Should you visit Galapagos Islands or La Serena?
If you're trying to decide where to visit between Galapagos Islands or La Serena, 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.
La Serena is a charming town in Northern Chile. It is Chile's second-oldest city and the thriving capital of Region IV. With its beautiful architecture, its long golden shoreline, dignified stone churches, tree-shaded avenues and pretty plazas, La Serena has everything you could ask for!
Chileans on holidays flood in the city in January and February, though it is fairly peaceful outside the summer rush. Some of the city's architecture is from the colonial era, but most is actually neocolonial thanks to president Gabriel Gonzalez Videla, born in La Serena, and her 'Plan Serena' of the late 1940s.
Which city is cheaper, La Serena 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 La Serena is $88. 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 La Serena 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.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $86 in La Serena For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
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.
La Serena food costs typically run travelers around $27 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.
Meals for one day
Galapagos Islands $27
La Serena $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 La Serena, the average visitor spends $21 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:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in La Serena
Also for La Serena, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private Airport Transfer: La Florida Airport (LSC) to La Serena:
Private Airport Transfer: from La Serena to La Florida Airport (LSC):
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 La Serena, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $24 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 La Serena
For La Serena, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Elqui Valley and Vicuña Private Tour Including Lunch:
La Serena and Coquimbo Private City Tour Including Lunch and Archeological Museum:
Full day Tour to Elqui Valley:
Valle de Elqui Fullday Tour:
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 La Serena spend on average $23 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Galapagos Islands and La Serena, we can see that Galapagos Islands is more expensive. And not only is La Serena much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to La Serena would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in La Serena 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 La Serena.
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