Santa Cruz Island

Dec 27, 2019 - National Geographic Islander

Today we traveled to my home island of Santa Cruz and visited the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center. It’s amazing to see how little these tortoises are as hatchlings, and how big they get through the years! The success of this species is due, in part, to one of the most fruitful programs run by the Galapagos National Park - the restoration of the iconic Galapagos giant tortoise.  After our visit we wandered the local town, then headed to the highlands. Our first stop here was at a lava tunnel followed by a local farm known as “El Trapiche”.  The afternoon was spent at the Giant Tortoise Natural Reserve, an incredible place housing many of these gentle giants in lush green vegetation.  We’ve had a wonderful time, and as a final touch we ended the day with a fun presentation from a local group of musicians.

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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.

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