Galápagos National Park Directorate
The Galápagos National Park Directorate works to organize and manage the ecosystems in the archipelago. It aims to secure the conservation and integrity of the National Park and ensure the rational use of goods and environmental services that it generates for the population.
Established in 1959, the Galápagos National Park is the oldest National Park in Ecuador. About 97% of the entire area of the Galápagos Islands are part of the National Park system and remain uninhabited. The other 3% of the Islands are the inhabited areas of Santa Cruz Island, San Cristobal Island, Isabela Island and Floreana Island. In 1967, the first park service was created, but it took about 4 years for the Galápagos National Park to assign its first Superintendent and first set of park rangers as part of the National Park System.
Today the Park has a complex management system and hundreds of Park Rangers. In 1979, the Galápagos National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This meant that the Park’s management and staff were responsible for performing permanent conservation efforts and guarding the islands according to UNESCO’s standards and regulations. However, in 2007, as a result of the fast growing human development and poorly controlled immigration, tourism and trade, UNESCO added the Galápagos to its List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.
Since 2007, strict measures were put in place by the Galápagos National Park to control tourism, immigration and the development of existing communities in Galápagos. Since its existence, the Galápagos National park has developed a series of rules and regulations to protect the Islands and minimize the impact of tourists on the Islands. All tourists who visit the islands on a cruise, or who take daily tours out to the islands, must be accompanied by Galápagos National Park certified guide on every visit. In addition, the Galápagos National Park collects an entrance fee of $100 per person from all those who wish to visit the Galápagos Park and the Galápagos Marine Reserve either by staying at a hotel in the islands or by taking a Galápagos cruise.