THE LUX LIFE (RELAIS & CHATEAUX)

Taking 60 Minutes to Unwind for Earth Hour

AUTHOR The Ecoventura Team

Helping raise awareness for the planet’s wild places

On 28th March the planet will celebrate Earth Hour, a poignant and powerful symbol of hope and unity in the fight against climate change that culminates in a symbolic turning off of electric lights. Given the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic bringing the world to a temporary stand-still, perhaps now more than ever is an appropriate moment to reflect on the fragility of life on earth, and our role in helping preserve it.

One of the world’s largest grass-roots movements for the environment, Earth Hour was started by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2007 as a symbolic “lights-out” event in Sydney. Today it engages millions of people in over 180 countries. Its aim? To spark global conversations about protecting nature, combating climate change and halting biodiversity loss.

This year Earth Hour seems particularly relevant to us all at Ecoventura. Whilst we had planned to turn off the engines of our fleet for an hour as a gesture of support, events have overtaken us and our engines have now been turned off for noticeably longer than one hour.

This time is allowing us to pause for thought, and to reflect on how lucky we are to call this beautiful part of the world home.

It has also made us all the more aware that even at the best of times life can be pretty demanding, so in a world that is busier, more high-paced and stressful by the day, every once in a while it pays to disconnect and turn off.

Why not try taking a deep breath, closing your eyes and enjoying a moment of calm?

People are increasingly conscious of their physical, but also mental, well-being and the need to occasionally unwind and disconnect, with the result that wellness travel is one of the fastest growing forms of vacation. As one of the most pristine natural environments on the planet, the Galapagos is the perfect place to slow down and recharge.

Defined by the Wellness Tourism Association as “travel that allows the traveler to maintain, enhance or kick-start a healthy lifestyle, and support or increase one’s sense of wellbeing”, wellness travel is a great way to promote your physical and mental health through positive travel experiences.

Whilst there is no one-size-fits-all formula for what constitutes a wellness vacation, there are some recurring themes to help refresh and stimulate mind, body and soul in equal measure:

  • Disconnect from work and partake in a bit of a digital detox
  • Break up the routine and grind of daily life
  • Enjoy tasty, healthy food with a good balance of plant-based ingredients
  • Keep active, take in some clean, fresh air and spend time in the great outdoors
  • Perhaps learn about a new region, or volunteer or get involved in conservation efforts to help enhance your sense of wellbeing whilst doing good

Our luxury expedition yachts Origin and Theory – the only Relais & Chateaux yachts in the Galapagos – are the ideal place to get away from it all.

The Galapagos is rightly famous for being one of the most pristine natural environments on Earth, and is one of the largest marine reserves in the world. Only two percent of the archipelago is inhabited by humans, so the wildlife has thrived undisturbed for millennia – it is no coincidence that this is where Darwin helped develop his famous theories of evolution.

Home to a host of endemic wildlife including marine iguanas and giant tortoises, as well as fascinating bird-life such as the blue- and red-footed boobies, the Galapagos is the perfect place to get up close and personal with a huge array of fascinating creatures.

A large part of any wellness trip is having a break from the screen time that is an inevitable part of 21st century living – emails, social media and computer screens – that make up so much of our working day. Combining that with making new friends and building new relationships is often regarded as a powerful way to increase feelings of connectedness, wellbeing and fulfilment. Our intimate yachts, with a maximum capacity of only 20 passengers, is the perfect environment to reconnect with fellow mankind.

Of course anyone looking to disconnect and reduce their stress levels is likely to want some quiet time. Find a quiet corner and peruse our expansive collection of books in our onboard library – immerse yourself in a novel, or brush up on your local flora and fauna whilst learning about Darwin’s travels in the region.

A big part of many a wellness vacation is keeping fit and active and enjoying the outdoors. Our immense range of excursions and activities mean you can be as active as you want, with anything from snorkelling and stand up paddle boarding to birdwatching and sealion spotting on a guided nature walk.

For those that want to learn more about the conservation work that we help to support, a visit to a tortoise sanctuary run by the Charles Darwin Foundation makes for a fulfilling few hours.

Diet can play a huge part in both physical and mental health – a diet rich in fresh, natural, predominantly plant-based and unprocessed ingredients can do no end of good for body and mind. As the only Relais and Chateaux yachts in the Galapagos, our chefs have certainly got that covered.

Head chef Estuardo Vilela and his team are continuously innovating and experimenting, introducing new ingredients and dishes to create sumptuous menus that challenge and dazzle in equal measure. The team have recently released their updated menus, and we’re confident they won’t disappoint – the grilled prawns with cilantro gremolata and langoustines in garlic aioli are particularly divine!

As this year’s Earth Hour falls in a period of “armchair travel” – when the only way to reach the Galapagos Islands is through enjoying videos, memories and photographs from the comfort of your own home – we invite you to take up the challenge of dedicating an hour in your day to unwind in honour of our wonderful planet.