Environmental impact

  based on 1 review   write a review

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Environmental impact - Chris with Fabian in a panga
Environmental impact - Panga ride
Environmental impact - On the cliffs, Espagnola
Environmental impact - Gardener Bay, Espagnola

Environmental impact Galapagos Islands Reviews

Toonsarah Toonsarah
533 reviews
Minimising the impact Nov 04, 2012
In 1979, the Galápagos National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This meant that the Park’s management and staff were responsible for performing permanent conservation efforts and guarding the islands according to UNESCO’s standards and regulations. But in 2007 the islands were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage in Danger because of what was assessed as being uncontrolled increases in tourism, in population, and in invasive species. All of these are directly or indirectly related to tourism. Since then, strict measures have been put in place by the Galápagos National Park to control tourism, immigration and the development of existing communities on the islands (just 3% of the land is inhabited, only on four of the islands).

In 2009 the Galápagos Islands were removed from the UNESCO World Heritage in Danger list because of these efforts to address the reasons for it being added to the list in the first place. The protection of these fragile islands now seems to be recognised as the urgent matter that it is, although there is still some way to go. Steps taken include the eradication of introduced species on some islands (such as goats, wild dogs and rats) and regular monitoring of and controls on levels of tourism.

All tourists who visit the islands on a cruise, or who take daily tours out to the islands, must be accompanied by Galápagos National Park certified guide on every visit – you cannot step onto any uninhabited island without such a guide, and only in very few places can you move around without the guide (Gardner Bay on Espanola was the one exception we visited, where we were free to roam anywhere on the beach, but not to go any further). Every visitor pays an entry fee of $100 (apart from Ecuadorean nationals, who pay $10) and this is divided between the various agencies who work to keep the Galápagos intact for future generations to enjoy.

The government restricts the number of groups that can land on an island at any one time, they restrict the number of people per group (maximum 16 per guide) and no boat can revisit the same island within a fortnight. All boat itineraries have to be submitted to the National Park authority for approval, as do any proposed changes. And once on the islands, there are very clearly marked trails and guides make sure you stick to them - most of the space is still reserved for the animals. There are also strict rules about not approaching too closely to the animals, but they don't seem to feel they have to stick to those rules as carefully as we do ;-)

There are a number of rules that all must obey:

1. No plant, animal, or remains of such (including shells, bones, and pieces of wood), or other natural objects should be removed or disturbed

2. Be careful not to transport any live material to the islands, or from island to island

3. Do not take any food to the uninhabited islands, for the same reason

4. Do not touch or handle the animals

5. Do not feed the animals. It can be dangerous to you, and in the long run would destroy the animals' social structure and breeding habits

6. Do not startle or chase any animal from its resting or nesting spot

7. Stay within the areas designated as visiting sites

8. Do not leave any litter on the islands, or throw any off your boat

9. Do not deface the rocks

10. Do not buy souvenirs or objects made of plants or animals from the islands

11. Do not visit the islands unless accompanied by a licensed National Park Guide

12. Restrict your visits to officially approved areas

13. Show your conservationist attitude

Please, take this seriously and follow the rules – or if you don’t think you can, please don’t come to the Galápagos Islands!
Gardener Bay, Espagnola
On the cliffs, Espagnola
Panga ride
Chris with Fabian in a panga
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!

Compare Baltra Hotel Rates (4.9km away)

Galapagos Islands Map
1 review
1 review
1 review
Galapagos Islands
photo by: Melboorn