Become Responsible Visitors in the Galapagos

AUTHOR Doris Welsh

Offers 10-Point Program That Stresses Minimal Impact and Sustainability

A visionary travel company, Ecoventura, whose mission is to safeguard the Galapagos ecosystem by offering environmentally sensitive Galapagos cruises that minimize the footprint of its operations, is now encouraging its guests to become aware and responsible island visitors through a newly released 10-point program.

Ecoventura has set the standard for high environmental policies through conservation efforts which include certification from SmartVoyager, carbon offsetting with NativeEngery and the establishment of a trust with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) called the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund. The company is now focusing on its passengers to help carry on its call for responsible tourism in the Galapagos.

“Most all of our guests want to do whatever they can to help protect the islands,” says company Director of Sales and Marketing Doris Welsh, “they’ve just asked for a few pointers and guidelines. That’s why we came up with this 10-point program of things you can do before, during and after your cruise.”

Here is Ecoventura’s 10-point visitor’s program for responsible tourism to the Galapagos:

Prior to your trip, calculate the carbon footprint you will produce from the non-cruise portions of your trip to Ecuador. Ecoventura has already offset carbon emissions for the cruise portion for its guests. Use a reputable company to then purchase offsets. Ecoventura recommends NativeEnergy and provides this carbon calculator:

Pack only biodegradable sunscreens and lotions. On Ecoventura trips they supply you with biodegradable soap, shampoo and conditioner.

Bring a non-polycarbonate plastic water bottle that can be refilled each day, eliminating disposal plastic water bottles. Ecoventura supplies containers of purified water on board made from their reserve osmosis water makers.

During your cruise, listen carefully to your naturalist guide and closely follow all of the stated National Park rules.

Be careful not to transport any live material, rocks or sand from one island to the next. Ecoventura ensures that all passengers rinse their shoes after every shore excursion by providing a hose on the vessel’s landing platform.

When visiting the uninhabited islands, don’t take any food or drink except water. While there and in other parts of the Galapagos, don’t touch, pet or feed the wildlife; don’t disturb or remove any native plant, rock or animal on land or in the water.

Except for items made of wood, please try not to purchase souvenirs made from native Galapagos products: black coral, sea lion teeth and shells of the Galapagos tortoises.

Do not leave any trash on the Islands or throw any litter overboard. Participate in the garbage-recycling program onboard your vessel. On all Ecoventura yachts you will find garbage receptacles present on all decks with separate containers for plastics, paper, glass and organic waste.

Don’t smoke while ashore. Adhere to your vessel’s smoking policy. On Ecoventura cruises, smoking is not allowed within the interior areas of the ship. Smoking is permitted on the outside decks, only in designated areas

Join the World Wildlife Fund (, or better yet, make a donation to the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund that specifically targets environmental education and marine conservation by strengthening the local communities’ ability to manage natural resources. During an Ecoventura cruise, a local representative from WWF meets with passengers and conducts a short presentation and Q&A session.

In operation since 1990, Ecoventura transports 3,000+ passengers annually aboard a fleet of four expedition vessels, the Eric, Flamingo, Letty and Sky Dancer, which have been purposefully retrofitted to highest possible environmental standards. In recognition of these pacesetting efforts, in 2005 the Rainforest Alliance presented Ecoventura President Santiago Dunn with its prestigious Individual Sustainable Standard-Setter award for making a significant contribution to environmental conservation and sustainability. In 2006, Santiago was awarded the first annual Sustainable Travel Award from the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA).

To receive a copy of Ecoventura’s 2008 catalog as well as information on tours to the Galapagos Islands, call toll-free 1.800.633.7972, or e-mail To access current rates, schedules and itineraries you can log onto