Multiple factors impact experiences while travelling. It’s no secret that our trip to the Galapagos Islands with G Adventures was phenomenal, but it was not just the animals or the exotic location that made this trip special. It was our Galapagos Naturalist Guide – Jose Valdivieso.
Jose is a rarity in that he was born and raised in the Galapagos. After furthering his education in Quito, he returned to the islands in 2008 to become a Galapagos Naturalist Guide. The process of becoming a guide is neither cheap nor easy – it requires being a resident, conducting the official courses and maintaining guide status through multiple requirements. The result for you as a visitor to the islands? You get a highly qualified guide whose passion about the islands and expertise on the flora and fauna enhances your experience.
Galapagos was the most educational adventure trip I have ever been on. Our group learned so much about the various microclimates, endemic species and conservation efforts within the Galapagos. As our boat – the Estrella del Mar – sailed through the Galapagos, Jose made sure that our experience on land and in the water was like no other.
Meet Jose from Santa Cruz, Galapagos – Ecuador.
//WHY DO YOU GUIDE?
Being a guide is my calling. I feel like I have been chosen to go into the world to drive change and guiding allows me to influence and do this.
//WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART ABOUT BEING A GUIDE?
I get to apply my global perspective in a butterfly effect. I enjoy getting to understand what’s going on around the world through my travellers. This exposure gives me a global vision, which allows me to think about the issues we face and share with my groups ways that through collaboration they can be fixed. With each new group I find ways to apply this information for the purpose of growing awareness.
//WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE ABOUT TO SET OUT ON A GROUP TOUR?
One of the core values of the company I work for is to “Embrace the Bizzare.” This is very important when travelling in a group. Be open, patient, and make sure you have fun! One of the other most important things I recommend (regardless of whether you are travelling in a group or solo) is to get ride of stuff that you don’t need both emotionally and physically. Travel light and leave the extra baggage at home. You are on holidays to energize your self!
//WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE THAT TRAVELLERS MAKE WHEN ON A GROUP TRIP?
The biggest mistake I see is people not being “aware” of being together in a group. Be on time – holding up the group in any way or being late is a no go. I believe getting involved in the group dynamic is an awesome opportunity to make lifetime friends and share amazing moments. Embrace the outcome and be open-minded to how different and similar we are.
//WHAT MAKES YOUR TRAVEL COMPANY DIFFERENT?
G Adventures is what I call a Social Enterprise. They operate more than 600 tours in over 80 Countries – all with a focus on supporting and hiring local providers. This method supports local community projects and ensures that the locals operating the tours make a fair living. My company also has a NGO called Planeterra that helps find and develop socially responsible projects. These projects help support local communities and help the G Adventures traveller share in the
experience and are part of the local community. Some of the newer initiatives include Nat Geo Journeys in partnership with National Geographic, as well as the partnership with the Jane Goodall Foundation where a percentage of the fees from 20 selected tours go to the foundation.
Jose recently shared with me that he is currently in the process of developing his own Environmental Education Tours in Galapagos. Details to be revealed soon. Interested in getting in touch with Jose or following along his adventures guiding in the Galapagos? Feel free to follow him on Instagram (@Josse.Galapagos) and Facebook (Jose Galapagos).
Planning your own trip to the Galapagos? Do yourself a favour and explore with Galapagos naturalist guide like Jose.