Tourism has increased in Galapagos from 7,500 in 1974 to 173,000 in 2008. More tourists, means more people working in tourism, means more inhabitants, means more problems. Some studies have indicated that sustainable tourist numbers for Galapagos are less than 40,000.

cruise ship
One of many tourist cruise
ships in Galapagos

Daily six flights leave the continent with the destination of the Galapagos Islands. Plans are to add another airline, as tickets are increasingly harder to come by. Other plans indicate including air connection to a third island – Isabela.

There is a growing fleet of passenger ships offering cruises. Some of these comply with all the environmental and safety regulations and yet others seem to slip through the inspections with minimal effort. Every year a number of vessels mysteriously sink, burn out, or hit an island and the owners claim the insurance money. Despite the danger to the passengers, it is also a major environmental concern.

Increased transport between the populated islands by fast speedboats is causing higher mortality among sea turtles that are frequently been run over.