Seeking giant tortoises

Added 29 Nov 2011

Santa Cruz is home to the Galapagos National Park authority and the Charles Darwin Research Station. It is also the second largest island in the Galapagos archipelago and home to the largest human population, After breakfast we take our pangas to the dock of the Charles Darwin Research Station, to learn about one of the world's most successful captive breeding and repatriation programmes. We see the giant tortoise breeding project at first hand and spot Lonesome George and Super Diego too. Diego was brought from San Diego Zoo in the USA and has pretty much single handedly saved the population of Espanola Giant Tortoises! Lonesome George is, unfortunately, the last of his species and, unfortunately, has not done so well. After our visit at the Research Centre we walk into the bustling town of Puerto Ayora, enjoy a cool drink at The Rock Bar and then join our private buses for a short drive up to the highlands. Some of us walk through a lava tunnel (and wish we'd brought along a torch!) and all of us enjoy lunch at a local farm. This afternoon we take a wonderful walk through typical highland habitat to see giant tortoises in the wild. By the end of our visit we've counted over 65 including a group of around 18 large specimens all huddled together in a big muddy pond. This evening we enjoy some music and dancing provided by a local group from Puerto Ayora. Another wonderful day!