The Galapagos Islands are one of the planet's most extraordinary and unique ecosystems, retaining an astonishing 95 percent of their endemic species. In 1959, a century after Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, Ecuador created the Galapagos National Park, incorporating 97 percent of the archipelago's landmass. In 2001, protection was extended to the surrounding waters with the creation of the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
However, maintaining and ensuring the biological well-being of the Galapagos remains an ongoing challenge due to threats such as introduced species, illegal fishing, population growth, illegal migration, and unsustainable tourism.
Ecoventura has been operating tours in the Galapagos since 1991 and is a long-standing leader in sustainable travel and environmental conservation. We began "greening" our operations and equipment in 1999 and have gained widespread recognition for our commitment to environmental sustainability and our leadership role in responsible tourism in the Galapagos. As part of this commitment, we have invested upwards of half a million dollars to refurbish our fleet of yachts to meet stringent ecology-minded standards. The MV Origin reflects Ecoventura's continuous quest for improvement and is one of the most eco-friendly cruise vessels operating in the Galapagos today.
In addition, Ecoventura has established numerous partnerships to support local communities and promote species and habitat preservation.
World Wildlife Fund
In 2006, Ecoventura established the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund. The fund promotes marine conservation and environmental education to strengthen the ability of local communities to manage natural resources, including providing scholarships and supporting the development of micro-enterprises to create alternative sources of income and reduce pressure on marine resources.
In 2000, Ecoventura became one of the first companies to earn the voluntary ecological certification SmartVoyager, developed by the Rainforest Alliance and the Ecuadorian organization Corporación y Desarrollo. The certification requires cruise boats to meet strict standards designed to conserve natural ecosystems, reduce environmental impacts, and improve social welfare through fair treatment of workers and positive relations with local communities.
In 2011, Ecoventura earned the Rainforest Alliance's verification standard for tourism services, a program that certifies a company's commitment to environmental conservation and supporting local communities. The certfication demonstrates to consumers that a company cares about the planet and has met stringent standards to minimize its negative impact and maximize benefits to communities and wildlife.
In 2006, Ecoventura became the first company in the Galapagos to reduce and offset 100 percent of its carbon emissions. Carbon emissions from the company's four yachts and sales offices were reduced through the use of high performance filters and other methods, and the remainder were offset by investing in a portfolio of alternative energy projects through Native Energy Travel Offsets.
Pack for a Purpose
Ecoventura has partnered with Pack for a Purpose, a charitable organization that suggests needed supplies for travelers to bring to the Galapagos. Supplies brought by our guests are donated to the students at the Alejandro Alvear School, benefiting children with physical disabilities and hearing-impaired adults, as well as to the New Era Galapagos Foundation, which supports art programs, Eco Scouts, and English-language activities.
Ecology Project International
Ecoventura sponsors 12 scholarships each year for local high school students to study conservation and ecology-related issues under the direction of Ecology Project International (EPI). Students spent 50 hours in the field directly involved in conservation activities concerning invasive species and tortoise health. Ecoventura also launched a career-shadowing program offering students the opportunity to explore a professional future in tourism by participating in a Galapagos cruise with Ecoventura guides serving as mentors.
The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) is a non-profit research institution with offices in Washington, DC and at Stanford University, whose mission is to promote responsible tourism policies and practices globally so that local communities may thrive and steward their cultural resources and biodiversity.