Santa Cruz Island

Feb 26, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today we started our day anchored at Academy Bay, located at the Southern end of Santa Cruz Island.  Early in the morning we disembarked at the dock, where we spotted smaller cruise ships and sailboats that are cruising the islands at the same time with us, taking into consideration that the Galapagos is the third largest marine reserve in the world.

After a short walk, we got to the giant tortoises breeding center, where we learned about how the Darwin Research Station scientists and the National Park rangers breed these emblematic chelonians in captivity. We were lucky to find the most successful reproducer from Espanola Island, Diego. Right after our morning visit we had a little free time to wander around Puerto Ayora and do some shopping to support the local economy of the islands.

On our way to the Santa Cruz highlands, we stopped by a locally-owned sugar cane mill. There we learned how the Cabrera family processes the sugar cane to get molasses, raw sugar and the very popular sugar cane firewater.  They also grow and roast their own Galapagos organic coffee. We got the chance to taste all of these local delicacies. Shortly after we continued to the restaurant Aquelarre, which means covent, a mythical place where the witches gather for their meetings.

After lunch, we went to the El Chato ranch, which is private land used as giant tortoise reserve.  There we spotted several giant tortoises walking freely around the farms located in the highlands, creating great opportunities to take great pictures of these reptiles.

At the end of the afternoon, we headed back to town and then to the ship that, by now, really feels like home.

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About the Author

Ximena Cordova

Naturalist

Ximena was born in Cuenca, the third largest city of Ecuador. Located in the Andes Mountains, Cuenca is known as the cultural capital of Ecuador and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site because of its many historical buildings. Ximena gained experience with American culture as an exchange student in Santa Barbara, CA, and later, while living and working at the United Nations in New York City for four and a half years.

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