TRAVEL TIPS & EXTENSIONS

Celebrating our Naturalist Guides: Ivan Lopez

AUTHOR Caroline Eaton

We take pride in the high caliber of our naturalist guides that accompany our guests, in small groups of no more than ten guests per guide, on every Ecoventura cruise. They are skilled at identifying the unique wildlife, informing our guests about Galapagos’s pristine ecosystem, conservation efforts and ensuring everyone has fun along the way. They are such a key element of every cruise that goes out, but rarely receive the recognition they deserve.

Ivan is one of the best.

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We recently received this review from a guest on board and wanted to share it with everyone. Our past guests have always told us that their naturalist guides were one of the reasons they had an unforgettable time. We are so thankful for the Naturalist Guides on Ecoventura’s team who bring their passion to work with them everyday and leave a lasting impression on our guests, leaving them wanting to return to experience more of our beautiful islands!

“Our family recently completed an 8-day/7-night Itinerary B tour aboard the Flamingo I. We had a fantastic time and was most impressed by the pristine landscape and scenery of the Galapagos; respect for, preservation and protection of the wildlife; knowledgeable naturalist guides; and wonderful cruise ship service. All of the Ecoventura team (from Captain Homero to Maria) which we encountered on Flamingo I made our week-long visit to the Galapagos truly feel like home.

We would particularly like to praise the work of our naturalist guide, Ivan Lopez.

Ivan is incredibly knowledgeable of the Galapagos wildlife, flora, fauna, and history. We learned so much information on every single guided tour and excursion at each island stop. Beyond his knowledge and effective communication skills, Ivan always manages to make his tours exciting and dynamic.

Each of the first times in which we encountered a signature Galapagos species (giant tortoise, red-footed booby, Nazca booby, blue-footed booby, Galapagos penguin, flightless cormorant, land iguana, marine iguana, etc.), Ivan would always excitedly exclaim:

“Quickly, quickly! A giant tortoise (or name of the species we’d see for the first time)! Unbelievable!”

We would all then flock over to catch our first sighting of the animal. This announcement produced such initial fervor and fun that, eventually, the phrase “Unbelievable!” became a running inside joke amongst the passengers on our Flamingo I. For instance, when our two panga groups ran into each other, we would naturally exclaim something along the lines of “Unbelievable! A new species, Homo sapiens!” Thus, our tours with Ivan were always filled with light-hearted, fun, humorous moments as well as serious, information-packed discussions about the Galapagos.

Ivan’s willingness to help and patience also stood out to us. From young children to the elderly, our group aboard the Flamingo I included passengers of a wide range of age and physical capabilities. Our group of 20 passengers also had diverse interests and aspirations for the trip. Each of the 20 travelers had a unique focus at the top of their agenda–wildlife sighting, landscape viewing, hiking the trails, snorkeling, swimming, or photography, etc. And yet, Ivan was able to structure his guided tours to be a useful and rich experience for everybody.

One member of our family does not swim and had never snorkeled before. Ivan helped her snorkel for over thirty minutes during one deep-water excursion. Another member of our family is a photography aficionado. Whenever we sighted wildlife from our panga, Ivan always took care to bring the panga near and approach the wildlife from different angles for optimal photographing.

We had an extraordinary time in the Galapagos. True to Ivan’s words at each of our daily, end-of-the-day briefings, every single day was “another wonderful day in paradise.” In one of his final speeches to our group, Ivan reminded us that–as we leave the Galapagos and return to our respective homes around the world–we should always remember that we also live in our own little piece of paradise, and, thus, it is critical that we respect and protect the nature and environment which we live in everyday.

That message really delivered the point that, today, the Galapagos is paradise as a result of the hard work, conservation, ethics, perseverance, values, and long-term philosophy of the local people, the National Park, and the leadership of the provincial and national Ecuadorean government.

That we find the Galapagos so precious, pristine, and priceless is testament to the enduring hard work and persistence of the people (naturalist guides, tourism industry, conservation groups, and government) who keep it this way. May we all do the same for our own little corners of paradise as the people of Galapagos have done to this beautiful heaven on Earth!

We’d like to thank Ecoventura for your deep commitment to conservation, preservation of the Galapagos, and sustainability. We will highly recommend Ecoventura to any of our friends and family who plan to visit the Galapagos.

To Nature!”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. This review sums up the energy and connection with nature, a great naturalist guide creates.

Not only is he an excellent guide to have on your tour, but he is also known to play the guitar and sing for his groups. The video below is featuring Ivan singing an original tune he wrote about the Islands, called Galapagos Paradise.

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If you have fond memories of your naturalist guide please share your experiences in the comments, and join us as we honor our naturalist guides for the hard work they put in to conserving their home, the beautiful Galapagos Islands.

Learn more about what a naturalist guide is and what they do here.

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