For those who don’t know – The Galapagos Islands are a group of volcanic islands that lie 575 miles off the coast of Ecuador, they are famous for their vast amounts of diverse flora and fauna which Charles Darwin studied in depth during ‘The voyage of the Beagle’.
There is no point shying away from it…The Galapagos Islands are expensive, very expensive!! The best and easiest way to see the Islands are by boat, typically boat tours last from 3 – 8 nights and visit a number of islands within the archipelago and offer a combination of stops and sights to see. As you can imagine – the cost of living aboard the boat combined with flights and park fees results in a trip which is far from ‘budget’.
However it truly is a once in a life time experience and would be such a shame to miss out. Some of the best advice we have read on keeping the costs down means booking a last minute Galapagos Trip. Boat operators would rather slash their prices last minute rather than having to send out a boat with empty spaces. This method can save substantial amounts when compared to booking in advance from the UK or any other destination outside of Ecuador.
However, there are some small risks involved with this and should only be an option for those who are; flexible with dates (have time on their hands), flexible on what islands they visit and happy to haggle. For this reason it is not recommended that you look for a last minute cruise in the High Season ((June-Sept and late Dec-early Jan) as you run the risk of not getting a space on any of the boats. Even in the low season you shouldn’t just expect to jump straight on a tour as it can take anywhere from a couple of days to a week to sort a cruise out – but if you have the time spare it is a great way of seeing the islands without breaking the bank, you can sometimes save anywhere between 30-50% on the original price quoted on line.
I have taken some of the following information below from a very helpful post I found on Trip Advisor – the original poster ‘michaelszippy’ explains how he found a tour that was 40-50% discounted…
The idea is to do lots of research prior to arriving in Ecuador, find 4-5 boats that you would be happy to travel on and then find the addresses of the companies that own these boats. Then on arrival in Quito visit each of their offices (in same neighbourhood) and ask for last minute places and haggle the price down if necessary. By cutting out the middle man (travel agency) and going direct to the companies that own the boats you can grab significant savings.
This is what we will be trying as soon as we touch down in Quito, hopefully get a cruise lined up, and then whilst waiting for the departure date we can then play the tourist in Quito and visit the sights. For more detailed information please have a look at the original post on ‘how to book a last minute Galapagos cruise‘ by ‘michaelszippy’. Also check out the other useful links below:
- Further information on last minute / cheap Galapagos Island cruises
- Tips and prices for Last Minute Galapagos cruises
We will update this information after arriving in Quito and pass on our experience, fingers crossed we get on a tour…
- Galapagos Islands in Pictures (anolanaturalskincare.com)
- Travel To-Do List: Galapagos Islands (smilingsightseer.com)
- A Galapagos Tour (ecoandessilver.org)