Metropolitan Touring is the pioneer of a tourism model in Galápagos. Our reputation is based on environmentally responsible tourism. Because of our international commitment to preserve a special place like the Galapagos, we assure our guests that all voyages are planned to minimize any disturbance to wildlife or fragile habitats. Metropolitan Touring follows a common sense code of conduct ashore, and ensures that the ships and their operation are managed in an environmentally responsible manner. Increasing awareness has shown us that the best way to protect Galápagos is by acting right on the issues that could jeopardize its future.
Thus, in 1997 Metropolitan Touring, once again, took the lead in preservation issues and created Fundación Galápagos Ecuador as a way of getting more involved in guaranteeing a better future for the islands. We contribute to the conservation of natural resources which are directly related to the well being of the local population, and we also promote education through training in order to improve the quality of living for local "galapagueños".
The work of Fundación Galápagos Ecuador focuses in developing projects that actively contribute to find solutions for actual problems like rapid population growth, waste management, urban and coastal contamination. At the same time, we want to create a conscience about the importance of conservation. Our current projects are:
• COASTAL CLEANUP. In order to minimize the damage solid garbage can cause to marine and coastal species, in three years we have made fifty four coastal cleaning trips giving us a total of 13,827 Kilograms (over 3 Tons!) of garbage collected from coastal areas, thus contributing to a safer environment for the endemic fauna that lives and/or thrives on such areas.
• GARBAGE RECYCLING PROGRAM "FABRICIO VALVERDE" reduces the urban contamination by collecting solid wastes from neighborhoods of Puerto Ayora, the inhabited capital of Santa Cruz Island. We recycle plastics, glass and paper products. We educate the local population by explaining why garbage separation contributes to a better environment. In just two years we have processed 127,319 Kilograms (close to 30 Tons!)
• TRAINING SUPPORT for local students. Fundación Galápagos Ecuador supports the education of native islander students while in Ecuador or abroad. Their field of study should preferably be related to conservation and tourism management.
CONSERVATION IS EVERYONE'S BUSINESS.. our guests are part of this wonderful effort. Since the beginning, their kind donations have substantially helped us to fund and efficiently program our tasks with great commitment. Metropolitan Touring funds all administrative costs of the Foundation and additionally supports it with a matching fund of 10% over all received donations aboard our fleet.
Galapagos Natural Facts
The islands emerged about five million years ago, give or take a million, as a result of violent volcanic action. In geological terms, this should be considered a recent event.
As the young islands were cooling off, say, two million years later, some species gradually arrived. They were live organisms riding on "rafts of vegetation" from the shores of Central and South America. Unusual climatic events, like flooding, can take lots of vegetation rafts eventually to the ocean. Therefore, it is pure chance that allows a raft to eventually reach Galápagos. These early immigrants had to adapt to a peculiar new environment, and simply evolved -- slowly -- in a different direction from their continental ancestors. And, wonders of nature, they developed into species unique to the islands, with features not seen in their past ancestors.