Charles Darwin Research Station & El Trapiche

Feb 21, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II

This morning by the time our guests got up, we were anchored at Academy Bay at the south end of Santa Cruz Island. It was a beautiful morning and by 8:00 all of our guests had already landed and were on their way to visit and learn about one of the most successful and iconic programs on ecological restoration of the islands, the Giant Tortoise Rearing Center. This is a program that is jointly run by the Galapagos National Park Service and the Charles Darwin Research Station. After this visit, our guests had the chance to walk across the community of Puerto Ayora where some of them did some souvenir shopping, others went for ice cream, and others to a cyber café.

By 11:00 am, our guest boarded buses and headed to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy a visit to a sugar cane mill called El Trapiche. Here our guests had a fun experience with a local family and learned about their lifestyle. We tried some of the sugar cane juice as well as the moonshine that is produced at the farm. After this interesting experience, we got back on the buses and headed the Aquelarre restaurant, where we had a delicious lunch.

After lunch, our guests continued by bus until we reached a private property, own by local galapagueños, which is located at the boundary of a giant tortoise reserve. Here everybody had the chance to observe these magnificent reptiles in their natural habitat and learn about their natural history.

By 4:30 in the afternoon, everybody got back to town. Some of the guest decided to return directly to the National Geographic Endeavour II, while others stayed later to spend time glancing through the many souvenir shops or trying the street side cafes of Puerto Ayora. By sunset, everybody was back on board.

At the end of the day, right after dinner, our guests joined our visiting musicians and dancers for some entertainment in the lounge onboard.

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About the Author

Salvador Cazar


Salvador Cazar studied biology at the Universidad Nacional Del Sur, Bahía Blanca, in Argentina and at the Catholic University of Ecuador. Between 1988 and 1994, Salvador worked as a naturalist and tour leader for several national and international tour operators, leading groups of visitors across the Ecuadorian rain forest, Andean forest, and to Galapagos.

About the Photographer

Alan Pedersen

Alan Pedersen

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