Today we visited Santa Cruz Island, located in the center of the archipelago. We landed at the main dock of Puerto Ayora, home to the largest human population in the Galapagos. We took a bus ride to the entrance of the national park’s headquarters and the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we learned about one of the most important programs in the Galapagos. At the research station, giant tortoises are bred and reared in captivity to increase their numbers in the wild.

We also visited the famous Lonesome George, an embalmed tortoise. We talked about the different programs and projects at the research center and the national park.

After our visit to the center, we enjoyed a short exploration of the town before taking a bus ride to the highlands. We visited the sugarcane factory of Adriano Cabrera, a farmer who has produced raw sugar and other products like moonshine and coffee since the 1960s. Mr. Cabrera took us through the processes used to make these products. We enjoyed his humorous personality as well as his tales about life on the farm.

We had a delicious lunch at El Manzanillo Ranch and then explored the area. We observed giant tortoises as they crossed the land on their migration routes. We had the opportunity to take pictures and learn more about these amazing creatures.

Back on board, everyone relaxed during a beautiful sunset.