A Travel Price Comparison for Ecuador Galapagos Islands vs. Banos for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Galapagos Islands or Banos?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Galapagos Islands or Banos, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Where Should I go: Galapagos Islands or Banos?

Galapagos Islands

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.


Banos (de Agua Santa) is a small city in the Andean highlands of Ecuador under volcano Tungurahua. Its name, which is Spanish for "Baths (of sacred water)," comes from the famous hydrothermal springs in the area. It's equally popular with foreigners as with Ecuadorians, and is known as the adventure capital of Ecuador. The streets are lined with hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, and tour agencies. Although it is very touristy, lots of people love it, more for the activities and surroundings than for the city itself. It is an important hub for outdoor sports and jungle tours.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Ecuador, The Best Honeymoon Tours in Ecuador, The Best Luxury Tours to Ecuador, and The Best Budget Tours to Ecuador.

Which place is cheaper, Banos or Galapagos Islands?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Galapagos Islands is $138, while the average daily cost in Banos is $46. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Galapagos Islands and Banos in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Galapagos Islands $65
    Banos $16
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Galapagos Islands $130
    Banos $32
Compare Hotels in Galapagos Islands and Banos

Looking for a hotel in Galapagos Islands or Banos? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Galapagos Islands

Hotels in Banos

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Banos Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Galapagos Islands $54
    Banos $10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Galapagos Islands

Also for Galapagos Islands, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from Baltra Airport to Hotels in Santa Cruz Island: $144
  • Private Transfer from Hotels in Santa Cruz to Baltra Airport: $138
  • Transfer from Santa Cruz Island to Isabela Island: $55
  • Transfer from Santa Cruz Island to Isabela Island: $60
  • Transfer from Santa Cruz Island to San Cristobal Island: $48
  • Transfer from Santa Cruz Island to San Cristobal Island: $64
  • Transfer in + Visit to the giant turtle nature reserve: $205

Is it cheaper to fly into Galapagos Islands or Banos?

Prices for flights to both Banos and Galapagos Islands change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Galapagos Islands $33
    Banos $15

Typical Food Prices in Banos

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Banos:

  • Dinner
  • Ice cream
  • Coffee

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Galapagos Islands $35
    Banos $19

Tours and Activities in Galapagos Islands

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Galapagos Islands.

  • Private Tour Sighting Giant Tortoises and Lava Tunnels: $36
  • Isabela Island Wetlands Walking Tour: $40
  • Bay Tour in Santa Cruz - Galapagos Islands: $60
  • Isabela Island Tour in Galapagos with Kayak and Snorkeling: $64
  • FERRY TICKET From: Santa Cruz / To: San Cristobal (PM): $65
  • FERRY TICKET From: Isabela / To: Santa Cruz (AM): $65
  • Hiking Tour to Sierra Negra Volcano: $67
  • Half Day Bay Tour in Santa Cruz Island: $72
  • Private BiciTour Giant Tortoises and Lava Tunnel in Galapagos: $90
  • Half Day Tour in Sierra Negra Volcano & Lava Fields: $90
  • Kayaking Experience in Franklin Bay: $95
  • Tintoreras Islet Tour from Isabela - Hiking & Snorkeling in Galapagos Islands: $99

Typical Entertainment Prices in Banos

Here are a few typical costs in Banos for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:

  • Two Rented Bikes for the Day
  • Cost to see Waterfall
  • Day at the Spa
  • 2 Bike Rentals (1 Day)
  • Entrance to Waterfall

Tours and Activities in Banos

Here are a few actual costs in Banos for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Adventure and Fun River Rafting in Baños Ecuador: $35
  • 2 Hours Small-Group Horseback Riding Experience in Banos: $30
  • 3 Hours Small-Group Horseback Riding Experience in Baños: $40
  • 5-Hour Small-Group Horseback Riding Experience in Baños: $62
  • Adventure Circuit 4 activities in 1. All within an impressive cascade: $25
  • Adventure in Baños 3 Days 2 Nights: $225
  • Animalpark | Theme Park | Tours | naturally fun: $45
  • Baths Nature and Adventure 2 Days.: $190
  • Canopy Ziplining in Puntzan Adventure Park: $26
  • Canyoning Adventure Tour in the Ravine: $30
  • Chimborazo Volcano Bike Tour: $95
  • Chimborazo Volcano from Baños private day Tour: $139

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Galapagos Islands $15
    Banos $9.74

Typical Alcohol Prices in Banos

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Banos from other travelers:

  • Beer

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Galapagos Islands and Banos, we can see that Galapagos Islands is more expensive. And not only is Banos much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Banos would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Banos 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 Banos.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Galapagos Islands Expensive? and Is Banos Expensive?.