Costa Rica and Galapagos wildlife vacation

“A superb wildlife adventure to see the Darwinian delights of the Galapagos by yacht, before exploring Costa Rica’s jungles, beaches and volcanoes.”

Highlights

Ecuador: Quito guided tour | Galapagos Islands | seven nights on a yacht | Santa Cruz Island | giant tortoises | Charles Darwin Research Station | Floreana Island | Isabela Island | Fernandina Island | hikes and walks | Costa Rica: San Jose | Arenal Volcano | Manuel Antonio National Park | guided nature walk | free day

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
The Galapagos Islands are a very fragile and unique environment. It is a strange concept but were it not for the value of tourism in this area the islands would undoubtedly have been allowed to be plundered and destroyed decades ago. By supporting responsible tourism in this sensitive area we are actively contributing to the massive conservation task. There is a National Parks tax which goes directly to the islands conservation initiatives. But most importantly, we work with a number of boats that are Ecuadorian owned and whose owners can demonstrate a positive ecological and social responsibility policy. This encompasses the broader issues of the human population on the islands as well as the more obvious wildlife conservation.

We offer advice on protecting wildlife (for example, responsible seat turtle viewing and how to avoid buying turtleshell products, and never trying to touch wild animals). In the Galapagos we have helped fund an interpretive trail at a school on Santa Cruz Islands with the aim of teaching wildlife and environmental conservation to Galapagos Islands students. This was done in conjunction with the Galapagos Conservation Trust.

We always try to particularly promote boats which we know are either SMART Voyager certified (i.e. following good practices within the islands as regards conservation, pollution etc) or which, even if not certified, make real efforts in these regards. Many of our yachts are small (therefore with less impact on the environment) and are built for minimal fuel consumption (eg some using wind and solar power) as well as having excellent waste control (mostly regulated by the islands authorities). Plastic reduction is also being taken very seriously by many of our boats, which, for example, offer reusable water bottles to guests.

Costa Rica is known as one of the most environmentally-friendly countries in the world. They practically invented ecotourism, and over 25% of the country is a protected reserve. During this trip you will be visiting at least one of these important reserves. The country runs a successful conservation initiative called the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST). This recognises services committed to preserving the environment and sustainability of the country. Costa Rica also has a Blue Flag programme.

We always particularly back hotels and services which we have researched and which we know are making big efforts in their environment. For example, hotels that plant indigenous plants in their properties to encourage wildlife and more biodiversity, or use local sustainably-source food, or use solar/wind power in their lodge. Some combine many initiatives, and these are the hotels we especially love to recommend.

For every person that travels with the company, it plants trees through The Travel Forest initiative. Depending on where they plant and the requirement of the specific area, they plant either indigenous trees or a mix of indigenous and non-native species. Planting non-native seedlings may seem counter-intuitive but doing this can often help any remaining indigenous forest from being cut down (e.g. for fuel) as some non-native trees grow much more quickly than indigenous types. They particularly aim to save ancient or older indigenous forest, through offering an alternative option for fuel requirements of local communities. In addition to this benefit, their Travel Forest initiative helps with such things as planting for water-course retention, soil erosion, shade and even food – all depending on what is planted and where. They have planted almost 100,000 trees to date in various degraded locations including the Andean mountains in Peru, northern Tanzania and Malawi. This has always been done in conjunction with the local communities who plant and then tend the seedlings. Trees are far more important to the health of this planet (and us) than many people imagine. This global Travel Forest initiative can and does make a big difference.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

In Quito and San Jose as well as elsewhere, we always encourage and advise visitors to try local restaurants, and buy locally made products.

The company offering this trip works with partners on the ground in each destination, and only uses local guides. They also primarily promote locally-owned services (hotels etc). They are very clear which accommodations have good environmental and social responsibility credentials. This information is used to ensure that any traveler wanting to ensure they are really making a difference, can choose between one property and another on eco-issues.

We also back a charity with funds and administration. This is a registered UK charity, our foundation, whose principle aim is to relieve the poverty of indigenous communities in areas outside of the UK which are affected by tourism. The charity backs poverty alleviation, education, cultural preservation and conservation projects within these regions. It has backed schools, clinics, micro-business projects and more. They are currently raising funds for 9 different grassroots projects in nine different counties, which travelers are encouraged to donate to if they would like to give something back.

Climate

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