With thousands of visitors each year, it is inevitable that human activity threatens the Galapagos Islands’ delicate ecosystem. The good news, however, is that there are some very simple ways to minimize your footprint.
Do your research
One easy way to lessen the impact you have? Whether you’re staying in the islands before or after a cruise, taking part in a hotel-based tour, or traveling independently, make sure you stay at a hotel that practices responsible tourism. There are a growing number of hotels that have adopted practices which help to minimize human impact, from not washing linens daily in order to save water to running local recycling projects. Here are just a few:
Santa Cruz Island:
La Peregrina Hostel (from $37 per night): This hotel contributes to a local recycling project in order to reduce their waste and impact on the surrounding environment. The owners have designed the hotel’s garden using only local Galapagos plant species to try to keep the balance of the natural environment.
Hostal Mainao (from $119 per night): Hostal Mainao uses local food products mostly cultivated in the highlands of Santa Cruz, as well as using a system of water treatment that allows for the reuse of water to irrigate the hostel’s gardens.
Galapagos Suites (from $112 per night): The hotel recycles garbage as well as solid waste. Energy saving light bulbs and sensor lights are used to reduce the use of electricity. Rooms are stocked with biodegradable hand soap and shampoos.
San Cristobal Island:
Pimampiro Hostel (from $55 per night): The owners recycle as much waste as possible, and in June 2010 they received an award for the Best Management of Solid Residuals in San Cristobal. They also use energy saving-light bulbs and try to reduce water usage where possible.
Hostel Casa Blanca (from $59 per night): Hostel Casa Blanca recycles all waste, and owner Jaqui uses some unwanted materials to make elaborate handicrafts. The hotel is planning to implement solar panels for the hot water system to take advantage of solar energy.
Miconia Cabanas Spa (from $114 per night): In August 2010, Miconia Cabanas Spa received acclaim as the first sustainable hotel on San Cristobal Island. They provide training for their employees in good practices in sustainability.
Hotel San Vicente (from $36 per night): The hotel has adopted practices to save energy such as using efficient light bulbs and changing guests’ towels and linen on request rather than doing so daily, as a way to save water.
Hotel Albemarle (from $115 per night): The owner of Hotel Albemarle works with authorities on the island to run a recycling program and a water purification plant.
The Wooden House (from $116 per night): The owners of the Wooden House use biodegradable cleaning products and toiletries. They save energy with the use of energy-saving bulbs and also by conserving water consumption.