Santa Cruz Island

Jun 28, 2019 - National Geographic Islander

We spent the entire day on my home island, Santa Cruz. This morning we visited the Giant Tortoise Breeding center and the Charles Darwin Research Station. These are the most successful programs run by the Galapagos National Park. Afterward we explored the town, and boarded buses to a local farm known as “El Trapiche” where our guests were able to experience how the first settlers lived and worked. We tried local products such as brown sugar, fresh sugar cane juice, local coffee, and sugar cane alcohol for the adults! After our session on the farm, we had a delicious lunch prepared in the highlands.

Guests also enjoyed a special talk from local scientists Anne Gezou, Freddy Cabrera and Ainoa Nieto who discussed the importance of the Galapagos giant tortoise, as well as preservation efforts being made. As a highlight to our day, our young explorers were able to track a giant tortoise that was baptized by the group as “Francisco.”

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About the Author

Vanessa Gallo


Vanessa Gallo’s grandparents arrived in the Galápagos Islands in 1936, making her the third generation of her family to live and work in this magical archipelago. She left the islands for the capital city of Quito for high school, where she discovered that learning foreign languages was one of her main interests. Coming from a family of naturalist guides, it was not a surprise that she also became one at the age of 17. Vanessa left the islands once again for Switzerland, where she earned a diploma in tourism and strengthened her language skills and knowledge of the travel industry. She has also travelled extensively to destinations including as Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Canada, the Canary Islands, Mauritius, and many European countries.

About the Videographer

Andrick Deppmeyer

Video Chronicler

Video chronicler Andrick was born in New Hampshire. Raised just a few hundred yards from the local ski hill, he was exposed to nature and wildlife from a very young age. 

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