After navigating through the night, we woke up at Academy Bay on Santa Cruz Island, our destination for today.

In the morning we landed at Puerto Ayora and explored the Charles Darwin Research Station as well as the giant tortoise breeding center. Some of the tortoises here are tiny babies, born as part of the species restoration programs carried out by the Galapagos National Park Service. Eventually all these little creatures will be repatriated to their home islands where they will spend the rest of their lives. 

Afterward, we took buses to the highlands of Santa Cruz. The highlights of the place are many: green forests, birdlife, lava tunnels and the majestic Galápagos giant tortoises grazing in the wild. These large gentle reptiles have made a great comeback since conservation work began on the Galapagos.  

In the afternoon we explored the cloud forest and grasslands. This region is green throughout the year and it is home to many of the native and endemic species that inhabit the Galapagos, such as Darwin’s finches, mockingbirds, pintail ducks and the giant tortoises that have made these islands famous. It is estimated that more than 5,000 giant tortoises live on Santa Cruz island.