Money in the Galapagos Islands
As with mainland Ecuador, the official currency in the Galapagos Islands is the US Dollar, using US-produced notes and a mixture of US and locally-produced coins. Since dollars are easily available at good rates in the UK, this makes preparing for your Galapagos holiday much easier from the point of view of what to do about money.
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These days there are also cash machines in the Galapagos and you can use your card to settle your bill on many cruises and in many shops, but read on for details...
How many US dollars will you need?
Cash Machines and Cards in the Galapagos
The only cash machines in the Galapagos are in Puerto Ayora in the airport on Baltra, on the main island of Santa Cruz and in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal. They are pretty reliable, but we would generally advise bringing plenty of cash with you from the mainland for a few different reasons...
Before boarding your flight from the mainland you will need to buy your $10 INGALA Transit Card, and when you land in the Galapagos Islands you will have to pay the $100 Galapagos National Park fee in cash before you can clear immigration. There are cash machines in the airports on Baltra and San Cristobal but only AFTER you have cleared immigration and the National Park desk, so you really are best advised to have your cash ready on the mainland before you fly out to the Galapagos Islands themselves.
On an island hopping tour, once you have arrived at your hotel you will have the chance to access cash machines in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz, but on a cruise that will be more difficult. However, most cruises do now accept card payments if you don't want to bring large amounts of cash with you.
How much money to bring to the Galapagos Islands
Whether you are taking a cruise or an island-hopping tour in the Galapagos then your meals will be included, as well as water being included, but you will still need to budget extra for snacks and other drinks.
These costs do vary between cruises, and on an island-hopping trip things are more expensive on the smaller islands than on Santa Cruz, but a rough guide to costs you're likely to incur is as follows:
|National Park Fee
|INGALA Transit Card
|Flight Departure Taxes
|Bottle of Beer
|Bottle of wine
|Bottle of Coke/7Up
|A-la-carte dinner in Puerto Ayora
|Tip to crew