Should you visit Galapagos Islands or Arica?
If you're trying to decide where to visit between Galapagos Islands or Arica, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.
The Galapagos Islands are a small archipelago of islands belonging to Ecuador in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The Galapagos archipelago is world-renowned for its unique and fearless wildlife, much of which was inspiration for Charles Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. Thanks to a lack of natural predators, friendly wildlife such as sea lions and gigantic sea tortoises let visitors get up close. This archipelago of about 19 islands and many smaller islets found over 620 miles off Ecuador's coast in the Pacific Ocean is a double World Heritage site, where both land and sea are protected. Each island boasts its own unique landscape, ranging from black, volcanic rocks to white sand beaches and gemstone-blue waters. There is no bad time to visit the Galapagos Islands but the busiest months for tourism tend to be June, July and August, as well as mid-December to mid-January. This is when prices are at their highest.
A mixture of coastline, desert and high Andean plateau, Arica is a seaside resort town, known for its surfing beaches located at the tip of Northern Chile. Arica boasts that it is "the land of the eternal spring," but its temperate climate and beaches are not the only reason to visit this small city. Arica's tourism is still principally geared toward domestic visitors and those from southern Peru and La Paz, who flock to its beaches mid-December through February. It is very easy to spend a few days in Arica in the sand, or seeing the sights in town, at a slow pace but the city also offers plenty of fun activities and exciting day trips.
Which city is cheaper, Arica or Galapagos Islands?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Galapagos Islands is $111, while the average daily cost in Arica is $84. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Galapagos Islands and Arica in more detail.
The prices for places to stay in Galapagos Islands can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $52, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $104.
For a normal double-occupancy room in Arica, $74 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Arica, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $37, such as in a hostel.
The average traveler spends about $27 per day in Galapagos Islands for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
Food in Arica costs travelers about $30 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.
Meals for one day
Galapagos Islands $27
To get around in Galapagos Islands, the average visitor spends $43 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.
To get around in Arica, the average visitor spends $19 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Galapagos Islands
Also for Galapagos Islands, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private Transfer In from Baltra Airport to Hotels in Santa Cruz Island:
Typical Local Transportation prices in Arica
Some typical examples of transportation costs in Arica are as follows:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Arica
Also for Arica, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Arica Airport Private Transfer:
In Galapagos Islands, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $28 per person, per day.
In Arica, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $21 per person, per day.
Tours and Activities in Galapagos Islands
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Galapagos Islands.
4-Day Budget Isabela Tour:
4-Day Galapagos Islands Express Tour:
4-Day Galapagos Land Tour Visiting Isabela and Santa Cruz:
4-Day Galapagos Tour: Santa Cruz & 2 Uninhabited Islands:
4-day Galapagos on a Budget Experience:
5 days in Galapagos | Bonita Tourist Superior Cruise | Northern Itinerary 2021:
5-Day Cruise of Galapagos Islands:
5-Day Galapagos Diving Tour: Accommodation and Full-Day Diving Excursions:
5-Day Guided Galapagos & Los Tuneles Tour:
5-Day Tour Galapagos Multisport:
5-day Galapagos on a Budget Experience:
6 Days in Galapagos | Eco Galaxy First Class Cruise | Western Itinerary 2021:
Tours and Activities in Arica
For Arica, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
4-Days Unique Experience at the Chilean High Plateau:
Archeological Sightseeing tour in Arica:
Arica Private City Tour:
Arica Private Sightseeing Tour:
Arica Sightseeing Tour:
Half day Panoramic City Tour:
Full Day Tour to Tacna from Arica:
Private Arica and Ancient Cultures Tour:
Private Tour to Tacna from Arica:
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Galapagos Islands, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $12.
Typically, people visiting Arica spend on average $20 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Galapagos Islands and Arica, we can see that Galapagos Islands is more expensive. And not only is Arica much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Arica would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Arica and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Galapagos Islands would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Galapagos Islands than you might in Arica.
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