SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Jun 28, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today we visited Santa Cruz Island, my home island. Santa Cruz offers a different experience from the rest of the archipelago—it is the location of both the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park, and the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here you find the famous giant tortoise breeding center, where our guests learned about all the conservation efforts in place working to preserve the emblematic animals of the Galapagos Archipelago. The scientists and park rangers here have been working hard on this since the late 1960s, which great success.

After this visit, there was time to explore the small and cozy town of Puerto Ayora. There were other activities planned for our guests, which included an optional visit to a local school supported by the National Geographic Fund and a local farm, known as El Trapiche. A delicious lunch was served at a local restaurant located in the highlands, then with buses took us out to the giant tortoise natural reserve to observe the tortoises in their natural environment. It was a long day full of experiences,  and once we had returned onboard, scientists from the Charles Darwin Station gave a presentation about their projects and the importance of conservation in Galapagos. This is a great example of sustainable and responsible tourism. What a wonderful day in paradise!

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About the Author

Vanessa Gallo

Naturalist

Vanessa Gallo’s grandparents arrived in the Galápagos Islands in 1936, making her the third generation of her family to live and work in this magical archipelago. She left the islands for the capital city of Quito for high school, where she discovered that learning foreign languages was one of her main interests. Coming from a family of naturalist guides, it was not a surprise that she also became one at the age of 17. Vanessa left the islands once again for Switzerland, where she earned a diploma in tourism and strengthened her language skills and knowledge of the travel industry. She has also travelled extensively to destinations including as Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Canada, the Canary Islands, Mauritius, and many European countries.

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