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Are there socially responsible and eco-conscious Galapagos cruises?

Are there socially responsible and eco-conscious Galapagos cruises?

When it comes to selecting a socially responsible and eco-conscious Galapagos cruise, it is highly recommended that potential visitors spend some time looking into the owners of the numerous vessels that operate within the archipelago.

Keep in mind that all Galapagos cruises are strictly monitored and regulated by the Galapagos National Park and Ecuadorian Government. However, it’s worth highlighting the fact that only a select few vessels have owners that make it a huge point to take their conservation efforts one step further.


In the case of the Santa Cruz II, we are proudly owned and operated by an entirely local company in Ecuador (Metropolitan Touring), which also owns and operates two other boats in the Galapagos: Yacht Isabela II and Yacht La Pinta. That being said, as a local company, we have all of our stakes and interests fully invested in the preservation of the Galapagos Islands. Our company is even responsible for establishing one of the very first waste and recycling management facilities in the Galapagos!

We’ve never forgotten the insurmountable importance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we make it a point to guarantee that we can share it with the world for centuries to come.

Did you know?
Metropolitan Touring was the first company to ever offer and promote organized visits to the Galapagos to the international world. We now have over 65 years of experience offering tours in the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador. For more information on the history of our company, Metropolitan Touring, be sure to click here.

In this blog we invite you to take a look at just a few of the ways we – as a company that owns socially responsible and eco-conscious Galapagos cruises – focus on the preservation of this immensely unique and delicate destination.

guests explore galapagos

Environmental Responsibility with our Galapagos Cruises: The Difference is in the Guides

One of the biggest points we make aboard the Santa Cruz II is to have our guests experience the Galapagos Islands the safest and best way possible: in the company of Naturalist Guides that are overseen by an Expedition Leader and, ultimately, the Galapagos National Park itself.

This helps us strike an excellent balance between keeping a watchful eye on the unique and delicate environment while insightfully sharing its natural beauty with guests that visit us from all around the world.

Did you also know?
Visitors are not allowed to explore the Galapagos National Park on their own. It is strictly required that all visitors that enter the Galapagos National Park do so in the company of a Naturalist Guide, with a Park-established maximum of 16 visitors per guide. This helps lower overall visitor impact and stress on the environment by spreading out our groups.

In the case of the Santa Cruz II, which is a 90-passenger Expedition Vessel, this means that we have an average of 6-7 Naturalist Guides who accompany us on our itineraries that explore the different regions of the National Park. The best part? This means that our guests are divided into excursion groups that tend to average far below the maximum recommended 16 guests per guide; instead, they often hover around 11 guests per guide, making for a more intimate and personalized experience of the archipelago. The truth is, multi-guided vessels are the way to go!

Here’s more information on visitor impact in the Galapagos and eco-conscious and sustainable cruises in the Galapagos, in case you’re curious!

galapagos family vacation

Social Responsibility on our Galapagos Cruise: Giving Back to the Local Community

Metropolitan Touring always makes the most out of opportune moments to give back to the Galapagos community. We do this by sponsoring people from the archipelago that have been here all their lives yet, due to their economic situation, have not been able to travel between the islands and get to know the greater part of the own amazing archipelago they get to call home. Not only that, but we also train future Naturalist Guides that are currently in the process of acquiring the necessary experience and skills to offer a safe and insightful tour of the archipelago.

The Galapagos National Park always makes sure to continuously train and monitor the Naturalist Guides as well as the condition of the park itself. When we host them onboard, they’ll listen and pay attention to how well the Naturalist Guides do their job, while always keeping a watchful eye on other little things like: the condition of the trails that we walk on, whether or not all the signs and markers are in good condition or if there’s one that’s in need of replacement. They make notes about if there’s a missing step on a staircase at certain visitor sites, or if the handrails are a bit loose so as to make a proper report and get the issue fixed right away.

All-in-all, it’s always nice to see people from Galapagos enjoying their archipelago and, at the same time, taking great care of it.

Galapagos conservation: it’s all about strength in numbers!

visitor impact on the galapagos environment

Martín Barreiro

Martin Barreiro, born and raised in Quito in 1982, began studying photography as soon as he got out of high school. Soon after this, he found himself with the opportunity to live in London, England, which is where he continued his career in photography while experiencing the European culture. Afterwards, he moved to Houston, Texas, where he got a degree as a Professional Commercial Photographer.

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