Prohibitive costs of tourism secures the Galapagos
Prohibitive costs of tourism secures the Galapagosindia Updated: Mar 17, 2004 01:09 IST
I had seen many strange lands and people while in Foreign Service, but I was not prepared for the wonder that is the Galápagos.
I had my chance to visit the islands when I was asked to make logistical arrangements for an Indian Naval Ship visiting the islands on a circumnavigation voyage.
The islands are 1000 km from the coast of Ecuador and are nestled in the midst of the Pacific Ocean.
Galapagos (in Spanish meaning saddle, named after the saddle back turtles), were accidentally discovered on March 10, 1535, by Tomás de Berlanga, the Bishop of Panamá, who drifted off his course when sailing to Lima. Later, whalers used the islands until Ecuador claimed sovereignty in 1832, three years before Darwin arrived.
The islands have air connections only from mainland cities of Guayaquil or Quito. The tourism policy is to discourage volumes so foreigners have to pay US$ 100 more for the air ticket and an equal amount as national park entry fee.
Mostly local cruise lines are the preferred for seeing the islands but cruises per se are costly and may range from a 1,000 dollars upwards for a seven-day cruise.
First Published: Mar 17, 2004 01:09 IST