AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team
AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team
As 2021 comes to an end, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the ups, and downs, of a fast-changing and, at times, tumultuous year.
But first, a HUGE thank you to the over 1600 guests who travelled with us in 2021, and a big thank you too to all of our partners in the press, the blogging community, the travel trade and our valued travel partners who have supported us this year.
We would like to share this message from the CEO of Ecoventura, Santiago Dunn.
The resilience and adventurousness of all of you willing and able to travel, in a year when so many vacations and trips have been postponed and cancelled, has been a source of inspiration and encouragement for all of us here at Ecoventura. And given every trip helps us to support conservation projects around the islands, as well as the health and vitality of the local community, it’s fantastic to have been able to host so many of you over the past 12 months.
The start of 2021 was inauspicious, to say the least. Many countries around the world were still in lock down, with strict travel restrictions in place as governments the world over were coming to grips with second or third waves of the pandemic.
But as vaccination programs ramped up and, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, the weather improved, so did the outlook. The Galapagos formally opened to travellers back in 2020, and once restrictions lifted it didn’t take long for guests to make the most of it. By early 2021, “vaxications” were the talk of the town as newly-jabbed travellers decided to take life by the horns after a year stuck at home.
In March 2021, we were thrilled to celebrate our 30 year anniversary – not perhaps in the circumstances we would have chosen, but a great milestone and testament to the hard work and loyalty of our crews and on-shore teams over the past three decades nonetheless.
In April we launched our next round of Focus on Photography cruises, continuing our standard itinerary of specialist voyages every April and Fall. These trips are always hugely popular, with guests accompanied by National Geographic Society-trained photography instructors Fernando Sanchez and Antonio Adrian to help you brush up on your photographic skills whilst you enjoy the wonderfully photogenic wildlife and landscapes the archipelago has to offer. There is still availability in October 2022, so get in touch now to bag your spot!
In June, we celebrated World Oceans Day, an important reminder each year of the crucial role that the oceans play in the wellbeing of our wonderful planet, and for the communities such as the Galapagos that depend on the seas for their livelihood. In honour of World Oceans Day, we took part in Relais & Chateaux’s Ode to Shellfish, supporting shellfish farmers who are part of a growing sustainable blue economy.
The conservation highlight of the year came in November during the COP 26 climate change conference in Glasgow, UK, when the Galapagos government announced the extension of the Galapagos Marine Reserve by 60,000 km². This remarkable feat will help safeguard the vital Galapagos-Cocos Island swimway, a migratory route used by a host of marine creatures including whale sharks, hammerheads, manta rays and turtles.
Continuing our themes of environmental and social consciousness, as the recovery stabilized over the summer, we took a moment to reflect on how travel should look in the post-pandemic world. After all, the problems facing so many of the world’s pristine environments – over-tourism, plastic pollution, biodiversity loss, pressures from climate change – haven’t gone away whilst we have been grappling with the pandemic. In October we were proud to support Slow Food’s Food for Change campaign, designed to protect local culinary diversity, counteract the rise of fast food, and fast life, and show that good food doesn’t have to cost the Earth.
After all, as people look out at the world’s wild places once again, now is the time to rethink how we travel, and how we eat, to minimize our impact and benefit the locations we choose to visit.
In September, after Peru reopened, we launched an incredible 6 night extension to our week-long Galapagos cruises, allowing guests to take in the spectacular Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, as well as Cuzco, Lima and the Sacred Valley, and so spend more time in the region before flying home.
In line with the growth of Slow Travel, we have also introduced a 5% discount on a second week to encourage visitors to stay longer in one spot, slowing down and getting to know the location, and reconnecting with all that is important in life. For those wanting to contribute to the conservation of this incredible region, consider a donation to the Charles Darwin Foundation or the Galapagos Conservation Trust.
So all in all, it’s been quite the year!
We want to wish everyone the best health and happiness for 2022 and remain hopeful the New Year will bring renewed opportunity to explore and sustain the planet’s most fragile treasures. Our talented and passionate crew are waiting to welcome our future guests to the Galapagos.
May your Christmas and this holiday season by filled with love and laughter in the company of friends and family, filled with peaceful moments and good cheer.