"Visitors are respectfully reminded that the indigenous wildlife of these islands is strictly protected by law." GNP Guide Martin Loyola. Photo by Lori Ulrich.
When visiting the Galapagos Islands, a National Park and World Heritage Site, all visitors are expected to act responsibly and to treat the environment with utmost respect. Below are 14 rules all visitors are expected to obey while in Galapagos:
Visitors to any protected areas in the Galapagos National Park must be accompanied by a licensed Galapagos National Park Guide.
Be sure to travel with authorized tour operators and/or tour boats.
For the protection of the wildlife, as well as the safety of all visitors, stay within the marked trails at all visitor sites.
Despite their curiosity with humans, do not touch the animals or allow them to touch you, and maintain at least 2 meters (6 feet) between you the animals.
Do not feed the wildlife. By doing so, you may negatively alter the balance of nature.
When taking photos of the animals, do not use flash photography. Professional photographers and film-makers must have special authorization from the Galapagos National Park to use equipment and techniques beyond what is needed for basic personal photography.
Camping is only allowed in a few authorized areas in the islands. You are required to request authorization to camp from the Galapagos National Park at least 48 hours in advance or your planned camping date(s).
Be fully cooperative with the environmental inspection and quarantine services during your visit the islands. Introduced plants, animals, and certain types of food that are not native to the islands pose a very serious threat to the Galapagos ecosystem.
Many souvenirs are prohibited from being sold and/or removed from the islands. Do not take or purchase black coral, shells, volcanic rocks, animal parts, or any native wood or vegetation prior to leaving Galapagos. Also, it is illegal to eat certain species out of their approved season.
Do not ruin the beauty of the near-pristine Galapagos environment with graffiti of any kind.
Keep Galapagos litter-free. All trash or recyclable materials should be kept on your person or deposited in the correct containers on your return to populated areas or your tour boat.
Smoking and/or camp fires are strictly prohibited within the Galapagos National Park, as they are a danger to the flora and fauna.
Fishing is prohibited from all tour boats. Please report violators to the Galapagos National Park.
Motorized aquatic sports, mini-subs, and aerial tourism activities are not permitted in the Galapagos National Park or Marine Reserve.
A group of generous donors have offered to match every gift we receive by December 31st — up to $35,000! Every dollar you give today will go twice as far towards preserving the magnificent biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands.