Flexible Galapagos Islands tailor made tour

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Departure information

This trip has year round daily departures
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Flexible Galapagos Islands tailor made tour

Environment

We have been working in the Galapagos Islands since 1994 and developed many close relationships during these many years. We pioneered the concept of land-based tours in the Galapagos Islands and are happy to report that these have had a positive impact in many ways including good things for the environment. We are particularly proud to be working with our “Flexible Galapagos” partners to bring you yet another way to experience this UNESCO protected and designated region.

On this program you stay at up to three distinct lodges all owned by the same local company and each run with close attention to minimizing impact to the Galapagos. The most recently-constructed lodge on Floreana was carefully built to fit the location both aesthetically and environmentally. A consistent set of guidelines is used at all three locations and some of the initiatives and practices are:
- Installing new washers and dryers that use less electricity, water and soap than conventional machines.
- The first hotel in the Galapagos to utilize an onsite filtration system for drinking water, thus eliminating the need to import bottled water.
- One of few hotels to have a blackwater treatment plant that recycles water.
- Have completed installation of efficient backup generators.
- Launching a fuel saving diesel boat in the spring of 2012 to transfer guests between the islands.
- Recycling bins are set up on all properties for guests and staff is trained to recycle and reuse all resources as much as possible.
- Only biodegradable and natural cleaning products are used.
- In-room amenities such as shampoos and soaps are organic and sourced from Ecuador.
- Reducing paper use by having only permanent laminated welcome letters and other information in the rooms.
- At the lodge on Floreana, most power comes from solar panels.
- Regular sponsorship of coastal cleaning projects alongside Ecuadorian Maritime authorities. On a daily basis, guides and other staff pick up any garbage found in visited areas.
- On these land-based programs much less fuel is used than on conventional cruises.
- At our hotel on Santa Cruz free use of hotel bicycles mean you don’t need to use any taxi services.

We are a full business member and one of the largest contributors to the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA). Not only do we as a company contribute, but we give our guests an opportunity to contribute as well since this is a meaningful way to have a positive impact on the conservation and protection of the Galapagos Islands. The funds that IGTOA collects go to various projects across the archipelago. In addition we support the Galapagos Conservancy which funds many worthwhile projects in the Galapagos Islands including that of the Charles Darwin Research Center.

Community

All our operations are driven by a commitment to create programs that are sustainable and also help improve conditions for the people living on the Galapagos Islands. Our exclusive partner for these tours is on the cutting edge of implementing and practicing meaningful community service in the Galapagos Islands. Staff is offered continual training opportunities to learn skills that not only help them on the job, but in their personal lives as well. This training is available for learning the basics of business finance and budgeting. Employees are taught how to provide superlative guest service which is a much-needed skill in the islands. Language classes in English are taught and sponsorships for local residents who wish to obtain Naturalist Guide Certification through the programs offered by the Galapagos National Park are offered.

Other initiatives and programs include:

A program for improved health care for horses on Isabela Island. At the start of this program in May of 2010, 176 horses owned by local residents of the community of Puerto Villamil were given free treatment by veterinarians. Along with the treatment, the owners were taught how to better care for their horses. On the next visit in August, those horses under the care of these trained owners had gained an average of 40 pounds and there was little evidence of any further malnutrition. A program of certification was started with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Galapagos and help from the University of Cuenca’s School of Veterinary Medicine. 18 horse-owners attended the programs and over 500 animals in total have now been treated.

A similar program was initiated on Floreana Island as well. In both of these cases, the Ministry of Agriculture for Galapagos worked together with our partner’s team to issue health cards and certificates to those horses suitable for tourism. Any animal that did not pass the standards cannot be used for tourism until such time as they do gain health certificates. This program has had a dramatic impact on creating more humane treatment and better care and health of the horses on both Isabela and Floreana Islands.

Here are few more examples of important work that has been done:

On Santa Cruz Island - Donation of mattresses to public hospital; a bookshelf for a classroom at San Francisco Elementary school; various donations to the local Hospital Republic of Ecaudor; an electric golf card donated to the municipality. Etc.

On Floreana Island - Donation of medicine and mattresses for Floreana's Public Hospital; donation of building materials for a work that was performed by Sea Shepherd, which was to make a kennel for the dogs to detect drugs and shark fins.

When you join one of these “Flexible Galapagos” tours, you can be proud that a large percentage of the trip fee remains with the communities and business owners on the islands. You will also have superb opportunities to interact with the local inhabitants giving you a cultural element that hardly exists on yacht based trips. If you are interested in understanding how the local human population lives in the Galapagos while surrounded by a National Park, you will find that you will learn a lot during this tour.

Reviews of Flexible Galapagos Islands tailor made tour

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 24 May 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Snorkeling with sea lions.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Protect yourself from the sun (which we did) and take precautions to avoid seasickness (which we did the second boat trip).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Overall, yes very much. However the food could have avoided any human added animals (chicken/beef).

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent! Very unique experience!

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