Today, guests of National Geographic Endeavour II visited the island of Santa Cruz, located in the center of the Galapagos archipelago. This was our chance to explore the human side of the archipelago, including a visit to the highlands to see the iconic giant tortoises of the Galapagos.
A bus took us through town all the way to the entrance of the Galapagos National Park Office, where the Giant Tortoise Rearing Center is located. We explored the area and learned so much about the conservation efforts on behalf of these wonderful animals. We saw tortoises hatched in current years all the way to tortoises over 100 years old.
After this visit, we continued our expedition towards the highlands of Santa Cruz, where we visited El Trapiche. Here, our guests learned how sugarcane juice is processed in the old-fashioned way for products like sugar or alcohol. To finish our morning, we explored one of the largest lava tunnels of the Galapagos Islands.
Midday, we reached El Manzanillo Ranch, a typical restaurant located in the highlands of Santa Cruz, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch surrounded by green landscape. The area is home to giant tortoises that walk freely through the territory. During our walk, tortoises of different sizes were resting or eating vegetation without hesitation despite the presence of humans.
We were done with our activities on land, but more fun awaited us on National Geographic Endeavour II, including music and dance plus local artisans to demonstrate more of the culture of this paradise.