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Native and endemic species

Introduced animals

Introduced plants

Island Control and Monitoring

Applied marine research

Fisheries Management

Marine control and surveillance

Site and Naturalist Guides

Visitor Management System

Quotas and patents of operation

Naturalist Guides Area

Environmental management in populated areas

Special use for protected areas

Agricultural development

Tourism administration


  Page updated:29.06.2009

Administration of the naturalist guide system

For more information contact:
Eddy Araujo, Administración Turística, +593 (0)5 252 6189, earaujo@spng.org.ec

A Naturalist Guide carries out environmental interpretation in Punta Espinoza, a narrow ledge of lava and sand that extends from the base of the volcano La Cumbre, on the island of Fernandina.

The Directorate of the Galapagos National Park works to advance technical training, and periodically update naturalist guides, enabling them to renew their knowledge and abilities, improve their academic level and skills in the field of human relations.

Between 1975 and 2009 the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park has conducted 27 courses for Naturalist Guides in Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela. Currently, the archipelago has 77 Class III Naturalist Guides (the highest), 98 Class II Naturalist Guides and 203 Class I Naturalist Guides and 38 guides-divers of the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

Since 1975, over 700 candidates participated in the courses, from various regions of the country and the world.

Most courses for Naturalist Guides and promotions have been enacted with the support of the technical and scientific staff of the Charles Darwin Foundation, the country's universities and experts from the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park.

Currently, the preparation of future guides is in the charge of the Pontificia Universidad Católica (Catholic University, Quito), the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park and the Ministry of Tourism.

On each island, Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal and Isabela, the examination for admission is given. Of the participants who scored 80% or more, the best 30 candidates are selected.

In the Course for Naturalist Guide, candidates are trained in: 

  • Protocol and etiquette;
  • Customer Service;
  • History of Ecuador and Galapagos;
  • Ecology and Conservation;
  • Wildlife of the GNP and the GMR and Continental Ecuador;
  • Geology and Volcanology;
  • Group Assistance and Guide;
  • Environmental Interpretation;
  • Professional Ethics;
  • Management of National Heritage of Natural Areas;
  • Interpretation Techniques;
  • Environmental Education;
  • Cartography;
  • Camping Techniques;
  • First Aid and Survival;

Recent graduates celebrate their qualification in Isabela.

To enhance this education and continue training the guides, the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park organizes seminars, workshops, and meetings and prepares and publishes informational materials such as the Visitor Sites Guide for Galapagos Naturalist Guides

Further on, a digital program has been predicted for long distance education, which includes valuable scientific material, cultural and natural that will strengthen the knowledge of the Naturalist Guides.

Currently, new courses for Dive Guides of the GMR are being developed, promotional courses for Naturalist Guide of Class I to II and from II to III and refresher courses prior to the renewal licenses of Naturalist Guides, that expire on October 31,2009.

Monitoring and evaluation

The Directorate of the Galapagos National Park is responsible for requesting activity reports from Guides within 15 days after the end of each cruise or trip.
Within this report, guides make certain observations that can be information based on either natural events, biological or physical, in addition to data on the infrastructure of the visitor site and, in some cases, complaints.
The information is incorporated into the database to evaluate the work of the guides, while improving the monitoring of visitor sites.

This program has counted on the support of:

The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands (CDF) is an international nonprofit research organization dedicated to providing scientific research, technical assistance and information in order to ensure the success of conservation in Galapagos.

Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador (Catholic University).


Visitor site and naturalist guides

Visitor management system

Quotas and operating patent

Our work

Monitoring of
terrestrial visitor

Monitoring of
marine visitor

of the
Naturalist Guide System 

Control of tourism operations

Collection of entry fees to protected areas


Directory, regulation, management, finances, etc.





Management of native
and endemic species

Control and eradication
of introduced animals

Control and eradication
of introduced plants

Island control and monitoring


Applied marine research

Management and support for fisheries

Marine control and monitoring


Visitor sites
and naturalist guides

Visitor management

Local participation,
quotas y patents


Environmental management
in populated areas

Special use
of protected areas

Agricultural development


Approved projects, applications, field
protocols, etc..