Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos archipelago and one of the few places where it is possible to see giant tortoises in the wild. After landing, we boarded private buses to reach the highlands where they live. But first, we stopped in a cloud forest to examine the impressive geology of the Los Gemelos area. Several sink holes, or pit craters, are surrounded by many scalesia trees and other native vegetation. A short distance later, we entered giant tortoise territory. We saw so many of these iconic creatures that gave the Galapagos its name. Afterward, we headed to Las Bachas just a few miles away to enjoy the beautiful white sand beach where turtles lay their eggs. All day long, we were captivated by the beauty and wildlife of this very special place.
National Geographic Endeavour II
For this first full day, we started with a walk over North Seymour Island, located on the north side of Baltra Island (officially known as South Seymour). This uplifted island is also known as Bird Island. It is home to a nice community of marine birds, such as blue-footed boobies, two species of frigatebirds, and swallow-tailed gulls (the only nocturnal gull). For our afternoon activities, we snorkeled by a red colored beach on Rábida island. We concluded the day with a stroll over an iron-oxide beach. Along the trail, we explored a saltwater lagoon with sixteen American flamingos. We even saw some nests!