All About Us
Spirit, Vision, Passion: The Metropolitan Touring difference.
The travel business is a people business. Although the bricks and mortar and shipping steel are important, at the end of the day, it’s the warmth of the smiles, the sincerity of the help, the human bond, that make the difference. Metropolitan Touring’s 60+ years are characterized by that difference. Creators, promoters, sellers, organisers, coordinators, hosts, pioneers, yes. But above all, friends to all those who have come into contact with the company – and every contact, every bond, a story
In many ways, our company’s origins as the pioneers of travel and tours to Galapagos Islands have set our course over the last decades. Their fragility, their specialness, their uniqueness have formed our belief in Galapagos cruises and travel experience that is founded on respectful contact with the natural world, in interpretation, understanding and sharing – and in fun!
Today, we own and operate a trio of vessels (the Santa Cruz and yachts Isabela II and La Pinta) as well as the Finch Bay Eco Hotel on Santa Cruz Island – and all our staff is as committed as they were when we were founded to creating unforgettable experiences for our guests.
With this belief firmly in our hearts, beginning in 2007, we set about opening new regional operations. First came Peru, our neighbour to the south with its beguiling ruins and people. We then added Argentina and Chile, countries whose natural and cultural attractions made them irresistible destinations. Our brother country to the north,Colombia, joined us soon after: a spectacularly-beautiful nation that until recently was overlooked, and in whose potential we firmly believe.
Focusing once again on Ecuador, our holding group inaugurated the award-winning Casa Gangotena hotel in the heart of Quito’s Old Town, followed by the strikingly-contemporary and original cloudforest-swathed Mashpi Lodge, three hours’ drive from the capital.
These last endeavours aim to create unique experiences in iconic locations for our guests. While, ultimately, all our endeavors seek to build a glowing riposte to the boxed and the packaged, the humdrum and the mundane.
This is our spirit, vision and passion, which we share with each of our guests, with each of our partners.
Inspire Your Curiosity, Write Your Own Story
We believe that travel should make the world seem a different place from how you knew it when you left home. With travel comes a new outlook, progeny of curiosity. And on each departure from the familiar, our senses are more awake, our barriers lowered, our desire to understand more acute. In this heightened state, stories are born: encounters, smiles, sunsets, highs, lows, moments that can touch the sublime. Every one of us lives such stories. We cherish them, pocket them, tuck them into our hearts. Stories are implicit to the travel experience, explicit to life. Long may yours inspire you and inspire others.
Here is a story about commitment and how a seed can germinate and flower… Over the last decade, our company has sponsored talented students from local schools in the Galapagos to embark on voyages of discovery aboard our Santa Cruz ship. We have taken hundreds of these young Galapagueños on board, in order for them to discover the true extent of the wonder of the archipelago in which they live and to understand the tourism business, too.
One student we are particularly proud of is Christopher Naranjo. At the age of 15, he was invited aboard the Santa Cruz and spent a few days in awe of the wildlife and also in admiration of the guides who led the groups. A few years later, he graduated from high school, took the Naturalist Guide course with the National Park, and applied to become a Metropolitan Touring guide. A position he holds, with much pride, today.
This story was made possible through our Fundación Galapagos, which focuses on brown issues, human impact and waste management on the islands.
Our commitment efforts have sown seeds in all our companies across the region, and have been rewarded with a number of awards, including Honorable Mentions in Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s World Savers Award in 2008 and 2010, “Best Ground Operator” in the UK’s Latin American Travel Association annual awards in 2008 and 2009, Finalist nomination in the World Travel & Tourism Council ‘Tourism for Tomorrow Awards’ in 2009, and “South America’s Leading Green Hotel” for the Finch Bay Eco Hotel in 2012 and 2013.
Our Mission: To share the wonders of Latin America with the world’s explorers.
Our Vision: To lead the way of excellence in the travel industry in South America.
Company Founded: 1953
Headquarters: Metropolitan Touring Building
Avenida De Las Palmeras N45-74 y De Las Orquídeas
Quito – Ecuador
Locations: Offices in the main cities of Ecuador and sales, support and R&D offices worldwide.
Inbound tour operator for Ecuador and the Galapagos: (593) 2 298 8312
Outbound travel agency for destinations beyond Ecuador: (593) 2 299 0660
Roque Sevilla, Chairman of the Board
Paulina Burbano de Lara, Executive President, CEO
María Cecilia Alzamora, Marketing and Development Vice-President
Adrián Peñafiel, Sales and Operations Vice-President
Tamara de Karolys, Commercial Director Travel Agents & New Markets
Nicolás Benítez, Operations Manager
Francisco Dousdebes, Product Manager
Hideo Taniguchi, Sales Manager Asia
Klaus Fielsch, Product Manager
Gissela Ledesma, Customer Care Manager
Stephan Kueffner, Head of Communication
Amparo Villalba, Products & Suppliers Manager
Natalia Ulloa, Marketing Manager
Karina Arias, Human Resources Director
We have been recognised by consumers and by the travel trade over many years for our efforts. Please find below a few of our awards or recognitions. You can also read travellers’ reviews and opinions about us on: