On February 1st, a new set of travel regulations will go into effect in the Galapagos Islands, which are designed to help protect the environment there, while simultaneously presenting travelers with a better experience. These new rules have already had an impact on available itineraries, but visitors can expect the same overall options for visiting this amazing destination.
The new rules are actually quite simple. The Ecuadorian government, which oversees operation of the Galapagos National Park, has passed regulations that state that no vessel operating in and around the archipelago will be permitted to visit the same site more than once within a 14 day period. The purpose for this change in operation is that it should help disperse the ship traffic throughout the region, thereby keeping overcrowding to a minimum, while also protecting the unique and fragile ecosystems there. By reducing crowds, the overall experience of the Galapagos should be preserved for visitors as well, keeping it one of the top destinations for future generations to enjoy too.
When the new regulations were first announced there was some concern that tour operators would do away with the shorter itineraries in favor of those that were 14 days in length or longer. That hasn’t been the case however, as companies recognize the fact that they must cater to the needs of all travelers, including those who don’t have two weeks to spare for their getaway. As a result, they’ve had to get a bit creative with their itineraries in order to operate within the 14-day rules, but there are still plenty of 7, 10, and 12 day Galapagos adventures available to go along with the more extended trips.
Adventure travel company Metropolitan Touring, for example, operates three ships in the Galapagos and made the switch over to the their new itineraries earlier this week. Their options can all be combined to create trips of various lengths ranging from 10-15 days, and guests have the ability to extend their stay further by booking rooms at an eco-lodge located on Santa Cruz Island. Other travel companies offer similar flexibility in their schedules, giving travelers the ability to find the right itinerary to fits their needs.
The Galapagos Islands are truly one of the most unique natural environments on our planet, and are home to a host of wildlife that isn’t found anywhere else on Earth. These regulations will help to ensure that the islands, and the creatures that live there, stay safe and protected for years to come.