Should you visit Galapagos Islands or Punta Arenas?
If you're trying to decide where to visit between Galapagos Islands or Punta Arenas, 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.
Punta Arenas is in the far south of Chile and has a long history of maritime commerce, oil extraction, and sheep farming. It's the most populated city on the Strait of Magellan and has all the facilities you might need as a traveler, including banks, markets, drugstores and equipment shops. With a population of about 130,000, the city is a comfortable place to spend time. It serves as a base for Antarctic expeditions, although many expeditions also start in Ushuaia, Argentina, and Christchurch New Zealand.
Which city is cheaper, Punta Arenas 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 Punta Arenas is $65. 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 Punta Arenas 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.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $66 in Punta Arenas For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities 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.
While meal prices in Punta Arenas can vary, the average travelers spends about $21 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Punta Arenas should cost around $8.40 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Punta Arenas is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
Meals for one day
Galapagos Islands $27
Punta Arenas $21
Typical Food prices in Punta Arenas
Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Punta Arenas:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Punta Arenas
For Punta Arenas, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Punta Arenas Small Group Sightseeing and food Tour with a Local Guide:
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.
Punta Arenas's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $1.84 per person, per day on transportation in Punta Arenas.
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 Punta Arenas
Also for Punta Arenas, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Transfer from Punta Arenas (city or airport) to Puerto Natales:
Bus transfer from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia:
Arrival Transfer: Punta Arenas Airport to Hotel:
Transfer from Punta Arenas Hotel to Punta Arenas Airport:
Private Airport Transfer: Punta Arenas Ibanez Airport (PUQ) to Punta Arenas:
Private Airport Transfer: from Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas Ibanez Airport (PUQ):
In Galapagos Islands, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $28 per person, per day.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Punta Arenas can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $6.57 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
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 Punta Arenas
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Punta Arenas.
4-Day Private Tour to Patagonia: Torres del Paine, Glaciers & Penguins:
Bus ticket from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Ushuaia (Argentina):
City Tour of Punta Arenas:
FULL DAY KING PENGUIN COLONY (private tours):
FULL DAY KING PENGUIN COLONY (regular tours):
Full Day Torres del Paine Private tour, departing from Punta Arenas:
Full Day Torres del Paine, From Punta Arenas (Private Tours):
Full day Punta Arenas (Regular tours):
Full day Torres del Paine from Punta Arenas ,Regular tours:
Full-Day Punta Arenas and Magellan Strait Tour:
Full-day experience in Chilean Antártica:
Isla Tortuga Catamarán Cruises from San Jose:
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.
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Punta Arenas, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $4.96.
Typical Alcohol prices in Punta Arenas
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Punta Arenas:
Sample the Local Flavors in Punta Arenas
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Punta Arenas:
Punta Arenas Small Group Beers & Brewery Tour with a Local Guide:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Galapagos Islands and Punta Arenas, we can see that Galapagos Islands is more expensive. And not only is Punta Arenas much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Punta Arenas would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Punta Arenas 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 Punta Arenas.
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