Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Charles Darwin Ave is the main street in Puerto Ayaro which begins at the docks and runs along the waterfront to end at the Charles Darwin Research Station. The road begins to get quiet on the far side, but as long as you pass this tribute to Charles you know you’re headed in the right direction.

This is a free exhibit, just check in with the guard, where there are restrooms. Along with a very well maintained hiking trial and museum exhibits, this is actually an active breeding center for Galapagos tortoises.

Follow the Path of the Tortoise to reach all of the sights.

Learn about Charles Darwin and the many species of interesting animals on the archipelago. Did you know that marine iguanas can shrink their body size if food is scarce? Also – finches remove ticks from their bodies! There is a rose colored iguana on the island of Isabela in Volcan Wolf – unfortunately only scientists are allowed to go there so seeing pictures is the only way to view this variation of iguana. There is so much to learn. Moving from the exhibit to the breeding center, you can view the tortoises in their various stages of life.

Most people see the tortoise as the symbol of the Galapagos and have heard the sad story of Lonesome George. As Darwin noticed, on the different islands of the archipelago animals of the same species had different variations. George was a tortoise from the island of Pinta, one of the last remaining of his kind. He was brought to the research center for production, and in hopes of reproducing. A staff member ushered me into a museum space and explained the story of George, and to my surprise – showed me his taxidermed body.

There are many breeding centers throughout the islands, but I would say this is very worth your time to see an icon of the Galapagos.

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2 Responses to Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz, Galapagos

  1. julieovaltrades says:

    It was a total surprise! In all of my research I never heard he was kept there.

  2. Norm says:

    Wow! You got to see George! So jealous here.

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