Today we visited the central area of Galapagos. We started early in the morning on the south side of Santa Cruz Island, with a surface area of almost 1000 sq km. One of four inhabited islands, Santa Cruz has the largest human population at an estimated 25,000 people. After an energizing breakfast, we were ready to leave the ship to spend the whole day exploring the island. We landed on the dock of Puerto Ayora and boarded buses to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and learn all about the breeding center for giant tortoises. Later on, we had the opportunity to see some of the everyday lives of the Galapagos people as we walked along the town’s streets to the fish market.
Afterwards, we visited a farm known as “Trapiche” in the highlands. We learned about the sugarcane process, tasted the local moonshine, and heard about coffee production in the archipelago. Driving through farming areas and the cattle ranches of Santa Cruz before lunch, we spotted some Galapagos giant tortoises along the way. Soon, we reached a private property owned by a local Galapagueños family: “El Manzanillo Reserve.” In this place, visitors can watch the giants resting peacefully as they are completely fearless. After a very special lunch, we got to explore and learned about one of the most successful and iconic populations, the dome-shaped tortoises. They are one of the largest species of the magnificent reptiles. Today’s visit was outstanding!