Clear skies and sunshine gave us a warm welcome in Santa Cruz. All of our guests were very excited to see the unique wildlife of this Island and they were also going to see for the first time in our expedition, a town. it is a little hard to believe that people live in the Galapagos, so today we showed our guests the two different sides of the enchanted archipelago.
The Charles Darwin Station, home of several hundred giant tortoises, was our excursion this morning. Visiting the rearing center we saw little hatchlings, which eventually were going to be repatriated to their Islands of origin. Our guests learned a lot about the Island’s conservation and all the procedures done locally to restore the populations of giant tortoises in the Galápagos. Along with the hatchlings, full sized adult tortoises and land iguanas were seen at the center.
Our morning continued onboard local buses to discover the highlands of Santa Cruz. It is very different from all of the places we have seen so far in the Galápagos and the lush vegetation and tall trees, similar to a rain forest, caught everybody’s attention. Before going to the restaurant for lunch, we stopped at “El Trapiche”, a sugar cane mill, owned by local people. They were very friendly showing us the processes used and the products prepared out of sugar cane juice, such as panela (brown sugar) and moon shine.
After a wonderful lunch with a nice breeze and a sea view, all guests went to visit the highlands of Santa Cruz looking for giant tortoises. It was a successful outing as many tortoises were seen and many were humongous.
Our day was exceptional!