We woke up to a view of Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the Galapagos, located on Santa Cruz Island. After a dry landing on the town’s pier, we took buses to the entrance of the tortoise-breeding center of the Galapagos National Park. We saw several species of tortoises at this site, and we learned about several conservation projects that the Galapagos National Park is pursuing to restore the dynasty of the giant tortoises.

We also had the opportunity to see a few young tortoises. Some were a couple years old and others only a few months. They were all separated in different enclosures, as they belong to different species from different islands. Visiting this place is a great way to see the impressive efforts of the Galapagos National Park, where people are working to increase the numbers of these iconic reptiles.

After our visit to the breeding center in the morning, we went to a small, family-owned farm called “El Trapiche.” We learned about the processing of sugarcane syrup, brown sugar, “moonshine,” and organic Galapagos coffee. This was an incredible way to observe the social side of the Galapagos.

After visiting this small family farm, we boarded buses to visit the highlands of Santa Cruz. We explored the humid vegetation zone of Santa Cruz, where plenty of giant tortoises roamed freely around the wilderness. Some of the tortoises cooled off in a rainwater pond. Others fed on the sedges and grasses that grow on the homesteads of farmers; this land is located right on the migratory route of the tortoises.

This was an incredible day with giant tortoises and visits to small farms, a day complemented by perfect weather.