Santa Cruz Island

Feb 23, 2018 - National Geographic Islander


Today was an exciting day for the National Geographic Islander guests and crew, today was Tortoise Day! We spent all day on Santa Cruz Island, one of the inhabited islands of the Archipelago and where the Galapagos National Park Headquarters and Charles Darwin Foundation are located. Furthermore, today was the day the local crew showed guests the town and shared their stories about how magical it was to grow up in paradise. We started tortoise day with a visit to the Tortoise Breeding Center, here we saw small, medium, large and giant tortoises, learned about their breeding program and about the different restoration, eradication and repatriation projects to maintain the Galapagos Islands protected and magical. The expedition continued on the highland of Santa Cruz Island, more precisely underground of this island, as we visited one of the longest lava tubes in South America, 700 meters in length. We also got the opportunity to visit a local sugar cane farm and coffee plantation to learn how the first Galapagos colonizers used to produce these crops in the 60s when there was no electricity, roads or cars. Adriano and Vicente, father and son and the owners of this farm, showed as around and told us incredible stories. The afternoon was like a dream for most of our guests, spent in the highlands walking, resting on hammocks and just enjoying the company of these wise animals, the Galapagos Giant Tortoises in the wild. When we visit Santa Cruz, our guests get to fulfill one of their lifetime dreams and walk right next the giant tortoises as they feed on the land they have called home for millions of years. It was truly an amazing Galapagos Tortoise day!

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About the Author

Gianna Haro

Naturalist

Most of Gianna´s memories seem to be dreams, made on flawless white sandy beaches with black lava rock contours and gorgeous turquoise ocean waters. Most of it happened while barefoot, in an enchanting place that some people regard as an ideal natural laboratory, the Galápagos Islands. For her it was home. Gianna grew up going to the beach nearly every day, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, playing with wild flowers, having sea lions steal her ice cream, observing marine iguanas, and identifying invertebrates. The latter was by no means technically accurate—she dubbed each new discovery with its own made-up scientific name. At some point during those early years, being an observer became an innate ability and she knew she wanted to be a biologist. 

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