Santa Cruz Island

Apr 24, 2019 - National Geographic Islander

Today we visited Santa Cruz Island, one that is home to thousands of tortoises, and where the headquarters of Galapagos’ national park system and Charles Darwin Center for research are located.

In the morning we visited one of the most successful tortoise breeding programs in the world. Beforehand, however, we managed to catch an exclusive sneak preview of a sculpture currently underway at the Charles Darwin Foundation, funded by National Geographic and constructed of reclaimed plastics locals have been working to gather from around the archipelago. This sculpture seeks to create a positive impact on people by informing them about ocean waste and the importance of reuse and repurposing, and encourages those visiting to take the pledge to safeguard our planet by adopting less waste-intensive practices.

The rest of the day was spent in the company of wild tortoises of the Santa Cruz highlands. On our way to the migration route, we stopped and went through a lava tube. We then visited the farm of Don Adriano, a producer that moved to the Galapagos in the late ‘60s and has since made an ample life producing chocolate, coffee, and sugar cane—entirely without electricity.

We had a beautiful, tortoise-filled day here in the Galapagos!

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About the Author

Gianna Haro


Most of Gianna´s memories seem to be dreams, made on flawless white sandy beaches with black lava rock contours and gorgeous turquoise ocean waters. Most of it happened while barefoot, in an enchanting place that some people regard as an ideal natural laboratory, the Galápagos Islands. For her it was home. Gianna grew up going to the beach nearly every day, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, playing with wild flowers, having sea lions steal her ice cream, observing marine iguanas, and identifying invertebrates. The latter was by no means technically accurate—she dubbed each new discovery with its own made-up scientific name. At some point during those early years, being an observer became an innate ability and she knew she wanted to be a biologist. 

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