Challenging perceptions of luxury
The interpretation of luxury travel can vary greatly. For many, it conjures images of opulence and extravagance – Italian marble bathrooms, oversized plasma screens, and sipping chilled Champagne in a bubbling jacuzzi tub.
Undoubtedly, these urban luxuries have their place in the world. Airport hotels would be pretty miserable without high-speed internet and cable tv, and it would be a missed opportunity to visit the French province of Champagne without indulging in a glass or two of their finest bubbly.
In the Galapagos Islands, however, such luxuries not only feel out of place but inappropriate. This is a fragile environment which calls for limits, respect and good old-fashioned common sense.
We believe that true luxury lies in embracing the unique qualities of each destination; in seeking experiences we might not otherwise find back home, and in feeling the joy that comes from discovering something new about yourself, about your life journey, about your loved ones, about the world.
When was the last time you saw something for the first time?
What is Appropriate Luxury?
At Galapagos Safari Camp, we believe in the concept of Appropriate Luxury. That is, working with nature to minimize our impact, while enhancing guests’ natural experiences. We want you to discover – and enjoy – the endless source of wellness that comes from being in direct, unrestricted touch with the natural world. By being fully present and mindful of our surroundings, we can immerse ourselves in a more intimate and transformative experience.
Those who are willing to forgo the trappings of contemporary, urban luxury, will be rewarded with an extraordinary sense of peace that comes from being in perfect harmony with nature. When we first acquired this land years ago and experienced living here for the first time, we immediately sensed a profound shift within ourselves. We felt attuned to the rhythm of nature and embraced the pure joy of simply being alive.
How do we work with nature to get the balance right at Galapagos Safari Camp?
Our 50 hectares of land own us, not the other way around. If one day we decide to cease operations there will be very little trace that we were ever here at all.
What is appropriate?
In itself a large and heavily protected area -97% of land and the surrounding marine reserve are under Galapagos National Park authority- the Galapagos remain one of the last pristine natural sanctuaries, and amongst the most fragile in our planet.
From the very beginning we strove to balance the expectations of our guests with the responsibility of looking after this swath of wilderness we felt so privileged to live in. At every juncture, when a decision has had to be made, we’ve asked ourselves, what is the appropriate thing to do?
Examples of decisions taken
- Limiting our occupancy to 10 ‘rooms’ (9 tents and 1 Family Suite)
- Choosing canvas over concrete
- Finding energy efficient solutions
- Using water responsibly, and in a sustainable way
- Minimising food wastage and sourcing food responsibly
- Rewilding a former cattle farm
- Supporting our local community
- Restricting the use of plastics
Read more: Sustainable Hospitality
Be the change
Since 2007, when we officially opened the camp, we have shared our Galapagos dream with more than ten thousand guests who have become ambassadors and protectors of this unique place themselves. To quote our favorite naturalist, David Attenborough, “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced”.
Making the right choice
We believe we all need to adjust, to attune our expectations, to embrace the uniqueness of each destination we visit; to be aware and mindful of all that travel implies and the consequences of our choices.
Despite the archipelago being considered one of the best managed nature-based tourism destinations, there are still many ways in which tourists’ footprint can be lessened.
Questions to ask yourself
As you plan your journey we urge you to keep these important questions in mind: how appropriate is my tour? Does it respect the natural and human environment? Am I willing to forgo the trappings of traditional, urban luxury, and experience nature in a more intimate, transformative way? Does my definition of luxury lean more towards destination-appropriate experiences, or more towards luxury goods and seductive amenities? If the latter, the Galapagos Islands may not be the best fit for you. If it’s the former, join us in consciously embracing refined luxury that respects and preserves the beauty of the Galapagos Islands.