Santa Cruz Island

Apr 19, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


In the early hours of the day, we arrived at Itabaca Channel on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island. We headed for shore after breakfast and boarded the local buses that would take us to the highest part of the island. We spent quite a bit of time here admiring, among a number of features, the giant Galapagos daisies and the “Gemelos” craters.

As we descended gradually back toward sea level, we ourselves at “El Manzanillo” farm, where we looked for Galapagos giant tortoises and found several animals feeding on the grasses and other plants of the area. That afternoon we enjoyed a much-deserved lunch and then continued to descend further along to an area containing very large lava tunnel and a local coffee farm. It was here where we learned how coffee, chocolate, and alcohol are locally produced.

After a short bus drive, we arrived at “Fausto Llerena Breeding Center,” where we observed juvenile Galapagos giant tortoises in different stages of development. We had the additional opportunity to go visit another part of the facility, where we observed the preserved body of Lonesome George: the last individual from Pinta Island, having passed in 2014 without living descendants.

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About the Author

Gilda Gonzalez

Naturalist

Gilda was born in Ambato, located in the very heart of the Ecuadorian Andes. Since she was a child, she loved animals, often rescuing street cats and dogs. Her parents always made sure there were nature books and plenty of Jacques Cousteau’s videos at home. She graduated from high school with a degree in chemistry and biology. Afterwards, Gilda obtained a B.A. in tourism and hotel management in Quito. She also studied English, French and German, later spending two months in Brussels, Belgium.

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