Today is giant tortoise day and that means it’s also conservation day. It began with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we learned about major conservation projects and had the wonderful opportunity to get close to the baby tortoises in the breeding program. In outdoor corrals, we saw adult parents, as well as juveniles soon to be released back into the wild.

Afterward, we all met in the lounge of the Galapagos National Park Service for some refreshing ginger lemonade as guests decided from three options for our next activity. Some chose to visit a local school supported by Lindblad-National Geographic. Others went to a hydroponic farm and the rest went to a sugarcane farm.

All the experiences gave us a taste of the local culture of the highlands, where we observed sustainable farming practices and saw how products like coffee, cacao, and sugar cane are harvested and processed. Guests who visited the school interacted with the children who offered their perspectives on conservation as they guided us around their school.

Then it was time for lunch in a giant tortoise reserve deep in the highland tropical forest where these prehistoric animals roamed freely. We wandered among them in a relaxed atmosphere. The biggest tortoises of the archipelago are found here, and everyone had their own personal encounter with these giants.