El Chato, Santa Cruz

Aug 14, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Today we visited Santa Cruz Island, which is the biggest island in terms of population (roughly 20000 inhabitants) and the second biggest island in terms of extension (986 square km). Many Ecuadorian cultures mix together in Puerto Ayora, the town of Santa Cruz, since this is a place to which many families from several provinces of Ecuador moved several years ago. Nowadays, we find a big variety of traditions and customs that are still developing and transforming the culture in Galapagos.

Puerto Ayora is not only a human settlement, but also home to the most emblematic species on the whole archipelago: the giant tortoise. We had the great opportunity to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, and the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre, where visitors can learn more about this huge animals. Our guests had a wonderful time seeing the baby tortoises at different stages of growth, learning about where they came from and taking a closer look at their unique features.

In the afternoon, we visited a private farm belonging to a family from the only discover but also taste the delicious products that they are produce, including coffee beans, chocolate, sugar cane, honey, and even moonshine!

At the local restaurant called El Aquelarre, we enjoyed a delicious lunch and explored the beautiful green landscape with many attractive ornamental plants. This lunch was fundamental to refuel for our hike on the wild ranch known as El Chato.

Here we had the unique opportunity to see the giant tortoises in their true natural habitat, walking and exploring completely free in the wild. This was the perfect opportunity to get closer to the giants of Galápagos and take family photos with these extraordinary animals.

But our day didn´t end here; having learned many interesting things about the flora and fauna of the Galápagos, now it was time to know more in depth about the cultural and artistic aspects of this paradise. Some of the most talented artists and artisans of Santa Cruz Island visited the National Geographic Endeavour II today and presented their various forms of art, including paintings, carved wood, jewellery and glass art coming directly from the people living here.  Afterwards, EcoArte musical and artistic group put on a performance, with elaborated and colourful dresses, graceful dancing and energetic “endemic“ music from the Galápagos and Ecuador were part of tonight´s show, during which many of our guests also seized the chance to join the celebration and dance with the rhythms and melodies of this amazing group of talented musicians.


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Gabriel Tapia

Gabriel Tapia

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