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National Park Rules

The Galapagos Islands are one of the few places in the world that remain relatively untouched by human exploitation. The preservation of the environment is everybody’s responsibility. You can help, by following some simple rules which will help to maintain the archipelago’s fragile ecosystem intact. The future depends on you.

  • Be careful not to transport any live material to the islands, or from island to island (insects, seeds, soil) . You are not allowed to bring pets to the islands.
  • No plants, rocks, animals or their remains, such as bones, pieces of wood, coral, shells, or other natural objects should be removed or disturbed. Yo may damage the islands ecological conditions.
  • Animal should no be touched or handled. A sea lion pup will be abandoned by its mother, for example, is she smells the scent of a human on her young. The same applies to chicks of birds.
  • Animals may not be fed. It may alter their life cycle, their social structure an affect their reproduction.
  • Do not disturb or pursue any animal from its resting or nesting spot. This is especially true for birds such as boobies, cormorants, gulls and frigates. The nests should be approached carefully, keeping a distance or at least 1 o 2 mts. If disturbed, the bird will flee and abandon its egg or chick, which could be predated or die under the strong sun within a few minutes.
  • All groups that visit the national park must be accompanied by a qualified guide approved by the national park. The visitor must follow the trails, marked with small black-and-white posts, and never leave it. If you do so, you may destroy nests without being conscious of it (marine iguanas nest in the sand).
  • Follow the guide, stay with him/her for information or advice. He or she is responsible for you. If the guide behave badly or does not follow the rules himself, report him or her to the National Park.
  • Litter of all types must be kept off the islands. Disposal at sea must be limited to certain types of garbage, only to be thrown overboard in selected areas. Keep all rubbish: film wrappers, cigarette butts, chewing gum, tin cans, bottles, etc. in a bag or pocket, to be disposed of on your boat. Do not throw anything on the islands or overboard. It could end up at the coast or the beach, or be eaten by sea turtles or sea lions. A sea lion may play with a tin can found on the bottom and cut its sensitive muzzle. Sea turtles may die from swallowing a plastic bag.
  • Do not paint names or graffiti on rocks. It is against the law, and you will be fined for it.
  • Do not buy souvenirs or objects made from plants or animals of the islands (with the exception for articles made from wood). Among such article are turtle shells, sea lion teeth, and black coral. This is the best way to discourage such a trade.
  • To camp, you need a permit from the national Park Service (Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela). Do not make fires, but use a gas stove instead
  • Do not hesitate to show your conservationist attitude. Explain these rules to others, and help to enforce them.


What to take: Cameras… Galapagos is one of the very best places in the world to photograph not only wildlife but also plants, landscapes and lava patterns. For many people this could well be a once in a lifetime visit, so it’s worth making the effort to obtain as good a photographic record as possible. The choice of cameras available today is vast.

  • It should always be remembered that the welfare of the welfare of the subject is more important than the photograph.
  • Do not go too close.
  • Do not leave the trail.
  • Do not use flash if it might disturb the subject.
  • Do not make lots of noise.
  • Do not discard any form of litter.
  • Do not smoke on the islands.
  • Take only pictures leave only memories.
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