Santa Cruz Island

Feb 27, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


For those who rose early today, the sunrise was fabulous; a pink and orange glow among gray and white billowing cumulus clouds. We were anchored off the town of Puerto Ayora before dawn, and following a bountiful breakfast we boarded our fleet of Zodiacs and motored to shore. We visited the Charles Darwin Research Station and saw the captive tortoises that are part of a very successful breeding program. Hundreds of tortoises have been hatched and then repatriated to islands where their numbers were dangerously low.

After a walk-through town to shop and take photographs, we climbed on buses and drove up into the lush green highlands. Here we descended into an immense lava tunnel, sampled coffee, brown sugar, and cane alcohol at a small family farm and then had a delicious lunch at Rancho Manzanillo. In the pastures surrounding the restaurant tortoise were feeding, resting, and mating. We walked among them and took many photos. Later back on the ship we were treated to a lovely music and dance show by the local group, EcoArte. Today we saw a different side of the Galapagos, and we had a marvelous time!

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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

Jonathan Aguas

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jonathan was born into one of only a handful of families that reaches back five generations in Galápagos, in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristobal Island. He first left the islands when he won a highly-coveted scholarship to finish his studies in the U.S.  This was the start of his life-long passion for science and languages. He earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology from the University of Florida and later spent time in Europe, where he learned French. He is now fluent in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

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