LANDED Podcast 006:
Responsible travel in the Galapagos, with DOLORES GANGOTENA de DIEZ
Dolores Gangotena de Diez, along with her husband Eduardo Diez, founded Quasar Expeditions in 1986. Their mission was to show the world why the Galapagos was a global treasure, not just another fishing ground and guano mine.
Dolores first came to the Galapagos in 1969 as a teenager aboard an Ecuadorean Navy cargo ship. During this three-week boat trip with schoolmates (arranged by her high school biology teacher) she fell in love with the landscapes, wildlife, and spirit of these precious islands.
“I have never again in my life felt so taken away by the peace and beauty of the scenery. I knew then what writers and Spanish sailors meant when they described the Islands as ‘Las Encantadas,’ the Enchanted Isles.”
She returned to the islands many times over the next decade. In 1983, newly married Dolores convinced Eduardo to come along. He immediately understood the islands’ magic, even though their journey was aboard a rickety, cramped, wooden cargo ship.
Dolores and Eduardo saw the vision of how to increase awareness of the islands’ worth as a natural treasure: comfortable, small-scale voyages for visitors, supervised by top-quality naturalist guides. They would be spent the next few years securing permits and launching the first true tourism vessels for the islands: the Nortada(12 passengers, with the first en-suite bathrooms), the Mistral, and a smaller sailboat.
Today Quasar is a multi-generational operation with appropriately-sized yachts and some of the best itineraries in the islands.
On this podcast, Dolores and I discuss some of the opportunities, threats, and challenges to protecting and preserving the Galapagos for generations to come.