Santa Cruz Island

Feb 14, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Today we woke up to the view of an inhabited island, we had arrived to Puerto Ayora, the largest of all ports in Galapagos. We visited the giant tortoise facilities at the Galapagos National Park Service. This is the main institution that works in conservation to restore the dynasty of giant tortoises, among other projects.

We spotted giant tortoises that are part of captive breeding programs and a breeding center where baby tortoises are found and kept for the next five years before they are repatriated to their home island.

We also had other options for the morning such as a lava tunnel and a coffee and sugar cane plantation. In the sugar plantation we saw many processes to create brown sugar and to roast coffee beans which are produced here in the islands.

In the afternoon we stopped at a restaurant in the green misty highlands of Santa Cruz for lunch. This restaurant is on the migration path of giant tortoises! Today we had lunch as we saw the Galapagos giant tortoises walking and grazing in front of us. Later on, we explored this vast tortoise reserve where more than 5000 individuals live in the forest and grassland. Conservation work has restored these animals from the brink of extinction to healthy populations.

Today was giant tortoise day, plenty of wildlife and a social taste of an inhabited island.

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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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