Jun 05, 2019 - National Geographic Islander
Today we awoke to find National Geographic Islander anchored among a couple of dozen yachts, boats, and ships of all sizes, in the calm blue harbor off the busy town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. Then we spent the day exploring. First we visited the National Park’s Tortoise Breeding and Rearing Programs and the Charles Darwin Research Station’s visitor center and store, and then we walked through the friendly town. We shopped in colorful boutiques and took photos of seabirds and a very fat sea lion begging for scraps at the fisherman’s market. After a cool drink at The Rock Café, we drove into the lush green highlands. We entered a lava tunnel and later sampled coffee and sugar cane products as we visited a small local family-run farm.
We had a delicious buffet lunch at Rancho Manzanillo and enjoyed a special talk by Tui DeRoy, a photographer and writer, about her early life in the Galapagos. Afterward, we roamed the green pastures with our naturalists and photographed the wild tortoises! What a unique experience, watching them as they fed, mated, rested, and strolled slowly across the rocky grasslands as they have done for millennia.
On the ship in the evening, we watched artisans carve and paint, and we sampled delicious handmade chocolates. Photographer Tui autographed her books, and to top off our interesting day, we joined in with the energetic performance by EcoArte folkloric musicians and dancers!
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