Galapagos National Park
In 1934, seeing the need to protect the unique environment of the Galapagos, the National Assembly of Ecuador passed protective legislation and created wildlife sanctuaries on some of the islands. Then in 1959, as 95% of the islands and 50,000 sq miles of surrounding ocean was granted protection, an organization of scientists and conservationists established the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Charles Darwin Research Center, which officially opened in 1964. Four years later, the Galapagos National Park Service was formed. UNESCO placed the Galapagos Islands on the World Heritage List in 1978, thereby bringing significant international pressure towards safeguarding this unique environment.
The Galapagos National Park Service works hand in hand with the Charles Darwin Research Station implementing common goals of conservation and preservation of the natural resources within the Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve. In 1986, the creation of the Marine Resources Reserve expanded the protected areas to include more than 27,000 square miles of ocean.
All visitors to the Galapagos must pay the $100 US dollars entrance fee (US$60 for children under 12). This fee has to be prepaid before departure to the islands. It can be paid through your tour provider either before you travel or at arrival in Ecuador.
Galapagos National Park rules are very strictly enforced as a way to keep the islands intact for the enjoyment of future generations.
As one of the rules of the National Park, a naturalist guide will be with you at all times. He or she will tell you what you can and what you cannot do while visiting the islands. Please obey their instructions fully.
Other important rules are:
- Always follow the marked trails and never leave the trail.
- Do not approach, touch or molest the animals.
- Do not take anything from the islands.
- Leave nothing behind. Do not litter.
- Do not smoke on the islands.
- Do not take food to the islands.
- Clean your shoes' soles before disembarking in the islands. You may have carried some seeds endemic to one island and would not want to introduce them to another.
- Always stay with your group.