Six-hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador lies a special, volcanic archipelago made up of 19 large islands. Formed around five million years ago through intense volcanic activity, the Galapagos Islands remained virtually untouched for millions of years. This extreme isolation allowed for the development of beautifully diverse and unusual animal and plant life--from giant tortoises and marine iguanas to huge cacti and flightless cormorants, the Galapagos contain a plethora of magnificent species that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. And though every traveler should have the opportunity to experience the glorious history and abundant biodiversity of these islands, the increase in foreign visitors has slowly begun to threaten the very source of the clamor: the native species and their natural environments. The Galapagos’ fragile ecosystem is immensely vulnerable to human contamination, overpopulation, development, and invasive species, all of which have increased along with the tourism influx. As travelers, we have the responsibility to follow responsible tourism practices, so that we, and future generations, can continue to enjoy the most beautiful places on earth without causing irreparable harm.
So, how do we travel responsibly in the Galapagos? Read below to discover important tips to treading lightly on these incredible islands!