Why Do We Need Naturalist Guides in the Galapagos?

As one of the pioneers in ecotourism in the Galapagos, Metropolitan Touring has always been involved with the community to help in any way possible to conserve the archipelago and all of its wonderful wildlife. Not to mention, it has always strived to share this remarkable and unique place with guests from all around the world in a responsible way.

Naturalist Guides in the Galapagos: What’s the Deal?

Probably the biggest part of this ongoing effort is one key person in particular and an especially important figure in your visit to the Galapagos – the Naturalist Guide. As part of the rules of the Galapagos National Park, everyone who visits the Galapagos National Park must be in the company of a trained, naturalist guide at all times when visiting the islands. There are a couple of spots that are freely open to the public, but these are only in the populated islands and usually still maintain certain forms of controls or supervision. In the case of all the other islands that are not inhabited by humans, however, guests must go in the company of a licensed Naturalist Guides in the Galapagos.

A Galapagos Naturalist Guide With Our Guests On A Panga.
The Best Naturalist Guides For The Best Experience In Galapagos.

He or she has the responsibility to follow and to enforce all the Galapagos National Park rules that not only keep all our guests safe but also ensure the protection and conservation of the endemic wildlife on the enchanted islands. This is all done to keep the Galapagos flora and fauna as pristine as possible.

The duty of your naturalist guide is to make sure that everyone follows the National Park rules at all times all while also sharing their knowledge with guests in order to make their visit more pleasant and fulfilling.

Our Naturalist Guides During An Excursion In Galapagos.
Our Naturalist Guides Will Help You Understand All The Rules Of The Galapagos National Park.

Some of these rules are actually pretty simple to follow. Take, for example, the fact that no food is allowed on the islands. Now, this might sound like an inconvenient thing at first, but…. since we are only at each visitor site for a relatively short period, and usually right after breakfast or lunch, this is one rule is one that the vast majority of guests respect.

On the other hand, there’s the rule of maintaining a minimum distance of at least six feet (two meters) away from the animals at all times. Now, this rule is a little bit harder to enforce. If there is a bird sitting on a rock, for example, then it is pretty easy not to try and get close to it. But if there are a bunch of sea lions sleeping on the same beach that we land on, it is almost impossible to keep everyone away from them. Guests are always very excited (who wouldn’t be with the iconic, BIG15 wildlife of the archipelago?) and want to get closer to take a better selfie while posing right next to a sea lion cub.

Don’t be surprised if, at times, Naturalist Guides in the Galapagos politely tell you to move away or keep a distance from the animals – they’re doing it simply because they see you either bending or breaking the rules, and it’s our duty to keep them safe from unintentional/accidental harm.

How is a Naturalist Guide in the Galapagos Trained?

In order to become one, a Naturalist Guide in the Galapagos has to take a six-month course, pass a series of exams and get some hands-on practice to be able to get a license. This is the sole reason why, during this last month, we have sponsored and invited aspiring Naturalist Guides that have just finished their training courses to come and intern aboard the Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise. During the last 4 weeks, we have had something like 8 trainees aboard with us and it is quite amusing to see them experience the Galapagos while taking them “under our wing,” so to speak. Some of these aspiring Naturalist Guides are actually experiencing the Galapagos Islands for the very first time! So it’s a treat for both sides of the experiential coins, and our guests even!

Galapagos Naturalist Guides During Their Internship.
Galapagos Naturalist Guides During Their Internship Aboard The Santa Cruz Ii.

Some are super young and excitable wanting to do it all at all times while some others are a bit more mature and actually concentrate on learning from our experience and “wisdom” as seasoned Naturalist Guides in the Galapagos. Nevertheless, all of them have shown an incredible passion to learn and guide, and they’ve all managed to have

Updated:May 8, 2023

Published:October 6, 2017


Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour 2024 Package: 12 days / Quito, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu / From USD 9,598 per person



Blue Footed Boobies

Galapagos Blue-footed Boobies

The Galapagos blue-footed booby is a marine bird and only requires land to rear and breed young, as a result, it has evolved to become an excellent diver.



Condé Nast Traveler ONLINE

This small, secret rooftop of the restored Casa Gangotena mansion peers over Plaza San Francisco in the center of Quito’s colonial Old Town, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Order a Cedrón Spritz, a refreshing mix of rum, lemon, sparkling wine, and fresh lemon verbena (cedrón) syrup and leaf, then revel in the mesmerizing, real-time montage of daily life in Ecuador’s capital as it parades past.

National Geographic Traveller

A Font of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for the tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locales on Earth.

Cruise Critic

Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It is not a new ship; it was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it, launching it as Santa Cruz II in October 2015.

Telegraph Ultra Travel: 50 Greatest Hotels in the World

When this modern, minimalist, glass-walled jungle lodge opened in 2012, it changed the accommodation game in South America. Arquitect Alfredo Ribadeneira’s “protective cocoon” would impress in a modern city; in the depths of an Andean cloudforest, it is wild, audacious and beautiful. Though only 70 miles from Quito, Maspi Lodge sits in splendid isolation, perched on a cliff at the end of an unsealed road.

Terms and Conditions

Itinerario de 5 días / 4 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (4214 USD + impuestos por persona)
Itinerario de 7 días / 6 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (5672 USD + impuestos por persona)
No reembolsable. Aplica únicamente para residentes ecuatorianos en nuevas reservas directas realizadas, hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, con un ejecutivo de ventas del hotel. Válido para estadías hasta el 31 de agosto de 2022. No puede ser combinada con otros descuentos, promociones u ofertas. El descuento no aplica para otros servicios. El precio no incluye recargo de combustible de $20 por noche de crucero.

We have what you are looking for!