Galapagos National Park
The park was established on 14 May 1936 by
Executive Decree No. 31 and ratified on 4 July 1959 by Decree No. 17.
At that time the boundary of the national park was fixed to include
all Galapagos Islands, except those which had already been colonized
as of 20 July 1959. After final establishment of the boundaries in
1968, 96% of the land area of the archipelago was included in the
The Galapagos Islands were inscribed on
the World Heritage List in 1978 and were internationally recognized as
a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programmer
in 1984. In 1986, the Galapagos Marine Resources Reserve (GMRR) was
established including all waters within 15 nautical miles of a
baseline joining the outermost points of the Galapagos Islands. This
was upgraded to a Biological Reserve of Marine Resources in December
The Galapagos National Park contributes to the
development of the insular region in accordance with the
characteristics and capacity of the unique Galapagos ecosystems. In
many occasions, policies and procedures have been defined and ratified
in order to support a selective and special development in accordance
with the specific conditions of the islands. The Ecuadorian
government, for more than three decades, has declared its desire to
conserve the natural resources of the archipelago through concrete
actions of administration and management.
The Galapagos National Park Service works hand in hand with the
Charles Darwin Research Station implementing their common goals of
conservation and preservations of the natural resources with the
Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve. The park service
approves all itineraries of boats visiting the islands making sure
that the tourism is distributed evenly throughout the islands. They
also work as the licensing board for guides in the islands.
Galapagos National Park rules
The National Park
Service has developed rules to aid in the preservation.
No plant, animal, or remains of such (including shells, bones, and
pieces of wood), or other natural objects should not be removed or
- Be careful not to transport any live material to the islands, or
from island to island.
- Do not take any food to the uninhabited islands, for the same
- Do not touch or handle the animals.
Do not feed the animals. It can be dangerous to you, and in the
long run would destroy the animals' social structure and breeding
- Do not startle or chase any animal from its resting or nesting
- Stay within the areas designated as visiting sites.
- Do not leave any litter on the islands, or throw any off your
- Do not deface the rocks.
- Do not buy souvenirs or objects made of plants or animals from the
Do not visit the islands unless accompanied by a licensed National
- Restrict your visits to officially approved areas.
- Show your conservationist attitude.
The Galapagos National Park is different and more
special than other National Parks. More than 1,900 of its 5,000 unique
species are endemic, that is, they are found no where else in the
world. Second, these species are very fragile, and third, people have
lived here even before it became a National Park.