In 2000, we became the first recipient of the SmartVoyager ecological certification. This voluntary program sets strict conservation standards, and we have continued to comply with — and exceed — the parameters by installing a system to produce our own fresh water onboard, and implementing a waste management and recycling program. We have also become involved with, or spearheaded, a number of important sustainability funds and supported a number of ecological and social programs.

In 2017, Ecoventura together with the Charles Darwin Foundation and Galápagos National Park Service established the Galápagos Biodiversity & Education for Sustainability Fund to benefit the Charles Darwin Foundation and programs to support research and conservation projects related to biodiversity conservation, such as research and monitoring trips, community outreach, scientific equipment, GNPD boat maintenance and equipment, as well as to support projects related to education for sustainability, including scholarships for local Galapagueños to study at a local or national university.

Through our partnerships with Ecology Project International and Pack for a Purpose, we also help to support the local community through donated supplies, scholarships for Galapagueño students, and community outreach.

We seek the integration of values and principles associated with sustainable development in our operational processes and believe that sustainability is the key element that will allow tourism to continue to be a great contribution to the Galapagos economy. We constantly maintain economic relations with suppliers from the Galápagos Islands. Due to this, 30 % of the total produce used in our menus comes from the Galapagos. Mainly Fruits and vegetables are from San Cristobal Island and meats, seafood and dairy from Santa Cruz Island; 48% of our menu is completely organic.

Galápagos Biodiversity & Education for Sustainability Fund - Charles Darwin Foundation

In the summer of 2017, Ecoventura established the Galápagos Biodiversity & Education for Sustainability Fund in a groundbreaking partnership with the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galápagos National Park Service. This collective effort is focused on protecting the rare wildlife and flora found nowhere else on Earth, and preserving our unparalleled ecosystem for future generations.

Funds raised for this ambitious program go directly to research and conservation efforts focused on biodiversity. Examples include, but are not limited to, monitoring expeditions, community outreach, scientific equipment, maintenance of the Galápagos National Park Directorate’s vessels, and projects aimed at education (such as a scholarship for native Galapagueños to pursue university studies).

As custodians of one of the most fragile corners of the planet, we are—by way of these various undertakings—restoring these beautiful islands to their most virgin state.

Ecology Project International

Ecology Project International seeks to instill a deep sense of responsibility for, and dedication to, the Galápagos Islands in the next generation. Ecoventura has supported this non-profit NGO since 2006 in its mission to empower local youth to engage in conservation efforts through field ecology courses and research programs. And since 2014, we’ve offered a mentoring cruise to even further our commitment. Current students and Ecology Project International alumni monitor green sea turtles and Galápagos giant tortoises, and engage the community with documentary film screenings and beach clean-up initiatives.

Guests participate in two Ecology Project International Projects developed by High School students: “Walking Excursion of Puerto Ayora with EPI’s Eco Club” and “EPI Field Activity”.

During the activities, students teach the group about Galapagos history sharing stories, legends and traditions of the islands.

As conservation support, they have the option to clean up the bay using a handmade net built by students as part of a campaign to keep beaches and bays safe for marine life.

Pack for A Purpose

Almost every member of our team is an Ecuadorian national—and approximately 65 percent calls the Galápagos home—making our support of the local community a priority. By teaming up with the non-profit Pack for a Purpose organization, we encourage guests to bring five pounds of supplies to donate upon arrival to communities in need.

Support the education of Galapagueños children by saving space in your suitcase for crucial school supplies like colored pencils and pens, textbooks (including ecology-focused teaching materials), English and Spanish-language dictionaries, and hardware and software, such as digital cameras and educational computer programs.

Ecoventura delivers the contributions directly to Pack for a Purpose beneficiaries, including the Alejandro Alvear School and the Gotitas de Esperanza Foundation. This program is a perfect way for travelers to have a positive impact on our isolated island archipelago’s residents.

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Island Conservation

By annually donating one cabin from the Origin or Theory, Ecoventura supports Island Conservation projects to increase biodiversity and improve human livelihoods through the removal of invasive rodents and feral cats. Once free of invasive predators, the island will also be suitable for the reintroduction of up to 13 locally-extinct wildlife species.

Eradication projects on inhabited islands must involve the community and can present additional opportunities to generate significant benefits for it. Globally, few inhabited islands have been eradicated of invasive predators and none as large as Floreana. This project has a holistic vision and a transversal action line.

With the funds from different donors, including Ecoventura, Island Conservation has built 7 chicken coops. The construction of the chicken coops will benefit the Floreana -among other reasons- by: 1) protecting key focal species key to tourism such as the Galapagos hawk, and setting the enabling conditions necessary for the invasive species eradication which will protect 54 threatened species, 2) increasing production for the poultry farmers which will, in turn, provide a more stable income source for local farmers and regular supply for the farm‐to‐table restaurants frequented by tourists; 3) reduce significantly environmental conflicts between the community and endemic species.

Galapagos Conservation Trust

Since 2017, Ecoventura donates one cabin per year to GCT’s Garden Ocean Party annual raffle. The funds raised in this event go towards helping fund the Galapagos dive field trip which takes place every September. Researchers carry out ultrasounds on wild female whale sharks and the results, along with blood and tissue samples, are helping to build up a picture of whale shark biology and help to discover how, where and when these endangered whale sharks are giving birth which is important for their conservation.

In addition, the GCT team has successfully deployed 12 satellite tags to track whale shark migration, which hopefully, amongst other findings, will increase their knowledge about how the species uses the ‘swimway’ between Galapagos and Cocos Island in Costa Rica. Cocos is often the destination for migratory sharks and other marine species from Galapagos. Given the importance of this migration route, they are also supporting partners, including MigraMar, who are gathering crucial scientific evidence to ensure the Ecuadorian and Costa Rican governments can implement protection for sharks in this ‘swimway’ from threats such as industrial fishing.

The funds collected from Ecoventura’s cabin donation are also helping funding drone surveys of shark nursery sites around San Cristobal. These surveys help to increase the knowledge about the early stages of sharks’ lives, which is important to ensure that they, and the habitats important to them, are fully protected. The surveys have mostly focussed on blacktip sharks so far, but there is potential to expand them to include other species. The team are also testing whether drone surveys can replace more expensive and intensive capture-release methods in order to understand the abundance of sharks found at each nursery site.

Reducing the use of plastics onboard

We have successfully banned all plastic straws and plastic single use bottles on all four of our yachts to guarantee the sustainability and safety of local flora and fauna. Today, we offer guests glass bottles and metallic reusable water bottles that can be used not only during their trip but also as an Ecoventura souvenir.

Additionally, our expert naturalist guides encourage guests to take any packaging back to the mainland, as opposed to leaving them behind in the fragile ecosystems we visit, while recycling is practiced on board our yachts that are well-equipped with containers for that purpose.