Santa Cruz Island

Nov 21, 2017 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Tuesday is tortoise day in the Galapagos. We began today’s adventure with an early walk through the Charles Darwin Research Station, learning all about conservation projects of the past, present and future, and the importance of taking care of Darwin’s natural laboratory. The highlight of the walk was seeing the baby tortoises in the breeding center feeding, and our Galapagos tortoise stallion, Diego, who has sired 800 offspring!

Later on we got the chance explore the colorful town of Puerto Ayora, where the animals have learned to take advantage of human development—we saw sea lions sitting on the beaches, marine iguanas on the sidewalk, and pelicans stealing fish from the fishers market.

Then it was time to tour the highlands, where we visited the El Trapiche, a local family farm with charismatic Don Adriano, who taught us about the process of making coffee, sugar cane products and moonshine—we even got to try it with an Ecuadorian toast. Lunch was hosted in a beautifully decorated restaurant in the nearby called Aquelarre, which actually means “a witch’s Sabbath”!

The highlands of Santa Cruz are filled with tortoises. We saw so many, that it was hard to keep count! When we arrived at the tortoise ranch, El Manzanillo, we put on our boots and find ourselves surrounded with them. Wild tortoises are actually calm, and we had the chance to enjoy their slow-paced routine and connect at eye level with this magical giant reptiles.

Back on board we had our daily recap, dinner and the company of wonderful musicians and dancers that introduced us to the world of Latin-American rhythms. 

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About the Author

Anahi Concari

Anahi Concari

About the Photographer

Roy Vallinga

Roy Vallinga

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