Santa Cruz Island

Oct 19, 2017 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Santa Cruz Island it is the second largest Island of the Galapagos and the headquarters of the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Galapagos National Park. In the morning, we visited both institutions and learned about the conservation efforts and the management actions orientated to restore species, populations and ecosystems.

In the afternoon, we visited the highlands and learned about the local production of coffee, chocolate and moonshine. Later, we went to a farm where the land tortoises roam free. We observed the adaptations that the land tortoises have developed in order to cope with different environmental conditions, and the important ecological role that these ecosystem engineers play in their environment.

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About the Author

Luis Vinueza


Luis arrived in the Galápagos Islands for the first time when he was 11 years old in 1983, and from that time on he knew that Galápagos would one day be his home. He returned to the islands in 1995 and spent 14 months camping in a tent. Seven of those months were spent on Española Island, studying the relationship of reproductive success and mate retention of Nazca boobies. In 1997, he started working for the marine lab at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) on different fields including diving surveys to assess the patterns of marine biodiversity around the Galápagos Marine Reserve. His research included counting lobsters and sea cucumbers and participating as an advisor for CDRS during the negotiation process that led to the 1998 creation of the Galápagos Marine Reserve. 

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