Breeding Center and Highlands

Aug 08, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II

In the misty morning, we woke in the central part of the Galapagos Archipelago, and today we went on an all-day exploration of Santa Cruz Island. We began the day at the Fausto Llerena Giant Tortoises Breeding Center. This place has tortoises from different islands, and besides juveniles, we had a chance to see adults from different populations.

We learned a lot about our program to protect and recover the endemic species of giant tortoises. We also met Diego, the most important tortoise from the island of Espanola!

We had chance to observe the tortoises from the island of Floreana, something that was impossible to witness years ago, because Floreana giant tortoises were considered extinct, until a small group of them were discovered isolated in Wolf Volcano, Isabela Island.

At mid-morning, part of the group went to a local farm to see the whole process of coffee and raw sugar production. The rest of our group went to the local Tomas de Berlanga School, a fantastic experience to meet and interact locally with children and teachers.

After lunch, we got on local buses and drove to see Galapagos giant tortoises roaming free at a giant tortoise’s private El Chato Reserve. Tortoises migrate every year from the highlands to the arid zone. Today we saw numbers of giant tortoises peacefully relaxing and feeding on grasses. More than 40 individual tortoises were spotted around the area!

At the end of the afternoon, we returned aboard and after dinner had a great time listening to some classic music from Galapagos and the Andes, everybody was so happy, dancing and clapping.

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About the Author

Andres Vergara


Andrés was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador. From a very young age, he spent his vacations in Playas on the coast of Ecuador where his grandparents ran a hotel. There he developed a keen interest for nature and the outdoors. He studied primary and secondary school in La Condamine, a French Institution in Quito.

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