A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Punta del Este vs. Galapagos Islands for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Punta del Este or Galapagos Islands?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Punta del Este or Galapagos Islands, 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.

Punta del Este

Punta del Este with its many beaches, elegant seaside homes, yacht harbor, high-rise apartment buildings, pricey hotels, ardent night scene and glitzy restaurants is a chic beach resort town in Uruguay. Many tourists come from Brazil and Argentina, on the other side of the Rio de la Plata, to get some nice sun and lay on the beach for a weekend getaway. Punta del Este is more expensive than other areas in Uruguay and has been called the Monaco of South America. Tourist season varies wildly from totally deserted in the winter to very crowded in the summer.

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.

Which city is cheaper, Galapagos Islands or Punta del Este?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Punta del Este is $70, while the average daily cost in Galapagos Islands is $111. 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 Punta del Este and Galapagos Islands in more detail.



Accommodation

The prices for places to stay in Punta del Este can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $39, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $78.

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.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Punta del Este $39
    Galapagos Islands $52
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Punta del Este $78
    Galapagos Islands $104

Food

The price of a meal in Punta del Este can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $22 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $8.80 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

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 Meals for one day
    Punta del Este $22
    Galapagos Islands $27

Local Transportation

Punta del Este'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 $15 per person, per day on transportation in Punta del Este.

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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Punta del Este $15
    Galapagos Islands $43

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Punta del Este

Also for Punta del Este, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Punta del Este Wine Tour, Bodega Garzon, Private Transfer: $338
  • Private Transfer to Garzon Restaurant by Francis Mallmann: $269
  • Punta del Este Airport Private Transfer: $45
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Punta del Este Airport to Hotel: $40
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Punta del Este Airport: $40

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: $115

Is it cheaper to fly into Punta del Este or Galapagos Islands?

Prices for flights to both Galapagos Islands and Punta del Este 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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Punta del Este can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $7.43 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

In Galapagos Islands, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $28 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Punta del Este $7.43
    Galapagos Islands $28

Tours and Activities in Punta del Este

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Punta del Este.

  • Art Studio Tour in Punta del Este: $75
  • La Vista 360 Admission Ticket: $10
  • Punta del Este City Sightseeing Tour: $33
  • Punta del Este City Tour: $93
  • Punta del Este City Tour Clasico con Puesta del Sol en Casapueblo: $25
  • Punta del Este Shore Excursion: Private Sightseeing Tour of Punta del Este: $188
  • Punta del Este Special Art Tour: $185
  • Wine Lovers - Punta Wine Experience: $150

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: $1,106
  • 4-Day Galapagos Islands Express Tour: $714
  • 4-Day Galapagos Land Tour Visiting Isabela and Santa Cruz: $876
  • 4-Day Galapagos Tour: Santa Cruz & 2 Uninhabited Islands: $1,239
  • 4-day Galapagos on a Budget Experience: $1,090
  • 5 days in Galapagos | Bonita Tourist Superior Cruise | Northern Itinerary 2021: $2,287
  • 5-Day Cruise of Galapagos Islands: $2,849
  • 5-Day Galapagos Diving Tour: Accommodation and Full-Day Diving Excursions: $1,286
  • 5-Day Guided Galapagos & Los Tuneles Tour: $1,289
  • 5-Day Tour Galapagos Multisport: $1,599
  • 5-day Galapagos on a Budget Experience: $1,195
  • 6 Days in Galapagos | Eco Galaxy First Class Cruise | Western Itinerary 2021: $4,590

Alcohol

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 del Este, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $5.44.

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.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Punta del Este $5.44
    Galapagos Islands $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Punta del Este

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Punta del Este:

  • Wine Tasting from Punta del Este: $128


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

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Punta del Este vs. Galapagos Islands Travel Comparison

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