We started early in the morning on the north side of Santa Cruz Island. We landed on the dock of Itabaca Channel and boarded buses to start the ride to El Manzanillo Ranch. The buses took us through the island. On our way uphill, it was amazing to see the landscape shift dramatically from a coastal zone with mangroves, through a dry zone with palo santo trees, into a humid zone. Thanks to its high elevation, we could enjoy the unique cloud forest. This magical place hosts Scalesias, a tree endemic to the Galapagos Islands. Driving through the cattle ranches and farming areas of Santa Cruz, we spotted some Galapagos giant tortoises along the way. When we finally got off the buses, we started an exploration walk through the green misty grasslands of the guava forest. Our guests enjoyed great opportunities to practice their photography skills on the tortoises, one of the most iconic reptiles found on these islands. We spent a beautiful morning hiking among the giant tortoises in their natural habitat. They were everywhere in large numbers, most of them cooling off in the area’s lagoons since it was a very warm day. We had the opportunity to witness the health of the population of giant tortoises in the central area of the archipelago.
Later on in the day, we arrived at Bowditch Bay, where we enjoyed a stunning beach with soft, white sands and turquoise waters. Some guests had a pleasurable time walking on this sandy beach while others went for a swim in the light blue waters. We all watched the late afternoon light illuminate the coast. After viewing an incredible rainy sunset from the boat, we ended another amazing day in this paradise!