Finances

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My cool birthday gift from my friend Jennifer!

Galapagos

Galapagos definitely has the capacity to break your budget, but many things are not as expensive as you might think.  Below are my best estimates of our expenses, categorized.  I didn’t include plane tickets, since these will vary wildly for everyone.  Prices below include the 14% tax.

Lodging

  • 1 night in Guayaquil, Ecuador (2-room suite for 5), through booking.com: $75
  • 6 nights in a small house in Puerto Ayora, through tripadvisor vacation rentals: $540
  • 6 nights in one large room at beachfront hotel on Isabela, through airbnb: $625
  • 1 night in Hotel in Puerto Ayora before flight home (2 rooms): $114

Transportation

Most things on the island are easy walking distance.  We really only used taxis to get to & from the airport and our lodgings with our luggage.

  • Bus & ferry from airport island to main island ($12 pp round trip): $60
  • Taxi from & to airport: $60
  • Speed boat to & from Isabela ($55 pp round trip): $275
  • Taxi to & from hotel on Isabela: $20
  • Water taxis to & from speed boats ($.60 pp on Santa Cruz; $1 pp on Isabela): $16
  • Water taxi to & from Playa Allemand/Los Grietas: $6

Activities

You could spend any amount on activities, depending on what and how much you want to do.  There are quite a few free or low-cost activities available on the islands as well.  We considered just about all of these well worth the time and money.

  • Bay tour in Santa Cruz ($25 pp): $125
  • Snorkeling day trip to Pinzon/Daphne islands ($125 pp including lunch + $5 wetsuit rental): $650
  • Taxi for half day tour of Santa Cruz highlands: $45
  • Entry to El Chato tortoise preserve ($3 pp): $15
  • Snorkel rental on Santa Cruz: $20
  • Tintoreras tour on Isabela ($40 pp including wetsuit): $200
  • Los Tuneles tour on Isabela ($95 pp including lunch & wetsuit): $475
  • Sierra Negra volcano tour on Isabela ($30 pp including lunch): $150
  • Snorkel rental on Isabela: $20
  • Half-day boogie board rental on Isabela for kids: $45
  • Tips for guides etc. (estimated): $100

Food

This one is the hardest to remember and is more of an estimate.  Most days we were in the habit of having a big breakfast (cooked ourselves in Puerto Ayora, and cooked by our hotel on Isabela), then ice cream and snacks at lunchtime, then a bigger dinner.  The latter was much cheaper on Isabela, with its plethora of restaurants offering the $7 set menu.  On the other hand, having a kitchen in Puerto Ayora allowed us to cook a few meals — and there was one night we bought cheap empanadas from a lady on the street — so it may have come out even.  

  • Estimated groceries total (this covered breakfasts in Puerto Ayora plus a couple of dinners): $120
  • Estimated dinner cost in Puerto Ayora (average $60/day for 4 days): $240
  • Breakfasts at the hotel in Isabela (average $25/day for 6 days): $125
  • Dinners in Isabela (average $50/day for 6 days): $300
  • Ice cream & snacks (estimated average $10/day): $120

Random fees

  • “Tourist card” to enter Galapagos ($20pp): $100
  • Entry fee to Galapagos National Park ($100 pp, half price for under 12): $450
  • Port fee on Isabela ($5pp): $25

 

Central America

Sorry, I fell apart on this one pretty quick.  Below is our budget for the Nicaragua portion of our trip.

When I was doing research for this trip, I found myself looking everywhere to try to get some good information on how much we could expect it to cost.  In most cases I didn’t have a lot of luck.  I found most “family” travel information tended to focus on higher-end resorts with fancy pools and kids’ programs, while “budget-friendly” info seemed designed for a scruffy college-aged backpacker.  So, for my own future reference and for anyone else who stumbles upon this page, I’m going to do my best to track our expenses here.

Date Transpor-
tation
Lodging Meals Enter-
tainment
Supplies Other Notes
Pre-trip $3250 N/A N/A N/A 404.08 Airfare & shots
2/11 N/A $221 all incl. $33 airports N/A $50 Nicaragua entry fee
2/12 N/A $221 all incl. $40 restaurant N/A $2 tips
2/13 N/A $221 all incl. N/A N/A N/A
2/14 N/A $221 all incl. $40 restaurant $82 N/A Carriage ride/bell tower/chocolate factory
2/15 N/A $221 all incl. $2 ice cream N/A $4 tips
2/16 N/A $221 all incl. N/A N/A N/A
2/17 N/A $221 all incl. $20 birthday cake $20 nature preserve N/A
2/18 N/A $221 all incl. $20 $6 dance show N/A
2/19 N/A $221 all incl. $3 N/A
2/20 N/A $221 all incl. $40 N/A
2/21 N/A $221 all incl. $3 tips
2/22 N/A $221 all incl. $3 N/A
2/23 N/A $221 all incl. $50 park entry N/A
3/4 $55 $37 $47 N/A
3/5 $20 $37 $32 $100 tour N/A
3/6 $8 $125 acc & food $16 breakfast $10 $14 sunscreen $5 tips
3/7 N/A $125 acc & food $10 $5 tip
3/8 N/A $132 acc & food $5 tip
3/9 N/A $125 acc & food $40 horseback ride $5 tip
3/10 $69 $67 $40 N/A
3/11 $67 $50 $3 tips
3/12 $67 $50 $248 tour N/A
3/13 $63 $70 $40 N/A
3/14 $70 $70 $10 N/A
3/15 $70 $50 N/A
3/16 $70 $40 $40 N/A

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