LAVA CON

The Galápagos Islands are world-renowned for their vibrant ecosystems, scientific history, and conservation success stories. However, global attention on these islands often ignores the local population of 30,000 people whose livelihoods are intimately linked to the archipelago’s limited resources. Few Galapagueños have had the chance to experience the islands they are asked to protect; exorbitant prices limit access to the national park which comprises 97% of the Galápagos’ land. The project CON-Galápagos: Iniciativa Para Conocer Galápagos, aims to address this issue and in turn improve local relationships with, and understanding of, the unique Galápagos ecosystem. In June of 2019, PLUS had the opportunity to run a successful CON-Galápagos pilot. 15 residents of San Cristóbal, aged 3 to 63, visited Isla Lobos and Playa Ochoa, National Park sites, for the first time. Guided by the talented and dynamic guide Ernesto Vaca, and in partnership with travel agency Martourgal, residents discussed their attitudes towards the National Park, tourism, and environmental regulations. The visit included an educational component explaining the international importance of the Galápagos Islands and their role in conservation and science. We hope this will be the first of many CON-Galápagos experiences, promoting sustainable development in the archipelago and engaging the local community. 

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