About Us

Mission

At Come To Galápagos (CTG), we provide our guests with personalized, in-depth, one-of-a-kind experiences in the Galápagos, in the most eco-conscious manner that incorporates and benefits as many members of the Galápagos community as possible. An important goal of our mission is also educating our guests with regards to the natural environment in the Galápagos and the challenges we face protecting the archipelago. Throughout our efforts, we support eco-friendly initiatives through sustainable partnerships while building community relationships to last a lifetime.

History

Rick Schleicher founded CTG to deliver a Galapagueño-guided island experience that encapsulates the culture, history, biodiversity, and geography of the archipelago through sustainably-run tours that cultivate new memories every step of the way.

Unlike typical travel agencies, CTG’s fifteen years of expertise in sharing the Galápagos islands, its families, communities and livelihoods with guests have given our visitors the edge on their adventures, and always in an ecologically sound manner.

CTG tours are led by expert local naturalist guides who know the islands better than anyone else, bringing you to unexpected destinations with unexpected experiences that can only be described as spectacular. 

Meet the Team

Rick & Christina Schleicher

Founders
Contact:
Rick Schleicher – WhatsApp +593 982-371861
Christina Schleicher – WhatsApp +1 (415) 407-7736 (US) or +593 996-811178 (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

Contact: WhatsApp +593 939-767386

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

Ecuador Liaison

Each Galápagos journey with CTG starts when you land in Quinto City, 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.

Our Friends and Partners

At Come To Galápagos, our success as trusted travel and tourism providers stems from our connections. We partner with a myriad of businesses and organizations, facilitating purpose-driven trips that support each other’s communities and sustainability initiatives. By teaming up with cafes, inns, dive tours, charters, tour guides, and beyond, we ensure that our visitors experience the heart of the Galápagos while creating opportunities to further your own journeys. Each partner is hand-selected, offering unparalleled quality and reliability for our visitors.

As we get to know you, understand your goals, and plan your trip, we depend on our local friends and partners to deliver unforgettable experiences and memories to last a lifetime. For this reason, we work with the full spectrum of partnering businesses to ensure that you get everything you want out of your trip and more. At the conclusion of your trip, you can take peace of mind knowing that our CTG proceeds directly benefit the fragile ecosystems, communities, and wildlife that make the Galápagos truly special.

We invite you to plan your trip, support our mission, and give back to our trusted friends and partners. Thank you for your support.

La Selva Lodge

Located within Ecuador’s Yasuní Biosphere Reserve and on the borders of the famous Yasuní National Park — one of the most biodiverse areas of the planet — La Selva Amazon Ecolodge and Spa was among the first Amazon rainforest lodges in Ecuador and today is still regarded as the premier eco lodge in the area. La Selva Lodge is perfect for travellers seeking their ideal Amazon experience — whether they are six or sixty. A luxury resort in the heart of the rainforest, everyone will find something to love.

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Galeodan Vivencial Fishing & Lodging

Galeodan (Galeodanturis Cia. Ltda.) is a licensed national/international (“dual”) agency, based in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Isla San Cristóbal, Galápagos, Ecuador. Operating since 2008, Galeodan is wholly owned and operated by the Keegan-Ricaurte family. Maria Elena and Sean Keegan, together with their sons, Daniel & Leonardo, focus primarily on activities in and around San Cristobal where they built, and now manage, the Galeodan Suites and their Vivencial Fishing boat, Leodan.

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Travels by MC

MC Gibbons is a Baltimore-based custom travel planner and listed as one of Condé Nast’s top travel specialists in 2020 and 2021. Whether it’s a multi-generational family trip to the Galápagos, an exciting tour of Europe, or a relaxing holiday vacation in the Caribbean, Ms. Gibbons will simplify your life with custom trip planning and execution. When she’s not working, Ms. Gibbons is both a volunteer and chair of an Equine Assisted Learning Facility in Maryland, working with autistic and emotionally disturbed children and adolescents, as well as those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

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Angel Villa

Angel Villa defines what a man in his best form can be: taking care of his family first and adapting to changes in environment and circumstance. He has had more than his fair share of challenges, but he does not see them that way. He sees opportunity. He had a farm that wasn’t making enough money and turned it into a dairy farm. Instead of selling the milk, he made cheese and yogurt and oversaw the distribution of these products throughout the Galápagos. He was the first agriculturalist to give visitors a tour of his farm, creating the co-op between other farmers to market their coffee. He is lucky enough to be backed by his wife, sons and daughter. Angel Villa–come here and meet him.

Diveheart

Diveheart is a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to build confidence, independence and self-esteem in the lives of children, adults and veterans with disabilities through scuba diving, scuba therapy and related activities. The purpose of Diveheart is to provide and support educational scuba diving programs that are open to any child, adult or veteran with a disability, with the hope of providing both physical and psychological therapeutic value to that person. Diveheart works with individuals who have a variety of disabilities, including physical and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and more. Diveheart seeks to help its participants “Imagine the Possibilities” in their lives.

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Green Coco Charters

Green Coco Charters is family-friendly and open to all ages. Owners Kristian and Sabrina offer unique sailing trips and adventure retreats in French Polynesia aboard their 46-foot deluxe catamaran, Selaví. As part of their seagoing family–Kristian and Sabrina are raising their twins aboard the boat–you’ll be immersed in gorgeous nature, seeing some of the world’s most healthy coral reefs and paradise islands, learning transformative Ocean skills, and experiencing a unique lifestyle afloat the ocean.

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Franklin Zavala

Franklin Zavala is the son of a son of a fisherman in the Galápagos. His father has gone blind. His son has gone to college and invented a manner of marketing their livelihood by exporting Galápagos fish harvests to upscale markets. Franklin can be a little cranky, but his wife and sons are a little more even-keeled. Come here and meet them–not Franklin so much, unless you have a big tuna on the line, in which case there’s no finer man to be in a boat with. Pictured is Franklin’s son and the boat’s captain, Martin.

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