Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz

Feb 22, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Our guests onboard the National Geographic Endeavor II spent the day exploring the green island of Santa Cruz. One of four inhabited islands in Galapagos, Santa Cruz actually has the largest human population (approximately 15,000 individuals) and is considered to be the economic hub of the province. We spent the morning learning about the important research being conducted at the Charles Darwin Foundation. It was especially exciting to learn about the captive breeding program at the Foundation and the importance of one giant tortoise – lovingly called Super Diego – who helped to save an entire species of giant tortoise endemic to Espanola Island. The trails throughout the Charles Darwin Foundation were teeming with flowering opuntia cacti, and some guests had the chance to see one of Darwin´s finches feeding on its flowers. The tour of the Charles Darwin Foundation ended with a viewing of the famous Lonesome George exhibit – an important reminder of how humans’ impact, both in Galapagos and throughout the rest of the world, can have direct consequences on our precious wildlife.

Guests had the opportunity to walk along the boardwalk and do a bit on souvenir shopping before heading up toward the evergreen highlands of Santa Cruz for lunch at the lovely Aquelarre restaurant in the highlands. After lunch, we went to see the Santa Cruz giant tortoise in the wild at El Chato. We walked the trails of the farm, spotting often well-camouflaged giant tortoises in the bush. Visitors learned more about the behavioral ecology of these magnificent creatures and spent some time taking photos. Some brave individuals dared the three lava tunnels found on the farm and learned about the historic lava flows that had formed them in the past.

We ended this great day onboard the National Geographic Endeavour II, enjoying a music concert and dance performed by local artists. Guests danced to Ecuadorian rhythms and enjoyed the artists playing some unique traditional instruments from the Andean region.

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About the Author

Javier Carrion


Javier grew up on Santa Cruz island where his grandparents first arrived in the 1940´s. Veritable pioneers, his grandparents settled in the highlands where they found a place to raise their children.

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