We wake up to civilisation this morning!
Overnight we have sailed back to the central part of the archipelago, and arrived at the island of Santa Cruz and the town of Puerto Ayora. This is the largest inhabited town in the Galápagos, with around 20,000 people. Our first port of call is the Charles Darwin Research Centre, on the edge of town. We hear all about the fantastic work that the centre does in rearing giant tortoises and re-populating the various islands some of which may have been devastated due to introduced species. Another ongoing project is trying to save the endemic mangrove finch. This centre is one of the most successful in the world.
From town we then drive up to the highlands of Santa Cruz to look for giant tortoises in the wild. We see lots of them on the drive to the farm we are visiting which bodes well for our walk. But first we’re treated to a refreshing drink made with lemongrass, mint and ginger as well as some fruit and empanadas. We then all don wellington boots and head off with our guides. We are not disappointed. The farms in the highlands have adjusted their fences to allow giant tortoises to roam freely and these huge, prehistoric looking creatures are all over the place. We also spot more Darwin’s finches and the Galápagos flycatcher. Another unique experience!
Back in town we all enjoy some free time. Those desperate for Wi-Fi visit the local cafes, and many head for the souvenir shops.
photo © nwdph