visit to the town and a chance to see baby turtles…
Santa Cruz. Important dates – 1959 – all the islands except which were already colonized were declared a national Park. In 1992, the waters were declared a marine reserve.
Puerto Ayora is the largest town in the islands and home to the Charles Darwin Foundation, including the Giant Tortoise Breeding Station. (Said tortoises did not do well during WWII with all the naval/air operations and people milling about and became extinct on more than one island which is what started out the salvage and breeding operation).
Useful things to know from the guided tour – gender of the turtles is determined by incubation temperature – higher temps give you females. There are 14 different species of finches – recognized by their beaks (and also where they live). Both the land iguanas and the lava lizards vary in coloration by both gender and island of origin (i.e. subspecies). The baby tortoises are kept for at least five years before being released. The numbers painted on the backs refer to type and year of hatching (and number in the batch). It takes 20-25 years to maturity (the males taking ~ 5 years longer than the females).
And what you really have to remember is that Charles Darwin was 22 years old when he visited the Galapagos…..
I would be interested in coming back – but would want to come to Santa Cruz – do the two day volcano hike and multiple days snorkeling trips.