Galapagos Offers

Cheap Galapagos cruise? Probably not
Sealions seen from a cruise in the Galapagos Islands
Galapagos offers: Last minute cruise in the Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Discounts: Galapagos Vision catamaran in the islands
Compare Galapagos cruise boats: cruise offers in travel brochures

Galapagos deals, discounts and special offers to help your budget go further in the Galapagos Islands.

Galapagos Offers & Discounts

Galapagos offers and discounts are much sought after, but not so easy to find.  In reality, cheap Galapagos tours do not really exist, and nor does a cheap Galapagos cruise.  There are ways to keep costs down on your Galapagos Islands vacation, or get more bang for your buck, but it is never going to be a cheap trip.  Rather than chasing the impossible, focus on finding the best itinerary for you, the most suitable boat, and ensure that your Galapagos cruise experience is the best it can be for your budget.
Last minute deals are one way to get a Galapagos cruise cheap, or at least cheap as compared to the regular price.  See last minute Galapagos tips and tricks to help you find a good deal or negotiate a discount.
If your cheap Galapagos cruise seems too good to be true, it probably is, so be sure to get everything in writing and make sure anything important to you is explicitly specified, in case the tour operator changes the boat or itinerary at short notice.  Compare Galapagos cruise boats online and check cruise reviews if you can find them.  Check several websites for cruise boat information - you may find the same cruiser listed in different categories!
Be wary of booking your Galapagos cruise, hotels or tour separately from flights to the islands, in case one is no longer available by the time you have booked the non-refundable "bargain" others.  A good Galapagos tour operator or travel agent will make sure all elements of your Galapagos package deal are in place and link up smoothly.
Discounts on Galapagos flights are rarely found simply because the flights are usually full, so the airlines have no need to reduce ticket prices in order to sell them.  In addition to the tourist traffic, the Galapagos islanders travel backwards and forwards to the mainland, so there is rarely an empty seat on a flight to or from the islands.  Those with homes on the islands can fly on standby, but tourists cannot unless they have hotel accommodation booked before they arrive.  So, it's not usually worth hanging out for cheap flights to the Galapagos Islands, and you are more likely to get a fair price by booking well in advance.  
Volunteers or those with an empadronamiento may get discounted flights - ask your travel agent or volunteer agency about any relevant offers. Bear in mind that an empadronamiento will take some time in Quito or Guayaquil to arrange.  The savings involved are not worth volunteering rather than taking a luxury cruise, or getting an empadronamiento just for this, but if you were volunteering anyway, you might as well look into it.
When budgeting, remember Galapagos cruise prices rarely include the National Park entrance fee of $100 or the control card fee of $10, especially on discounted cruise packages.  Look out for other omissions from special offer packages.  What looks like an attractive discount cruise can actually be very expensive if you must add on meals, are charged a fortune for drinking water or have to pay extra for excursions.  Tips and alcoholic drinks are almost never included in package deals. 
A discount on the National Park entrance fee might be available to holders of a valid visa with "empadronamiento" (this replaces the old censo) - enquire with your travel agent about the latest situation.
It is worth noting that flight prices and the National Park entrance fee and control card are the same no matter how long you spend in the islands.  A 4 day cruise (really only 2 whole days and 2 half days) may be cheaper but is perhaps a false economy as you get so little time in the islands.  Most visitors wish they had been able to spend more time in Galapagos - it's probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I would recommend doing it properly with an 8 day cruise on the nicest boat you can afford.  Even then, a day or two at each end of the cruise to walk in the islands or explore some of the social history would still be worthwhile.  
If you can only afford a four day cruise, consider a few days before or after in one or more of the Galapagos hotels to do some walking.  It's not really a cheap Galapagos tour, but it could be an excellent way to stretch your budget and see more of the Galapagos Islands to get the most value from your Galapagos flights and National Park Entry Fee.
The Galapagos weather and wildlife will make a big difference to your trip, so see the Galapagos Climate Calendar and Wildlife Activity Notes pages before deciding when is best to visit the Galapagos islands.  When you have identified the time of year you would most enjoy, then search for the best deals to find a relatively cheap Galapagos tour or cruise.  Especially  outside of the high season, it's always worth asking for a discount Galapagos package.
Useful Spanish Vocabulary for finding discounts in the Galapagos Islands:
descuento: discount
oferta: offer
Galapagos Islands Deals, Discounts, Special Offers
Cheap Galapagos tours? Galapagos offers, cruise deals, bargains & discounts for boats & tours.  How to find a cheap Galapagos cruise.
Website www.ecuadortravelsite.org, text and photos by Sarah Clifford.
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