Park entrance fee... to high or too low?

The current Galapagos National Park entrance fee is $100 for foreigners (except for those from the Andean Community of nations who pay less).  You pay $100 and you can get into one of the most iconic and arguably one of the best conserved natural protected areas on the planet for up to 60 days.   

People have been paying $100 for permission to go to Galapagos since 1993.   Back then, it was a combined municipal and national government fee.  The municipality of Puerto Ayora charged $20 and the national government charged $80.   Back then, a 7 night / 8 day cruise would cost about $1,000 (admittedly, the fleet of cruise ships in those days consisted for the most part of pretty basic converted fishing boats).   About 25,000 visitors came to Galapagos in 1993 - back then, only a very tiny fraction of this number would not have embarked on a cruise, likely no more than one hundred given the absence of any infrastructure or services to serve them.  

In 1998, the government of Ecuador passed the Special Law for Galapagos.  This law overrode guarantees put in place in the nation's own constitution - namely that of freedom of movement.  Ecuadorians living on the continent would no longer be allowed to just pick up and move to Galapagos.  Galapagos residency was restricted to those born in Galapagos or to those who could demonstrate that they had been residing there prior to 1998.   The Special Law also established a single park fee of $100.   Proceeds from the fee were to be distributed between the park administration, marine reserve management, each of the three municipal governments and to manage the threat of invasive species.  

Though there has been pressure to increase the fee for many years, doing so was difficult, as it would require a re-opening of the Special Law - a process many feared would lead to a Pandora's box of unwanted consequences.   It was not until 2015, after 2 years of consultations, that the law was reviewed and amended.  As part of the amendment process, the park fee value was no longer specifically indicated, but rather, the new law authorized the local Galapagos government (the Regional Council on which sit representative of municipal governments, rural communities and various national government departments such as tourism, environment and agriculture).

Though the Galapagos Regional Council has now had the power to raise the national park entrance fee for 3 years, it has hesitated to do so.