Small and rather inconspicuous, Española lies in the southeastern region of the Galápagos Islands. Being one of the oldest islands of the archipelago, several of the species that inhabit this arid island are unique and endemic, not found anywhere else in the world. No humans are permitted to live on Española, so this special place belongs entirely to unique and beautiful creatures like Galapagos sea lions, waved albatrosses, marine iguanas and many others. Protected by strict regulations of the Galapagos National Park Directorate, these amazing animals remain ecologically naïve, almost oblivious to our presence.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Today is giant tortoise day! We anchor in the northern part of Santa Cruz and start our day with a short Zodiac drive to the turquoise waters of Itabaca Channel. We drive up to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, leaving behind the coastal zone vegetation and passing through dry forest before immersing ourselves in the humid zone, where everything is green. We stop at Los Gemelos, two volcanic craters surrounded by a scalesia forest. In this magical area we spot a variety of endemic birds and plants while learning about the geology of the island. Finally, we arrive in the luxuriant green highlands of Santa Cruz where we spot countless Galapagos tortoises. We spend all morning walking around these giants while we learn about their history, biology, and behavior as they roam peacefully in their natural habitat. These enormous creatures are truly fascinating to observe, which some of us did while sitting under a tree, painting, taking pictures, or chilling in a hammock. The giant tortoises are everywhere, and we spot dozens of them from the restaurant where we have lunch. On our way back, a flock of blue-footed boobies flies overhead, making us feel we are inside a nature documentary! We cap off this amazing day with a sunset walk on the beach before returning to the National Geographic Endeavour II .