Santa Cruz Islands

Aug 13, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today we arrived at Santa Cruz Island on a clear morning, a welcome break from the cool temperatures and partly rainy weather of the last two days. In the morning we went to the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation where we were able to see giant tortoises – really old ones! It was fascinating to learn about how the breeding program works and the great job that the Galapagos National Park Service is doing in this amazing archipelago. The museum had an incredible collection the different animals and plants of the Galapagos Islands.

Later in the morning everybody had the chance to go on their own and visit the town of Puerto Ayora. The fisherman’s market had a lot of lobster, but Selena, the sea lion that is fed by the local fisherman, stole the show. We gathered again in the Rock Restaurant for some drinks and food. Then we went to visit a local school called Tomas de Berlanga. It was so eye opening to be in a school that was surrounded by so many wonderful trees and animals. Another group went to the Trapiche Farm. There, the group saw how people made sugar from the sugar cane tree, as well as how to make alcohol from the same tree. They also learned how to toast coffee beans to make one of the most exotic coffees in the world – Galapagos coffee!

For lunch we went to a place in the highlands that is owned by a local from Santa Cruz Island. We had delicious chicken prepared with ingredients that grow locally. After lunch we finally visited the giant tortoises in the wild and it was the most breathtaking moment of the day. There were tortoises everywhere, and all different sizes – giants, medium, and small ones. At the end of the walk we took time in the reserve to have coffee and tea. On the way back, some guests decided went onboard to rest and others decided to stay on land to enjoy the afternoon in Puerto Ayora doing some shopping, eating, drinking, and walking around this beautiful town. At night, local musicians came on board to make some music and we were happy to have the opportunity to dance. A local artisan also came onboard to show their work, including many interesting souvenirs: chocolates, bracelets, and more. It was a splendid day on Santa Cruz Island, a different side of this enchanted archipelago.

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About the Author

Charles Wittmer

Naturalist

Charles was raised in the Galápagos Islands. He is the grandson of Rolf Wittmer, the first person documented to have been born on the island of Floreana after his parents, Margret and Heinz Wittmer, emigrated from Germany in 1932. 

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