Galapagos Islands cruise, on a shoestring

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Holiday type

Tailor made holiday

This trip is run by a company which specialises in only Central and South America holidays. It can be tailormade to create a unique holiday for your individual requirements by travel experts with intimate knowledge of the destination. The length of stay, standard of accommodation and even the itinerary can all be amended and tailored to suit your preferred style of travel and budget. Quality and value are the hallmark of these trips.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Travel and tourism can both benefit and damage the environment, the economy, the social structure, culture and communities in any country. We know how mass tourism, unrestricted hotel building, poorly devised tours and environmentally destructive activities can bring money flooding in and governments have, in a spirit of short termism, been tempted to accept them. But experience teaches us that in the long term this sort of uncontrolled activity can be detrimental to the country's development.

As a company we love Latin America and strive to protect the rural and urban landscapes which we take you to visit. We work with local operators which have a proven record in training guides to set a good example in their respect for their surroundings and pass on advice and encouragement to visitors on how to preserve the fragile environment in simple ways, such as by refilling a water bottle, disposing of rubbish responsibly, not disturbing local communities or wildlife and not purchasing items made from endangered animals or plants. When selecting accommodation, we give preference to hotels, lodges and cruise vessels which have a verifiable commitment to eco-friendly practices.

The Galápagos Islands emerged in the Pacific Ocean six million years ago following a spate of volcanic activity and, isolated from the continental mainland, have become home to unique plant and animal species. Giant tortoises, iguanas, penguins, frigate birds, waved albatross and blue-footed boobies and a wealth of rare flora all thrive there. Today, the Galápagos Islands are at risk due to a growing human population. Overuse of limited natural resources and the introduction of invasive alien species and disease add stress to an isolated island system already beginning to experience the effects of global climate change.

In 1959, the Ecuadorian government declared 97.5% of the archipelago's land area a national park, excepting areas already colonised. In 1986, the 70,000 square km of ocean surrounding the islands was declared a marine reserve, second in size only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. In 1990, the archipelago became a whale sanctuary. UNESCO listed the islands in 1978 as a World Heritage Site and in 1985 as a biosphere reserve. Your national park fee of $US100 will contribute towards the conservation work.

Visits to the Galápagos Islands are strictly controlled. The number of craft operating cruises, their itineraries, the length of time spent on each island, the distribution of visitors, rules regarding contact with the wildlife, removing rubbish and more are all monitored by the national park authority and other official organisations.

Your cruise is on a small craft, accommodating only 16 guests, which means there is minimal impact on the environment. Cachalote is operated by Enchanted Expeditions, which is committed to becoming a sustainable organisation with a strong focus on social responsibility and environmental responsibility. They strive to minimize their impact on the environment through resource conservation and by integrating positive environmental practices into their operations. The Cachalote has been awarded the “Smart Voyager Certification” for adhering to conservations standards, complies with all international maritime regulations and is SOLAS certified..

Enchanted Expeditions is a partner of Sustainable Travel International, which “works with communities, companies, governments and organisations to create a better path forward — one that leads to clean beaches, protected parks, economic justice, cultural preservation and the engagement of millions of travelers who want to be part of the growing, global movement to make the world a better place through their choices of where and how they travel”.

The Impacts of this Trip

Keeping the delicate balance between community development and environment is a challenging one, in particular in an isolated location like Galápagos. There are four inhabited islands where immigration resulted in communities being established in a rather haphazard way, with no urban planning of any kind. Ignorance and the overuse of the limited natural resources reached a stage where the need to stall this process became an urgent necessity.

Most cruise operator staff and others working in the tourist industry are recruited locally, by law. In addition to providing work for the island’s population, this serves to increase the awareness of the environment and promote its conservation, as guides, office, hotel and restaurant staff all receive training which includes education in these matters.

Enchanted Expeditions, which operates your cruise yacht Cachalote, actively recognizes its role in local communities and respects the cultures of the people of Ecuador. It supports local communities and buys local products; offers funding and donations to selected programmes and organisations, and provides a safe and ethical work environment for its employees. They operate cruises which meet environmental and social standards whilst offering their clients the opportunity to make genuine connections with our communities.


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