Galápagos Eco Friendly

San Cristóbal Island


Ecotourism allows a place such as Galapagos, a pristine and untainted ecologically sound environment, to keep its fundamental nature and, at the same time, to grow and benefit from tourism.

Tourism requires balancing three interests:

first, the plants, ocean life, animals, biome and biosphere that rely on environmental balance and consistency to thrive and to evolve;

second, the local population so that it can be economically supported;

third: the tourists who stimulate the economy and deserve to have a marvelous, rich and fulfilling time on their journeys.


The concept of responsible tourism supports maintaining strict standards and guidelines that retain the balance of nature on the land and in the sea while still allowing the local population to flourish and advance economically and socially and the tourists to be introduced to and become enriched by unique environments.

Ecotourists leave only a positive footprint. In Galapagos, hotel-based tourism has become the model and method of choice for eco-travelers to enjoy nature and all the wonders and marvels of the archipelago.


Galapagos Eco Friendly promotes and advocates ethical ecotourism, meaning we encourage visitation to our fragile and undisturbed natural areas in a manner that allows minimal environmental impact. We want to contribute to the education and experience of our guests, introduce them to our land and culture and enhance their overall visit to Galapagos. We want out guests to feel that their lives have been enriched and to have a renewed commitment to the environment. Galapagos Eco Friendly is a destination that in all manners supports sustainability and preservation of our environment and on our entire planet.

Our philosophical foundation unites conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. We minimize environmental impact, build ecological and cultural awareness and respect, provide positive experiences for our visitors and raise sensitivity to the political, environmental, and social climate of the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador.

We are a unique operation in that we are family-owned and operated. The hotel is located within the secure and secluded grounds that include our own home. While ecotravel is for many a new and trending idea, for us it is not. As Galapaguaños, we have been committed to sustainable travel and environmental awareness all of our lives. Galapagos Eco Friendly is a logical extension of our personal and deeply ingrained concern for the environment; we hope to pass this devotion on to Galapagos visitors and future generations. We share all of our experience, amenities, knowledge and passion for Galapagos with our guests.

We are certified as an ecotourism destination by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism and hold Platinum Level Green Credentials on TripAdvisor because of our environmental commitments.

There are many benefits to this new model of tourism:
  • Hotel-based tourism supports and stimulated local businesses and services allowing Galapagueños an overall improved quality of life.
  • Tourists who stay at hotels experience and help the many small businesses that provide day-trip opportunities, lodging and restaurants. The local population of Galapagos is economically stimulated by tourists who stay at locally-owned hotels rather than on board a cruise ship.
  • Tourists benefit from acting within local communities, walking through the neighborhoods and immersing themselves in Galapagos culture.
  • Tourists can experience our rich nightlife and music; on cruise ships guests never get to experience this side of Galapagos.
  • Smaller, less environmentally impacting boats take tourists on day trips to visitor sites or for snorkeling and scuba diving.
  • Guests rejuvenate after a day of exploration in a beautiful hotel room or lounging on hammocks and in our gardens filled with endemic and indigenous flora.
  • Guests are unbound by regimented ship-based schedules and itineraries which require that passengers be on and off each visitor site within a set time frame. With a hotel-based tour, visitors set the pace, select their activities, and create a customized schedule based on their personal interests.
  • There is no group to keep up with. On a boat with 16-100 passengers, there is one pace. If you like to run ahead, you can’t because you have to stay with the group. If you like a relaxing amble or stopping for photo ops, on a land-based tour you can do so without imposing on the time of others.
  • In general you will be able to take more time in any given location than if you had a daily boat schedule.
  • U.S. summer school break, the best time for family vacation, is “winter” in Galapagos when the weather is just beautiful but the waters are rough and cold. Hotel-based excursions avoid problems that come with rougher seas.
  • Most important, your trip is tailored to your interests and your areas of emphasis and not those mandated by others.
  • There are considerable environmental benefits of the land-based model as well including less pollution, better recycling opportunities, the use of wind-driving and solar power, purified water, less interference with marine life and more.
The standard for worldwide ecotourism has been set by The International Ecotourism Society which defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.”  Education is meant to be inclusive of both staff and guests. Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement, participate in, and market ecotourism activities should adopt the following ecotourism principles:
  • Minimize physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts.
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
  • Produce direct financial benefits for conservation.
  • Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry.
  • Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climates.
  • Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
  • Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous People in your community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.
We adhere to the Society’s principles by:
  • Using our knowledge of Galapagos to build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
  • Providing a positive and supportive experience from the moment that a potential guest first contacts the hotel until the moment that we drop them at the airport.
  • Creating an environment of comfortable rooms and common areas that reflect the designs and heritage of our local culture.
  • Supporting and furthering a model of hotel-based tourism that provides financial benefits locally.
  • Arranging day trips on land and sea for our guests that provide memorable interpretive experiences and help raise sensitivity to our specific and unique environmental situation.
  • Building our hotel with local materials and designing the hotel to have minimal environmental impact.
  • Offering a natural setting that has been carefully preserved and is populated by local endemic and indigenous flora.
  • Using locally harvested and sustainable and/or recyclable materials for our infrastructure and buildings.
  • Purchasing food from local purveyors or growing our own.
  • Obtaining our goods and services from local personnel and entities.
  • Using only environmentally sustainable energy, water and waste systems.
  • Presenting our guests with opportunities for interaction with local owners, managers, staff and our own Galapaguaño family.

Recently, the Galapagos National Park and Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism have actively changed the standard tourism model in Galapagos from cruise-based to hotel-based. For many years, no new cruise boat permits have been issued, thereby limiting the number of boats and the number of guests given access to our sensitive protected visitor sites. Instead, so that growth can continue while the environment remains protected, new hotel permits have been issued. Now, tourists can come to Galapagos and see the archipelago from a whole new land-based perspective.

In this newer model, Galapagos guests stay at the hotels on the islands and travel each day to destinations of their choice, working with hotel owners and travel agencies who plan these day trips based on the stated desires of the guests themselves.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this new model is its impact on the local Galapagos economy. While nearly all of the cruise ships are owned by outsiders from other countries or the mainland of Ecuador, nearly all of the hotels are owned by Galapagueños. This allows visitors who stay in boutique hotels such as Galapagos Eco Friendly to have a profound positive impact on the local economy, fulfilling one of the linchpins of responsible tourism as advocated by The International Ecotourism Society.

General Practices
    • We track all energy use and regularly measure and record our energy use.
    • We encourage all guests to participate in our towel reuse program
    • We encourage all guests to participate in our linen reuse program
    • Our housekeeping staff is completely trained and regularly informed about all green practices
    • We recycle all waste in accordance with the strict standards of the Galapagos National Park Service and Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism; this includes all types of waste (paper, glass, plastic and cardboard); our recycling bins are located in common areas
    • We provide persistent staff training on green practices on at least a semi-annual basis and every time there are new regulations or additions to the hotel
    • Instructional pamphlets on our green practices and expectations are available in every guest room
    • We advocate our green practices and highlight them in all of our publications making ecotourism and conservation of the environment a priority
    • We use energy efficient lightbulbs include compact fluorescent (CFL), LED, and T5/T8 fluorescent bulbs both inside and outside
    • We use energy efficient guest room appliances
    • All air conditioning are inversion types with temperature set to save energy; guests turn off room air conditioners any time they leave and indoor temperature is set at a minimum of 22 C
    • We actively follow our preventative maintenance plan, which includes making regular checks to ensure energy and water equipment is working efficiently
    • Energy-saving lighting controls are installed in public areas with sensors that automatically turn off lights when they’re not needed
    • We use 60% wind power from turbines on San Cristobal Island; more turbines are being installed and this percentage will increase once the project is completed
    • We use solar panels for some of our energy needs, particularly in the garden and outside areas of the hotel
    • All guest bathrooms have water-efficient faucets and all of our guest room faucets use 6 liters per minute or less
    • Guest bathrooms are equipped with water efficient shower heads and all of theshowerheads use 6 liters per minute or less
    • Only water-efficient toilets are installed throughout the property and all of our guest room toilets use 4.5 liters per flush or less
    • We use alternative water sources for watering gardens including captured rainwater and condensation
    • Only biodegradable and natural toiletries are used throughout the hotel; this includes packaging
    • Our products including produce, coffee, and building materials are locally produced
    • Our cleaning staff uses only “Green” certified cleaning products
    • We are phasing out all individual soap and shampoo dispensers and replacing them with refillable toiletries dispensers
    • Even our food is locally purveyed
Site Gardens and Grounds
    • Only endemic and indigenous plants are used in our gardens
    • Plants are those that require very little water for growth
    • Our paving is designed allow water to be absorbed into the ground and recycled rather than flooding
    • Our gardens are natural and we use no chemicals or preservatives; landscaping is maintained without use of herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals
Building Materials
    • Much of the hotel was built using recycled materials for insulation
    • Building materials are largely locally grown and produced
    • We have solar panels for some of our energy needs and recycle rainwater for irrigation
Education & Innovation
    • We share our knowledge of the Galapagos Islands with all of our guests and teach them about our environment and what is necessary for preservation, habitat maintenance and conservation
    • We provide guests with free bicycle rental
    • We have an on-site resources library
    • We participate in initiatives related to local conservation or biodiversity
    • We comply with zoning requirements and laws related to protected areas and heritage
    • We give all of our guests an opportunity to provide us with feedback on green practices

Remarkable and memorable visitor sites are convenient to galapagos eco friendly

The area in and around Puerto Baquerizo and San Cristobal is filled with countless opportunities for nature lovers to see some of the most unique, intriguing and spectacular wonders of the world.

Hikers, divers, snorkelers and photographers will find that favorite destinations within the Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve, such as Kicker Rock and Isla Lobos, are located on San Cristobal Island and in its environs.

Galapagos Eco Friendly is convenient to these and many more amazing adventures.

Things To Do

Most frequent questions and answers about what to do in galapagos
In downtown Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, you will share the harbor benches with the friendly sea lions, who make this bustling town their own. As the administrative center of the Galapagos Islands, the town boasts of excellent shopping and dining opportunities. The best of Ecuadorian cuisine is available, as are the artwork and designs of local artisans. Take a break from snorkeling and hiking to stroll along the main street and enjoy the “big city” life. San Cristobal and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
Frigatebird HillFrom the Interpretation Center you will have the opportunity to hike and to explore the two-mile lava trail to Frigatebird Hill and Darwin Bay, where you will see the breeding area of both the Magnificent Frigatebird and Great Frigatebird. The local plant, animal and bird life provides you with many exciting photographic opportunities. You are likely to see a unique dry forest of cacti, acacia and sometimes Galapagos cotton. At Frigatebird Hill and Darwin Bay you will be treated to sweeping views of the port, and the north-western part of San Cristobal, including Kicker Rock.
Puerto Grande is a protected cove on the north-western side of San Cristobal, with a white sandy beach – just perfect for a peaceful walk, swimming and photographic opportunities. It is located nearby Kicker Rock Island. The beautiful and peaceful beach houses a system of dunes and plant species endemic to the Galapagos Island coast, as well as many aquatic birds. Puerto Grande
Punta Pitt is a favorite snorkeling and diving reef populated by large schools of tropical fish including king angelfish, grunts, snappers, and Alamo jacks. Sea lions, octopus, rays, and whale sharks also are frequently seen nearby. Visitors hope to see all three species of boobies – red footed, blue footed and Nazca – when they take the challenging hike up the jagged and rugged terrain at Punta Pitt. From the top is a spectacular view. Punta Pitt is also the nesting site of frigatebirds. The stunning beach is crystalline in consistency and frequented by sea lions, frigates, pelicans, herons and gulls. Pitt Point
Located on the northern coast of San Cristobal, Witch Hill will delight you with one of the most picturesque beaches in the Galapagos. The feel of the warm powdery white sand will soothe you while you engage with some of the most exciting wildlife in the region. The area is populated with sea turtles, rays and blue-footed boobies. The ever-popular and personable sea lions lounge on the beach and play in the water. Witch Hill presents multiple touring opportunities. Those who go to Witch Hill boat through scenic passages, swim and snorkel with sea lions and observe pelicans, blue-footed boobies, iguanas and other Galapagos endemic marine life. Witch Hill
Laguna El Junco is a miraculous fresh water lake, the largest fresh water repository anywhere in the entire Galapagos archipelago. It was formed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in the crater of a now-extinct volcano in the highlands of San Cristobal. Just a short drive from Galapagos Eco Friendly, the lake boasts some of the most dramatic greenery in the island system and is home to a large population of bird life. The hike to El Junco provides the opportunity to climb up the sides of this extinct volcano. From your spectacular vantage point you may see many of the endemic bird species including Galapagos mockingbirds, pintails, moorhens, pied-billed grebes and frigate birds swooping down to the water to fish. The trail is abundant with flora and fauna. The dramatic view from the 2400 foot summit will take your breath away. While visiting the highlands you also will be treated to the remarkable view of San Cristobal Island’s Eastern shore including Punta Pitt, Puerto Chino and El Pescador. El Junco and the San Cristobal Highlands
Nothing on the Galapagos Islands compares to the surf at Puerto Chino. Just moments from the San Cristobal airport, it is a site not to be missed. This rocky reef is a surfer’s paradise with consistent waves and a beautiful white sand crystalline beach. Swells are between 3 and 12 feet with a bottom reef of coral and sand. Drive to this beach or take a nature hike over lava fields and dry forest habitat to this gorgeous locale where you are likely to see both blue footed boobies and frigate birds diving.Puerto Chino
Interpretation CenterDuring your stay in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno plan on visiting the very popular Interpretation Center, just about a 10-minute walk from the harbor. The Interpretation Center provides important background information and introductory perspective for any traveler to the Galapagos Islands. The exhibitions visually explore the archipelago’s natural volcanic history and formation, explain why certain wildlife has been able to sustain itself on a sometimes barren landscape with very little fresh water, and provide insight into the impact of humans and the importance of conservation on the delicate ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands.
There is no more stunning and majestic site in the Galapagos Islands than Kicker Rock. Whether you visit for an unforgettable sunset, to see the bird-life on the towering monoliths, to snorkel or to scuba dive, Kicker Rock will impress and enchant you. As your boat nears the two towers jutting up from the ocean floor, you will be captivated by this site of an old volcanic eruption now eroded by tens of thousands of years of wind and waves. The marine life here includes spotted eagle rays, harlequin wrasse, Galapagos sharks, hammerhead sharks, as well as schools of rainbow runners, yellow-tail grunts and other brightly-coloured tropical fish. You might even see a penguin or a rare and wonderful Galapagos green sea turtle swimming by. kicker rock
That it is the nesting ground for blue-footed boobies and frigate birds is enough to warrant a trip to Isla Lobos, a small rocky islet off the coast of San Cristobal. Even more exciting is the opportunity to swim with the captivating and charismatic sea lions. Unafraid and eager to engage, the sea lion pups will entice you to chase them and play like one of them. Other marine life at Isla Lobos includes manta rays, multiple fish species, star fish and sea turtles. Isle Lobos

While all of the Galapagos Islands is dedicated to conservancy and maintaining the tenuous ecological balance discovered by Charles Darwin, nowhere is this more true than the Island of San Cristóbal itself. It a forerunner in the quest for renewable energy, as at least 60 percent of its energy already is generated by wind and solar power. Moreover, in conjunction with the Charles Darwin Research Center, it is determined to see that the once-dwindling population of indigenous Galapagos tortoises thrives again. To that end, San Cristóbal boasts a remarkable and impressive controlled breeding center for the endemic Galapagos Giant Tortoise population. Observe these gentle reminders of the past and hope for the future wander through their environment searching for shade and leafy greens, as you photograph and preserve your own precious memories. Those adventurous visitors who hike to Galapaguera will experience the giant tortoises in the preserve mirroring their natural habitat. Not only the Giant Tortoises, but also other endemic species can be seen on this hike, including lava lizards, geckos and mockingbirds.

Throughout WWI transport ships sailed around the Galapagos islands. It was right outside the harbour of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno that the WWI German transport ship Caragua sank 100 years ago. At the wreck site a reef-like environment has been created. Scuba divers will be exposed to stingrays, nudibranches, corals, schools of fish, rays and sea lions. This remains one of the few wreck dives in Galapagos. The wreck is approximately 300 feet long and you can inspect the ship’s remains including the propellers and boilers. Caragua Wreck
A pleasant and scenic walk from town is the home of a large sea lion colony and nursery. La Loberia at low tide is an unmitigated treat. It is thrilling to watch the mother bring her pups to the tide pools for swimming lessons. Feel free to jump in the water and snorkel while the pups cavort around you. Get up close and personal as they dive down below you and burst back up again with their little faces just inches from yours. They seem to smile, and you will be smiling too. While you are here, enjoy the bird watching, marine iguanas and, from time to time, giant tortoises. La Loberia
The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) was created in 1960 as a biological research station operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation. CDRS is where the Galapagos National Park Service started the conservation programs to protect and increase the number of tortoises so that they are no longer an endangered species. CDRS was the home of Lonesome George for more than 40 years. George, viewed by many as the number one tourist attraction in the Galapagos Islands, was the last known tortoise of his subspecies from Pinta Island and a symbol and icon of conservation not only of the giant tortoises, but of all of the environmental sustainability throughout the Galapagos Islands. Although many efforts were made to encourage Lonesome George to mate with a female of a related subspecies, he was unsuccessful. That’s not the case with Diego, who has been successfully reunited with females from Espanola Island, thereby saving that species from extinction. You will visit the exhibition center, tortoise rearing house and the adult tortoise house, where you will observe the 11 subspecies of tortoises up close. In the rearing house, hatchlings and young tortoises are nurtured until they can be released, at about four years of age, to their home islands. Nearly 2000 young tortoises have been released so far! This is a great place to get up-close photographs of the tortoises feeding on cacti and greens, engaging in their particularly slow and deliberate mating behavior or simply snoozing the day away. Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz Island

Whatever your interests, we can help you plan your time on san cristobal island

Let us help you plan your days in the beautiful Galapagos Islands. Arrangements will be overseen by the hotel’s owner, Harry Jimenez, an experienced naturalist guide certified by the Galapagos Islands National Park Service, scuba dive master and third-generation San Cristobal native. He will imbue your days with his own passion for and knowledge of the Galapagos land and marine reserves.

Some ideas for excursions that you might enjoy are the following:


Trip Ideas

Design your own adventure

At Galapagos Eco Friendly our objective is to make your holiday an unforgettable one. Tell us your passions and let us tailor the perfect itinerary for you.

Remember, our owner Harry Jimenez is not only a Galapagos native, but a guide on some of the most prestigious yachts sailing Galapagos. His knowledge of the islands is legendary. Let him share his knowledge with you and help you have the journey of a lifetime.

Stay in contact:

Follow us on our social networks and find out about news and promotions in Galapagos with Hotel La Isla.

Address: Av. 12 de febrero y Av. J Roldo, San Cristobal island, Ecuador | Phone: 593 99 393 5090 | or 




Click one of our contacts below to chat on WhatsApp

× ¿How can i help you?

Triple Room

Double Room

Deluxe Double Room