Metropolitan Touring’s achievements over its more than six decades of operations in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are rooted in the people who make up the company. Service is our passion and teamwork is key. We are nature-lovers, people who adore the great outdoors.
We love to explore and to push ourselves. Our knowledgeable Naturalist Guides and Expedition Leaders deserve special mention. Our team includes an amazing range of enthusiastic specialists and captivating communicators, whether they are biologists, historians, birdwatchers, chefs, marine experts, sailors, doctors, captains or experts in their chosen field.
Our Commitment to the Galapagos
As pioneers in exploring the Galapagos Islands, we take the preservation of the National Park and Marine Reserve very seriously. Not only do we follow local regulations and international standards to the letter; our connection with the Galapagos goes back as far back as 1969, when we helped to establish respectful, yet educational visiting practices. These rules are seen today in many nature preserves worldwide, where environmental interpretation is required to enhance the destination. Modern terminology has coined this attitude in words such as ecotourism, sustainable tourism, nature tourism, etc. For us, this is a matter of understanding the fragility of the islands and our role as responsible operators.
Because the human impact is undeniable, we found our niche in contributing to the improvement of the islands’ wellbeing. After careful review of the equation, we came to the conclusion that the presence of human beings on the islands – both of residents and of visitors – could result in a potential hazard unless something was done about it. Thus, in 1989, we created Fundación Galapagos-Ecuador that created projects targeting pollution in the islands. Its greatest success was the in-depth modernisation of the solid-waste management system on Santa Cruz Island, including recycling, classification, education, and the provision of options for the local community. In 2014, having accomplished its mission, this project was donated to the local authorities on the island.
We currently strongly support conservation projects and are focusing efforts on local education, providing free expedition cruises to local Galapagos students who otherwise might never have the chance to see the vastness of the archipelago and discover its unique features. Amongst our on-board efforts, our three cruise vessels recycle, treat wastewater, and use drinking water and electricity efficiently, and we have installed special outdoor deck lights to limit insect dispersal from island to island. Plastic consumption has been greatly reduced too. We employ hull paint free of hazardous tin. And the Santa Cruz II is outfitted with fuel-efficient motors and generators to reduce fuel consumption. By purchasing as much as possible from local producers, we reduce demand for imports from the mainland and further support the local economy. Thus, we make sure that the community feels benefits from our presence in the tourism industry. These practices, as well as other actions, allow us to minimize our environmental footprint, which aids in reducing the effects of global warming. Metropolitan Touring has also won accolades for our environmentallyresponsible hotels, including the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel on the island of Santa Cruz, which in 2014 and 2015 was recognized as the World’s Leading Green Hotel, and in 2016 as South America’s Leading Green Hotel, by the World Travel Awards.
Metropolitan Touring has also been recognized by Condé Nast in the category of wildlife conservation (2008) and poverty alleviation (2010) at the World Savers Congress.
Metropolitan Touring is a proudly regional Destination Management Company, with its own offices and operations in Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.
Almost five decades ago, we pioneered Galapagos Expedition Travel. In the Galapagos, Metropolitan Touring owns and operates the Finch Bay Eco Hotel, the only beachfront property on Santa Cruz Island, as well as a trio of expedition vessels: our new Santa Cruz II as well as Yachts Isabela II and La Pinta. Our holding group includes luxury hotels Casa Gangotena in the historic old town of Quito and Mashpi Lodge in Ecuador’s Chocó rainforest.
We have a special place in our hearts for nature, unique locations and extraordinary service. We know and love our countries. We create inspiring journeys across South America for our guests, each one a story in the making.