From the National Geographic Islander in Galapagos
Jan 9, 2013 - National Geographic Islander
Santa Cruz Island
Today we visited Santa Cruz Island, home to the Darwin Station and over 20,000 inhabitants, making this island the second largest island in the archipelago. We disembarked in Puerto Ayora, the largest town on the island and the economic capital of the archipelago. We aimed to visit the giant tortoise breeding program of the Galapagos National Park Service, and walk along the Charles Darwin Research Station headquarters, to see scientists passing by and changing the world. After learning about the successful programs on ecological restoration, we had the chance to see baby tortoises born at the station from different islands. After the passing of “Lonesome George,” the place has never been the same. We learned about protecting the rest of Galapagos creatures from a similar fate, and that it is not an option any more, but an obligation. Later we had the opportunity to walk through town, where we window shopped along colorful art galleries, shops, boutiques and cafes.
Our buses were waiting for us to take us for a short drive to the highlands, where we had the chance to taste sugar cane juice, and a peculiar liquor made out of it. It set the spirits very high for all of us, due in part to the fact that it was 150 proof. We also had a taste of the fresh organic coffee grown on the island.
Before lunch a few of us dared to walk through a lava tunnel about ¼ mile long. Spooky and mysterious, it provided the chance to learn about geology and flashlight-using. The walk ended at the restaurant where we had an energetic lunch.
After lunch, we went into a farm invaded by giant tortoises. The do their yearly migration through the farm and it has become an attraction. Surrounded by green vegetation, we enjoyed cooler weather and a very exciting end of a great day, another one along our journey in paradise…