Santa Cruz Island is one of the few inhabited islands of the Galapagos Islands. Boutique hotels, scuba diving centers, little shops, and restaurants dot the main street. At one end of the town is The Charles Darwin Giant Land Tortoise Conservatory. Here they breed all the different types of land tortoises from all over the Galapagos.
Lonesome George was the most famous land tortoise of all time. He was the last surviving animal of the Pinta Island species found a decade after they had last thought to have had died out. They searched the Galapagos and the world for other Pinta Island tortoises (since pirates and whalers used to take tortoises aboard, you never know where one may have ended up). But no luck. Lonesome George lived a long time and made friends but never could successfully mate and carry on his species genes. He died in 2012 living to be approximately 100 years old.
Best video of the trip: The male is trying to mate with another male. It ends in hilariousness.
Santa Cruz Island has enough of a population of land tortoises that they have reintroduced many tortoises to the wild. We saw a few while we were driving on some backroads. Talk about a road block!
It was cool to get to see the tortoises out in the real world. They were mostly okay with us because we didn’t get too close.
This one wasn’t too sure about us so he stuck his head in his shell until we meandered by him.
After a long day with the tortoises we headed back to town. A rousing game of handball by the citizens of the island was about to go down in the main town square.
We hopped on our dinghies to take us back to our boat for dinner. It was a beautiful sunset.
Santa Cruz was definitely the most crowded island we have been to on our trip. But it was nice too see some civilization, do some souvenir shopping, and see the great Giant Land Tortoise one more time before our vacation ends.