Jun 05, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II
Today we visited Puerto Ayora, the tourist capital of the Galapagos with the largest human population (≈30,000 people).
Puerto Ayora also harbors the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station head, both founded in 1959. The Charles Darwin Research Station is one of the main institutions that provides critical advice to guide the management and conservation strategies implemented by the Galapagos National Park.
At the Galapagos National Park, we visited the tortoise path, a relatively new exhibit that highlights critical issues such as the efforts to restore critical populations of giant tortoises and finches. We saw super Diego, a male from Española that fathered many giant tortoises. Many of them have been already repatriated to Española.
We also visited Lonesome George exhibit, the last tortoise of Pinta (passed away in 2012) to remind us about the fragility of the Islands.
Later, we travel for 20 minutes along the humid zone, to visit el Trapiche, a locally owned farm to observe the elaboration of coffee, chocolate and liqueur. Then we went to el Aquelarre, for lunch, a beautiful restaurant. Finally, we visited El Chato II, a farm where we could observe the land tortoises of Santa Cruz Island roaming free in their natural habitat, we learnt about the ecology of this healthy population (~8000 individuals).
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