There are three levels of certification for Galapagos naturalist guides, and with each level of accreditation comes more significant experience and training. Apart from having worked for 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 become evident through hobbies such as photography, hiking, or scuba diving. Many naturalist guides 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 the role each one plays in the delicate balance of life on the Galapagos.
Truly excellent naturalist guides work to enhance their professional skills and experience through workshops and training programs. The Galapagos National Park provides a variety of workshops 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 to enhance their Galapagos experience.