Galapagos residents loading tons of supplies donated for victims of the earthquake on the Pacific coast of the mainland

Galapagos in solidarity with Ecuador’s earthquake victims

Although the Galapagos Islands are far removed from the zone that was affected by the devastating 16 April earthquake, its residents have been gathering aid to send.

Since the early morning hours of 17 April, the communities on the five populated islands (San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Baltra, Floreana and Isabela) have been gathering material aid donations in public parks and institutions. Included in the efforts are the Galapagos National Park, the Galapagos Naturalist Guides Association, and local tour operators, hotels, churches and schools.

On 19 April, the National Park service shipped donations from Isabela and Floreana islands to Santa Cruz Island. Ecuadorian Air Force planes are delivering the supplies from the airports on San Cristóbal and Baltra (which services Santa Cruz Island) to make it to the continent.  Already over three tons of the island’s aid have been sent to Ecuador’s Pacific coast.

The Galapagos Islands was not affected by the 7.8 earthquake that occurred near Pedernales on the Ecuadorian continent, as the islands are on a separate tectonic plate. The Army’s Oceanic Institute had issued a tsunami advisory, stating that waves were expected to be less than a meter. (After an earthquake of a 7.0 or greater intensity, it is customary to issue a tsunami warning.)

Many Galapagos residents have family members that live in the affected coastal communities on the continent.

You may follow the Galapagans’ solidarity actions at: #‎GalápagosSolidario.

If you also wish to directly assist those affected the Ecuadorian Red Cross is receiving donations in the following account:

Bank: Banco Pichincha

Account number: 3462520104

Account name: Fondo de Emergencia

Beneficiary: Cruz Roja Ecuatoriana – Quito

The funds will be destined to provide temporary shelter for those affected and for continuing search and rescue operations.


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Galapagos tortoise, Santa Cruz, Galapagos islands

7 Ways to Help the Galapagos Islands

Even from afar, you can help the Galapagos Islands preserve its unique flora and fauna and be a part of vital on-going research with your donation – all from your home.

A number of international organizations fund projects in the Galapagos. Not only is the recovery of giant tortoise populations on the islands’ agenda. Studies in the diversity of sharks recently gave rise to the Ecuadorian government declaring a shark sanctuary around Darwin and Wolf Islands. Research into the infestation of nests by the parasitic fly, Philornis downsi, has given new promise to saving the mangrove finch from extinction.

Charles Darwin Foundation

Founded in 1959, the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) has been in the Galapagos Islands longer than any other organization. Since 1964, it has operated the Charles Darwin Research Station, a popular stop for visitors to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. It works closely with the Galapagos National Park, and national and international scientists in the breeding of critically endangered species like land iguana, tortoises, and mangrove finch. It also aids in environmental education, training naturalist guides, and identifying and eradicating invasive species. The CDF is a Belgian-registered International Non-Profit Association.

Galapagos Conservancy

Galapagos Conservancy is focused exclusively to the conservation of the Galapagos Islands’ distinctive wildlife and vegetation. For over 25 years, it has been helping to fund a wide array of on-the-ground research that aids in conservation management, public policy and sustainable initiatives. It supports Galapagos, national and international organizations. Two of its big projects now are the revival of the Pinta and Floreana giant tortoise species, and saving the Mangrove Finch from the brink of extinction. Galapagos Conservancy is based in the U.S.A.

Galapagos Conservation Trust

Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT) has supported conservation projects in three areas – science, education and culture – since 1995. It works with organizations and authorities to preserve Galapagos’ unique ecosystems, promote recycling in the Islands and prepare the next generation of conservationists. GCT funds projects in five areas: conservation education, conserving endangered species, controlling invasive species, marine conservation and sustainable development. GCT is based in the United Kingdom.

Other organizations

The international organizations World Wildlife Fund and Wildaid also fund the many research and conservation efforts the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galapagos National Park are working on.

Local grassroots organizations are more single-project oriented. Darwin Animal Doctors provides veterinarian services to wildlife and domesticated animals, as well as sterilization of island dogs and cats. FUNDAR Galapagos (Foundation for Alternative Responsible Development in Galapagos) focuses on education to promote sustainable development in the Galapagos.

Do you know of other ways to help the Galapagos islands? Let us know in the comments below.


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Photo credit: Lip Kee

Ecuador earthquake April 16, 2016

Update: Ecuador Earthquake

For up-to-date information check back to this page. If you are concerned about your travel arrangements contact us at or call our 24h emergency number +593-9-9680-4041.


April 19

Rescue efforts continue to try to locate survivors in the rubble of collapsed buildings in the wake of the April 16 earthquake.

The death toll now stands at 413 with 231 people reported missing across varios cities on the Pacific coast. Pedernales is the worst affected with 147, Portoviejo 112, Manta 105, Canoa 30, Bahía de Caraquez 11 and Rocofuerte 3.

Flights out of Quito and Guayaquil to and from Galapagos continue to operate normally.

See our previous post on how you can help by sending your donation to the Ecuadorian Red Cross.


April 18

The official toll from the earthquake now stands at 235 dead and 1,557 injured, announced Vice-President Jorge Glas in a press conference from the city of Manta in the province of Manabí.

A state of emergency has been declared to enable resources to be directed to the search and rescue efforts.

The airports of Quito and Guayaquil on the mainland and those on Baltra, San Cristobal and Islabela islands in the Galapagos are fully operational.

To assist those affected the Ecuadorian Red Cross is receiving donations in the following account:

Bank: Banco Pichincha

Account number: 3462520104

Account name: Fondo de Emergencia

Beneficiary: Cruz Roja Ecuatoriana – Quito

The funds will be destined to provide temporary shelter for those affected and for search and rescue operations.


April 17

At 01:25 local time the Vice-President Jorge Glas announced that there are 77 confirmed dead and 588 injured after yesterday’s earthquake that registered 7.8 on the Richter scale. The epicenter of the quake that occurred Saturday April 16 at 18:58 was near the town of Muisne on the Pacific coast. The most affected areas are Portoviejo, Manta, Guayaquil y Pedernales.

The earthquake, the strongest since 1979, was followed by 55 after shocks and more are expected.

For visitors to the Galapagos islands flying from Quito via Guayaquil travel is unaffected. Several roads between Quito and the coast are closed due to landslides.


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Motor yacht San Jose, Galapagos islands

A New Look for the Galapagos’ Motor Yacht M/Y San José

M/Y San José, one of the Galapagos islands’ largest motor yachts, will soon be wearing a new look that will make its first class service even classier.

The M/Y San José has been in dry dock undergoing a total renovation. The cabins as well as the living room, dining room and other social areas are being completely redecorated. All floors – within and without – are being refitted with faux teakwood.

A new triple suite will allow small families or close friends to share their Galapagos experience.

An additional motor will allow the M/Y San José to whisk you to visitor sites even more quickly and securely. Other structural changes are also underway, all to provide its passengers with a safe and enjoyable Galapagos cruise.

The M/Y San José will still have ample outdoor decks where you can relax and enjoy the fresh sea air after a day of exploring Galapagos’ natural wonders. Whether in the brilliant sun glinting off the sea or in the shade of the covered deck, you can enjoy refreshments from the bar and observe wildlife like seabirds, whales and dolphins while the yacht cruises from isle to isle.

Of course, M/Y San José will continue to provide its passengers delicious meals and personal attention. Intimate group experiences with its certified bilingual naturalist guide are still guaranteed.

The M/Y San José is scheduled to be relaunched on April 12.

Browse a range of small yacht cruises including aboard the newly refurbished M/Y San José here.


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Hammerhead sharks, Wolf island, Galapagos

New Protections for Galapagos Marine Life Announced

The Galapagos Islands, prized for its unique and diverse wildlife, has now received additional protection. On March 21, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa declared the seas around Darwin and Wolf Islands a marine sanctuary.

The new Darwin-Wolf Islands reserve is 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) – an area the size of Belgium. It will be off limits to all fishing as well as oil and mineral exploitation. The only activities that will be allowed are tourism and scuba diving. This will protect the existing shark population by preserving its habitat and providing a breeding ground for them.

This area in the extreme north of the Galapagos Islands has the world’s highest concentration of sharks, with over 34 species that include hammerhead, whale and Galapagos sharks. The four warm and cold ocean currents that flow around the Galapagos create one of the world’s most biodiverse marine ecosystems in which over 3,000 species of fish, marine mammals, invertebrates and the unique marine iguana live.

This new shark sanctuary adds to the 207,199 square kilometers (80,000 square miles) of the Galapagos Marine Reserve which was formed in 1998. Now, 32 percent of the reserve’s waters will be safe from activities that can damage the fragile marine ecosystem.

The Ecuadorian government stated that extra protective measures are necessary because of the increased pressures of global warming, as well as the presence of illegal shark fin fishers and industrial trawling.

Economic incentives may also have influenced the Ecuadorian government to form the new reserve around Wolf and Darwin Islands. According to a new study by the University of California – Santa Barbara and the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas Project, a live shark generates over $5 million in its lifetime by increasing tourism and scuba diving. A dead shark, sold to the Asian black market, brings in only about $200 to fishermen.


What do you think of the declaration of the new marine reserve? Leave your comments below.


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Photo credit: daren_ck