About our Company
Our company is a DMC/ground handler, established in 1953. We first began operating in Ecuador, and have further expanded to Peru and Colombia. We pioneered travel to the Galapagos Islands in the 1960s. Today, we have our own trio of expedition cruise vessels: the Santa Cruz II, Yacht Isabela II and Yacht La Pinta. The company also owns the Finch Bay Eco Hotel on Santa Cruz Island. In 2011, our holding group inaugurated a boutique hotel in the historic heart of Quito, Casa Gangotena, and in 2012, opens a secluded lodge, Mashpi Lodge, built and operated according to best practices in sustainability, in a private Andean rainforest reserve brimming with biodiversity just two and a half hours’ drive from Quito.
Our operations across the continent are characterized by beautifully tailor-made itineraries and our commitment to sustainable travel as well as the highest standards of service and attention to detail. With our own local offices, we have excellent experience, contacts, products and knowledge, guaranteeing seamless operations and consistent experiences, particularly when combining two or more countries. We can therefore offer a one-stop-shop for our clients’ operational and administrative needs in South America.
Metropolitan Touring caters to premium and specialist segments, as well as cruises and shore excursions, meetings and incentives. We partner with our travel trade clients every step of the way: designing itineraries that fit their needs; supplying training and consumer presentations and webinars; providing high resolution image banks, 360° panoramic photos and videos; putting together marketing initiatives; and organizing fam and press trips.
With 60 years of experience, we are proud of our team of destination specialists and their invaluable insider knowledge of each country, backed by 24/7 on-site operational support. This team is complemented and reinforced by our financial stability and strong emphasis on research and development, as well as our continual investment in technology solutions. Metropolitan Touring has placed our environmental policy at the very heart of our business. We constantly seek to have a positive impact in the communities we work with, as well as contributing to preserving the integrity of ecosystems.
- All itineraries cover the highlights of the archipelago in a balanced way, designed with natural history interpretation.
- Ground operation office in Puerto Ayora for logistic, maintenance, storage and operational support, with extra support in San Cristóbal.
- We use and take advantage of the two airports in Galapagos for more efficient logistical management of itineraries and resupplying of ships.
- Permanent doctor (MD Officer) on board, giving free consultations.
- Photo show at the end of every expedition, and all photos are uploaded to websites.
- Glass-bottomed boat for people who don’t want to snorkel (only very few other operators have them).
- Disembarkation gangways are at sea level.
- Larger vessels (vs. small yachts/catamarans) minimize the possibility of sea sickness and also offer ample deck space and additional amenities such as a natural history library, gift shop, lecture programmes and more.
- Some triple cabins available for young children to share with parents, with sofas.
- iPod, MP3, MP4 dock in cabins.
- Intermittent and low-bandwidth satellite internet connection (three stations) and wireless in designated areas: Bar Lounge, Natural History Library.
- Free use of snorkelling equipment (mask, fins, snorkel, snorkelling vest, and mesh bag).
- Shortie wet suits (used between June and December).
- Sun deck & bar.
- Well-stocked bar; lounge.
- Natural History Library with a wide selection of books, DVDs, games.
- Buffet breakfast and lunch with pre-established menu options for dinner.
- 24-hour free coffee and tea stations.
- Al fresco buffet in the Outside Sky Bar Area in all our itineraries.
- International-style cuisine with a great focus on Ecuadorian flavours, recipes and traditional food, all of which enhance cultural values. Plus, special once-weekly Ecuadorian menu.
- Pirates Aboard programme for children on board all our vessels.
- Galapagos Natural History lectures and stargazing talks (weather depending).
- Central air-conditioning with individual controls in each cabin/room.
- In-room safety deposit box.
- Boutique/gift shop
- Indoor gym with cardiovascular equipment.
- Free use of sea kayaks.
- Latest generation GPS navigational and nautical safety systems on all vessels.
- Closed-circuit television
We firmly believe in treading lightly in the pristine environment of the Galapagos Islands and have pioneered various social responsibility projects in the archipelago since the 1960s. We created the Fundación Galapagos-Ecuador in 1998. The Foundation has achieved great results over the years, and effectively applies the philosophies of global sustainable tourism criteria.
Food & Beverage
- We carefully separate organic refuse from other materials and then liquefy all these organic materials and dispose of just liquids in National Park-designated areas.
- We support local production in the islands by purchasing various types of vegetables, fruits, meats and other supplies. This business practice supports local farmers and eliminates the need of shipping fresh produce from the mainland, while effectively decreasing the risk of accidental introductions of harmful species in to the Galapagos’ environment.
- For our guests’ consumption of water, we encourage guests to use our refill stations in public areas. The use of fewer water bottles produces less solid waste.
Service – Housekeeping Department / Cabins / Public Areas
- Towels & Linen: onboard campaign for reduction of towel use and linen change, without sacrificing upscale standards.
- Amenity products include biodegradable toiletries, and environmentally-friendly components.
- Cleaning Agents: all our cleaning products will be either biodegradable or will include environmentally-friendly components.
- All empty containers will be either reused or recycled.
- Indoor Lighting: energy efficient lighting systems are used throughout our vessels.
- Outdoor lighting: use of light bulbs which preclude unwanted insect dispersal.
- Anti-insect film installed on all windows on all vessels.