Santa Cruz Island

Jul 02, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today we visited the island of Santa Cruz, the second largest of the Galapagos Archipelago with a surface of almost 1,000 square kilometers and a population estimated to be 20,000 people. In the morning we experienced large swells, maybe due to a solar eclipse which made the day a little darker than usual, especially in the afternoon.

We visited the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Galapagos National Park Service complex. Since 1959 these two organizations have been running several conservation projects. One of the most popular programs is the breeding in captivity of several species of giant tortoises, which has helped some to restore populations and bring them back from possible extinction.

Leaving this place, we walked through Puerto Ayora and saw the town, souvenirs shops, local art stores, craft galleries, and the fishing dock, where local fishermen bring their daily catch. Birds such as frigates, pelicans, and sea lions are ready to steal a piece or eat the leftovers after the cleansing of the fish.

Soon after this visit, we went to a sugar cane farm located out of town. Here we learned about the process of artisanal distillation of alcohol with the use of sugar cane fermented juice. We also saw the making of brown sugar and coffee, among other interesting things.

Later on, we drove to a local country-style restaurant, where we had a wonderful lunch. A couple of hours later we started a hike, at another nearby farm, to see the giant tortoises in the wild. These beautiful animals were wandering around the forest of this place, and we ended up seeing about 20 or more of them. It was amazing to see them thriving in their natural environment, were they have been living for thousands of years.

At the very end, we paid a visit to a lava tube, another amazing volcanic feature of Santa Cruz Island. This has been another amazing day in the Galapagos.
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About the Author

Lenin Villacis

Naturalist

Lenin was born in the capital city of Quito, where he grew up surrounded by the mountains and volcanoes of the Andean region of Ecuador. At age 17, he received a scholarship to study in Mexico, and a few years later traveled to the U.S. and finished college with a degree in Earth sciences. In 1994 he returned to Ecuador to undergo a training course to become a naturalist guide for his incredibly rich and biodiverse home country, and started working in the Amazon rain forest of Ecuador. 

About the Videographer

Rodrigo Moterani

Video Chronicler

Rodrigo Moterani was born in Brazil in 1976. After spending his teen years playing with camcorders and VCRs, Rodrigo ended up working in the field of television journalism and video production in his home country. He graduated with a degree in communications in 1997.

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