Santa Cruz Island

Nov 21, 2018 - National Geographic Islander


This morning we awoke to find – civilization! The turquoise waters of Academy Bay were full of all sorts of boats and yachts and ships. Along the shore, we saw houses and buildings, and after three days in the quiet of the outer islands, all the bustle of a town of nearly 20,000 was a surprise. In the morning, we visited the Charles Darwin Research Station. The highlight was the tortoise breeding center where several of the most rare and endangered species of giant tortoises have been brought back from the brink of extinction. We walked through the charming town, shopping and photographing as we went. The fish market was particularly enchanting with pelicans, frigates, and very fat sea lions begging for scraps.

Later in the highlands, we visited an open-air school and we were delighted with the happy children who gave us the tour. We entered a huge lava tunnel and then sampled coffee, chocolate, and sugar cane products on a family run farm. Lunch was served buffet style at Rancho Manzanillo and was both abundant and delicious. Afterward, we wandered among hundreds of giant tortoises as they grazed in the lush green pastures and we took a myriad of photographs. The evening was complete with a folkloric music and dance show back aboard National Geographic Islander. It has been another magical day in the islas encantadas!

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About the Author

Lynn Fowler

Expedition Leader

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, and one of seven children, Lynn grew up in various university towns where her father was a professor of physics. Lynn obtained her B.A. in biology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, followed by a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Florida, which encompassed a study of marine turtles in Costa Rica. She arrived in Galápagos in 1978 and became one of the first female naturalist guides working for the Galápagos National Park.

About the Photographer

José Guerrero

Naturalist

José Guerrero Vela is an Ecuadorian permanent resident of the Galápagos. His mother was born in the Galápagos and his grandfather was one of the first generation of teachers there, which has always inspired him to promote education as the main path to protect the islands.  

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