Arrive to Baltra airport no later than 11:00am. Transfer to Santa Cruz Island with the CEO to visit the highlands before arriving to Puerto Ayora and a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Board the boat in the late afternoon. After arrival in Baltra, visit of the highlands of Santa Cruz Island for a special opportunity to view the islands’ most famous reptile: the giant tortoises in their wild habitat. What a privilege to see an endangered species roving in this lush environment! The vegetation of the area includes the Scalesia Forest (an endemic giant daisy tree) and birds such as the vermilion flycatcher will delight everyone with its scarlet feathers against an emerald green forest. Look for Darwin’s finches, particularly the famous Woodpecker Finch. We will then visit the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center and Charles Darwin Research Station to learn first hand of the conservation and research efforts in the islands. There, you’ll see several subspecies of adult tortoises, lots of hatchlings, and learn of the repatriation programs that are saving several subspecies of tortoises and iguanas from extinction.
Visit To The Highlands of Santa Cruz
Head to Santa Cruz’s verdant highlands. This is a perfect place to hike through the grounds and see giant tortoises in their natural environment, before savouring an included lunch.
Fausto Llerena Breeding Center & Charles Darwin Research Station Visit
Visit Fausto Llerena Breeding Center a great place to observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas in captivity. Brought back from the brink of extinction, see the famous Galápagos tortoise up close – a corral houses adult tortoises, and a nursery cares for the young until around age three when their shells have hardened. This area also houses the Charles Darwin Research Station, a scientific organization initiated in 1964, which works to preserve the Galápagos' ecosystem through the conservation efforts of scientists, researchers, and volunteers. While the offices themselves are not open to visitors, the research station provides a study location for international scientists and environmental education for the local community.