Everything you may need to know, from how you can see the islands, to the rules once you get there...(read all)
Tourism: The Galapagos Islands is one of the few sites in the world where tourism is orientated directly around nature, constituting a educational activity.
Tourism in the Galapagos was started in 1969 with the arrival of the first tourist boat, the "Lina A", and today it is the principal force of the economy in the region and is responsible for the changes in the area.
The areas of the National Park that are established for public use are found clearly marked and distributed in almost all of the main islands of the archipelago. There are 54 land sites to visit and 62 marine sites. Most of the sites are accessed by sea and for this tourism has principally developed to be carried out in organized groups, with an authorized guide, that arrive at visitor sites on board tourist boats. Furthermore there exist sites in the four populated islands (Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela, and Floreana) with land access, where it is permitted to visit without a guide.
Visitors to the National Park require the presence of one or more guides, the same that help the SPNG in the work of control and vigilance of the visitor sites, a job of great importance considering the size and dispersion of the archipelago and the high cost of management.
A system of fixed annual itinaries for the tourist trips have been organized, these itineraries are carried out taking into account the capacity of burden of each site, limiting the anchorage in account of size and number of boats and fragility of the site.
There are various tour agencies, both national and international, that offer a great quantity of tourist services at different prices, however for more information you can contact the Galapagos Chamber of Tourism.
The rules and regulations that visitors to the Galapagos National Park must strictly obey are specified in the following points:
Scientific Research & Investigations
The Galapagos National Park, GNP, authorizes studies and scientific investigations by means of permits and subscriptions of agreements when the activity to be carried has a forecasted plan of which the execution will exceed six months.
If the studies or investigations require the collection of species, specimens, constitutive elements, samples or materials, the GNP determines the quantity, physical and biological conditions, times and places of collection, qualifications of methods, instruments of collection, means of transport and permitted processes.
The collection, internal movement and exportation of specimens or constitutive elements of endemic species is prohibited, except in the case of authorized scientific investigation that are of transdental importance to the survival of a species. The authorization is given by the Director of the Park, after corresponding analysis of each case, without harm and in account of the the remaining required authorizations of the laws and international agreements.
The persons carrying out the studies or investigations must provide the GNP, without charging, with 10 copies of the publication in Spanish, without harm to comply with the remaining stipulated regulations in the permitted document or agreement.
The movement and exportation of specimens or constitutive elements of established organisms for CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), are authorized by the Director of the Galapagos National Park.
Filming & Documentaries
It is permitted to carry out filming and documentaries of a scientific, educational and cultural nature and in this form, commercial nature as well.
Formal application form in which the character of the filming must be specified with its objectives etc.
We require to know the exact date of arrival and the exact dates of the proposed itinary.
For filming of a commercial nature, the producers pay the rights of filming and provide the guarantee as soon as it is established.
Depending on the time of duration of the filming, the group must pay rights of filming and give a banking guarantee in the name of the Galapagos National Park, emitted by the Banco del Pacifico. This guarantee will be given back once the copies of the finished production have been received in a stipulated period of time by both parties.
The Naturalist Guides of the Galapagos National Park are highly qualified people without being functionaries of the GNP, that have assumed responsibility to hire their services to conduct visits to the park and to guide people in the knowledge, interpretation, and conservation of resources.
They offer services of information and interpretation of the resources of the park to the visitors.
They assume control of the visitors and their belongings and are solely responsible for them and the affects they could have on the ecosystem of the park.
They comply with and help enforce the legal rules and other technical-administrative dispositions that the National Park emits relative to preservation and conservation.
They cooperate in the patrols of the National Park, and Marine Reserve of the Galapagos to ensure conservation and rational use of resources.
They cooperate in monitoring systems of areas of the National Park and Marine Reserve of the Galapagos.
Forms of Tourism
Cruises: These constitute the main part and are carried out in large boats with a capacity from 8 to 100 passengers, the passengers stay on board the boats for the trip that have durations of 3 to 8 days although cruises of 21 days are possible.
Daily Tours: The visitors can stay in hotels available in the populated Ports and daily travel to different visitor sites of the Park, returning at the end of the day.
Bay Tours: Activities available in the Ports that consist of short trips using small boats with outboard motors.
Daily Diving Tours: A variation on the Bay Tours in which available boats are equipped with diving gear, most of the dive shops are located on Santa Cruz Island
Navigable Dive Tours: A variation on cruises with access to marine sites far from the populated centers.
Non-Guided Sites: These sites are for recreational purposes and are near to populated centers
Entrance Fee and were it goes to
The Law of Special Regime for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of Galapagos Province fixes the following tariffs for entrance to the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve.
- Non-resident foreign tourists 100,00
- Non-resident foreign tourists (Age < 12 years old) 50,00
- Non-resident foreign tourists from any of the countries of "La Comunidad Andina de Naciones" or "Mercosur" 50,00
- Non-resident foreign tourists from any of the countries of "La Comunidad Andina de Naciones" or "Mercosur" (Age < 12 years old) 25,00
- Ecuadorian Citizens or Resident Foreigners 6,00
- Ecuadorian Citizens or Resident Foreigners (Age < 12 years old) 3,00
- Non-resident foreign tourists that are registered students at an ecuadorian institute 25,00
Distribution of the National Park and Marine Reserve entrance fee.
- Parque Nacional Galápagos 40% (Galapagos national park service)
- Municipalidades de Galápagos* 20% (Town municipality)
- Consejo Provincial de Galápagos* 10% (City council)
- Reserva Marina de Galápagos 5% (Galapagos marine reserve)
- Sistema Nacional de Areas Protegidas 5% (Protected areas national system)
- Instituto Nacional Galápagos INGALA* 10%
- Sistema de Inspección y Cuarentena de la provincia de Galápagos 5% (SICGAL)
- Armada Nacional 5% (Navy)
* It will be used for the financing of projects of education, sports, health and environmental cleaning, benefit of environmental services and benefit of services directly related to the attention the tourist.
Rules for Visitors
1) The Galapagos receives around 75,000 tourists annually and to all of them the following rules must be indicated:
2) For the unique nature, the plants, animals and rocks must remain permanently in their place so as not to cause alteration. It is not permitted to take anything from the islands with the exception of photographs.
3) Each island in the archipelago is unique for its flora and fauna and surroundings, the introduction of foreign organisms like, animals, seed, plants and insects, cause serious problems.
4) The animals of the Galapagos must not be touched or stroked for your safety and because rapidly, they can loose their docility and alter their behavior.
5) The endemic fauna native to the Galapagos has a natural form of food, because of this you must not give them any type of food as it may cause damage.
6) Each year thousands of people visit the Galapagos, imagine what would happen if each one took home a shell, plant or bothered an animal?
7) The marine birds of the Galapagos abandon their nests if bothered or pursued, leaving their eggs or young to fall to the ground or leaving them exposed to the sun, therefore you must observe them at a distance of no less that 2 meters.
8) On your visit to the islands it is not permitted to bring pets or other animals as these animals have caused serious impact to the endemic flora and fauna native to the Galapagos.
9) To maintain the island in the most natural state possible it is prohibited to enter with any living organisms from the continent as well as when you are moving amongst the islands. Plants, seed, insects, plagues and illnesses are dangerous for the fragile insular ecosystem.
10) The visitor sites of the GNP are found marked and signed to guarantee security. You must not leave the paths.
11) It is not permitted to fish on board tourist boats.
12) Rubbish of any type interferes in the natural processes and ruins the beautiful views and surroundings of the islands. Do not throw rubbish away when in visitor sites in the sea or near the islands, the sea lions collect jars thrown away from the bottom of the sea and play with them which can damage their noses, the turtles eat thrown away plastic and can die from blockages in their respiratory tubes. You must not leave anything on the islands except for your footprints.
13) On the inhabited islands you can buy articles with Galapagos themes made from wood and ceramics etc. Do not buy souvenirs made from black coral, turtle shell, sea lion tusks or shells as this goes against the principles of conservation.
14) To write your name and phrases of any nature on rocks, walls, etc is a sign of bad education and damages the surroundings and views. Remember, your immortality is not more important than the beauty of the islands.
15) It is not permitted to light fires or to smoke in the areas of the Park. Remember that a fire can start from a match or a cigarette that has not been put out properly. For example in 1985 and 1994, Isabela suffered fires of great magnitude.
16) If you want to camp in authorized visitor sites, you must obtain permission from the PNG offices.
17) Filming at a professional level requires special authorization.
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