Much like Darwin's publication On the Origin of Species marks the beginning of a new era in human thought, the creation of the Galapagos National Park in 1959, precisely a century after this monumental piece of literature was first published, represents a most crucial attitude shift in human culture.
By no means was the Galapagos National Park the first of its kind in the world, but it was one of the first sites internationally recognized as a natural sanctuary in need of conservation. Thanks to what Darwin witnessed in these very islands, we could now question Man's constant pursuit of setting himself apart from nature.
And since the foundation of the Galapagos National Park, the international community's preoccupation about protecting a place where whalers and poachers massacred fur seals and giant tortoises without thinking twice about their actions, it shows just how much our sensibility has evolved throughout the years.
With the many ongoing difficulties the Park administration have faced in their whole-hearted efforts to reach a truly ambitious goal -that of preserving the fragile and deeply impacted ecosystems of each and every island in the archipelago - the Galapagos, in a broad sense, represents a challenge for mankind. The Galapagos National Park is today a living experiment of Man's long overdue reconciliation with nature.
The moment you set foot on the Galapagos Islands, you become part of a fragile ecosystem unlike any other. You enter a natural world where all creatures are oblivious to your presence and thus vulnerable to careless behavior. The park demands strict adherence to specific regulations and a general care for the overall environment that should be taken into consideration if you are planning to visit the Islands.
To visit the Galapagos National Park you must always be accompanied by a certified Galapagos National Park Guide. Galapagos is unique and fragile environment. Take only photographs and video. Professional shooting needs authorization from the Galapagos National Park.
Please stay within the limits of the walking trails, for your safety and that of the flora and fauna. To avoid affecting the wildlife's natural behavior please avoid getting closer than two meters to the animals. Camping is only allowed in specific sites. If you wish to camp, you must first obtain a permit from the Galapagos National Park. Help conservation by cooperating with the authorities in their inspection, monitoring and control duties. Report any anomalies to the Galapagos National Park.
Do not introduce foreign organisms to the islands, as these can have a negative impact on the ecosystem. Please do not buy souvenirs which are made from black coral, sea shells, sea lion teeth, tortoise shell, volcanic rock or endemic woods.
Galapagos animals have their own feeding behavior. Never feed the animals. Feeding them can be detrimental to their health. Galapagos landscapes are beautiful and unique. Do not spoil them by writing or etching rocks or trees. Smoking or making camp fires in the Galapagos National Park areas is forbidden and can cause devastating fires. Fishing is strictly forbidden, except on those boats specifically authorized by the Galapagos National Park for that purpose only. Jet skiing, submarines, water skiing and aerial tourism are all forbidden.