Galapagos Travel Tips & News by HAUGAN CRUISES
3 Reasons Why The Galapagos Islands Are Your Ultimate Eco-friendly Holiday
Search “eco-friendly holidays” on Google, and The Galapagos Islands will show up in the top five of every web page, almost every time. And it is no surprise why. These volcanic Islands are abundant with wild and marine life. Approximately 80% of the birds, 97% of the land mammals and 30% of the plants are native to the Islands. They don’t live or grow anywhere else in the world, which means that becoming endangered is a very real reality. And as these Islands are one of the last few places on earth to go virtually untouched, preservation is the number one priority.
This dazzling destination appeals to a wide variety of travellers; from the adventurous to the wildlife enthusiasts, to those of us who like the finer things in life. So it comes as no surprise that entry to the Islands is heavily regulated and limited. But don’t let that stop you.
So what makes excursions to the Galapagos Islands so eco-friendly?
The Tour Operators Are Environmentally Conscious
These pristine Islands hold a very special place in our hearts and to the people of Ecuador. As such, we are doing our utmost to ensure they remain as picturesque and authentic as the day they were created. Over the years, tourism here has increased, and so rules on marine pollution and yacht allocations have been updated to meet the new demand.
And we too at Haugan Cruises have updated our policies. From the moment you step onboard one of our luxury yachts, you’ll notice that, where possible, we source locally; from the products in your cabins, to the heavenly food you eat. Our kitchens run a low waste policy. And to reduce the amount of plastic left on the Islands, we provide you with refillable water bottles and a backpack for your food.
Even as guests to the Galapagos, you are expected to follow rules including:
- Only visit protected areas with an authorised guide
- Do not touch or feed the animals
- Leave no trace
In response to climate change and a desire for conscious travelling, carbon offsetting has become incredibly popular with tour operators and airlines. Soon Haugan Cruises will have the facility on their online booking system for clients to buy carbon offset, making your adventures carbon neutral.
But one of our proudest initiatives is that a percentage of our sales go to support the education of children whose parents are in jail. While this does not directly link to sustainability and conservation, our philosophy is all about creating magical moments and changing people’s lives. We love that we can adapt that philosophy to help those in need and build a brighter future for the next generation.
The Locals Are Actively Involved In Sustainability
The National Park Authority continuously assesses the wildlife that lives on each island and issues guidelines that dictate how many people can be on the pathways, and at what time of day. So who better do deliver this information than the residents of these Islands?
We wholeheartedly believe in the knowledge and skills of our guides, which is why we hire residents of the island as your Crew and Tour Guides. It’s a policy that allows us to give back and sustain the economy. And they just love seeing the expression on your face when you first experience the beauty and tranquillity of their Islands.
Likewise, because the Galapagos Islands geography is so complex and delicate, local Scientists are invited to join you for dinner to talk about their research, and things to be mindful of when exploring. But don’t worry, it won’t be like your high school science class! In fact, you’ll love hearing about their discoveries and work with the animals.
And it’s not only the human locals that love to get involved. The activities you can do revolve around the wildlife and their habitat. None of the hikes or snorkels interferes with the wildlife day to day activities. As a result, the animals don’t feel threatened by us humans and will often look at you with the same curiosity that you look at them with, making for a truly unique and harmonious experience.
The Ecuadorian Government Supports Eco-tourism
We want you to have an extraordinary journey to these extraordinary Islands, but we also want to maintain that beauty for generations to come. Along with support from the Government, Ecuadorian tourism entrepreneurs are leading the way in eco-tourism, competing with industry leaders such as Costa Rica.
Also, more and more travel operators are following the United Nations’ Global Code of Ethics for tourism, which aims to ensure tourism has a long-lasting positive effect economically, culturally and environmentally.
Of course, the oil industry and overfishing will forever remain a threat to the ecosystem, as it does in any country with the same resources. But the potential for this region is enormous! Geographically, Ecuador has so much to offer: The Andes, Amazon Rainforest, The Galapagos and not to mention the picturesque coast. It’s one of those countries that has it all. Plus their currency is US Dollar, making travel planning and budgeting even simpler. It is in a region in the world that is inundated with wonders – and the people are incredibly kind and welcoming.
President of Haugan Cruises, Jessica Meza, was recently honoured as Ecuador’s tourism ambassador and believes “it is very important for [her] to point [her] business towards greener and more eco-friendly practices. Ecuador and especially the Galapagos Islands are among the most biodiverse places in the world, and we are still in time to protect these extraordinary jewels of nature.”
Of course, there are always those who don’t consider their carbon footprint. Some visitors will book a more inexpensive experience because of budget and available options. But spending a little more money in destinations such as the Galapagos results in a far better experience and contributes more towards sustainability.