Galapagos Islands 2013 - Cheaper Options and Info
Your flight from Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador and will land in one of the two main airports coming from the mainland into Galapagos, one on Baltra (Seymour) or the one on San Cristobal in the Galapagos Islands. Private planes flying to Galápagos must fly to Baltra, as it is the only airport with facilities for planes overnight. On arriving in Baltra, all visitors are immediately transported by bus to one of two waterfronts. The first waterfront is located in a small bay, where the boats cruising Galápagos await passengers. The second is a ferry waterfront, which connects Baltra to the island of Santa Cruz. Baltra airport has restaurants, shops and a visitor area where you can ask for maps (They don’t give them out unless you ask).
Fly to the Galapagos from Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador. The flight from Guayaquil takes about an hour and 40 minutes and usually costs around $345 - $480. Before you leave, your bags will be hand-inspected for food and prohibited items at the airport. You are limited to 22 kg (44 lbs.) so make sure that you pack light.
Once you arrive at Baltra Airport your bags will be hand-inspected again at customs. Remember that the National Park Fee for foreigners is $100 US per person, in addition to the $10 visa fee to enter. You will need to come prepared with CASH to pay both of these fees before entering the islands. REMEMBER that Ecuador uses American dollars but locally minted Ecuadorian coins as its currency.
Take the shuttle-ferry-bus option to Puerto Ayora, this will take about an hour. First, catch the free shuttle bus to the waterfront, and then board the ferry for the crossing to Santa Cruz Island ($0.50). Once you have crossed over most tourists take the taxis to Puerto Ayora ($5 if shared with two others, or $15 if chartered) – But you can also take the bus for only $1.80. From the ferry drop off point to Puerto Ayora it takes about 35 – 45 minutes.
PUERTO AYORA (SANTA CRUZ ISLAND)
Puerto Ayora is the “capital” city of the islands and is the principal town on Santa Cruz Island. Despite this, it is actually quite a small town that is a bit dusty and run-down. The anchorage of Puerto Ayora (also known as “Academy Bay”) and it is usually extremely overcrowded. This is a full-on tourist town, with numerous restaurants and day trippers from cruise ships, etc.
The “tour” ferry from Puerto Ayora to Isabela Island leaves at 6am. COST: $30
The “Public” ferry from Puerto Ayora to Isabela Island leaves at 1:30pm. COST: $25
The trip takes about 2 hours (Depending on the boat and ocean conditions).
The “tour” ferry from Puerto Ayora to San Cristobal Island leaves at 6am. COST: $30
The “public” ferry from Puerto Ayora to San Cristobal Island leaves at 2 pm. COST: $25
The trip takes about 2 ½ hours (Depending on the boat and ocean conditions).
SANTA CRUZ ISLAND CAMPING
It is possible to camp at Garrapetero Beach. It is private land, but you just need to ask the owners for permission.