Today we woke up in Academy Bay, the main port of Santa Cruz Island. We came all the way to this island to see one of the most amazing creatures found in the Galapagos: giant tortoises. We also came to immerse ourselves in the culture of the Galapagos. After a delicious breakfast, we got ready for our adventure. First, we headed to the Charles Darwin Research Station to visit Fausto Llerena, the breeding center. We observed the saddleback morphotype and saw baby tortoises less than a year old. We learned so many interesting things about these wonderful creatures and about the efforts of the National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station to preserve the pristine Galapagos Islands.
The Galápagos Islands became a National Park over sixty years ago. When this happened, people realized that the giant tortoise population was in critical danger with only around 10,000 remaining. After time spent on breeding and recovering the tortoises’ ecosystems in the wild, those numbers have almost tripled.
Next, we headed to different destinations in the highlands, including a hydroponic farm and a sugarcane farm combined with a lava tunnel. At these sites, we were received in the homes of local families.
We ended our visit with the best experience on the island, a visit to see our giants (the tortoises) in their natural environment. We went to Rancho El Manzanillo and enjoyed a great lunch where we were surrounded by the tortoises!
When we came back on board, guests had the opportunity to meet local artisans, take in a cultural show, and enjoy a delicious dinner. Everyone was thrilled after a day full of cultural and environmental experiences. What a great day!