We are excited to announce that the Galapagos National Park has approved Ecoventura’s request to visit the Charles Darwin Station and breeding center early on Saturday mornings instead of the afternoon!
What makes this news special? Currently, there are NO other Galapagos tour boats allowed at that time, which gives our Ecoventura guests a more personal, exclusive experience on Itinerary B — the Northern and Western route.
In addition to being a popular tourist destination, the Charles Darwin Station is essential to providing scientific knowledge and technical advice to the Government of Ecuador to ensure the conservation of Galapagos.
At the Charles Darwin Research Station, Ecoventura guests will marvel at the tortoise corals and the breeding center, where hatchlings and miniature tortoises will be repatriated by the National Park when grown. The newest exhibit honors Lonesome George, the last tortoise from Pinta Island who died in 2012 of natural causes. With his species now extinct, Lonesome George has become a worldwide icon, emphasizing the importance of efforts to preserve and protect endangered wildlife in the Galapagos.
A more hopeful story is Diego, a saddleback tortoise whose species was reduced to 14 individuals before he was transported from the San Diego Zoo and who has since fathered hundreds of descendants.
After the visit, you’ll learn about the history of the settlers of this Island — in which there are some interesting characters — on a guided tour through the back streets of Puerto Ayora. Stroll through town to shop for handmade souvenirs, Ecuadorian chocolate, ice cream, and coffee grown in Galapagos.
Return to the Ecoventura yacht for lunch and later board a bus for a short ride to a lava tunnel — the largest in the archipelago.
There you will see a hollow formation created when lava on the earth’s surface cooled and hardened; and where molten lava continues to flow in the middle.
Photo credit via The Blonde Abroad
In the highlands, you will travel through all seven vegetation zones found in the Galapagos — and visit Los Gemelos (The Twins), a pair of large, deep craters with vibrant plant life at a higher elevation.
Then, we will tour a privately-owned hacienda, Las Primicias, where giant tortoises roam freely – some weighing over 500 pounds – in their natural habitat, feeding or resting in shallow pools. Rubber boots are provided because the walk can be muddy.
Return to the yacht for dinner or, if you wish, you may remain ashore on your own and dine at a local restaurant. Your guides or concierge will be glad to provide a recommendation. Zodiac shuttles from the yachts to the main dock will be offered throughout the evening for your convenience.
We are thrilled to have the privilege of being able to visit the Charles Darwin Station in the morning, followed by the highlands in the afternoon. We feel this will enhance the overall guest experience on Ecoventura’s Itinerary B. Now, the memory of the last day in Galapagos will be of the giant tortoises roaming freely, the most iconic of all species in the Islands!