I’m Alice, an STA Travel Marketing Exec. As a David Attenborough super fan and proud owner of all Planet earth boxsets, The Galápagos Islands was top of my bucketlist when I started planning my epic 6 month South America trip. Not wanting to resort to organ harvesting or blackmail to fund my Galápagos dream, I did some serious budgeting. Here’s my top tips to make sure you squeeze every last drop of fun out of your trip.
It is no exaggeration when I say you will need to take a mortgage out to purchase sun cream. It can cost between $12 – $40.
You can save a whole heap of money, plus you’ll look like an absolute pro. Snorkels = freedom, when you have a few spare hours you can hop right in the water and in a matter of seconds be swimming alongside manta rays, marine iguanas, sea turtles (the list could go on for the rest of this blog).
From visiting Tortuga Bay (voted one of the top ten beaches in the world) to snorkelling in crystal clear pools of Las Grietas with sheer volcanic cliff faces soaring above you. You don’t have to spend a dollar for the best experiences.
Almuerzo’s & Merienda’s will be your new fave. A tasty set two/ three-course meal including a fresh fruit juice can cost $3.50 – $4. Some restaurants don’t make these options that obvious, so don’t be shy to practice the local lingo and ask. Don’t miss Charles Binford Street in Santa Cruz where you can pick up a mighty fresh lobster dinner for just $10.
There is a fixed tariff on the islands, so all taxis are $1 per ride within the towns. They are also all white pickup trucks so there is plenty of room for your surfboard or backpack. Water taxis are a great way to reach secluded beaches and top snorkelling spots and can cost just $3.
With the amount of excursions you’ll pack in on the Galápagos, buying all those Pufferfish selfies and Iguana encounter photos from the tour can get pretty pricey.
The Galápagos tour was the one thing I pre-booked before I left the UK. This saved me so much hassle and a lot of dollar. It also meant that I didn’t spend my precious 8 days on the Galápagos trudging from one tour operator to the next, bargaining on day trip pricing. I only had to fork out £100 for the deposit for the tour and then had to pay off the remaining balance 10 weeks before it started.
If this sounds like your kind of place, then why not see what the Galápagos has to offer with our one-stop travel guide. From sailing trips to the best time to visit nature’s workshop. We’ve got you covered.
Cute baby turtles? Check. Sunshine? Check. AH-mazing beaches? Check. Tempted? We thought so…
You’ll get to play parent and hang with the baby turtles, caring for them at the hatchery before releasing them into the wild. Cue warm and fuzzy feeling.
Dip your toes into the Pacific, spot monkeys and crack open a coconut – all on the daily litter pick. These daily exercises are crucial to collect the harmful litter washed up onshore, or left behind by pesky humans.
Costa Rica’s national mantra is “Pura Vida” (pure life), and one thing you’ll learn very quickly about Costa Rica is that the locals are super friendly. On the project you’ll spend hours with the rangers, hearing stories about deadly snake bites, pranks and ancient cloud forest myths.
Clamber across rocks, trek through the rainforest and patrol the beaches by just the light of the moon. These night patrols are vital in protecting the sea turtle nests, as poachers usually strike at night while turtles lay eggs and nest.
Fin fact. Turtles return to the exact same beach where they were born to mate and lay their eggs. By helping with tagging the turtles and their hatchlings, the project can collect crucial data like this. Plus, you’ll turtle-y impress your mates with your insane turtle knowledge.
Turtles are not the only awesome part of volunteering in Costa Rica, the surrounding cloud forest and beaches are pretty epic too. With little light pollution, you can get your inner astronomer on and spot a dwarf galaxy or two on the night patrols. Costa Rica is one of the few places in the northern hemisphere where this is possible.
After caring for these baby turtles, it feels extra special to release them and watch them paddle off. You’ll feel like a proud parent as you see them take their first dip into the Pacific Ocean.
This kind of project is hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun and no one day is the same as the next. From moving sand from the beach to the hatchery, weighing and tagging turtles, patrolling the beach and monitoring the nests; you definitely won’t be bored or short of things to do.
We hope this has given you a little bit of an insight into volunteering in Costa Rica. Take a look at some of our volunteering trips and give something back to the awesome world we live in.
We’ve got 99 problems but these islands ain’t one.
An archipelago of 99 islands off the coast of Malaysia, Langkawi is the perfect place to escape the mundane 9-5.
1. Beach life