • $5 Isabela Island fee (required for all visitors)
  • $20 for a wetsuit rental (not required, but VERY recommended for traveling in August)
  • $6 for laundry

Grand TotalWaiting Patiently

For eleven days in Ecuador, including the Galapagos, I spent a total of $3,254.79.  Here is the daily detail of my expenses.  I tried to include a line item for everything that I would have had to pay for had it not been included in the Intrepid tour.

Note:  The photos in this post are from Santa Cruz Island.  The second to the last photo is our Intrepid guide, Zambo.

2 thoughts on “Active Galapagos Trip Expenses

  1. Could you tell me more about the accommodations. Were they ok?

    • Helen – The accommodations were good. I didn’t see a single high-end hotel (even on the largest of the islands). We stayed in hostels. They were clean and well taken care of. I did get an occasional cold shower, but in all honesty even that was ok. I think you just have to have the right expectations. You won’t be staying in a resort, but I thought every place we stayed was quite comfortable. At the first hostel there was a nice courtyard area and one of the other places had a great view of a lagoon where flamingos hung out. All were located well. If you have any other questions, just let me know.