In the morning, we visited the island of Santa Cruz. Located in the central area of the archipelago, Santa Cruz has the largest human settlement in the Galapagos and was the third to be colonized by Ecuadorians.

When we landed at the public dock in the beautiful city of Puerto Ayora, the sea lions who own the place welcomed us. We boarded buses and drove towards the entrance of the National Park facilities. After walking for a couple minutes, we visited the Charles Darwin Research Station, in which we admired some of the collections on display. Later, we learned about different conservation programs run by the National Park. These programs are related to the recovery of the giant tortoise population, the eradication of plagues, and the preservation of the natural landscapes. We also visited a building that hosts the taxidermy of Lonesome George. This is a place with special conditions that help preserve the characteristics of the animal, so it appears as it did when it was alive.

Continuing with our day, our guests got to know the fishermen’s market in Puerto Ayora. Before lunch, we visited a family-owned ranch called “Trapiche Ecologico.” Our guests observed the processes to produce several products, including sugarcane juice, brown sugar, panela, and moonshine. We got to see great examples of how families used to live in the early stages of colonization on the Galapagos Islands.

For our last stop in the highlands, we arrived to “Rancho El Manzanillo,” where we had lunch. Right after, we enjoyed the chance to see tortoises in their natural habitat. At the end of the day, our guests were left marveling at the beauty of this wonderful island.

It was another day in this natural paradise.