Today we visited my home island, Santa Cruz. Puerto Ayora town is located in the southern part of Santa Cruz Island, and here we find the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park and the famous Charles Darwin Research Station. We used this opportunity to visit the giant tortoise breeding center and learn firsthand about the conservation efforts to protect the Galapagos Archipelago. There was even time for shopping and wandering in the cozy town. In the afternoon, we visited the highlands, stopping first at a local farm, called El Trapiche, then we all enjoyed a great meal served at a restaurant Aquelarre and the rest of the afternoon was spent at the giant tortoise natural reserve. Here our guests had a great time observing the gentle giants in their environment. It was a fantastic day!
National Geographic Endeavour II
We arrived this morning to the northernmost anchorage of Santa Cruz Island, where Itabaca Chanel is located. We disembarked and started our excursion to the highlands, driving through different vegetation zones of Galapagos. Starting out in the arid zone, going through the transition area, and finally arriving in the humid zone. Our first destination was The Twins, two sink holes along the road, surrounded by a lush forest of Scalessia pedunculata or daisy trees. We also spotted other endemic species, including the Indefatigable passion fruit. Then we visited the Manzanillo ranch to look for Giant Tortoises that were active in their environment, some of them feeding, resting, etc. We saw juveniles and adults walking around, and most of them were enjoining the fresh water of a pond of the farm while our guests learnt their natural history and experienced a special moment with this emblematic creature. After the walk we had a delicious local lunch followed by Galapagos coffee and the moonshine produced in this farm. Back onboard there was a presentation about Geology of Galapagos which helped to understand many facts of the evolution of these islands. In the late afternoon we navigated to Bowditch, a beautiful white sand beach that is also a nesting area for sea turtles. They shared this gorgeous landscape with shore birds such as he black-neck stilt, lava gulls, brown pelicans, and blue-footed boobies. It was also a calm place for swimming for watching the sunset. In the lounge, over sushi, the underwater specialist presented a video of the week’s underwater wonders during this amazing trip.