MIAMI, FLORIDA — Ecoventura (www.ecoventura.com) is a company that operates an environmentally friendly fleet of small expedition yachts in the Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and offers family departures in this family-friendly region.
Throughout the year Ecoventura sprinkles departures exclusively for families into its schedule. This means that ages 7 to 17 and also college age 18-21 traveling with their parents and siblings can enjoy being with their peers on the cruise.
Cruise rates start at $3750 per person double, with discounts of 25 percent for ages 7-11 and 15 percent for ages 12-17. As of early spring, there was space on the following designated family departures: June 16-23, June 30-July 7, July 7-14, July 14-21, July 28-August 4*, August 11-18*, August 18-25*, and August 25-September 1. Departures marked with * are currently on promotion with 5 to 15 percent discounts on adult fares.
Other family groups that Ecoventura regularly caters to include multi-generational families who often request full or half vessel charters.
“Our family departures are exclusively for families, the majority traveling with children age 12-21. This means that adult passengers sans children will never be assigned to a family departure cruise, thus precluding the often incompatible mix of families and adult couples often found on larger vessels or with companies that operate just one ship,” explained Doris Welsh, spokesperson.
Family trips are faster paced with snorkeling, kayaking and evening activities. A 2013 activity enhancement includes an al fresco lunch while anchored in a calm bay so that guests can remain in their bathing suits and snorkel or kayak from the yacht after lunch. One evening includes Zodiac transportation for passengers who would like to visit the island town of Pto. Ayora to stroll around town at leisure, shop and absorb local culture.
“We assign guides best suited and popular with teens and their families to our family-designated trips,” she added, noting that the growing demand for family-only departures accounts for one-third of the company’s overall business. On school holidays, at least one yacht (and most often two) is designated for families. Her team looks at the break-down of ages and assigns the identical 20-passenger yachts accordingly. Each yacht has 10 twin or double cabins, of which two have an extra upper berth accommodating triples. These sell out first on family departures.
Ecoventura is also about responsible tourism, protecting the natural environment while also giving back to the local community. Recent company projects have focused on providing scholarships and career development for local high school students though the non-profit Ecology Project International (EPI).
Ecoventura believes that education of local teenagers is the key to preserving the Galapagos for future generations. Working through EPI, Ecoventura helps sponsor the cost of 12 scholarships for one course/module for local students age 16-17 from the islands of Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz to study conservation and ecology-related issues. Students spend 50 hours in the field directly involved in conservation actions concerning invasive species and the health and release of turtles into the wild. Guests are encouraged to contribute. A $400 donation makes the course possible for one student. www.ecologyproject.org/donate.
About Ecoventura: Ecoventura is a family-owned company based in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with sales offices in Quito and Miami. In operation since 1990, the cruise company transports 4,000+ passengers annually aboard its fleet of three identical, 20-passenger first-class motor yachts, Eric, Flamingo and Letty, and the 16-passenger luxury dive live-aboard the MV Galapagos Sky. Departures are every Sunday from San Cristobal offering two unique seven-night itineraries.
To reserve a cabin or private charter, or to receive a copy of Ecoventura’s 2013 catalog please call toll-free 1.800.633.7972, or e-mail email@example.com. To access current rates, schedules and itineraries log on to http://www.ecoventura.com/.