Puerto Ayora is the largest town in the Galapagos and was the starting point of our adventure today. This morning, we visited the Charles Darwin Research Station and had the chance to see research in progress to save some of the critical endangered Galapagos tortoises. The famous, extinct “Lonesome George” tortoise was on display as a stark reminder of the impact that careless humans can have on the environment. However, the research station is conducting one of the most successful reintroduction programs in the world with great success. The afternoon was spent in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island with a visit to a sustainable coffee and sugar plantation. One of the highlights of the trip was the chance to see giant Galapagos tortoises in their natural environment. There were dozens of tortoises, ranging in all sizes, including some of the largest on the island, weighing in at over 400 pounds. It is humbling to see these magnificent creatures thriving in the wild and know that the residents are doing everything to protect these Enchanted Islands.
National Geographic Endeavour II