Today was our first full day of activities on Santa Cruz, the geographical center of the Galapagos. Santa Cruz is also the economic capital of the archipelago with a population of about 18,000 people. The island’s principal activity is tourism.

The headquarters of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station are found on Santa Cruz. Both the park and the research station are involved in the conservation of these fragile ecosystems. By bus, we headed into the highlands to visit a local farm that produces artisanal coffee and moonshine. After that, we stopped at Los Gemelos and observed the two sinkholes and the endemic giant daisies. The highlights of our visit were the giant tortoises that live on the island and at the breeding center in town.