BIG changes at CNH Tours

Personalized Service:  Meet your Match

Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours (CNH Tours) has been helping people explore options and book the Galapagos expedition cruise most suited to their travel style since 1999.  We’ve prided ourselves on offering a very personalized service and doing our best to ensure our guests enjoy a trip most tailored to their expectations.  “Unmatched Personalized Service” is our motto.[1]

Few travel companies have retained this kind of level of service consistently over the years.  More and more, we’re being prompted to use “chat-bots” instead of real people, or when trying to call a real person, we end up speaking with a revolving door of company representatives.  

This has also been the case for agencies selling Galapagos trips.  The owner-operator model has gradually given way to the leaner corporate and impersonal model where more often than not, it’s either “their way, or the highway” in terms of customization of your trip.


“We will not do chat-bots – you’ll always be contacting real people”

There have been some exceptions.  Most notably, “Galapagos Travel” (GT), a small California-based owner-operated company has maintained this very personalized approach to helping people consider and book their Galapagos Natural History Workshop and Photography expedition cruise since 1990.   We’ve known them for a long time.  Before CNH Tours was established, when we were living in Galapagos, we were regularly invited to have lunch with Galapagos Travel guests as “visiting scientists”.   During those years, we scuba dived with the founder, Barry Boyce.  

When we heard that the current owner of Galapagos Travel, Mark Grantham (along with his two long-time staff, Julie Lolmaugh and Debbie Brown) was planning on hanging up his mask and snorkel for good, we approached him and started exploring options for stepping into their shoes.  

A Match Made in Galapagos

We’re happy to announce that the discussions went very well and as of now, CNH Tours and Galapagos Travel will operate as two closely integrated sister agencies from Ottawa, Canada, each offering the same high quality personalized service in helping our guests consider, plan and book trips to Galapagos and to other fascinating parts of the world.

Debbie Brown (GT), Marc Patry (CNH), Mark Grantham (GT) and Julie Lolmaugh (GT) at the Galapagos Travel office. Aptos California, April 15th 2024.


In Mark Grantham's own words:

"I can’t think of a better team to carry on our traditions and style of travel.  At the helm of CNH Tours are Marc Patry and Heather Blenkiron. They lived and worked in Galapagos from 1998 to 2002, at the Darwin Research Station and Galapagos National Park Service. Marc was even one of the guest scientists who used to come talk to our groups when we visited. More recently Marc has worked with the UN as a point man for conservation in Galapagos. In short their Galapagos knowledge and experience outweighs even our own. We are delighted to introduce our guests to Marc and Heather and the CNH team now!"

The two companies have developed similar but distinct signature trips to the Galapagos that we believe will continue to appeal to those people keen on getting the absolute most “Galapagos” out of their time in the islands – specifically:

  1. CNH Tours’ “Active Galapagos” trips on the 14 passenger Samba: A standard length cruise (7 nights / 8 days) on a simple, but very professionally managed ship with top naturalist guides.  This trip is designed for people who are in decent physical condition (you don’t need to be an Olympian – but only keen on spending more time snorkeling or walking on the trails, getting into kayaks or onto paddle-boards).
  2. Galapagos Travel’s “Natural History Workshop” small group trips on a locally owned and operated ship: A longer than usual 10 night/11 day cruise, or the full 14 night / 15 day version).  This trip, also fairly active, has you spending more time exploring the archipelago and has 2 naturalist guides on board.   Evening briefings will include a more in-depth presentation of natural history topics.
  3. Galapagos Travel’s “Photography Tours”: An 11 or 15 day cruise with a professional Galapagos photographer on board.  While not a technical photography workshop trip per se, our photographer will be on hand to advise and to ensure that off-ship excursions are designed to maximize opportunities for unique photography. 
  4. Other destinations: Both CNH Tours and Galapagos Travel have developed a range of other destinations that they have felt comfortable offering to their guests.  They are typically offered on a annual or biennial basis.  These include (but not limited to)
  • Antarctica: From the Peninsula to the “Grand Tour” (Falklands, South Georgia and the Peninsula) – both CNH Tours and GT have developed an expertise here.
  • Southern Africa: Cape Town, Okavango, Kalahari and Victoria Falls with Dr. Karen Ross, National Geographic “Champion of the Okavango”
  • Provence Discovery: 15 days, 14 guests, 3 luxury villas
  • Easter Island and Chile: The Tapati festival in early February, led by Josie Nahoe, Easter Isand native
  • Brazil’s Pantanal: Jaguars, tapirs, giant macaws
  • Svaalbard Archipelago, Greenland, Northwest Passage and more Arctic
  • Madagascar from top to bottom: A comprehensive 25-day journey.
  • Melanesia, Tanzania…


Going Forward

In an effort to rationalize the two agencies’ offerings, we will be migrating CNH Tour’s “Active Galapagos” trips to Galapagos Travel, and we’ll be migrating all of Galapagos Travel’s non-Galapagos trips to Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours.  

Heather Blenkiron and Kelsey Bradley – who’ve been the front desk women for CNH Tours for many years will be moving to  Galapagos Travel – ensuring their in-depth knowledge of Galapagos continues to be put to excellent use.  Our Ecuador colleagues, Mercedes Murgueytio and Daniela Aguirre will join them.  Marc Patry (Heather’s husband and CNH Tours co-founder) will be managing CNH Tours and the variety of trips offered by that agency.   He anticipates hiring one or two people in the not-too-distant future.

Our big job in the coming months is to re-design and restructure our websites to reflect this new division of labour.  During that time, we ask for your patience and understanding as we embark on this new journey together with you, our amazing guests.  Thank you for your support over many years.  We look forward to host you and your friends/family for many years to come in Galapagos, and around the world!


[1] Another of our mottos is “we may not be big…. but we’re small!