Central and South America Highlights Reel


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.


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


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

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