What does “Sustainable Tourism” mean in Galapagos?

The Galapagos Islands are a treasure, a world floating in a spanse of ocean that preserve its own unique species and beacons a diverse set of travelers–sharks and humans alike–to their shores. Galapagos Alternative is dedicated to taking care of the islands, the national park and marine reserve by focusing on three areas of sustainability:

  1. environmental sustainability
  2. socio-cultural sustainability
  3. and economic sustainability

We support tourism to the islands and create custom tours that maximize benefits by decreasing the negative impacts commonplace in tourism.

Impact of Tourism on the Galapagos Islands

The conservation and research work happening around the island is fantastic; there is a reason conservation and research are synonymous with the Galapagos! Neither would be possible without the funds generated by the 250,000 tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands every year.

But the islands also feel a strain on their resources and see the pollution so many people bring. Garbage accumulation, water consumption and the importing of food and supplies to the islands are all real threats.. Not to mention the poorly maintained cruise ships that contaminate the ocean with engine oil and paint flecks. 

Taking care of everything that 250,000 tourists need is an expensive undertaking and a lot of travel companies encroach on the space with cheap solutions that are harmful to the environment and to the local economy. Local businesses, too, will offer cheap solutions in an effort to compete with these travel companies.

The Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism require that everyone in the Galapagos conserve water and energy, recycle and treat waste material, source locally-produced products, hire local employees, pay them a fair wage, as well as offer them additional training. But there is still more than can be done as many businesses and tour providers cut corners in order to offer lower prices.

One way to avoid these pitfalls is to plan your Galapagos trip with a company that is well connected to the islands’ inhabitants–the conservationists, researchers, farmers and fishermen–so you can trust that you are making the most sustainable travel plans.

Responsible tourism with “eco-tours” in the Galapagos

Contact us today to ask about our sustainable tourism practices and how Galapagos Alternative offers the best eco-tours to the islands. We can connect you with the experts you want to meet and the activities you want to do for the best Galapagos adventure you could imagine. 

We lean towards small group, land-based tours that allow our providers to be more conscious in their work. We work with responsible hoteliers, boat captains and restaurants. Our focus on locals keeps the tourist dollar in the Galapagos, near-on 100% staying on the island to benefit the island. 

And we encourage tourists to practice their own sustainability. Here are some helpful tips for traveling sustainably. 

  1. Spend more time in one place
  2. Choose sustainable methods of travel
  3. Continue your green-habits abroad
  4. Travel during off season
  5. Stick to local cuisine
  6. Seekout local and sustainability-minded companies 
  7.  Respect the people and culture 
  8. Make donations that matter
  9. Don’t participate in illegal activities

"Galapagos Alternative did an excellent job is organizing this trip. This was truly VIP treatment from start to finish. Someone met us at the airport and we waited in the VIP lounge while they got up our luggage and then we were off to our hotel."
- Elisa C.
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