Operating a cruise company in the Galapagos archipelago comes with a certain unwritten responsibility — one that Ecoventura takes very seriously. By leading a fleet of tour vessels in these protected marine waters and conducting Galapagos tours ashore, we’re responsible for upholding conservation standards and ensuring we are preserving the environment for future generations of guests to come.
Therefore, we at Ecoventura go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we not only adhere to the expectations of the Galapagos National Park and Ecuadorian government, the protectors of the region, but that we set the standard for others. This is done in a multi-level approach, from the construction and operation of our vessels to the staff we hire, and the exploration guidelines we strictly adhere to and ensure our guests follow.
Read below to discover why cruising the Galapagos Islands with Ecoventura is the most sustainable and intentional way to explore this one of a kind archipelago.
Ecoventura’s Commitment to Conservation
Because of our commitment to the ongoing sustainability of this fragile ecosystem, Ecoventura has become a recognized leader in responsible tourism to the Galapagos Islands. Our unwavering dedication to green tourism dates back almost 20 years, far beyond that of any other Galapagos cruise company. In 2000, we were the first company to be certified by Smart Voyager, a voluntary ecological certification established by The Rainforest Alliance. And, by 2006, we became the first carbon neutral fleet operating in the islands.
In 2006, Ecoventura established the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to support environmental education and marine conservation by strengthening the ability of local communities to manage their vast natural resources.
Our latest commitment to conservation is our partnership with Charles Darwin Foundation, with the Galapagos Biodiversity and Education for Sustainability Fund (GBESF), which can be read about in full detail here.
Why You Should Choose To Cruise
It’s important to note that when it comes to your Galapagos vacation, just by choosing to cruise over choosing to stay on land, you’re already making an informed, eco-minded decision. This is because staying on land has an immeasurable, negative impact on the environment, whereas cruising on a green yacht (like those in Ecoventura’s fleet) has little to no effect on the environment or the Islands’ animal inhabitants.
Some of the negative impacts that result from staying on land include the introduction of invasive species, increased energy demand derived from fossil fuels, and local population increases in limited areas. Unfortunately, despite these obvious negative impacts that land-based tourism is causing, there continues to be more and more visitors choosing this option.
According to the Galapagos National Park Directorate, in 2006 49% of tourists to the Galapagos Islands stayed on board a cruise vessel whereas 51% stayed at hotels on land. In 2015, the distribution was 32% on board ships and 68% on land. This clearly means Galapagos tourism is trending in the opposite direction of what active conservationists would like to see. This may be in large part due to tourists not realizing the negative impact that land-based stays can have on the local environment.
Promoting Galapagos tourism to include pleasures that can be found in dozens of other locales around the globe is irresponsible and shortsighted as it cheapens the authentic experience and hastens the region’s decline. The fact is, most tourists don’t travel to these remarkable islands for the local party scene, all-inclusive resorts, or other typical tourist traps. They come here for the unique nature and wildlife that can’t be viewed or experienced anywhere else on earth.
Through no fault of their own, many tourists are just misinformed and unaware of the potential harm they’ll be doing to the local environment by choosing to stay on land. It is, therefore, our responsibility (along with conservationists and other eco-minded tour companies) to promote sustainable, cruise-based tourism in the Galapagos.
In addition to all the environmental benefits listed above, tour boats offer unique access to remote visitor sites on uninhabited islands with intimate wildlife viewing opportunities. Tour boats also navigate at night, which means fewer daylight hours are spent in transit – translating to more time exploring the islands for our guests!
On a small tour vessel such as those in our fleet, you can develop a real sense of intimacy with the islands and their animal inhabitants. It’s far and away the best way to embark on this travel experience – and as you now know, the most environmentally responsible!
For more information on the added benefits of cruising check out the “choose to cruise” write-up on our website.
To hear more about how Ecoventura cruises make you a more eco-minded, responsible guest of the Galapagos Islands or to book your travel today, feel free to contact us.
Lastly, if you’d like like to lend a hand to Ecoventura and locals working hard to preserve the Galapagos Islands, check out our previous blog article on local preservation here!