How to pack sustainably for a Galapagos cruise

AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team

Packing for any holiday can seem a little overwhelming, but packing for an expedition cruise to the Galapagos Islands even more so; there is little opportunity for a last-minute dash to the shops once onboard, and arriving unprepared could mean pulling on a damp swimsuit for the next snorkeling trip! To help our passengers, we feature a comprehensive packing list on our website, and see our What to pack blog for more tips.

Travelers and holidaymakers are increasingly conscious of the impact their travel has on the environment. We believe that by making the right small choices, everyone can make a difference, and so it’s worth considering sustainable choices when turning your attention to holiday packing.

“Reduce, reuse, recycle” has been a key maxim for many years and applies as much to holiday packing as shopping at home – regular travelers will probably find they have lots of suitable gear from previous trips so there’s no need to buy everything new for your next Galapagos trip. Our planet will thank you for it!

If you do need to buy new wardrobe pieces, there are many great ethical options around, such as items made from recycled or natural fibers, Fairtrade or sustainably sourced material. We are big fans of Ecoalf which use recycled cotton to make their clothes, and their flip flops (ideal for padding about on deck) are made from 100% recycled tires!

Where possible, we have tried to help reduce the luggage you need (lighter suitcases mean lower fuel consumption and lower luggage allowances for you!). Each cabin on board Theory and Origin includes a pair of waterproof binoculars for guests to use, as well as a metal refillable water bottle, slippers, and a bathrobe. Every bathroom is stocked with biodegradable soap, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner so you can leave yours at home and be kind to the ocean.

Whilst reducing plastic has rightly become a topic of much focus recently, less is made of the damage toiletries themselves can do to marine wildlife. Sunscreen, for example, is highly damaging to juvenile corals and marine life and is one of the less well-known factors contributing to coral bleaching – worth bearing in mind next time you take a dip in the ocean. Thankfully, there are reef-friendly sunscreens now widely available such as Sun Bum, so while you enjoy the underwater delights of the Galapagos Archipelago, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re not damaging its fragile eco-system. The same goes for insect repellent – we encourage guests to avoid those containing harsh chemicals such as DEET and opt for a natural insect repellent such as Mosi Guard which is plant-based yet long-lasting and effective.

It’s frightening to think that every plastic toothbrush or razor you’ve ever owned still exists, so how about converting to bamboo which is strong, durable and biodegradable? With Christmas around the corner, why not take a green approach to filling those stockings? Many companies are targeting bamboo alternatives for their products – even sunglass manufacturers!

For some time now, Ecoventura has supported Rebecca Rothney’s fantastic initiative “Pack for a Purpose” which helps people make use of their luggage allowance in order to bring supplies to local communities, such as  the Alejandro Alvear School that supports English activities for physically and mentally challenged children. We provide guests with a list of supplies and ask guests to allocate a meager 5 lbs. of their luggage towards this. To hear more from its inspirational founder please read about our interview with Rebecca Rothney and if social responsibility is equally important to you, do get in touch to see how you can get involved.

We hope you agree that making these slight adjustments to your packing can only lead to positive outcomes. It’s also important that our guests appreciate that by choosing Ecoventura as your Galapagos operator, you are helping support a number of local organizations which are focused on giving back to the Galapagos Islands, and shows what makes us ECOventura.

We look forward to welcoming you on board!