How to Budget Your Cash for a Galapagos Trip

The following short article contains some important information on what currency is used on the Islands, how much Cash should you bring, and in case you’re to need more Cash while on the islands.

  • The US Dollar is the official currency of Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands. It is recommended best to bring with you as much cash as you think you might need to spend. Or, you can withdraw from Quito or Guayaquil airport before boarding your flight to the Galapagos.
  • Do not bring $100 or $50 bills, most businesses in the Galapagos Islands, and Ecuador’s mainland in general, will not accept large bills. Better bring
    $20, $10, and $5 bills as much as you might need.
  • There are a few ATMs on the islands, at least one on each major island (Santa Cruz – Isabela – San Cristobal). Yet, due to the remote location of the islands and the limited internet service there, these ATMs might be offline/out of service.

ATMs locations:

San Cristobal:
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Banco del Pacifico Location

Santa Cruz:
1. Puerto Ayora, Banco Pichincha Location
2. Puerto Ayora, Banco del Pacífico Location

Puerto Villamil, Banco del Pacifico Location
Edificio del Gad Municipal de Isabela, Calle 16 de Marzo Y Antonio Gil

Please remember that the following has to be paid in cash only:

  • USD $20 in cash only, for the TCT Card (Transit Control Card) at Quito or Guayaquil airport INGALA booth (recently called Consejo de Gobierno del Régimen Especial de Galápagos) before taking your flight to the Galapagos Islands.
  • USD $100 in cash only, for the Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee to be paid upon arrival at Baltra or San Cristobal airport.


Tipping in Ecuador is not mandatory, it always depends on how happy you are with a certain service, meal, or stay. Recommendations based on Tamer’s experience :

– Happy with a meal: $5 – $10 Total
– Happy with a driver’s service for one ride: $10 Total
– Happy with a driver’s service for a number of days: $20 – $30 Total
– Happy with a Guide’s service for one trip: $20 Total
– Happy with a Guide’s service for multiple days: (e.g. Cruise): $50 up to $100 Again, it all depends on how satisfied you are!

Plan well, and enjoy a marvelous trip to the Enchanted Islands!

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