The Galapagos isn’t like the rest of Ecuador in terms of wealth. People here make good money from tourism, you won’t see people begging in the street and you will find many people have smart phones.
But my biggest concern is the drain on the city’s infrastructure,
As much as I have been enjoying staying in the Galapagos, there is one thing that has been weighing heavily on my mind.
Am I part of the problem?
What I haven’t shared is that I’m really concerned that the city is developing too quickly and won’t have the infrastructure to support it.
I’ve only been here a month but a few things are very apparent:
There is new construction everywhere in Puerto Ayora – New hotels, new homes, new businesses.
Many of the people working in tourism are not from the islands but Guayaquil, Ambato and Esmeraldas.
The paved road in the main part of town replaced the dirt road only a couple years old and now new construction is rampant to accommodate more people coming to the islands.
Maybe the most fascinating aspect of the island is that there are children everywhere. Walk anywhere around 3pm and you’ll drown in a sea of white and blue uniforms.
Eventually these children are going to grow up and will need space of their own.
While everyone on the island knows it’s an issue many have said the children will likely just go to the mainland, but with such a good life here why would they leave?
Pollution from transportation is likely the single biggest threat to the Galapagos.
Not only do several airlines fly to and from Baltra every day but the number of trucks on the island are astounding.
In the beginning I didn’t understand why there were so many white trucks, these are taxis and you cannot walk 10 feet without seeing one.
Because the islands are wealthy the development is not hindered by money.
It is fueling more development with more ferries to Isabela and San Cristobal island and now you can stay on some of the smaller islands, previously only available for locals.
While there are signs everywhere stating green initiatives I am skeptical as too much money is at stake.
Which brings me back to my original question. If I think tourism could possible ruin these islands, am I part of the problem by staying here?