The Galapagos is one of the world's most famous wildlife destinations, but also one of the most fragile. This leaves us with a huge responsibility to make sure that we do not degrade the environment in any way, and, in fact, that we help improve it if possible.
It must be remembered that tourism is the one industry that does preserve these remarkable islands, as, without the income generated by tourism, they would have been denuded decades ago. Recent projects to restore the some parts of the Galapagos, such as removing feral goats from Northern Isabela Island, have all been funded by tourism and by people who have visited the islands in the past.
Anyone who visits the Galapagos will pay the park fees, which go towards maintaining the islands and paying the park staff. All visitors to the Galapagos are bound by strict rules issued by the Galapagos National Park Authority, (See Below) and we make sure that all of our clients adhere to these rules.
Our vessels dispose of all the waste created in the designated manner, but we minimise the waste we create in the first place. Being very new, the vessel is very fuel efficient, and the new engines use less fuel than most older vessels, and create fewer emissions too.
When visiting the Galapagos Islands, a National Park and World Heritage Site, all visitors are expected to act responsibly and to treat the environment with utmost respect. Below are 14 rules all visitors are expected to obey while in Galapagos:
Galapagos National Park Rules - Visitors to any protected areas in the Galapagos National Park must be accompanied by a licensed Galapagos National Park Guide. - Be sure to travel with authorized tour operators and/or tour boats. - For the protection of the wildlife, as well as the safety of all visitors, stay within the marked trails at all visitor sites. - Despite their curiosity with humans, do not touch the animals or allow them to touch you, and maintain at least 2 meters (6 feet) between you the animals. - Do not feed the wildlife. By doing so, you may negatively alter the balance of nature. - When taking photos of the animals, do not use flash photography. Professional photographers and film-makers must have special authorization from the Galapagos National Park to use equipment and techniques beyond what is needed for basic personal photography. - Camping is only allowed in a few authorized areas in the islands. You are required to request authorization to camp from the Galapagos National Park at least 48 hours in advance or your planned camping date(s). - Be fully cooperative with the environmental inspection and quarantine services during your visit the islands. Introduced plants, animals, and certain types of food that are not native to the islands pose a very serious threat to the Galapagos ecosystem. - Many souvenirs are prohibited from being sold and/or removed from the islands. Do not take or purchase black coral, shells, volcanic rocks, animal parts, or any native wood or vegetation prior to leaving Galapagos. Also, it is illegal to eat certain species out of their approved season. - Do not ruin the beauty of the near-pristine Galapagos environment with graffiti of any kind. - Keep Galapagos litter-free. All trash or recyclable materials should be kept on your person or deposited in the correct containers on your return to populated areas or your tour boat. - Smoking and/or camp fires are strictly prohibited within the Galapagos National Park, as they are a danger to the flora and fauna. - Fishing is prohibited from all tour boats. Please report violators to the Galapagos National Park. Motorized aquatic sports, mini-subs, and aerial tourism activities are not permitted in the Galapagos National Park or Marine Reserve.
The Galapagos Islands are home to around 25000 people, the vast majority of which are employed in tourism, with conservation also employing a sizable number. Without the income from tourism many of these people would have to leave, and some would undoubtedly turn to poaching and fishing.
However the mere fact that the community is so dependent on tourism, which in turn is driven by the wildlife and the environment, gives the population the strongest possible reason to protect and enhance their islands.
All of the staff on our vessel are employed locally, and fully trained in their roles, not just to perform them, but also with the conservation of the islands in mind.
The vessels operators support the Galapagos Conservation Trust and the Charles Darwin Foundation, both of which undertake vital work on the islands. Additionally, by visiting such projects as the The Interpretation Center on Cristobal and the Charles Darwin Research Station, we not only educate our clients about the delicate environment, but also we encourage them to donate directly.