Tuesday 3 July 2012

About Me and Galapagos Eco Friendly

Photograph of Harry Jimenez, owner of San Cristobal's Galapagos Eco LodgeIf you love exploration, respect the environment, want to share in the conservation of the paradise we call the Galapagos Islands and yearn to experience first hand the miracles that Charles Darwin brought to the world, then the Galapagos Eco-Lodge is the place to begin your visit to the Galapagos Islands.

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island with The Eco-Lodge is on the hillside overlooking the harbor and Pacific Ocean
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal Island 
The Eco-Lodge is on the hillside 
overlooking the harbor and Pacific Ocean
My idea to build an environmentally sustainable "green" hotel began many years ago and has finally come to fruition.  It is my great pleasure to share the experience of how the hotel came to be built and the principles of preservation that motivated me with you. The hotel is the embodiment of my belief that every traveler to the Galapagos Islands should have the opportunity to live for a little while within our culture while exploring all the natural beauty of our National Park and Marine Reserve.  In this way, your travel and adventure will be enhanced as those of us who live in this paradise can share our knowledge and viewpoints with you.

Map of San Cristobal, Galapagos showing visitor sites and zones

The hotel is located on the Galapagos Island of San Cristobal Island in the hills just above the harbor and center of the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the Island’s provincial and administrative capital.  As a promoter and advocate for sustainable ecotourism and “green travel”, Galapagos Eco Friendly focuses on uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel.  We embrace ecotourism principles by minimizing environmental impact, building ecological and cultural awareness and respect, providing positive experiences for our visitors and raising sensitivity to the political, environmental, and social climate of the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador.

Built in 2011, our hotel’s unique green design features the use of sustainable local materials and follows the principles of the International Ecotourism Society.  As such we:
International Ecotourism Society logo

o Provide comfortable rooms and common areas that reflect the designs and heritage of our local culture
o Offer a natural setting that has been carefully preserved and contains local plant life
o Use locally harvested and sustainable and/or recyclable building materials
o Purchase food from local farmers and grow much of our own
o Use environmentally-friendly energy, water and waste systems
o Offer opportunities for interaction with local owners, managers, staff and guides

Lava Lizard on San Cristobal Island GalapagosThe hotel is inspired by my personal experiences and lifelong exposure and commitment to the environment.  It embodies what I believe in and what I want to share with those who come to the Galapagos Islands for an adventure and to expand their horizons.

I am a citizen of the Galapagos Islands and the third generation of my family to live on San Cristobal.  I grew up wandering the hills around my house and swimming and snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean.  Mockingbirds woke me in the morning, iguanas climbed in our family’s garden and frigatebirds and pelicans sailed through the air and landed on our boat.  The sea lions, especially the little pups, were almost like pets hanging out on the pier, just as they do today.  Every chance I could, I would be in the water playing with them. That hasn’t changed!

Galapagos Hawk flying over volcanic rock
In my youngest memories, I recall having the time of my life in the midst of this gorgeous nature preserve I call my home.  Since then, my love of the land and sea in and around the Galapagos Islands has done nothing but grow stronger.  As your guide, I am dedicated to applying and communicating what I have learned and what I love to you.

Sea Lion swimming in Galapagos Islands
I learned to SCUBA dive at age 11 and am now a certified Dive Master with more than 6000 dives in the Galápagos Island Marine Reserve. This ensures that since snorkeling, and for some SCUBA diving, is one of our activities during the trip, I will be able to show you the richness of the second largest Marine Reserve in the world.  The joy that I have felt since my childhood is what I want to share with you.

Harry Jimenez with Fly Catcher Bird in  Galapagos IslandsI have my naturalist certification from the National Park Services and have worked as a Naturalist Guide for more than 15 years.  I continue to work as a naturalist for the most highly regarded as well as ecologically aware and committed companies in the Galápagos Islands; they are leaders on the application of conservation ideas, such as recycling, teaching, and planning the use of clean energy to reduce the impact in nature.  I have studied geology, oceanography, biology, thematic environmental interpretation, and general natural history of Galápagos and evolution.  I am bilingual in Spanish and English.

Galapagos Island birdlife
I have had a rich and wonderful life here and that is what I want to share with the visitors to the Eco-Lodge. By using the Eco-Lodge as the base of our exploration, you will have the benefit of being a part of the Galapagos Islands' culture that cruise-based travelers miss.  Whether we are on the land or sea, I want you to feel the beauty, majesty and uniqueness of the extraordinary world that will surround you here in the Galapagos.

My responsibility to my guests at the Eco-Lodge is to fill you with wonder and to make you smile.  I believe that travel should expand our horizons, improve the world we live in together, and improve our lives and the lives of those around us.  When we travel, we open our hearts and minds, and share our experiences and our cultures.  I make it my personal mission to enhance your understanding of this world and how we can maintain it and make it even better in the future.

Galapagos Eco Lodge Night View
Trust me that a trip that you schedule through the Galapagos Eco-Lodge will reward you with unique experiences and provide you with the opportunity to discover a whole new world of natural wonders.  If I can impart what I have learned to my guests then you will leave this part of our planet nourished, fulfilled and anxious to return.  So be ready in body and mind for this once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.


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