Santa Cruz Island

Dec 01, 2017 - National Geographic Islander

After breakfast we had a dry landing at the city pier of Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the Galapagos. After landing at this very active town, we headed towards the breeding center of the Galapagos National Park and passed the headquarters of the Charles Darwin foundation.

At the breeding center we learned about all the projects that are currently happening to restore the dynasty of the giant tortoises from the Galapagos. What an incredible place to see the different varieties of tortoises from several islands. One of the main representatives of all the conservation efforts happening here is the case of the species of giant tortoises from Espanola island. From 15 original adult breeders, now they have several hatchlings repatriated back on Espanola in their natural habitat.

We were able to see many of the baby tortoises from different islands kept here for the first years of life, before they are put back into their natural habitats to survive independently.

After the morning visit we took buses to get to the highlands of Santa Cruz island to visit an artisanal sugar cane press where locals produce alcohol, cane syrup, and roast Galapagos coffee. Here we were able to learn about all the different activities farmers in Galapagos started implementing back in the 1940s. 

After lunch at a nice open air restaurant in the highlands, we were able to walk around and photograph the giant tortoises in their natural habitat.  This was an incredible day to enjoy the iconic reptiles in this archipelago.

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About the Author

Jonathan Aguas

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jonathan was born into one of only a handful of families that reaches back five generations in Galápagos, in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristobal Island. He first left the islands when he won a highly-coveted scholarship to finish his studies in the U.S.  This was the start of his life-long passion for science and languages. He earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology from the University of Florida and later spent time in Europe, where he learned French. He is now fluent in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

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