Next generation – Ecoventura funds scholarship programs in the Galapagos

AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team

The immaculate Galapagos Islands, an Ecuadorian archipelago located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, are famed for their extraordinary diversity of plant and animal species. The islands straddle the Equator, resulting in some islands existing in the northern hemisphere and others lying in the southern hemisphere. The isolated location and unique climatic conditions of the Galapagos provide the ideal environment for numerous endemic species to thrive; the giant tortoise, Galapagos penguin and flightless cormorant, among others.

“The Galapagos Islands are a living laboratory, showcasing the diversity and resilience of life on earth”. When Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos with Captain Fitzroy during the famous voyage of the Beagle, he was astounded by the array of wildlife he found there. The islands went on to inspire his theory of evolution by means of natural selection, and have continued to inspire visitors ever since.

Here at Ecoventura we are passionate about delivering an unparalleled level of service and luxury to every guest we welcome on board. And yet we are as crystal clear as the waters in which we operate – we could not function in The Galapagos without devoting ourselves 100% to minimizing our environmental impact and preserving this beautiful, untouched paradise. We go to great lengths to support crucial conservation and sustainability efforts and have done so for many, many years.

In close collaboration with the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), Ecoventura is proud to be channeling funds from its Galapagos Biodiversity & Education for Sustainability Fund (GBESF) into a number of crucial conservation, education and research programs.

A couple of months ago we shared details of just some of the wonderful projects that the CDF is currently undertaking to support conservation efforts in the Galapagos.

Now, we can reveal further details of how the fund is being used to support local education and professional development projects.


Since 2021, the GBESF has been supporting the CDF’s Fernando Ortiz Crespo Program. This initiative awards scholarships to local students who have achieved outstanding academic results, enabling them to study any professional subject at university that contributes to the development of the Galapagos. The first scholarship was awarded two years ago to Andrew Larrea, a local Biotechnology student who is now in the middle of his degree, volunteering with CDF and analysing the health of giant tortoises. He will graduate in 2025.

Four students have recently been selected to receive long term financial assistance from the GBESF and Fernando Ortiz Crespo Program.  They will begin their studies in the following subjects in 2023:

– Finance – Lymin Piu

– Environmental Management – Emely Espín

– Agricultural Engineering – Karen Castillo

– Biotechnology Engineering – Corayma Gavilanes

“It is with great gratitude that I am pleased to inform you that the current 2023 Fund makes it possible to secure long-term funding for these 4 students” says Monica Verduga, CDF Donor Relations. “We hope that the Fund will continue to grow and enable us to award more students applying for 2024 scholarships”.

Scholarship recipients Lymin, Emely, Karen and Corayma (clockwise from top left)


Ecoventura has also collaborated closely with ECOS, an Ecuadorian foundation spun out of Ecology Project International, which has been running programs to educate local communities for many years, building the knowledge and skills necessary to secure a more sustainable future for the archipelago’s unique yet fragile ecosystem.

As a direct result of this financial backing, three young students from the San Cristóbal Educational Unit were invited to participate in a once in a lifetime project in the Galapagos. They were able to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of this ecological sanctuary, while becoming actively involved in tackling the invasive species that threaten the ecosystems. The students learned about the crucial efforts surrounding the conservation of the giant turtle, and toured some of the bays in order to appreciate the full extent of the marine biodiversity in the archipelago.

A Student Participation Program camp is currently offered to students from the Ignacio Hernández Educational Unit from the island of San Cristóbal. Students participate in inspiring experiential days, during which they explore the Galapagos’ exceptional biodiversity, learn about conservation and discover how they themselves can become agents of change to play an active role in the islands’ future.

These educational projects are hugely important, empowering students to become passionate about conservation, spreading the importance of such efforts to local communities, and nurturing the next generation of conservationists on the islands. Ecoventura looks forward to continuing to support local conservation efforts in various ways in future years.

To find out more, or to come and see the results of these conservation efforts for yourself with a voyage around the Galapagos, do get in touch!