AUTHOR Juan Bastidas
AUTHOR Juan Bastidas
Ecosystems are fragile and important environments — especially here in the Galapagos Islands. Darwin’s enchanted isles are one of our planets most precious and unique ecosystems, home to an extraordinary profusion of exotic flora and fauna.
Since our inception in 1991, Ecoventura’s mission has been to demonstrate the profound respect and admiration we have for the beauty and nature of the islands. We strive to thoughtfully showcase the amazing Galapagos nature to our passengers on every Ecoventura cruise.
Since 2000, when Ecoventura volunteered to be the first company to be certified as Smart Voyager — an ecological program developed by The Rainforest Alliance — we have led the way and have inspired other tour operators toward more sustainable travel in the Galapagos, and across the globe.
“We want to give our passengers the assurance that Ecoventura has taken every measure to ensure that passengers enjoy a safe, thrilling adventure without harming the unique wildlife or the fragile environment. We all live in this world and breathe the same air, the least we can do is try to preserve it for our children and future generations to come.” – Santiago Dunn, Ecoventura President
We would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the leader that helps ensure we are staying true to this mission here at Ecoventura…
Meet our Executive President, Santiago Dunn!
Santiago was inspired by the travel industry from a young age, particularly the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands. Born into an entrepreneurial family, the Guayaquil native was introduced to the “Enchanted Islands” when his father entered the tourism industry in the early 1980s by investing in a small hotel and subsequently a cruise ship.
With the spirit of hospitality a part of the family, the Dunn’s sought to deliver more intimate, immersive experiences for travelers. In the early 1990s, they founded Ecoventura, launching a fleet of first-class yachts offering seven-night itineraries through the Galapagos. A key player in the growth of the family business, Dunn became significantly involved with the company in 1994 and went on to purchase Ecoventura in 1999, becoming its sole owner and executive president in 2009.
With Dunn at the helm, Ecoventura was recognized with awards from Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler and Responsible Tourism, among others, for its pioneering approach to sustainability and innovative conservation solutions. The company was the first in the Galapagos to earn and maintain the Smart Voyager voluntary ecological certification, developed in part by The Rainforest Alliance. Ecoventura was also the first company in the Galapagos to offset carbon emissions from the company’s four yachts; carbon emissions were also reduced by 10% through the use of high performance filters and installation of solar panels and wind generators on the M/Y ERIC, converting her to the first hybrid yacht in the Galapagos.
After a decade of operating three identical 20-passenger first-class yachts – Eric, Flamingo and Letty – Dunn decided to expand into the dive industry, selling the 48 passenger Corinthian, and building the MV Galapagos Sky, one of the few dedicated dive live-aboard vessels visiting Wolf and Darwin Islands, recently designated as a marine sanctuary. In 2014, he made the decision to enter the luxury market by custom designing and building the Origin, which departed on its inaugural voyage in February 2016. The new yacht was created without the typical trade-off between sleek, sexy design and eco-friendly elements such as a fuel-efficient hull, but instead combined the two without compromising either. In fact, extra steps were taken to ensure the yacht was designed as one of the most environmentally friendly vessels in the Galapagos, reducing fossil fuel consumption by over 30% from similar yachts in the archipelago. With the success of Origin, the company launched the THEORY in 2019 and both yachts were accepted into the esteemed Relais & Chateaux collection of 5-star boutique hotels and restaurants.
Dunn is currently a member of the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund and was a member of Ecology Project International’s board for a number of years. In 2017, Ecoventura joined forces with the Charles Darwin Foundation and established the “Galapagos Biodiversity and Education for Sustainability Fund (GBESF) to finance research and monitoring trips for the Galapagos National Park. He hopes Ecoventura’s leadership in environmental conservation will inspire other operators in the region to make similar efforts, in turn protecting the integrity of the destination as a whole.
Santiago graduated from Boston College with a BS in Finance & Economics and a minor in Marketing. He earned a Master’s Degree in Aviation from Concordia University in Montreal. In 2021, he completed the OPM54 Business/Commerce course from Harvard Business School and a FinTech Revolution from The Wharton School. Currently residing in Guayaquil with his wife and four sons, Dunn makes frequent trips to the Galapagos, where he assures nature surprises him differently every time.