Santa Cruz Island

Jan 25, 2019 - National Geographic Islander

We woke this morning to the scenery of Santa Cruz Island, home to Puerto Ayora, the largest town in Galapagos. After a dry landing on the city pier, we made our way to the breeding center of the Galapagos National Park where we learned of conservancy efforts presently underway to reestablish and strengthen Galapagos’ giant tortoise population.

We also visited the corrals in which baby tortoises are kept their first years of life before being introduced back into the wild. Over at the Charles Darwin Foundation, researchers from the California Academy of Sciences were assembling a skeleton of a pigmy sperm whale, a rare cetacean species. Being able to observe this work firsthand was an astonishing experience for many within our group.

We then bussed out to the highlands of Santa Cruz to visit a lava tube, then afterward farms for sugarcane and coffee. Guests were introduced to the process behind processing sugar cane juice into alcohol, cane syrup and brown sugar, and the harvesting and roasting of coffee beans.

After lunch we went to see giant tortoises in their true element. Several small females were spotted inside small rain water ponds. Feeding male tortoises were seen around the humid Santa Cruz highlands, and some guests were even greeted along the way by friendly Galapagos flycatchers landing on their shoulders. An amazing day in all!
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About the Author

Jonathan Aguas

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jonathan was born into one of only a handful of families that reaches back five generations in Galápagos, in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristobal Island. He first left the islands when he won a highly-coveted scholarship to finish his studies in the U.S.  This was the start of his life-long passion for science and languages. He earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology from the University of Florida and later spent time in Europe, where he learned French. He is now fluent in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

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