About Us


At Come To Galápagos (CTG), we provide our guests with a customized, intimate experience of the Galapagos while supporting our community and the Galapagos National Park in our efforts to protect these islands which are not only the birthright of our sons and daughters, but also the birthright of humanity.​


Rick Schleicher founded Come To Galapagos (CTG) in 2005. It was the first locally owned and operated land-based tour company in the Galapagos. CTG was formed as a way to promote conservation consciousness within the community.

In 2004, less than 4% of the revenue generated by tourism in the Galapagos touched the hands of the people that live here. The tourists would get off the plane, get on a bus, go to their cruise ship, and then the same happened in reverse when they left.

There was a huge increase in the number of tourists on cruise ships in the early 2000’s. This gave the Galapagos National Park a big boost in funding. The Park began enforcing laws that had never been enforced before. Suddenly locals could no longer go to the beach that their families had gone to for generations. Those beaches were now part of the National Park. Stricter fishing regulations were being passed annually and all of this was going on while the locals watched the tourists pass by on buses.

Conservation became synonymous with disenfranchisement. People shamelessly threw their trash in the street. You can’t lecture people about conservation and expect it to stick. One of the most effective ways to convince people of anything is through their wallet. Hence CTG was set up with the goal of distributing as much of the revenue generated by visitors to as many locals as possible, not only to hotels, restaurants, and transportation companies, but also to farmers and fishermen.

The towns are very different now and working in land-based tourism in the Galapagos has become coveted employment.

the Team

smiling woman and man wearing white

Rick & Christina Schleicher


Rick Schleicher – WhatsApp +1 (917) 733-3218
Christina Schleicher – WhatsApp +1 (415) 407-7736 (US) or +593 98-193-6421 (Ecuador)

Rick and Christina Schleicher are Residentes Permanentes (permanent residents) of the Galápagos. Rick founded Come To Galápagos in 2005, the first land-based, community-oriented tour company in the Galápagos. Rick pioneered fishing with locals and the involvement of local farms in not only agricultural production, but also directly in tourism. Additionally, he was involved in energy audits and conservation, wrote the first proposal to bring electrical vehicles to the islands, and promoted local, peripheral goods (such as beer, t-shirts, chocolate, artists and performing artists, coffee and souvenirs) to tourism economies. In 2010, Rick created the now semi-annual Come To Galápagos Marathon and running events. The events are held twice a year to minimize the number of runners and impact on the environment and visitor services. In response to the damage inflicted by COVID-19 on the Galápagos communities, Rick and Christina coordinated a pandemic relief fund–a fund instigated not by themselves, but by guests who had visited the Galápagos with them. Christina has streamlined Come To Galápagos reservations and coordination of local services, and she attends the bible study meetings with the wives of the mayor and pastor, hotel owners, fishermen, educators, the real movers and shakers. Rick and Christina have initiated the “Canoterapia” project, bringing trained dogs and personnel to service the emotionally or physically challenged in the Galápagos. 

We have not inherited the earth from our parents, we have borrowed it from our children.” — Unknown

Juan Carlos Zambonino (Zambo)

Naturalist Guide / Director of Services

Born and raised on Santa Cruz Island of the Galápagos, Zambo feels a deep sense of passion and purpose for his work as an expert Naturalist Guide for CTG. After earning a degree in Ecotourism (blending ecology, biology, and hospitality), Zambo became a photographer, surf instructor, SCUBA diver, naturalist guide, and cooking hobbyist, embracing the outdoors at every opportunity.

Zambo combines a decade of experience as a naturalist guide with a lifetime of Galápagos exploration to show guests the best that the islands have to offer. From mouthwatering local cuisines to must-see destinations, he knows the ins and outs of the archipelago like no one else.

The Galápagos are a myriad of remarkable creatures and majestic landscapes. Through my work as a guide, I am living my lifelong dream of sharing this special place with visitors.” – Zambo

Alexandra Widman

Naturalist Guide

Born on the southeast coast of the United States, Alexandra was raised with unmatched admiration and respect for the ocean. Her decision to pursue a BS in Marine Biology and Master’s in Environmental Science and Management from UC Santa Barbara was inspired by her childhood love for diving, underwater filming, kayaking, and surfing on the Carolina Beach. 

Naturally, Alexandra’s endeavors brought her to San Cristóbal Island where she has resided for the past 10 years. Her efforts include a shark conversation project for the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) exploring the economic impact of sharks on marine tourism. She also helped create the Darwin and Wolf Marine Sanctuary as part of an initiative from National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project. 

Today, Alexandra can be found exploring the Galápagos with visitors as a naturalist guide for CTG, educating her tour groups every step of the way. 

Jorge Washington Valencia

Quito, Ecuador Liaison

Each Galápagos journey with CTG starts when you land in the city of Quito, Ecuador, where Jorge resides with his wife Marcia. Jorge bridges the gap between the mainland and the island, offering invaluable knowledge and cultural insight.

Jorge provides a rich look at the colonial old town area of Quito City, the equatorial line, and the world-renowned fare and history contained within.

Víctor Riera

Guayaquil, Ecuador Liaison

My name is Víctor Riera and traveling has always been an important part of my life. I grew up going to my grandparents’ farm where my interest in nature was born and traveling was a gift from my mother who loved to explore and share the world with us. This inspired me to become a guide, which I have been doing since 1989. I love working in protected areas, dry forests, archaeological sites, beaches, bird watching and visiting different cultural groups in my country. I have also had the opportunity to be a tour leader for more than a decade in Ecuador, Cuba, Peru and Chile. I am passionate about sharing the tangible and intangible wonders of my country and that our guests take a piece of Ecuador in their memory.