galapagos islands

Top 5 things to do on a budget in the Galapagos islands, Ecuador

Top 5 things to do on a budget in the Galapagos islands, Ecuador

Galapagos tortoisesThese unique islands are located 1000 km off the Ecuadorian coastline and they are the most visited destination in my country. The islands are famous for wildlife watching and are known worldwide as the source of inspiration for Charles Darwin´s famous theory of evolution. An archipelago of lava formations offering a wide number of activities and attractions to visit.

Of my visits to the islands, it was the second time that I was traveling on a low budget and had the opportunity to experience the islands in a different way. This translates to enjoying as much as possible of the activities available in Santa Cruz, and then booking day trips or planning our own activities.

instagramIf you are in South America I would love to see your pictures.


This are the top places to see on your visit to Santa Cruz Island and surroundings on a budget.

1 – Charles Darwin Station

Galapagos is often referred to as Charles Darwin’s Laboratory of evolution. Thus, the Charles Darwin Foundation, a place to see the famous giant Galapagos tortoises and learn how scientists run projects that aim to the conservation of the Galápagos Islands would have to be the first place to visit, definitely a must- see on your list. It is located in the city center and the entrance fee is very small.  Budget: < 5 USD


2.- Tortuga Bay

This is a stunning pristine beach with crystal blue waters, ideal to relax as well as a perfect spot for taking great pictures. To reach this place you need to hike approximately 2.5 . I would suggest you wear good shoes and bring a towel as well as something to eat with you.  Budget= < $5 USD

3.- Highland Tour to watch Giant Tortoises in the Wild plus lava tunnel

Take a local bus to get to the highlands of Santa Cruz, here you will find an area of cloud forest, perfect to watch giant tortoises wild and then walk through tunnels formed by rivers of red hot lava. Budget < $5 USD


4.- Snorkel with sea lions

Another great activity that you will hardly forget, includes booking a day tour to one of the smaller islands, La Loberia, and snorkel with friendly sea lions. Or just rent some snorkelling equipment from a shop in Santa Cruz and find a spot to enjoy some of the marine life of the islands. Budget= $10 – $30 USD

To book a tour, avoid the hassle and all the time spent planning, click the last option on the list that includes swimming with sea lions here.


5.- Las Grietas

This is for sure one of the best spots that you can visit while on Santa Cruz Island. Las Grietas is a natural pool that you can easily reach after a short hike.  For an adrenaline rush and only if you dare, you can even jump from the 9 meters  (Just remember to have good shoes with you).  Budget= $0 USD

La grietas, Santa Cruz Galapagos Islands - Ecuador © Cristina Pettersen Carpio Tobar

Once you arrive, you will find a natural pool with clear water where you will be able to swim, snorkel or even jump off the cliff! This is an idyllic swimming spot in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.


These options show you that you can enjoy some great activities without the need to take a cruise on the Galápagos or spending a fortune.


Together with my sister and cousin, 2005

Are you dreaming about visiting the Galápagos Islands?

If you have ever dreamed of exploring the enchanting Galapagos Islands it’s not just a dream anymore! As someone who fell head over heels for the unique charm of these islands, I decided to bring that magic to you, by joining an amazing tour operator.  By filling out this form I will be able to start working on your perfect trip to the Galapagos Islands.



If you want more in-depth information and also a guide that you can bring along during your trip, I recommend the travel guide Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands.

This is a great source of information and tips, maps, and all you need if you plan on visiting Ecuador. I personally like the option of having a hard copy version where I can take notes and have them at hand.

Don´t just dream it, make it happen. Plan your South American trip with a local!

Take a look at this list of travel resources to plan your trip and travel in South America.

Day dreaming about your trip to South America? Order here your Free Ebook, I share with you some useful tips & resources for a memorable trip!

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You can also send an email to get help planning your trip: info(at) visitecuadorandsouthamerica(dot)com










Top 5 things to do on a budget in the Galapagos islands, Ecuador

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One Response

  1. What an exciting adventure, thanks for sharing some of the highlights with us today
    I’m inviting you to join us for Travel Photo Mondays, the link runs all week so I hope you can join us for the next installment?

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