What Makes for an
Awesome Naturalist Guide?
The Galapagos Islands are brimming with history, geology, biology and, yes, even legends and myths; however, not all of this can be. easily identified on the surface. Scientists have spent centuries studying the natural processes that occur in the Galapagos Islands, and the stories run deep. Galapagos naturalist guides use their years of experience to interpret and reveal the stunning heritage of the archipelago. Your naturalist guide will be your eyes and ears to this world, interpreting the islands’ secrets to paint a vivid picture of them all. However, truly great naturalist guides don’t just guide; they create a memorable experience that meets the needs of all of their guests while monitoring the conservation and preservation of the Galapagos National Park.
What is a Naturalist Guide?
The Galapagos National Park requires that visitors be accompanied by a naturalist guide at all times while within park boundaries, and these guides are specifically trained to act as your personal Galapagos interpreter. In a basic sense, they are responsible for teaching visitors about the islands and adapting their itineraries to the needs of their audience. However, to truly become a great naturalist guide, it takes years of experience, a passion for the islands and vast knowledge.
It All Takes Practice
There are three levels of certification for Galapagos naturalist guides, and with each level of certification comes greater experience and training. Apart from having worked several years as a tourist guide, many naturalist guides also grew up in the archipelago. These are people that spent their childhoods amidst Galapagos sea lions and listening to the ancient legends of pirates and whalers. Their love for the Galapagos may have first become evident through hobbies such as photography, hiking or scuba diving, and in fact many naturalist guides still continue with their hobbies alongside their careers. They don’t only know the name of each creature you come across, but also their story, sharing with you the role each one plays in the delicate balance of life on the Galapagos.
Truly great naturalist guides work to enhance their professional skills and experience through workshops and training programs. The Galapagos National Park provides a variety of workshops together with the Ecuadorian government and international organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund. The objective of these workshops is to improve the professionalism of the guides, and work on areas such as information management, protocol and interpreting techniques, as well as environmental education and conservation. This helps the guides to effectively communicate with their guests and better their needs in order to enhance their Galapagos experience.
With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility
However, what really makes a great Galapagos naturalist guide is their passion for the mystical life in these islands and its absolute protection. In addition to their responsibility as a guide, they play an critical role in managing both land and marine ecosystems. Few people traverse the Galapagos Islands with the frequency that naturalist guides do, giving them a keen advantage when it comes to monitoring the environment and reporting on conservation efforts. They are responsible for completing land and marine observation reports, thus helping park management understand the impact of tourism on the Galapagos Islands.
Galapagos naturalist guides are the face of the Galapagos National Park and are essential in not only sharing its beauty and worth, but also monitoring the status of its precious life. A truly great naturalist guide goes above and beyond playing the role of a tour guide. These are people who are driven by an unyielding passion for what they do and the land they step on, yet they are also detail oriented and caring. They will share their love for the Galapagos Islands to each person that comes to visit its shores, making sure that each individual has the vacation they have always dreamed of.