CNH Tours - Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours Galapagos
The "Samba way" to visiting the islands
We charter the Samba for more than half the year. We do this because we believe that visiting Galapagos is just as much a "mind trip" as it is a sensory adventure, and the Samba does this best. The Samba, its guides and its dedicated crew are ideally suited to take you on a journey of exploration and introspection at the same time.
Perhaps the best way to describe the Samba's approach to experiencing the Galapagos is by likening it to the "slow movement" - the guides' focus is on nurturing within their guests a state of mind which encourages travelers to engage more fully with their natural surroundings.
Juan Manuel Salcedo, the Samba's principle guide, has shared his approach with CNH Tours:
On how we walk the trails
"Our walks, and other activities are designed to be very low impact. Most boats are likely to have you land between 8:00am and 8:30 when it is already very hot and animals (especially birds and mammals) are already hiding and resting. The light is already too bright for photography and the temperatures can be uncomfortably hot. Those groups will go through their walks at a brisk pace and tend to actively approach animals for pictures, usually distracting them from what otherwise would be their natural behavior. I like to land earlier to take advantage of the peak of animal activity - soon after sunrise. The light is still soft and perfect for photography and the cool walking temperatures are a blessing. We don't interact actively with the wildlife. Like most people that study animal behavior we take a very passive approach. We sit and watch. We become another sea lion, iguana, albatross or rock. When we move through the land, we like to think we're another inanimate object, part of the landscape. The magical experience of the Galapagos is to blend in and in most cases the wildlife will be indifferent to your presence, or even choose to do the interacting with you!!"
On giving you the underlying picture
"My main objective is to motivate people to be more ecologically aware. The interpretation practices on board the Samba will help you understand why the Galapagos Islands are so different from other oceanic tropical islands. The learning of every detail of what makes this Archipelago so special, the driving forces that shaped and are shaping the fauna and flora, their complex and unique volcanic genesis, will enrich your experience beyond being just a vacation."
On running a green ship
"I am personally involved in ship operations and work hard to make the boat more environmentally friendly and organic. The beef, poultry and pork served on board are all organically grown and sourced from Galapagos producers. I also source fish directly from local fishermen I know personally and in whose fishing techniques I have full confidence."
On Selecting Naturalist Guides
Juan Manuel Salcedo, our principal guide and ship owner/manager writes after I asked him about possible guides for the year's trips: "Dear Heather: We have had very few negative remarks on our comment cards about the guiding skills of our staff. I guide many Active Galapagos departures and have noticed a great variety of interests in your clients. The Active Tour is on demand and we are squeezing every minute of our time on the islands. More and more people want to maximize their landings, improve their photographic ability and hike the trails to the end. Nevertheless, what I have learned well is that our clients want to be treated as individuals, they seek personalized attention, they want to be the center of the world. Very few guides provide that commitment. Our guests want to see that the Samba crew plays an important role to make their Galápagos trip successful. Clients understand that it's the guide who makes their adventure a trip of a lifetime - but the emotional skills of the naturalist are key to engaging clients with our wonderful staff. It is a complex game and so far we are winning."
Of the 50 or so small ships that ply Galapagos waters, only two stand out as leaders in social responsibility - the Samba is one of them