On our second day in the Galapagos Islands, National Geographic Islander II anchored in Academy Bay. The bay is home to various boats used by the inhabitants of Puerto Ayora for tourism. Santa Cruz Island has the highest population in the Galapagos, and it is considered the economic center of the archipelago.

We enjoyed a full day on the island today. We made a dry landing at the Gus Angermeyer Pier, where four buses waited for our guests. Our destination was the humid highlands of Santa Cruz Island. We planned to visit the breeding center by the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station.

We visited Trapiche Ecológico in the highlands. Mr. Adriano, the owner, arrived in the 1960s and developed a small agricultural business that produces sugarcane and coffee. Guests had the opportunity to learn about Trapiche Ecológico as they observed the processes used to produce sugarcane and coffee.

Next, we wandered around the humid area of the island. Diverse vegetation results from the synchronization of winds and ocean currents and the island’s topography, altitude, and location. We had the opportunity to see Los Gemelos, famous pit craters created by the collapse of magmatic chambers. We also observed the Galapagos giant tortoises that inspired Darwin.

After a delicious meal on the Manzanillo farm, we drove back to Puerto Ayora to visit the breeding center. We observed tortoises at various stages of growth while learning about the giant reptiles and their important roles on the islands.