1. IT CAN BE DONE ON A BUDGET
Contrary to popular belief, you can do the Galápagos Islands on a backpacker’s budget. Yes, you may go over your weekly or monthly budget a bit but probably not as much as you think.
Our travel philosophy is that there’s no point travelling to these incredible countries if you aren’t going to do anything whilst you’re there.
We aren’t the best budget backpackers ourselves, but we knew we couldn’t visit Ecuador without coming to this amazing place. So, we worked out how to do it on a budget, spending under £500 in a week.
There’s a reason why the Galápagos Islands are one bucket-list-worthy travel destinations in the world and you can visit them on a budget too by following our 6 tips.
2. YOU DON'T NEED TO SPEND MONEY TO DO THINGS
Most people are put off thinking that they need to purchase an expensive cruise to travel around the islands or that the only way to see the incredible animals and nature is with over-priced tours.
Again, this isn’t true – you can simply book your own flights and explore the islands by yourself.
You can find animals everywhere on the islands with Sealions, Iguanas and Blue-Footed Boobies on almost every beach, easily accessible from the towns where you’ll stay.
Travel between the islands is easy and cheap – normally $30 per ferry. And finally, each island has an abundance of activities such as hiking, museums and nature reserves that have zero cost.
Read our full guide on how to visit the Galápagos islands without a tour here.
3. THERE ARE HOSTELS
Whilst luxury hotels dominate the islands, there are a handful of hostels and smaller hotels that cater to backpackers.
You can find dorms from £12-18. Hotel rooms are available from around £22 upwards (prices searched in low season and will change based on time of year).
We would recommend:
Both hostels provide a free breakfast and they will help you plan any activities or excursions you’re interested in.
Another quick tip is that food isn’t too expensive if you know where to look! Read our article here on 6 ways to save money whilst visiting the Galápagos if you want to know more!
4. THE WILDLIFE AND NATURAL HISTORY
Nowhere else in the world can you see such an abundance of rare wildlife all year round. Each island is swarming with Sea Lions, Land Iguanas and rare marine birds such as Blue-Footed Boobies.
You will be able to see the Galápagos Giant Tortoise strolling through the highlands and watch nesting frigate birds puff out their balloon-like red chest to attract a mate.
If you prefer the sea, you can snorkel alongside Green Sea Turtles and catch glimpses of Hammerhead Sharks if you’re lucky.
Aside from the jaw-dropping wildlife experiences, the islands are famously known as the place that inspired Darwin and cemented his theory of evolution.
Each of the islands has a museum or centre dedicated to teaching Darwin’s work as well as highlighting the importance of conservation. You will leave the islands with a greater understanding and appreciation for the natural world.
5. THE NATURAL BEAUTY
Along with having some of the rarest animals in the world, the Galápagos Islands are unlike any other landscape on earth.
The islands formed as a result of the volcanic activity in the region. The seeding of these new land formations with plants and animals from the mainland over millions of years created a mixing pot of fauna, flora and geological activity that has produced a place unlike any other.
Active volcanoes, lava fields and tubes. Untouched fine sand beaches dominated by sea lions and highland lagoons full of nesting birds. Crystal clear blue waters where you can snorkel among mangrove forests in search of baby sharks and sea turtles.
You will have never seen anything like it and most likely never see anything like it again in your lifetime.
The Galápagos Islands are an incredibly unique and necessary sight to behold for any traveller searching for wonder.