Ecoventura’s Commitment to Sustainable
Tourism in the Galapagos

Ever since Charles Darwin first stepped foot in the Galapagos Islands back in 1835, this archipelago has been famous for its bewildering array of wildlife – a biodiverse paradise unlike anywhere else on Earth. There is a reason, after all, that the Galapagos Islands was the first ever entry in UNESCO’s esteemed list of World Heritage Sites.


And whilst we are incredibly privileged to operate here in one of the planet’s most untouched ecosystems, we also recognize that, as a result, it is our responsibility to do all we can to protect the creatures we share these islands with, above and below the waves.

The Eco in Ecoventura

Sustainability has been at the heart of what we do since our inception, with efforts to minimize our environmental impact at the core of our operations.


We are proud at Ecoventura that we started greening the operation decades ago and continue to initiate and support efforts to preserving the Galapagos. We were the first recipient of SmartVoyager, an ecological certification, in 2000 when we voluntarily introduced strict conservation standards that were later incorporated into local regulations.  Our flagship yacht, the Eric became the first hybrid energy tour boat in Galapagos with the installation of 40 solar panels and two wind turbines.  In 2006, Ecoventura became the first carbon neutral operation in Galapagos through carbon offsets through Native Energy and reduce their footprint by 10%


In fact, when we started upgrading our fleet in 2016, our bespoke luxury expedition yachts were designed with this in mind. Wave piercing keels, an underwater bulb and a cutting-edge bow design and stabilization systems reduce drag as the vessels move through the water. With a steel hull and composite material superstructure, the vessels are also lighter than their traditional counterparts.


These design features allow for more efficient – not to mention smoother and more comfortable – sailing; fuel use, and therefore carbon emissions, are reduced by more than 30 percent, whilst nitrogen oxide emissions are 90% lower as catalytic converter systems can be operated 24 hours a day.

Reducing Carbon Emissions

As the yachts can travel more efficiently, and 30 percent faster, guests are able to visit islands that would otherwise be out of reach. What’s more, faster sailing means less sailing as our yachts arrive to their destinations faster; six hours less on each of our two itineraries, in fact, meaning six hours less cruising and six hours less fuel combustion.


Design features on board also have sustainability in mind.  Each yacht is fitted with a unique water treatment system and ecological dual-flush toilets that prevent untreated water from being disposed into the ocean, whilst to further protect the marine environment we only use biodegradable cleaning detergents, exterior lights that do not attract insects, cooling elements free of R-12 gases, and lead-free paint that avoid damage to delicate reefs.


Looking ahead, we have signed an agreement with Photon to refit our zodiac launches with electric motors, to further reduce our fuel use, carbon emissions and noise pollution on every voyage.

Promoting longer stays and lower volume tourism in Galapagos

The Galapagos National Park encompasses the entire Galapagos archipelago, of which only about 3% is populated; the remainder is left for the remarkable creatures who call it home.  The park is tightly controlled to ensure tourists and residents alike do not disturb or degrade the landscape, and we have designed our itineraries with this priority in mind.


We offer two itineraries on our three luxury expedition yachts Origin, Theory and Evolve: Itinerary A, otherwise known as “Beaches and Bays”, and Itinerary B, or “Volcanic Wonders”. Both are one-week itineraries and explore different parts of the region; guests who really want to immerse themselves can of course opt to do both itineraries back to back.


Unlike some of our peers, we do not offer shorter three, four or five night cruises, as these encourage greater footfall in the islands, with more flights and a higher turnover of visitors, which leads to more carbon emissions and more pressure on this delicate ecosystem.


In short, we are keen to promote higher quality, longer stays in the islands, with lower volume tourism in the Galapagos.

Reducing plastic waste and pollution

For many years we have done away with single-use plastic bottles and straws, offering guests, since 2017, refillable bottles to cut down on one-use plastic and paper straws for those that want them. Our yachts are fitted with filtered water refill stations so there is no need for one-use bottles of water at any time when sailing with us. In our bathrooms, shampoo, soap and body wash are provided in larger, refillable bottles, avoiding the one-use throwaways that seem to be such a favorite for hotels around the world.


We were one step ahead of the regulations; by 2018, the Governing Council of Galapagos had restricted the use of certain plastics in Galapagos, including plastic straws, non-returnable plastic bottles and single-use plastic bags. Ever conscious of the damage plastics can cause, and aware of our wider responsibilities towards the Islands, we started this initiative well before it became mandatory, blazing a trail for our peers to follow. 

Sourcing ingredients locally from responsible providers

In our kitchens, our chefs work tirelessly to provide a fine dining experience commensurate with a member of Relais & Chateaux, and always with one eye on the environmental and social impact of the menus.


Ecoventura sources over 50% of ingredients locally from small artisan businesses based in the Islands; for example, eggs, bread and other staples are purchased from smallholders on the islands. Fruits and vegetables are sourced from San Cristobal and meats and dairy from Santa Cruz, of which 50% is organic.  Fish is, of course, a big part of the menu, with our chefs taking great care to ensure their dishes are sustainable; “brujo” (scorpion fish) is served instead of salmon, and spiny lobster and Canchalagua (a shellfish) are both sustainable local fish sourced from local fishermen who ply their trade around the islands.


We recently introduced wine produced at Dos Hemisferios Bodega in Ecuador as our house label, to ensure our beverages are also as locally sourced as possible.

Recycling facility to reduce landfill in the Galapagos

As we continue our sustainability journey and look for new ways to reduce our environmental impact, we recently opened two new state-of-the-art machines to facilitate recycling in the archipelago.


This new initiative, in partnership with the airline Avianca, will save approximately 9,000 kg of waste per year being landfilled in the Galapagos Islands, as it allows rubbish to be processed ready for transport to recycling centers on the Ecuador mainland – we are hugely proud to say that as a result of the scheme, no waste produced on any of our yachts will be landfilled in the islands.


What’s more, by collaborating with Avianca, who already run flights between the Galapagos and the mainland on a regular basis, the scheme avoids any additional carbon emissions as the waste is transported on pre-existing, scheduled flights.


We continue to search for new and innovative opportunities to put the ECO in Ecoventura. We are continually assessing our operations and looking at ways to further protect and preserve the profusion of rare flora and fauna that have flourished, unspoiled, in this natural paradise since long before the islands were first discovered.

Supporting conservation efforts in the Galapagos

Ecoventura has supported several conservation organizations in the Galapagos, all of whom play a vital role in helping to protect the wildlife against a host of threats.


Through our partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, we created the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund that raised over $400,000 to support the local community and funded scholarships for Galapagueño students from 2006-2016. Through Ecology Project International and Island Conservation, we participated in community outreach and mentoring programs, and supported vital conservation efforts across the islands and seas that surround them.

Charles Darwin Foundation Galápagos Biodiversity & Education for Sustainability Fund

One of the organizations Ecoventura is particularly committed to helping is the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), a non-profit group dedicated to conducting scientific research in the Galapagos. Formed in 1959, the CDF has played a pivotal role protecting the Islands’ natural resources and the sharing of scientific results for the conservation of this living laboratory.


Ecoventura established the Galápagos Biodiversity & Education for Sustainability Fund (GBESF) in a groundbreaking partnership with the CDF and the Galápagos National Park Service in 2017. This collective effort focuses on protecting the rare, often endemic, wildlife and flora and preserving our unparalleled ecosystem for future generations.


Since joining forces with the CDF, Ecoventura has contributed to their vital efforts by raising over $450,000 for the GBESF. In 2022 alone we raised $179,000, which was allocated to a variety of important projects; 35% has been ringfenced for educational projects, 35% will go towards research and monitoring, 20% will be spent on patrolling, eradication of invasive species and prevention of illegal trade initiatives, and 10% set aside for management and administrative purposes.


Ecoventura supports non-profit organizations that directly benefit the Galapagos Islands, such as the Galapagos Conservation Trust to fund research and tracking of whale sharks migration to better understand “swimway” patterns between Galapagos and the Cocos Island.  The expansion of the Galapagos Marine Reserve in 2022 was designed to protect migratory species.

Supporting the local community in Galapagos

Almost every member of our team is an Ecuadorian national, and approximately 65% calls the Galapagos home, so our desire to support the local community comes from the heart; many of our team have children at local schools, and have close family and friends who work on the islands.

Pack for a Purpose

With that in mind, we have worked closely for many years with Pack for a Purpose. The brainchild of founder Rebecca Rothney, who realized on a trip to Africa that her unused baggage allowance could be put to good use, this charity is a wonderfully inspiring organization that encourages travellers to bring up to 5 lbs (2.27 kilos) of supplies to their destination and donate them to local schools and community projects. 


Ecoventura delivers the contributions – stationary, calculators, art equipment, paper, and notepads – directly to the beneficiaries; the Alejandro Alvear School and a non-profit organizationCorazones Unidoslocated in San Cristobal to benefit kids with disabilities and special needs.

sustainable travel, pack for a purpose, ecoventura

Education for Sustainable Communities (ECOS)

ECOS is a local Galapagos foundation which was spun out of Ecology Project International (EPI) to continue the vital educational programs they began in 2006. With a focus on sustainable development and education, ECOS aims to promote wider conservation efforts and support the conservation work undertaken by the Galapagos National Park. By promoting sustainable, responsible, and active community involvement through inclusive experiential education, youth mobilization and educational research, the organization plays a crucial role in ensuring local community support and training up and inspiring the next generation of conservationists.


Ecoventura supports ECOS by donating funds that allows our guests to participate in conservation-focused excursions accompanied by local students, including a highland field excursion where guests participate in an ongoing project by collecting seed samples distributed by tortoises, or a walking excursion to learn about local traditions and community conservation efforts.