Galapagos Islands on Budget – 10 days for $1500 with 4 Dives/ 2 Tours and Flight included

 

Things to know immediately before leaving to Galapagos (Ecuador operates on the US Dollar)

  1. Before you leave airport you will pay $20 for immigration form required to enter
  2. When you arrive at the islands you will need to pay $100 CASH Galapagos Islands entrance fee
  3. You will need small bills or coins handy for buses and ferries immediately after your flight
  4. Each island can tack on an additional $10-20
  5. Traveling from one island to the next will take 2 hours, costs $30, 4 islands can be visited.
  6. You can only arrive by plane.

These estimates are from traveling to Galapagos alone. Please note that Galapagos accommodations are only private rooms. So you can travel with a someone and split accommodations to make things even cheaper for each of you.

Expenses

Round trip plane from Quito, Ecuador – $400

01/26 Quito/Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos – Day 1 Arrival

As mentioned above You’ll need to pay $100 (cash only) to enter – $100

(550ml) bottle of limón tea at the airport waiting for the bus – $2

Upon arrival, you will want to take the public bus to the canal. After you cross the canal on a ferry you have reached the hub for all taxis and buses and this is the cheapest way to get to your hostel on Santa Cruz in the Puerto Ayora region (which is the region every tourist goes to)

Bus to canal cost: free

Ferry to cross canal – $1

Bus to Puerto Ayora – $2

Internet speeds on my T-Mobile plan are 3g, not bad for an island in the middle of Central America (* I also experience 4g speeds around the food tables on Puerto Ayora.)

When you start your trip to the north of the Santa Cruz Island it resembles that of a dry arid desert. However, as you start to go south you’ll notice the air cooling and look out the window to find a lush jungle while you go through the highlands. Enjoy it, as it comes and goes as you head to the south tip of the island.

After I got situated in my hostel (The flightless Cormorant Hostel – $25/night) and got lunch I decided there was enough day left to go Tortuga beach, a mere 35-minute walk from my hostel. I did manage to see one juvenile giant turtle on the way however the beach is mostly inhabited by marine iguanas.

Ribs, French fries salad, water lunch – $12

Doritos, Gatorade, and Coke Cola – $6

12 eggs – $3

bag of lollipops – $3

queso pan – $0.65

gum for $1

accommodation -$25

Total: $155.65 

01/27 Santa Cruz – Day 2

Breakfast from hostel – $5

Went to Tortuga bay to go snorkeling (poor visibility)

Went to Darwin center

 

Accommodation – $25

Liter of Powerade – $1.75

Awful Hamburger with French fries – $5

large smoothie – $3 (splurge)

Purchased large coke for – $2.50

Bottle of water for – $1

Natural limeade – $3

Pizza – $10

Total: $55.25

01/28 Santa Cruz – Day 3

Walked around town

Hotel breakfast – $5

Accommodation – $20

Large bottle of water – $1.75

Lunch leftover pizza from yesterday – $0

6 Eggs(purchased yesterday) for dinner – $0

Total: $26.75

01/29 Santa Cruz/ Isabella – Day 4

Hotel breakfast – $5

Accommodation – $20

2 bottles of water and Powerade juice box – $2.50

Boat ride to Isabella – $30

Entrance fee – $20

Lunch (Rice with Chicken) – $8

Smoothie – $3

Fresh Juice – $3

Dinner (soup, teriyaki chicken, jello, juice)  – $8

Coke – $3

Total: 102.50

01/30 Isabela – Day 5

Breakfast – $6

Tintoeros Tour – $45 (more about this below)

Lunch – $6

Dinner -$8

Accommodation – $20

Total: $85

 

01/31 Isabela – Day 6

Rented bike and went to Galapagos National Park and Wall of Tears

Bike rental – $20 (full day)

Breakfast – $8

Accommodation – $20

Water bottle – $1

Apple juice – $1

Big water – $2

Ice cream cone – $2

Lunch – $8

Dinner soup salad chicken with rice and jello dessert with juice – $8

Total: $70

02/01 Isabela – Day 7

Tunnels tour – $110 (more about this below)

Breakfast – $8

Accommodation – $20

Water – $2, Coke -$2

Lunch (free on tour)

Water – $2, Coke -$2

Dinner (soup, teriyaki beef with beans salad rice and fries) with dessert – $8

Agua bottle at dinner – $7

Total: $157

02/02 Isabela / Santa Cruz – Day 8

Agua bottle $2.50, Coke $2

Dinner (chicken breast), water and coke – $13

Bag of lollipops – $3

Accommodation – $20

Total: $40.50

02/03 Isabela – Day 9 

Diving Galapagos

Beagle and Daphne Dive – $175

Sweet tomato juice – $1

Lunch free with dive – $0

Water and coke – $2

Dinner – $4.50

Accommodation – $20

Total: $202.50

02/04 Isabela/Santa Cruz – Day 10 

Cafe – $3

Accommodation – $20

Seymour and Gordon Rocks Dive – $175

Lunch included with Dive

Water, coke- $2

Dinner – $5

Total: $205

Accumulated Total: $1,100.15 

including flight expenses$400

Grand Total $1,500.15 keep in mind this is including 2 days of diving with the most highly rated Scuba company (scuba iguana) at some of the best places in Central America. As well as 2 of the best tours on Isabela Island.

02/05 Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos/Quito – Day 11

Taxi to bus terminal – $1.50

Bus to ferry terminal – $2

Ferry to Isla Baltra airport island – $2

Bus from Ferry to airport: – $0

Total: $5.50

Splurge Notes

Now if you want to make the experience truly worthwhile there are tours that I hope you will agree are financially justifiable given the rare opportunity.

Isabela Island

Los Tunnelos (Tunnels) tour

Highly rated on Tripadvisor, you will see blue-footed boobies, snorkel with white tip sharks and sea turtles.

Los Tintoreros (Sharks) tour

Snorkeling with turtles and sleeping sharks in caves. We saw a Seahorse, penguins, boobies and much more.

However, there are many amazing things to do that are 100% free.

Here is a list of free activities

Santa Cruz Island

  • Walk to Tortuga bay (you can surf here)
  • Swim near Tortuga Bay
  • Check out active fish market (sea lions and pelicans begging for food is very entertaining to watch)
  • Learn about evolution at the Darwin center (get your passport stamped!)
  • Learn how they power the island at the Renewable energy center
  • Watch the Eagle rays and Sharks at night at the pier.
  • Los Gratis (technically not free as you will have to pay taxi .80 cents each way)

Activities for $20

Kayaking around Tortuga bay

Bike riding to the crater

Isabela Island

  • Swim with Sea lions in Pearl Concha (penguins have been spotted here)

  • Wall of Tears (built by prisoners who once lived on island)

  • Enjoy the beautiful beach

  • Hang out with Giant Turtles

Activities for $20

Renting a bike to visit the Wall of tears.

Kayaking/ Paddle Boarding

Snorkeling

About Food

Santa Cruz Tables 

El Velero Galapagos located at the end of the food tables area (closer to pier) $5 dollar meal below

Isabela lunch specials

Many places can be found where the advertise soup, salad, rice, beans, chicken and dessert with Juice for $8

Photo Album

[srizonfbalbum id=4]

 

 

El Valle

Check out my video filled with wildlife found in El Valle

Facts about El Valle, Anton Valley
El Valle de Anton is a town in central Panama. It’s in the crater of an extinct volcano, surrounded by mountains and cloud forest. To the north, Cerro Gaital National Park protects 3 hills: Cerro Gaital, Cerro Pajita, and Cerro Caracoral. Its trails have ocean views and the park is home to hundreds of species of native birds, including the red-legged honeycreeper, the bay-headed tanager, and the blue-crowned motmot.

You can get there from Panama City for about 12 bucks altogether.

Best Hostel
What makes El Valle so cool is the deep mountainous rainforest vibe. The sounds at night are amazing. I stayed at the Bodhi Hostel which I would recommend. It has a very nice Asian/buddha vibe with unique handmade from local material furniture. It is clean and the staff is very polite. Included with your stay: free breakfast, high-speed internet WiFi, lockers, bikes for rent, communal kitchen, bbq area, Shisha/Hookah lounge and bar with affordable beer.

The guy at the front desk pulled out a printed map with all the POIs emphasized. He spoke about each one giving brief details in a timely fashion. He made it clear if wanted to learn more I could always ask. You will find cool people from all over the world here as it is the most popular hostel in El Valle.

Prices are reasonable a $12usd for dorm and $28usd for private room

Prices vary by season

bodhi hostels

tripadvisor

If you prefer sloths over people then keep reading.

Want to Pet a Sloth? Zip Line the Jungle? Test your manhood on an awesome ATV tour? If not there is a very nice Butterfly Haven you can walk through…. Haha all jokes aside I did it all (Estoy hombre y mi gusto mariposa)

The ATV trip is the top of my list (unfortunately its also the most expensive)

G0043075.JPG

Taharaa ATV Tours
#1 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
Price: $160 per ATV (tell him Tyler from Trek with Tech sent you, can’t promise it will do much but we spent a lot of time together so its worth it)
If you want to throw someone on back add $25
Only 2 people per ATV, this is not your mama’s ATV ride by the way….with that said my Mama did it. However, she has spent a fair amount of time on the back of dirt bikes so she had a bit of experience. I don’t mean to scare anyone away I think anyone can do it, the machines are new, and four-wheel drive. The rain can make the final climb difficult though.

tripadvisor

Butterfly Haven
#2 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
I was somewhat dragged here but very glad I went. Butterflies are mother natures living flowers and you really see that here. The tour guide was extremely polite and knew English fairly well. He made sure to show us at least 25 different species of
tripadvisor

El Nispero Zoo and Botanical Garden
#6 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
Not the most extravagant zoo but a zoo in the rainforest nonetheless. A tourist pays roughly 12 bucks to enter. However, as usual, my memory is foggy.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g635545-d1978054-Reviews-El_Nispero_Zoo_and_Botanical_Garden-El_Valle_de_Anton_Cocle_Province.html

El Valle Panama Hot Springs
#9 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
Did not do personally, however, my sister did and she said she had a good experience so I felt it was worth mentioning as she rarely steers me wrong. The water may not be steam hot but warm.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g635545-d6224389-Reviews-El_Valle_Panama_Hot_Springs-El_Valle_de_Anton_Cocle_Province.html

Canopy Adventure
#20 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
Not quite sure why this is so low on the trip advisor list. Maybe that south park episode about zipping had a impact. It was enjoyable but as you can imagine the highs are brief and a little too topical. It was interesting never the less. Cost was

Casa Mariposa (Sloth Hotel)
#3 of 15 B&Bs / Inns in El Valle de Anton
Where do I begin? First of all, thank god this place exists. The property is stunning. The creek running through it is a haven for frogs that lull you to sleep
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g635545-d3140531-Reviews-Casa_Mariposa-El_Valle_de_Anton_Cocle_Province.html

El Valle, Panama

Check out my video filled with wildlife found in El Valle

Facts about El Valle, Anton Valley
El Valle de Anton is a town in central Panama. It’s in the crater of an extinct volcano, surrounded by mountains and cloud forest. To the north, Cerro Gaital National Park protects 3 hills: Cerro Gaital, Cerro Pajita, and Cerro Caracoral. Its trails have ocean views and the park is home to hundreds of species of native birds, including the red-legged honeycreeper, the bay-headed tanager, and the blue-crowned motmot.

You can get there from Panama City for about 12 bucks altogether.

Best Hostel
What makes El Valle so cool is the deep mountainous rainforest vibe. The sounds at night are amazing. I stayed at the Bodhi Hostel which I would recommend. It has a very nice Asian/buddha vibe with unique handmade from local material furniture. It is clean and the staff is very polite. Included with your stay: free breakfast, high-speed internet WiFi, lockers, bikes for rent, communal kitchen, bbq area, Shisha/Hookah lounge and bar with affordable beer.

The guy at the front desk pulled out a printed map with all the POIs emphasized. He spoke about each one giving brief details in a timely fashion. He made it clear if wanted to learn more I could always ask. You will find cool people from all over the world here as it is the most popular hostel in El Valle.

Prices are reasonable a $12usd for dorm and $28usd for private room

Prices vary by season

bodhi hostels

tripadvisor

If you prefer sloths over people then keep reading.

Want to Pet a Sloth? Zip Line the Jungle? Test your manhood on an awesome ATV tour? If not there is a very nice Butterfly Haven you can walk through…. Haha all jokes aside I did it all (Estoy hombre y mi gusto mariposa)

The ATV trip is the top of my list (unfortunately its also the most expensive)

G0043075.JPG

Taharaa ATV Tours
#1 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
Price: $160 per ATV (tell him Tyler from Trek with Tech sent you, can’t promise it will do much but we spent a lot of time together so its worth it)
If you want to throw someone on back add $25
Only 2 people per ATV, this is not your mama’s ATV ride by the way….with that said my Mama did it. However, she has spent a fair amount of time on the back of dirt bikes so she had a bit of experience. I don’t mean to scare anyone away I think anyone can do it, the machines are new, and four-wheel drive. The rain can make the final climb difficult though.

tripadvisor

Butterfly Haven
#2 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
I was somewhat dragged here but very glad I went. Butterflies are mother natures living flowers and you really see that here. The tour guide was extremely polite and knew English fairly well. He made sure to show us at least 25 different species of
tripadvisor

El Nispero Zoo and Botanical Garden
#6 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
Not the most extravagant zoo but a zoo in the rainforest nonetheless. A tourist pays roughly 12 bucks to enter. However, as usual, my memory is foggy.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g635545-d1978054-Reviews-El_Nispero_Zoo_and_Botanical_Garden-El_Valle_de_Anton_Cocle_Province.html

El Valle Panama Hot Springs
#9 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
Did not do personally, however, my sister did and she said she had a good experience so I felt it was worth mentioning as she rarely steers me wrong. The water may not be steam hot but warm.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g635545-d6224389-Reviews-El_Valle_Panama_Hot_Springs-El_Valle_de_Anton_Cocle_Province.html

Canopy Adventure
#20 of 20 things to do in El Valle de Anton
Not quite sure why this is so low on the trip advisor list. Maybe that south park episode about zipping had a impact. It was enjoyable but as you can imagine the highs are brief and a little too topical. It was interesting never the less. Cost was

Casa Mariposa (Sloth Hotel)
#3 of 15 B&Bs / Inns in El Valle de Anton
Where do I begin? First of all, thank god this place exists. The property is stunning. The creek running through it is a haven for frogs that lull you to sleep
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g635545-d3140531-Reviews-Casa_Mariposa-El_Valle_de_Anton_Cocle_Province.html