Santa Cruz Island, Cerro Dragon

Oct 24, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Early in the morning, we woke up at the central part of the archipelago. Today would be spent exploring the northwestern part of Santa Cruz Island, which is another world from the environments we have experienced so far.

Our first stop of the day was Cerro Dragon, a visitor site that holds an important land iguana population near a well-eroded tuff cone. To get there, we crossed a few different ecosystems; across the coastal area, past a brackish water lagoon, through a palo santo tree forest and finally to the see the land iguanas, which were very active and plentiful, despite being smaller than the normal population.

Some of us opted for a short walk and a Zodiac ride. We were very lucky to see a very active shoreline. Two species of boobies were seen fighting for an eel that got away, then a sea lion brought a large fish to the surface to break it apart, while frigate birds and storm petrels were enjoying leftovers. Soon after, blue-footed boobies were spotted diving on a unison for fish. It was a very spectacular display, against the backdrop of a beautiful landscape.

Afterward, our galley crew took pride in presenting an explosion of flavors and colors for our famous Ecuadorian lunch. Our hotel manager Juan Sebastian explained the preparation, spices, and ingredients involved in the creation of this exquisite traditional feast. “Panama-hat” was described also in detail.

In the afternoon, the National Geographic Endeavour II repositioned to Eden Island. Here we went for a fun Zodiac ride along the shore of this magnificent volcanic place. Blue-footed boobies, iguanas, pelicans, turtles and even some sharks were spotted today. Back onboard, we circumnavigated Daphne Islands while enjoying a wine tasting at the top deck of the ship, as the sun set and the full moon raised from the east, making way for another fun day.

Later at night, after dinner, we were enchanted by our National Geographic Wild celebrity; “The Incredible Dr. Pol”. We were impressed by his insights about his life and successful TV series. Then it was time to reminisce about the many experiences of such a wonderful day during our evening recap.


As we look back and gaze at these islands for the last time for the day, this place now seems to be timeless to us. It is now deep within our hearts and our experience has been unforgettable, a place where wildlife has no fear, allowing us to realize that we are not so different after all.

And so my deep thought:

“We must not acknowledge the methodical saying ‘don’t humanize the animals’ but instead ‘animalize the human’ by perceiving our surrounding with all our senses; embracing nature by coexistence and respect for one another, so we can become one with nature as we once were.” Celso Montalvo.

  • Send

About the Author

Celso Montalvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Celso was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At the age of nine he arrived in the Galápagos for the first time and he was profoundly touched by nature, observation, and isolation.  When he saw the sharks, rays and turtles swimming in the bay, he was triggered by a sense of wonder that he did not feel before.  Celso believes education is key to preservation. After graduating from the Naval Academy at the age of 17 he moved to New York to continue his education.

Get our newsletter

Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.

Privacy Policy