Galapagos wildlife cruise
Description of Galapagos wildlife cruise
This two week tour of the Galapagos Islands is for serious wildlife enthusiasts who are happy to spend most of their time afloat on board a small motorised cruise ship crewed by a local team.
Exploring the entire archipelago in the company of experts and other animal lovers is an incredibly enjoyable experience and offers real insight into the islands both from a human and natural perspective.
The lesser-visited western islands are always a highlight with the west coast of Isabela, especially, providing ample opportunities to watch marine and land animals in their untouched natural environment.
From volcanic landscapes featuring lava fields and huge craters, to forests of cacti, mangroves and crystal clear water, the islands of the Galapagos are just as impressive from the boat as they are on land. However, the wildlife is always the star of the show with sea lions, blue footed boobies, tortoises, sea turtles, sharks and manta rays, to name but a few, encouraging exciting explorations on foot, by boat and underwater.
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Most of the trip is spent sleeping on a first class, motor boat with only two nights in a hotel. The Cachalote Explorer is an environmental conscious vessel that is equipped with a wastewater treatment plant to ensure that no residue goes into the sea. There are tight regulations in place to prevent ecological damage such as: restricting use of electrical products, use of biodegradable products (like shampoo, detergent, soap), recycling of contaminants (oil and fuel) which are sent back to the mainland for disposal and water treatment. Staff are also employed locally both in Quito and the Galapagos, therefore providing benefit to the community.
We visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz Island after driving to the highlands to look for wild tortoises. This centre is dedicated to protecting and conserving the ecology of the islands and carries out educational projects in support of conservation of the Galapagos Islands. Our entry fees help contribute to all the work going on here by improving demand, facilities and creating employment opportunities for scientists. We are also careful to adhere to National Park guidelines, which, amongst other things, ask that we keep a safe distance from wildlife at all times.
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.
The Galapagos is renowned for its incredibly unique wildlife and conservation efforts. We try to make as little negative impact on the environment and wildlife as possible, but also to leave a positive impact in terms of community and local economy. Guides and other staff are local to the area, providing local employment and economy benefits. Although much of this tour is spent on board the boat or in nature, wherever the opportunity arises clients are encouraged to use local businesses and to engage with people they meet in order to promote positive cultural exchange.