Are there Sustainable Cruises in Galapagos?

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All cruises in Galapagos are as environmentally friendly as possible. In this day and age, there is no vessel in the Galapagos that is allowed to navigate the waters of the marine reserve without the official seal of approval of the Galapagos National Park, the Maritime Authorities and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism. That’s three ways of ways of making sure that all vessels abide by the environmental rules and regulations that have been established by the aforementioned entities. What this entails is that all vessels in Galapagos must be seen to have features in place that foster: a.) the conservation of water and energy, b.) the recycling and treatment of waste, c.) the purchase of locally-produced products, and that d.) hire personnel from the islands themselves and compensate them with a fair wage and professional training.

In other words, there’s really no environmentally bad ship currently existing in Galapagos. Each boat has been approved by the authorities and comes with highly trained and professional personnel that are incredibly conscious about the environment that they’re navigating through.

The Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise does all of this, and then some. Social responsibility and conservation efforts for sustainable tourism have been a huge part of what makes us different.

Santa Cruz Follows Sustainable Policies
In Galapagos, The Size Of The Boats Determines Its Environmental Footprint. In The Galapagos, This Means That The Bigger The Ship, The Smaller The Footprint.

In the case of larger vessels in Galapagos, such as the Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise (otherwise known as an Expedition Vessel), the case for being environmentally friendly is even stronger. Why? Larger vessels, which are frequently referred to as multi-guided vessels, have several advantages in helping protect the fragile Galapagos environment when compared to smaller, single-guided boats/yachts.

The Bigger, the (Environmentally) Better

Expedition vessels come with their own black and grey water treatment plants, which help to keep the delicate Galapagos waters clear of any toxic form of organic human waste. Compost produced in our kitchen is ground up into a fine pulp before being released into waters that are far beyond any visitor sites and/or marine life “hotspots.”

Something else: take a look at the number of anchors we have for our 90 guests versus how many are dropped with smaller, single-guided vessels. That’s right, just one anchor!

One Large Ship Causes Less Damage Than Many Small Ships At The Same Time.
One Large Ship By Itself Causes Less Damage Than Many Small Ships At The Same Time.

It sounds counter-intuitive at first, but actually having fewer people aboard a smaller boat actually increases the environmental footprint of a boat in the Galapagos. Why? The Galapagos National Park states that a maximum of 6 multi-guided, smaller vessels are allowed at each visitor site. This means 6 anchors are being dropped down onto the fragile ocean floor of the Galapagos rather than just 1!

Consequently, it’s always a good idea to ask any tour operator that you’re dealing with in Galapagos about what environmentally-friendly initiatives they’ve integrated into their vessels and/or what sustainability awards they’ve received.

The engines aboard our Santa Cruz II are four-stroke, which means they are more efficient in terms of the output they produce versus the fuel they consume (the fuel of which is non-bunker fuel/fuel oil).

Santa Cruz Anchored At Puerto Egas.
Santa Cruz Ii Has Select Visitor Sites All To Itself, Therefore It Leaves Less Of A Footprint.

Our waste management is also incredibly advanced. Did you know that waste management in Galapagos actually audits how much non-organic trash you’re bringing in as an expedition vessel? This is done to make sure that vessels in Galapagos aren’t throwing away any non-organic waste overboard! At the waste management centers in Galapagos, waste is sorted and selected for recycling.

Puerto Egas On Santiago Island
Puerto Egas Is One Of The Santa Cruz Ii’S Exclusive Visitor Sites.

Thinking Locally to Foster More Sustainable Cruises in Galapagos

A small note while we’re on the topic of food: We always make it a point to avoid wasting it. How? It’s in the details. When it comes to food on a Galapagos cruise, we try optimize and make our resources as efficient as possible by kindly requesting that our guests order what they want for dinner at lunch time. The food we make aboard is absolutely fantastic, and it’s even made more fantastic by virtue of the fact that our guests are helping us not be wasteful. We do this by being conservative with what we prepare at dinner, and it’s all done by simply showing them the dinner menu early on in the day and asking them that simple question.

In Galapagos, we’re all a part of sustainability efforts! So know that you know how much effort goes into it, book your sustainable cruises in Galapagos with us today!

Updated:June 19, 2023

Published:January 19, 2018


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