Mainland Ecuador was one of the cheapest places we’ve visited during this trip. However, the Galapagos islands were one of the most expensive! Here’s how our budget worked out during our two weeks on the mainland, and one week on the island. All costs are per person, and the currency used in Ecuador is US dollars.
Getting to the Galapagos is not cheap, and, on the islands, everything costs at least twice as much as it does on the mainland. However, many of the activities that can be done on the Galapagos don’t cost a penny!
Overall, our trip the Galapagos cost us each $570 (£401), with an additional $400 (£281) for flights.
Dorms aren’t very common throughout Ecuador. Instead, guesthouses and hostels offer reasonably priced private rooms. These are usually clean and comfortable, though many don’t have kitchens to cook in. As we were travelling during low season, we managed to bargain the prices down.
We usually paid between $5 and $8 (£3.50-5.60) each for a double room in places such as Quito and Baños. In Guayaquil, prices are higher, and our one night here cost us each $12.50 (£9). In the Quilotoa loop, dinner and breakfast are included in the price of a room, which is usually $15 (£10.50) per person per night.
As mentioned above, self-catering isn’t really an option in most hostels and guesthouses. However, restaurant meals are usually pretty cheap. The best option price-wise is a set almuerzo (lunch), where you are given whatever is on offer that day (usually some combination of rice, beans, plantain, salad, chicken, chips, and soup), and charged a low price of around $2-3 (£1.40- 2.10).
Most cities and towns have a selection of cheap restaurants, where meals such as pizza cost around $4-6 (£2.80- 4.20). There isn’t much variety in the food, however, Ecuador is an easy place for vegetarian travel.
A soft drink or coffee will usually cost just $1 (£0.70). A local beer costs around $2 (£1.40), while a glass of wine costs $3-5 (£2.10- 3.50).
Taxis were a very cheap way to get around cities, costing us around $1-2 (£0.70- 1.40) for most journeys, with a maximum of only $5 (£3.50). Buses cost roughly $1.50 (£1) per hour of travel. As an example, our six hour bus from Baños to Guayaquil cost us each $10 (£7).
Other than the usual living costs, we didn’t spend a lot of money on mainland Ecuador, as a lot of our time here was spent hiking in the Quilotoa Loop (for just a $2 entrance fee!). While we were in Baños, we rented bikes for $5 (£3.50) per day, and spent $3 (2.10) visiting the relaxing thermal baths.
In 15 days on mainland Ecuador, Adam and I each spent $285 (£200). This works out well under budget at just $19 (£13) per day.