Helena’s Garden and the Galeodan Suites are owned and managed by the Keegan - Ricaurte family: Sean and Maria Elena.
Maria Elena’s mother, Marlene Aguirre, is a descendent of the earliest settlers in Santa Cruz; Her maternal grandmother was the first woman fisherman in Galápagos.
Maria Elena’s father, Carlos Ricaurte, is a fisherman in San Cristobal. Carlos founded the first fishing cooperative in the islands and was the primary architect in the creation of the sustainable tourist-fishing activity: Vivencial Fishing. Maria Elena’s fishing ancestry entitles her and her children to fish in the Marine Reserve.
Maria Elena schooled in Quito and returned to Galápagos for holidays. After attending university in Quito, Maria Elena worked as a tourist guide before emigrating to Canada where she continued her technical studies, at the same time serving in the Canadian Forces Reserves.
In 1996, Maria Elena secured a two year contract to work in the computer department of one of the premier banks in Bermuda. On returning to Canada, Maria Elena established her own technology company and took further diplomas in Business Administration, Travel & Tourism.
Sean is the progeny of Irish, English and French grandparents. Sean’s parents met and married in Nairobi Kenya and the family lived in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya (again) and Italy, before returning to Ireland.
At various times, Sean has been quite fluent in Swahili, Italian and French: his Spanish is serviceable but not as good as it should be.
With a masters degree in Engineering Science and Economics from Oxford University, Sean spent some 20 years working in civil design and construction management before starting his own consultancy (www.SeanKeegan.com). Sean emigrated to Canada in 1982 where he later met Maria Elena and first learned that the Galápagos Islands had not only exotic animals and scenery, but also people. Sean and Maria Elena were married in Bermuda and their two sons, who were born in Canada, now enjoy Canadian, Irish and Ecuadorian citizenship.
The Keegan Family had been returning to Galápagos every summer since 1996. In 2008, although Sean’s consulting business was thriving, Sean and Maria Elena decided that they would rather live and raise their young family in the Galápagos. The Keegans founded Galeodanturis Cia. Ltda (Galeodan) and moved permanently to San Cristóbal in January of 2009.
In the years before moving to Galápagos, Sean and Maria Elena purchased the 5 lots which comprise Helena’s Garden. On arrival, they first built their home and started construction of the Galeodan Suites.