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Trips to this Galapagos Islands 'gateway' are less than $300 right now

June 06, 2022
6 min read
city view Guayaquil
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Guayaquil, a city in Ecuador, is a gateway to some of the most unique plant and animal species on the planet, and this fall, you could travel there for just a few hundred dollars. Guayaquil is rich in its own history and culture, and it’s one of the few places from which you can catch a flight to the Galapagos Islands.

Right now, several U.S. airlines are offering round-trip flights to Guayaquil for around $300 or less. Considering the sky-high prices of domestic flights right now, this is a great deal for a trip to South America.

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Whether you’re looking to spend a few days exploring mainland Ecuador or you want to head to the Galapagos Islands right away, this fare is a great way to get yourself into the country at a good price.

You’ll find the deals on a number of airlines, including aboard non-legacy U.S. carriers like JetBlue and Spirit Airlines. You can find the prices on some legacy carriers and South America-based airlines as well.

(Photo by Andrew Peacock/Getty Images)

Scott’s Cheap Flights was the first to point out these deals. A Premium membership to the site, which costs $49, helps you track down great economy deals; Elite memberships, which start at $199, flag first-class, business-class and premium economy deals.

Related: Did you know? You can get to the Galapagos on points and miles

Deal basics

Airlines: JetBlue, Spirit, Copa, Avianca and American.
Routes: Newark, New York, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and others to Guayaquil.
How to book: Directly through the airline or Google Flights.
Travel dates: September-November.

Sample flights

We took note of deals to Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport (GYE) in Guayaquil for less than $300 — and some trips that fell just a bit above that.

Because of the nature of the destination, you should note when booking that you’ll likely be connecting somewhere along the way. If you’re on a U.S. carrier, that connection will likely be in the U.S.; if you’re on a Central American carrier, the connection will be international.

For instance, if you book a trip on Panama-based Copa, I can almost guarantee you’ll be making a stop at Tocumen International Airport Panama (PTY) along the way.

The deals begin right as the traditional U.S. summer travel season comes to a close. We found some post-Labor Day weekend deals, so you can beat the summer airport crowds just by a couple of days for this trip.

Here are just a few of the options we found for economy deals:

  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to GYE for $278 on JetBlue.
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) to GYE for $263 on Copa.
  • Miami International Airport (MIA) to GYE for $310 on Avianca.
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to GYE for $316 on Copa.
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to GYE for $343 on Copa.
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to GYE for $378 on Spirit.
  • O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to GYE for $378 on Spirit.

There are options out of Newark on a number of carriers, with JetBlue offering many itinerary choices this fall. If you choose this $278 itinerary for early October, you’ll have a layover on the outbound and return trips in Fort Lauderdale. With the nearly three-hour journey between New York and Florida under your belt, it’s just another 4 1/2 hours to Guayaquil.

(Screenshot from Google Flights)

JetBlue travelers out of Fort Lauderdale can get nonstop service to Guayaquil, but there are other, even cheaper routes available on other airlines. The round-trip journey on Copa goes for $263, with stops — as mentioned earlier — at PTY in Panama City. It’s a relatively short layover on the way down — about 90 minutes — with a longer stop on the return trip. Note that you have a very, very early morning departure on the way home, too.

(Screenshot from Google Flights)

Here's another option out of South Florida, on a different carrier. After departing Miami you’ll connect to El Dorado International Airport (BOG) in Bogota, Colombia, with pretty brief layovers in each direction.

(Screenshot from Google Flights)

Atlanta travelers can also find flights on a couple of different carriers, including Copa. Unlike the Fort Lauderdale itinerary on Copa, you’ll have nice, short stops in Panama City each way. Altogether, your travel time between ATL and Guayaquil is between seven and eight hours.

(Screenshot from Google Flights)

Maximize your purchase

When you pay for your airfare with The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll get 5 points per dollar on flights booked through the airline or American Express travel (capped at $500,000 in purchases per calendar year). Earn 3 points per dollar when you book your flight using your American Express® Gold Card by booking directly with the airline or through Amex Travel. You’ll earn 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards when you pay with your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card earns you 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel.

Guayaquil, Ecuador. (Photo by Westend61/Getty Images)

 Bottom line

Whether mainland Ecuador is your final destination or you’re looking to parlay your trip to South America with an additional flight over to the Galapagos Islands, these fall deals will get you there for a low price. Flights for this fall cost just a few hundred dollars.

It also doesn’t hurt that the first points hotel in the Galapagos should soon be opening.

Since it’s 2022 and plenty of deals don’t last long, it’s a good idea to act quickly if you think this fall trip could be part of your plans.

Featured image by Getty Images/Westend61
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases