Santa Cruz Island

Jan 17, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Wednesday was another wonderful day in the Galapagos! Our goal of the day was to see as many Galapagos giant tortoises as we could, and to learn all that we could about these fascinating reptiles.

We started an active day in Santa Cruz at the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we were able to understand their role in the conservation of the islands and past, present and future projects. At the center we also had the chance to see newborn tortoises, Diego the stud (who has fathered more than 800 offspring) and the mausoleum where we keep Lonesome George.

Next on the agenda was some free time to discover this small village, where we passed a colorful fish market that provided great picture opportunities, with pelicans and frigates trying to steel the catch of the day!

We enjoyed some fresh passionfruit juice at a local café before boarded the busses, which took some of us to visit a local school, while others biked into the highlands. The morning ended with a visit toEl Trapiche, owned by Don Adriano, a charismatic local who showed us how to process sugar cane products, like panela and moonshine. We spent our time there making our own cocktails, photographing plantains, roasting coffee beans, learning an Ecuadorian toast, all that in just one place.

Lunch was served in a restaurant next to a giant tortoise ranch. Our naturalists led a little walk around the farm, where we got to see up to 70 of these mysterious animals gathering in a pond.

Half an hour later, we were heading back to the ship in the sunset of Santa Cruz. After daily recap and dinner, we ended the day with a visit from some very talented local musicians, who entertained us with Latin American rhythms and showed us a few dances. All that in just one day in the Enchanted Islands. 

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About the Author

Anahi Concari

Anahi Concari

About the Photographer

Cindy Manning

Expedition Leader

Born in Lima, Peru, of North American parents, Cindy and her family subsequently lived in several South American and European countries with a couple stops in Peoria, Illinois. Cindy received a degree in biology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Afterwards, Cindy spent a year and a half teaching science in the Western Province of Kenya, East Africa. 

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