The Galapagos Islands: Saving a World Heritage

International Galapagos Tour Operators Association



Information supplied by: International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA)

Protect a priceless archipelago from destructive forces, allow it to be as it is, keep it that way forever - the task seems unfathomable on a planet as small as ours has become.

Yet this is our challenge. Unless we come to their support, the Galapagos Islands cannot be preserved for future generations. Like other parts of the world, they are increasingly threatened by invasive species - from microbes, insects, plants, animals, human settlement, and travelers like us!

The question is -- do we have the courage and the wisdom to protect one of the most unique and pristine places on earth?

Learn more about some of the challenges facing the Galapagos Islands.

Being Part of the Solution



It is true, tourism has provided the primary reason for conservation of the Galapagos Islands. Travelers are an important source of jobs and foreign exchange. Without visitors like you, there would be little defense against outright exploitations by extractive industries.

But tourism has a downside -- those of us who visit the Galapagos are both part of the solution and part of the problem. From the earliest visitors, humans have unwittingly brought alien species that compete with native plants and animals. Our growing numbers and the boats and resources we use put pressure on a fragile environment. Our very presence encourages the migration of people that imperils the entire ecosystem.

As travelers, we need not feel guilt or stay away. Armed with this awareness, we can shape tourism to be a positive force, find ways to give back more than we take, and make sure we are part of the solution!

How You Can Help



To meet the enormous task of preserving the Galapagos, tour companies who are members of the nonprofit International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA) are encouraging their travelers to join us in the lasting protection of the islands. IGTOA believes that hope for the long-term survival of the Galapagos rests on a new model of tourism. Travelers and the travel industry must build a cohesive and permanent coalition for conservation and sustainable, responsible tourism.

IGTOA is working with the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), which for nearly 50 years has carried out vital scientific and conservation projects.

Why park fees are not enough

Only a small percentage of the Galapagos Park entry fee makes its way to the local community or the Galapagos National Park. None of it goes to the Charles Darwin Research Station, an organization that is vital to Galapagos' survival. A supplemental source of funds is urgently needed. Your additional funding fills critical gaps and gives tourism an important, direct role in conservation. Although the CDF works closely with the Galapagos National Park, it does not get funding from your Galapagos National Park entrance fee. It depends solely on the generosity of individuals and organizations throughout the world. IGTOA is teaming up with organizations in the U.S. and Europe, known collectively as Friends of Galapagos, to create new support for science, conservation and education.

We encourage you to follow your tour company's minimum suggested pledge for Galapagos conservation. Making this first step is your way to fuel critical conservation work and the scientific research that guides it, and to support programs that educate local people, let them benefit from tourism and make them better stewards of their own natural heritage.

Adventure Life's Galapagos Travelers: As a fellow enthusiast of the Galapagos, we hope that you will assist us in working towards the lasting protection of the Islands. We have included a voluntary minimum donation of $50 per person on your tour invoice. You are free to delete this line item if you like. However, if you choose to include this contribution with your final payment, your donation will be used to fund critical scientific, conservation, and education work in the Galapagos National Park. You will also receive a voucher matching your donation (up to $125 per person) to use on your next trip with Adventure Life.

Adventure Life and IGTOA launched this fundraising program in Nov. 2006. I am more than pleased to announce that as of Feb 2012, our travelers have raised nearly $83,000 for island conservation. Well done!

How To Contribute



Please contribute the minimum amount suggested by your IGTOA tour company member before your trip.

How You Help



Your donation will support IGTOA's mission of creating a model of responsible and sustainable tourism in the Galapagos. This is defined as:

  • Creating benefits and educational opportunities for local people.

  • Strengthening responsible tourism management.

  • Building strong financial support for conservation among the travel industry and travelers.

  • Promoting high professional standards for the tourist industry.


We allocate funds to projects sponsored or recommended by our partner organizations, such as WildAid, Charles Darwin Foundation, Rainforest Alliance, and, Galapagos Chamber of Tourism (CAPTURGAL), AGIPA (Galapagos Guides Association), and other Galapagos community-based organizations, such as schools and foundations. We also alert travelers, the public, and government agencies to potential threats.

For more information on this funding program, visit IGTOA

Thank you for your help!



We quite literally, could not do it without your generosity.