Charles Darwin Research Station and El Trapiche, Santa Cruz Island

Feb 27, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II

We awoke this morning in Academy Bay, located at the south end of Santa Cruz Island. It was a beautiful morning and by 8:00am all of our guests were on their way to visit and learn about the most successful and iconic program on ecological restoration of the islands, the Giant Tortoise Rearing Center. This is a program that is jointly run by the Galapagos National Park Service and the Charles Darwin Research Station.  After this visit, our guests had the chance to walk around the neighborhood and experience the community of Puerto Ayora. Some went shopping for souvenirs at the many artisan stores, while others went for ice cream, or spent time at the local cyber café.

At 11:00 am, our guests boarded buses and headed up to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy a visit to a sugar cane mill called El Trapiche.  Our guests had a fun experience with a local family, learning about their lifestyle and their traditional methods of producing sugar, coffee, and even moonshine.  We were able to try some of the sugar cane juice as well as the moonshine that is produced at the farm. Afterwards, we headed to the Aquelarre restaurant, where we had a delicious lunch.

After lunch, our guests continued by bus until we reached a private property, owned by local galapagueños, which is located at the boundary of a giant tortoise reserve. Everybody had the chance to observe these magnificent reptiles in their natural habitat and learn about their natural history.

By 4:30 in the afternoon, we had returned to the town of Puerto Ayora. Some of the guests decided to return directly to the National Geographic Endeavour II, while others stayed later to spend time glancing through the many souvenir shops or trying the street side cafes of Puerto Ayora.  By sunset, everybody was back on board.

At the end of the day, right after dinner, we were joined by visiting musicians and dancers, who provided entertainment in the ship’s lounge.

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About the Author

Salvador Cazar


Salvador Cazar studied biology at the Universidad Nacional Del Sur, Bahía Blanca, in Argentina and at the Catholic University of Ecuador. Between 1988 and 1994, Salvador worked as a naturalist and tour leader for several national and international tour operators, leading groups of visitors across the Ecuadorian rain forest, Andean forest, and to Galápagos.

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