Ecuador and Galapagos Islands wildlife tour

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Departure information

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

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.

Our promise is to give our guests a real, once in a life time experience. We believe this comes in the way of tailormade safaris; no large tourist groups or busloads of people. A combination of experiencing local wildlife and nature is what we do best. We work closely with our carefully selected local guides and hotels, to make sure that all experiences are authentic. We want our guests to be educated on the local wildlife and culture, which can only be done by the people who know it best, the locals. It is essential that we preserve the natural habitat and home of these creatures, great and small. We contribute a percentage of each safari sold to wildlife conservation and always keep our eyes peeled for new projects to get involved with.

Whenever possible we use accommodation that savours every drop of precious water; from using environmentally friendly flushing toilets, using rain water for washing to using solar power heating. Accommodation when travelling will vary, but we do try to be environmentally friendly as possible, promoting the use of local eco-lodges where we can. Please bear in mind that it is not always possible to find eco-friendly accommodation in some remote destinations; if this is the case then we make every effort to alert the management of the accommodation in question to ways of improving their service with the environment in mind. We try to use shared excursions and transfers where possible, minimising the carbon emissions from the vehicles used.

The Hacienda Zuleta hotel is a family run working farm who employ local people to help them run it, guests stay in rooms that family members grew up in, ride horses that have been bred there for generations, walk the lanes that were laid down by the owners and eat food that was grown in their gardens which were created by the owner's wife. This hotel is a great example of what we stand for and look for in accommodations around the world for our safaris.

Mashpi Lodge is located within the clouds of a forest where you can encounter 500 species of birds, trees and frogs found nowhere else in the world. Before construction of the lodge was completed they hired a biologist to carry out an ambitious research project, tasked with finding out as much as possible about the diverse ecosystem that thrives within the 1,200 hectare (3,000 acre) Mashpi Reserve. The information gathered became part of the lodge's conservation and resource management strategy, strengthening the lodge's concept of sustainable tourism and forest preservation. They have the Life centre on site as it is a place for guests to learn about the numerous species of butterfly that are found in this region.

Pikaia lodge in the Galapagos Islands has been designed and equipped according to the highest environmental specifications. World class experts were hired at the building stage to meet the challenge of offering guests a five-star lodge while achieving carbon neutral status. Materials used to build the lodge were locally and carefully sourced so not to have an impact on the local surrounding or fragile ecosystem that creates the Galapagos Islands. The lodge is powered with a mix of conventional and alternative energy sources that do not pollute or emit greenhouses gases. The lodge use photovoltaic solar power and is 'grid tied' which means they are connected and feeding electricity to the islands electrical grid. The low CO2 emissions that the lodge releases is vastly compensated and offset by the lodge's endemic trees reforestation program. The lodge features a water program which includes cleaning used water and collecting rain water, use biodegradable cleaning products such as detergents, soaps etc, a recycling program and much more which is carried out on a daily basis.

We aim to reduce waste and our impact on the environment within our destinations, and at home in the UK, where our offices are based. We work in partnership with the Borough of Brighton & Hove in an attempt to recycle and reuse as much as possible. Our clients are always advised on the best way to do this when away. We recommend using environmentally friendly shampoos, soaps and toiletries, to avoid leaving any litter (whether it is biodegradable or not).

The Impacts of this Trip

This tailormade safari supports the use of local suppliers in any way it can, local guides are always used to teach our guests about the specific area they are in. This safari gives guests the opportunity to try local cuisines, meet local people and also to find out about the local wildlife. This in turn will encourage guests to think about giving back to the local communities and will give them the opportunity to learn about how they can help to protect the wildlife. We give a direct contribution of each safari sold to conserving the wildlife, helping local communities and supporting local conservation agencies.

The Hacienda Zuleta hotel in Ecuador created The Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation that is run by staff on improving the education and infrastructure of the local community, as well as protecting the unique environment and local traditions. Mashpi Lodge would not be what it is today without the collaboration of the local community. They implemented an innovative program from the beginning in which they, as well as the lodge employees are shareholders in the enterprise. The lodge offers numerous job opportunities to members of the neighbouring communities which include professional training and English classes. These same people go on to share their unparalleled knowledge of the surrounding lands and wildlife. Some of the guides, lodge staff and para-biologists use to be former hunters, loggers or miners before the lodge came along and offered them a different job opportunity. The local communities are also the primary providers of agricultural, food products and supplies to the lodge.

Pikaia Lodge sourced the help of local people before they started building the lodge, they have included local people wherever possible from staff working in the hotel to the local businesses that supply the lodge of all their needs.

Where possible, we always use local suppliers in preference to others, whether this is in the purchase of provisions, accommodation, transport or equipment. Through the employment of our local ground operators, who use local guides and drivers, money is fed directly back into individual families and villages that would otherwise not benefit from tourism, as well as giving more jobs to local people. Great guiding is essential on wildlife adventures and few people know a place better than the locals. We make sure tourists have the opportunity to buy local souvenirs and handicrafts, assisting further to contribute to their community, and always give support to local communities and conservation agencies. We advise people not to bargain just for the sake of it and because it is the "thing to do", you should pay what you feel the object is worth to yourself and the vendor, baring in mind local cultures.


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