We arrived at Academy Bay in the early morning. After a delicious breakfast, guests disembarked on the main dock of Puerto Ayora and divided into different groups.

Our first stop was the Charles Darwin Research Station and the national park facilities. Here we learned about different conservation efforts and scientific projects that are taking place on the Galápagos Islands. The highlight of the morning was visiting baby tortoises to see how they are bred in captivity before they are returned to their islands. 

As we walked back to our meeting point, we had time to visit Charles Darwin Avenue, the town’s main street for tourism. We enjoyed juice and a delicious taste of Chocogalapagos.

We boarded the buses again and traveled to a local farm in the highlands of Santa Cruz. We had the opportunity to meet Don Adriano and his family, owners of El Trapiche farm. They showed us the process for making some of the products they sell on the farm, like coffee, chocolate, panela, and a sugarcane alcoholic drink. Guests had the chance to purchase these products.

Back on the buses, we moved to a different farm, El Manzanillo, where we had an amazing buffet lunch with soft drinks, wine, and beer. After lunch, we put on rubber boots and walked around the farm. We were surrounded by tortoises in their natural habitat. This was a great moment to learn about the natural history of the tortoises and to take many photos with them.

Aboard the buses once more, it was time to return to the main dock of Puerto Ayora and then back to National Geographic Endeavour II. A group of local artisans showed us their art, and we heard a talk by a scientist from the Charles Darwin Research Station. We enjoyed local musicians and dancers. The day was full of activities and fun. We had the chance to bond with the local community and learn about interesting scientific work.