Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands, have officially been "dollarized."U.S. dollars are accepted on the islands. Mastercard and Visa are the most commonly accepted credit cards while American Express are less used.
The bank on the islands is called El Banco del Pacifico. There is another, Banco del Fomento, but this is only usefull for locals and it is very slow.
Banco de Pacifico in Puerto Ayora:
Will exchange traveler's checks for a 5% commission (it doesn't make sense, we know!). The bank is open Monday to Friday 8:00 - 3:30 and Saturday 9:30 -12:30. Personal checks of toehr banks are not accepted. The ATM operates 24 hours.
The islands are not cheap by any means, and so budget for at least $60.00/day per person for basic lodging and food. Everything else is extra. Keep in mind that it's a once in a lifetime opportunity, and so don't miss out on anything extraordinary because of poor budgeting! Lodging ranges from $20.00/night per person to over $150.00/night per person.
If you intend to stay several nights in one place, oftentimes you can work out a deal. Be prepared, though, to pay about double what you pay on mainland Ecuador.
AND TAXES: Upon arrival to the islands, everybody must pay a
park entrance fee of $100.00. In the past, they accepted student cards
to give a discount, but now they don't. The only ones exempt from this
fee are the residents of the islands, residents of Ecuador, or those
in the pacto-Andino (and they still have to pay $50.00).
The entrance fee is a small price to pay, however, to maintain the islands.
The fee helps fund the maintenance of the parks and other national projects.
The park entrance fee is distributed as follows: 40% Galapagos National Park; 20% Galapagos Municipalities; 10% Galapagos Province Government; 10% Galapagos National Institute (INGALA); 5% Galapagos Marine Reserve; 5% Galapagos Province Inspection and Quarantine System; 5% INEFAN (National Park Service); 5% National Army. In total, these fees assist in the protection and preservation of the Islands.
For more information and reservations
Telephone: +57 1 7456019
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