Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz island meets white sand beaches and an ocean full of white tip reef sharks. There are so many cute local shops to support, specialising in organic cotton t-shirts and selling strong roasted coffee beans. Restaurants serve daily catch of the day and lots of authentic Ecuadorian dishes. This was our first Galapagos island experience and thrilled being on such a remote island. Our bus pulled up and our guide said, “you are here” !
Puerto Ayora located on Santa Cruz is the economic centre of the archipelago, and home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. The research centre offers the best opportunities for close encounters with giant tortoises. It’s also a great place to brush on your knowledge of the surrounding fauna and flora.
Santa Cruz has more endemic plants than any of the other island and you are likely to see Galapagos giant tortoises in their natural habitat, perhaps even the bright red feathers of a vermillion flycatcher! Intrepidtravel
Lastly, the Charles Darwin Centre pays a tribute to Lonesome George, who died in 2012. They preserved his body as the last of his kind of having a long neck, and hatched back shell. Click on the highlighted text, if you would like to watch a short 5 min BBC video honouring George.
After all the exploring, learning, and photographing it was time to head back to our boat for the night and reflect.
The giant tortoise movements in Galapagos have a fundamental role in mantaining a healthy population. Understanding the ecological implications of these movements allows us to reduce the potential and real threats to their conservation.Charles Darwin Foundation
If you want to learn more about the beautiful Galapagos islands, check out my post on Punta Pitt.