We woke up to the view of the largest town in Galapagos, Puerto Ayora. This town is the financial center of tourism in the Galapagos and the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service.

After breakfast we had our first presentation, an introduction to nature photography in the Cove Lounge onboard National Geographic Islander II given by our Lindblad - National Geographic certified photo instructor. After this lecture, we had a dry landing onto the city pier of Puerto Ayora, headed to the highlands of Santa Cruz to visit a small family-owned farm where they process moonshine, a few products made with brown sugar, chocolate, and Galapagos coffee.

After visiting the farm, we headed to a couple of giant pit craters known as “gemelos” or twins. We explored the giant daisy tree forest and learned about the local flora and geology. We soon arrived at a small family-owned ranch, which happens to be located right in the middle of the Galapagos giant tortoise’s migration route. We had lunch and explored the natural habitat of the Galapagos giant tortoises.

After our morning in the highlands, some of us chose to go to the Galapagos National Park Giant Tortoise Breeding Center or spend more time in town and head straight back to National Geographic Islander II after a wonderful day!