Santa Cruz Island

Nov 20, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Today was tortoise day in the Galapagos. We spent our day on the island of Santa Cruz, which hosts the largest human settlement in the islands and also gives us the best opportunities to spot giant tortoises in the wild!

Our day began in the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we learned all about their history and their role in the preservation of these mysterious giant reptiles, followed by some free time in the town of Puerto Ayora. Here, we were able to discover shops and see a little bit of everyday life in the town, next to sleepy sea lions resting on benches, marine iguanas basking in the middle of the road and brown pelicans stealing fish from the fishermen.

As the day continued we moved to the highlands of Santa Cruz, where we had two options, the first was a visit to sugar cane and coffee farm “Trapiche,” where the production of moonshine is a family ritual. The second option was a privilege that not many have, to see a recently discovered species of giant tortoise, geochelone donfausoi. Lunch was hosted in a cozy and picturesque restaurant.

The main activity of the afternoon was to visit a tortoise ranch, to spot another species of a unique genus, but mainly to have a Darwinian epiphany in an amazing place where giant reptiles dominate the landscape.

Back on board, local guests arrived to the ship, lecturers from the Charles Darwin Research Station, artisans, musicians, and dancers. A great way to immerse ourselves in the Galapagos culture and a wonderful way to end such a delightful day. 

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About the Author

Anahí Concari


Anahí grew up in a small house by the beach in the Galápagos Islands. Along with her best friend, she used to wander during the days around mangrove trees, becoming a different animal every day. She used to camp on solitary beaches, snorkel with sharks, dive with her uncle, a local dive instructor, and sail around the islands with her free spirit neighbors, learning about nature with her own hands, eyes and ears.  

About the Photographer

Photos by guest photographer Lucas Bustamantes

Photos by guest photographer Lucas Bustamantes

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