Fee for visiting the Galapagos Islands has increased
Rules and laws
01.04.2024 Galapagos Islands   6
Fee for visiting the Galapagos Islands has increased

Tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands will be asked to pay double entry fees from this year amid concerns that rising visitor numbers are putting pressure on the environmentally sensitive region.

Tourism Ministry Ecuador announced new tariffs that will come into force on August 1, 2024.

The entrance fee will increase from 100 up to $200 for citizens of almost all countries, with the exception of other members of the South American trade bloc Mercosur, which includes Argentina, Brazil and Peru.

Mercosur members will now have to pay $100 per person, up from $50. Children up to two years of age can visit the islands for free, regardless of nationality.

This is the first increase in entrance fees to the Galapagos since 1998.

"The Galapagos Islands are not only national treasure, but also a global one. It is our collective responsibility to protect and preserve this unparalleled ecosystem for future generations," Ecuador's Tourism Minister Nils Olsen said in a statement shared with the Galapagos Conservation Foundation.

Olsen added that the additional funds will go toward conservation efforts on the islands, which lie 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) off the coast of mainland Ecuador. Comprising more than 100 islands, the Galapagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The islands, nicknamed a "living museum", are home to many rare or endangered plants and animals.

Only about 30,000 people live on one of the islands of the Galapagos archipelago, but about 170,000 tourists visit in a typical year.

The Galapagos Conservation Trust, a UK-registered charity aimed at promoting conservation and sustainable development on the islands, has warned of the environmental consequences of increased visitor numbers.

"Recent years have seen an alarming increase in the number of visitors to the islands, driven by a surge in land-based tourism," it says on its website.

"This is pushing waste management systems to the breaking point , worsening water and food shortages and increasing the threat of destructive invasive species being introduced into the islands."

Scientific discoveries continue across the archipelago. Last year, scientists discovered a previously unknown coral reef believed to date back thousands of years.

In 2021, UNESCO published a report on the islands and the state of conservation efforts. The report noted that the Ecuadorian government had reduced illegal fishing and controlled the spread of invasive species, but requested an update by 2024.

The destination's global profile could be boosted this year by a new film directed by Ron Howard, exploring the true story of scandal, sexual liberation and murder that unfolded on one of the Galapagos islands in the 1930s. Eden, to be released later this year, will star Sydney Sweeney, Vanessa Kirby, Ana de Armas and Jude Law.

Read also: Publication of tourist offers on the portal TURY.CLUB