Santa Cruz Island

Jan 12, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Right in the heart of the Galápagos archipelago, Santa Cruz is quite different from all the other islands we have visited so far. Its high peaks collect moisture from the passing clouds, which means the highlands remain green all year round. There is a large population of dome-carapaced giant tortoises which migrate between the lowlands and the highlands, through the farming zone, in order to find suitable foraging and nesting grounds.

Puerto Ayora, the largest town of the archipelago, is located in the south of the island, and is nowadays the center of tourism thanks to the establishment of the Charles Darwin Research Station back in 1964. The giant tortoise captive breeding program was originally conceived by this internationally funded station, but is now successfully managed by the Galápagos National Park Service. Together with other restoration and eradication programs, the Park Service works in the preservation of this unique laboratory of natural evolution. 

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About the Author

Gaby Bohorquez


Gaby was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Her first job in the Galapagos was on board a 90-passenger cruise ship as the cruise director’s assistant, and she fell under the spell of the Enchanted Isles. She returned to Guayaquil to study at the Espiritu Santo Technological University to obtain a degree in Tourism Management. Her fascination for the islands was still strong so, after finishing her studies, Gaby took the opportunity to join the Naturalist Guide’s course, jointly organized by the Galapagos National Park Service and the Charles Darwin Research Station. That was back in 1992, and she has been a naturalist since, keeping her deep love and passion for the islands during all these years.

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