I worked in Galápagos Islands as a naturalist guide in 1978 as tourism was just taking off. A life-changing experience that instilled a love of nature. I also volunteered with scientists studying finch evolution and climbed the remote active volcano of Fernandina. More people have been to outer space than here.
I travelled down the Andes – from Ecuador to Tierra del Fuego. Hitched around the coast of Brazil and 2,400km up the Amazon River to Colombia. Some adventures recounted in newspapers and magazines, in pre-internet times. 15 minutes of fame came when the Sunday Times Magazine published my ‘Life in the Day of a Galápagos Tour Guide’. Later fetched-up as a holiday rep in the Greek Islands. Back in London, as a motor-cycle messenger for a specialist tour company. Sent as a group leader from Rio to Lima. In those days nothing was pre-booked and only a money-belt full of cash. I was responsible for my charges as we crossed jungles, deserts, and mountains. I learned to deal with military coups, over-booked flights and tropical illnesses. In 1985 started the first escorted tours to the Galápagos. The company ‘Galapagos Adventure Tours’ went from strength to strength. We pioneered eco-tourism, chartered small yachts then stayed in lodges in the Amazon and Andes of Ecuador.
In the noughties, re-branded the company to ‘Select Latin America’. We shifted to tailor-made travel, focused on nature and culture. The rest, as they say, is history. I continued to build my photographic library David Horwell Photography. One of my images of Easter Island moai made the front cover of the Radio Times, the biggest selling magazine in the UK. I have written two books on the Galápagos archipelago including Bradt Publications: Galapagos Wildlife A Visitor’s Guide. Today I Blog for Select Latin America.
Galapagos Islands wildlife tourism