Galapagos General Information
National Park Rules
The islands conservation is everybody's responsibility.

National Park Rules

The Galápagos Islands are one of the few places in the world that remains relatively untouched by human exploitation. They are unique, very delicate and deserve our best effort to preserve them in their natural state. Their conservation is everybody’s responsibility.

To this end, the Galápagos National Park has published the following rules for travelers from around the world. Your Galápagos guides will remind you of them everytime you go on land excursions, and will help you to understand their importance in the preservation process of the islands. Every traveler will have to respect and follow those rules to ensure the conservation of these unique islands.

GPS National Park Rules

- 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, corals, shells, or other natural objects should be removed or disturbed. You may damage the islands ecological conditions.

- Animals should not be touched or handled. A sea lion pup will be abandoned by its mother, for example, if 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 and 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 of at least 1 to 2 meters. If disturbed, the bird will flee and abandon its egg or chick, which could be predated or die under the strong sun within 30 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 and advice. He or she is responsible for you. If the guide behaves 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 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 the 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 of articles made from wood). Among such articles 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, and 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.

 (Information taken from the Galápagos Conservation Trust website)

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