For over almost three decades, Ecoventura has shared the enchantment of the Galapagos Islands with thousands of travelers and enriched many lives, while minimizing the impact of our vessels on the environment.
We understand that ecosystems are fragile; being environmentally and socially responsible is a vital part of the Ecoventura history. With nearly 20 years of sustainable affiliations and certifications, we’re taking a journey through the groundbreaking efforts of the “Eco adventure.”
In 2000, Ecoventura was one of the first recipients of SmartVoyager, a voluntary environmental program developed by Corporacion y Desarollo from Ecuador and The Rainforest Alliance from New York. In order to comply with SmartVoyager, tour boats have to meet a strict set of standards that conserve natural ecosystems, reduce negative impacts on the environment, and conserve Native/ Endemic species – among many other stringent requirements.
To ensure the local community benefits from tourism, Ecoventura established the Galapagos Marine Biodiversity Fund in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund in 2006 to support marine conservation by strengthening the local communities’ ability to manage natural resources.
In 2006, we became the first Carbon Neutral operation in Galapagos and Ecuador. Carbon emissions from the company’s four yachts – plus offices,including business travel – are reduced, then offset by a portfolio of projects through Native Energy Travel Offsets. Through NETO, Ecoventura was able to invest in the future of our planet, through the purchase of carbon credits, which dedicated corporate travel industry dollars to the development of new wind turbines on native farms.
In October 2008, the M/Y ERIC became first hybrid energy tour boat in the Galapagos following the installation of 40 solar panels and two wind turbines. The goal was for the panels and turbines to produce 9kw per day or the equivalent of 17% of the energy – formerly produced by two carbon fuel based generators – be replaced by alternative renewable energy. The project was financed through a partnership with Toyota, a supporter of the WWF and GMBF and other conservation programs in Galapagos.
In 2011, Ecoventura met requirements to earn the Rainforest Alliance verification standard for tourism services in recognition of its commitment to conserving the environment and supporting local communities. The verification has been recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) – the gold standard for sustainable tourism. It provides an assurance that a tour operator has met standards that conserve natural resources, protect wildlife and help local communities thrive.
Also in 2011, Ecoventura teamed up with Pack for a Purpose, a charitable organization whose mission encourages travelers to save room in their travel luggage to bring five pounds of school or medical supplies. In Galapagos, the supplies are donated to the students at the Alejandro Alvear School benefiting children with physical disabilities and adults who are hearing impaired and The New Era Galapagos Foundation that supports art programs, Eco Scouts and English activities.
In 2012, Ecoventura announced a scholarship program for local students from the islands of Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz to study conservation and ecology-related issues. There are 12 scholarships every year for local high school students to study conservation and ecology-related issues under the direction of Ecology Project International (EPI). Students spent 50 hours in the field directly involved in conservation actions concerning invasive species and tortoise health. Ecoventura also launched a career shadowing program for EPI students.
Through 2015, together with the WWF, Ecoventura raised more than $400,000 for the Fund that supported different projects in the Galapagos. The funds raised by Ecoventura supported research and conservation projects, community outreach, scientific equipment, Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) boat maintenance and equipment, as well as projects related to education for sustainability, including scholarships for Galapagueños to study at local or national universities.
In 2017, a new partnership was formed with Ecoventura and the Charles Darwin Foundation to create the Galapagos Biodiversity & Education for Sustainability Fund (GBESF). Soon, Ecoventura entered into a partnership with the CDF and Galapagos National Park to support research and conservation projects related to biodiversity conservation.
In 2018, Ecoventura donated one cabin of the ORIGIN to the Rainforest Alliance as well as CREST. Both cabins were donated for two different auctions to help with projects about sustainability and conservation that those organizations support around the world.
Through these various initiatives, spearheaded by company President, Santiago Dunn, Ecoventura has become the pacesetter in responsible tourism; preserving and protecting the Galapagos Islands. When Ecoventura decided to upgrade their fleet of first class yachts, with a brand new luxury vessel – the Origin – the goal was to create a fully customized luxurious interior without compromising speed or creating an environmental impact.
Due to the success of the Origin, the company is building a second luxury vessel to begin operation in 2019 called MV THEORY. Ecoventura continues to lead the way; hopefully inspiring others toward a more sustainable operation.