Santa Cruz Island

Dec 19, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Today we enjoyed exploring my home island, Santa Cruz. In the morning we visited the Fausto Llerena Giant Tortoise Breeding Center and the Charles Darwin Station. These are wonderful places to learn about the conservation efforts to protect the iconic animals of the Archipelago.

The afternoon was spent in the highlands, where we visited a local farm, El Trapiche. There was also an optional visit to a local school, Tomas de Berlanga, or exploring a local farm, El Manzanillo. On the farm, we got to see the tame giant tortoises of Santa Cruz wandering around their natural habitat. It is clear that conservation the key to protecting this magical place. 

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About the Author

Vanessa Gallo


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.

About the Photographer

Walter Perez

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Walter was born in a very small town on the mainland of Ecuador. His first trip to the Galápagos was when he was 12 years old, visiting friends and aunt, who had moved to the islands. From the first moment he saw the Islands, he fell in love with them and knew then where his future home would be.

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