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How to Get the Most from Your Galápagos Naturalist Guide

June 19, 2014|Posted in: Ecuador, Galapagos Islands

galapagos naturalist guide

When I traveled to the Galápagos Islands, I was accompanied by a tour leader and a series of Galápagos Naturalist Guides.

My tour leader, Andres, was amazing. He lives in Quito, but has worked as a guide in the Galápagos Islands for years. His knowledge and patience really made the trip for me.

He taught me the difference between native and endemic species. He spotted birds that I would never have seen without his precision finger pointing. He shared interesting facts about some of the strangest creatures on the planet. And, he was an overall good companion as I dove, kayaked, swam, hiked, and snorkeled my way through the islands.

The Galápagos Naturalist Guides, in contrast, were a mixed bag. Some were excellent. Some barely uttered a word. It’s not that they didn’t have the knowledge. All Galápagos Naturalist Guides undergo extensive training. Wildlife, geology, volcanology, ecology, and conservation are just a few of the many subjects that they must study.

I think, though, that some felt a little shy. Or they were afraid they might bore me if they talked too much about lava rock formation if, in fact, my real interest was the migration patterns of whales.

Galápagos Naturalist Guides are required in the Galápagos National Park. So, I couldn’t leave a lackluster guide behind. As a result, I figured out the secret to getting the most from my Galápagos Naturalist Guide – ask lots of questions.

Some of the questions I asked that elicited interesting and educational responses included:

  • What is…?
  • Why is it like…?
  • How long has it been that way?
  • What happens if…?
  • Where did it come from?
  • When does that happen?
  • Who does…?

I basically relied on the 5 Ws and 1 H (who, what, where, when, how, and why) I learned in my high school journalism class and it worked. My Galápagos Naturalist Guides opened up. They not only answered my questions, they proactively offered up interesting tidbits of information.

So, ask away to get the most from your Galápagos Naturalist Guide.


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