Floreana Island wildlife tour, Galapagos Islands

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2016: 4 Dec
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Floreana Island wildlife tour, Galapagos Islands

Environment

All electricity on Florenea is supplied and generated using a community-run and owned set of solar panels, distributed to all hotels and homes. The island is changing all its kitchens and ovens from gas based to to electricity based kitchens, to make the most of this renewable energy – the first Galapagos island to do so.

Protecting wildlife is the first aim of the island – there are programmes to eradicate invasive species, and tourists are kept to Galapagos park approved paths and sites. Lava Lodge sits on a beach which provides natural protection to La Loberia (a sea lion breeding area) and makes sure people do not disturb the animals.

Waste is recycled, and the lodge uses local ingredients where possible, grown and harvested on the island, reducing the need to import from the mainland, cutting fuel consumption and the use of plastics for packaging.

The island has a fresh water source, but the lodge is looking at, along with the community, a desalination plant for showers and waste water, to reduce the use of fresh water.

Floreana is perched in the middle of the ocean, with a small population and limited resources – everything they have is precious and everyone works to protect what they have.

Community

Floreana is a prime example of Community Tourism, and this is the stated aim of the island’s president.

Lava Lodge and indeed all the hotels on Floreana are owned and run by the local community, which numbers around 150 people in total.

By visiting Floreana, tourists help to provide work for the entire island. Breakfast is taken at the lodge, and made by a local chef.

Other meals are provided by one of the three restaurants in town, spreading the financial boost tourists bring. Much of the food is grown on the island, helping farmers and fisherman to continue working in their chosen professions.

Fishing boat captains also run the ferry route between Floreana and Santa Cruz, and local water taxis make money ferrying people from the main boats to the port.

Local people are training to be guides, learning English and also take courses in how important it is to protect the islands – not just for tourism, but for the long term survival of the island.

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