Puerto Ayora Santa Cruz

Apr 06, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Today we visited Puerto Ayora town located at the south of Santa Cruz Island, which is second largest of the Galapagos with a surface of almost 1000 Km2.  The island is the center of tourism and the economy of the islands, plus the home base of the Charles Darwin Research Station, as well as the National Park Service, these two organizations have been working towards the conservations of the archipelago since 1957. During our visit to the Giant Tortoises Rearing Center, we learned that not only scientists and politicians work to recover the populations of animals, but young kids and the rest of the inhabitants of the Galapagos. This morning we were able to see “baby” tortoises and large individuals as well. Here we also pay a visit to Lonesome George’s “mausoleum” display building.

Soon after we went to visit an amazing lava tube located on the highlands of this large island, this amazing geological formation has almost 1 km long, and easily a school bus fits inside, we were able to walk the inside and understood the way it is form.

Around noon, we had a BBQ lunch at “Rancho Manzanillo”, and in the same area, we developed a short hike to see many giant tortoises wandering free in their natural environment, we believe we saw about 15 of them. It was amazing to see these giants moving through the forest and resting by the shores of a small pond located in this beautiful forest of the island of Santa Cruz.

Once back on board we enjoyed a spectacular sunset with a delicious cocktail in our hands, completely relax and happy after seeing the iconic creature of the Galapagos.

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About the Author

Lenin Villacis


Lenin was born in the capital city of Quito, where he grew up surrounded by the mountains and volcanoes of the Andean region of Ecuador. At age 17, he received a scholarship to study in Mexico, and a few years later traveled to the U.S. and finished college with a degree in Earth sciences. In 1994 he returned to Ecuador to undergo a training course to become a naturalist guide for his incredibly rich and biodiverse home country, and started working in the Amazon rain forest of Ecuador. 

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