Sustainability & Carbon Offset

Travel is beautiful, inspiring, life altering. At Galapatours we love Galapagos' pristine ecosystems and fascinating wildlifePioneering sustainable tourism is part of our DNA, and the following explains how we are doing our bit for greener travel.


Sustainable tourism on a cruise ship - is that even possible?


It's important to remember that Galapagos cruise “ships” have little in common with what is widely thought of when you mention a cruise. Most of our ships are actually yachts or catamarans that carry no more than 16 passengers and have a crew of around six. The biggest vessels in Galapagos carry 100 passengers, and this is the maximum the Galapagos National Park administration allows.


All Galapagos cruise vessels must have sophisticated water filtration systems, modern efficient engines and must undergo regular maintenance. Furthermore, the Galapagos National Park maintains control over all the itineraries that cruises operate, and even defines at what time of day each ship may visit an individual visitor point, and with how many people. These strict rules apply to all visitor sites, both onshore, on and underwater. This ensures that no destination receives more visitors per day than is deemed sustainable for its flora and fauna.

A Galapagos Cruise on board the Samba - exploring the mangroves



Your trip's CO2 footprint: 100% offset

Did you know that the travel sector is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions? At Galapatours we are proud to be the first Galapagos cruise agency to offset all CO2 emissions (also known as the "carbon footprint") that our trips are responsible for. We offer this service for free on all Galapagos cruises booked from February 2019.



A Galapagos Cruise on board the Samba - looking out at Daphne Major


1. Measure and Control

We measure the CO2-emissions for each trip that we sell. The amount of CO2 for each trip will vary, depending on the cruise length, the ship type and on whether flights were included in our offer or not. Typically, a five-day cruise including flights from the mainland to Galapagos and back will emit around 2.2 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.


A Galapagos Cruise on board the Samba - observing a Nazca Boobie in Genovesa


2. Reduce

We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of both the trips we sell and the operations of our global offices. In our offices, we recycle waste and install measures to conserve water and electricity. We also offset 100% of the emissions caused by our own business travel.

On board our ships, we ensure that the environmental impact is minimized by regularly checking all ships personally and undergoing a biyearly certification inspection by TourCert, which measures all ships’ operations in detail. In doing so, we not only rely on the strict regulation which the Galapagos National Park sets (see above) but also force ourselves to regularly and critically assess our own business practices.

 A Galapagos Cruise on board the Samba - Overlooking Darwin Bay, Genovesa 

3. Offset

To offset our carbon emissions we invest in a Gold-Standard certified renewable energy project in Chile. We have partnered with the German company Arktik and the Santa Marta Landfill Gas Capture Project in southern Santiago de Chile, where gases captured from waste are used to produce environmentally friendly energy. Around 348,000 tonnes of CO2 are saved each year this way, and it’s a real win-win for everyone involved.

The Santa Marta Landfill Gas Capture Project captures leaking methane, a greenhouse gas that’s more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and uses it as biogas to generate clean electricity. We love the fact that this project is also improving the immediate environment, land and water quality for the 1.2 million people who live within its catchment area.




Do you have any questions or comments regarding our philosophy of sustainable traveling? We would love to hear from you!