Our visit to Santa Cruz Island started with a close encounter with a Galapagos sea lion sitting at the entrance of the main dock. Urban wildlife encounters are common in any of the four inhabited islands of the Galapagos archipelago. Our guests were inspired by the way the local community learned to coexist with nature in a place surrounded by a national park and marine reserve.
While visiting the Santa Cruz highlands, we had a pleasant stop at a small coffee and sugar cane farm managed by a local family. Tasting organic fresh island coffee and “moonshine” was great way to experience the evolving culture of islanders living in a more sustainable way. We celebrated with a toast while thanking the farmers for welcoming us into their home.
Later, we visited the two pit craters know as Los Gemelos, interesting geological features that harken back to the magnificent volcanic history that shaped Galapagos. This area is also rich in vegetation, including a lush forest of endemic scalescia trees.
Galapagos giant tortoises are one of the most charismatic species of our islands. Today we were lucky to have some close encounters with some large adult males. As soon as we started our hike at the Manzanillo ranch, two large males started chasing each other, competing for a patch of vegetation. We all witnessed this fascinating behavior of these gentle giants in the wild.