Santa Cruz

Mar 13, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


Today we came to the largest town of the Galapagos, Porto Ayora, which is located south of Santa Cruz Island. At this busy island we truly had a wonderful day, and one marked with several excellent day activities. We visited the Charles Darwin Research Station, the giant tortoise breeding center, a lava tunnel, a local farm, and then we saw wild tortoises!

After exploring Porto Ayora, we returned to National Geographic Islander, and after dinner we enjoyed a presentations series along with local musicians. We had a wonderful experience over the course of this voyage and got a taste of the local culture as well.

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About the Author

Pablo Valladares

Naturalist

Pablo was born in Quito, capital of one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and has been captivated by nature for as long as he can remember.  His mother showed him his first giant tortoise when he was 5 years old and that image remained engraved in his mind.  At age 7, his father gave him a special gift:  a map of the Galapagos with drawings of penguins, sea lions, tortoises, pelicans and more.  Those images inspired him at an early age and led him to study Biology at Guayaquil University.  While at university, Pablo worked as a guide for Environmental Education Camps in the mountains of Ecuador.  Upon completing his degree, he travelled to Puerto Villamil, the small human settlement on Isabela Island to work as a volunteer with the Galapagos National Park Service’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center for 6 months. During his free time, he also got involved with the Environmental Education Program run by the Charles Darwin Foundation Ecological Club, where he helped run outdoors, nature-based activities with the local children.  This combination of a passion for nature and working with the young eventually led to a full-time job with the Isabela branch of the Charles Darwin Foundation, where he worked for 8 years in different programs supporting Galápagos Conservation. It was during this time that he first learned about Lindblad Expeditions, as he would bring kids from the local ecological clubs on board the National Geographic Islander to perform theatrical pieces about Galapagos conservation issues that they had prepared specifically!

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