Now before you go all “OMG Nadine why haven’t you posted anything on here in like forever?” , I’ll just tell you that I am saving you from a very long and somewhat boring and pointless blog post about it. So just trust me in this fact that it’s best we just all move on.
Instead we are going to talk about the GALAPAGOS again and my Contiki Galapagos and Ecuador Trip! (yay)
Galapagos: Santa Cruz
Like most destinations I go to, I don’t do a lot of research before hand. I like to be surprised and I like to discover destinations without any preconceived ideas of how it should be or what to expect. So when we headed to the Galapagos with Contiki, I had only a somewhat rough idea of what to expect: lots of animals and birds. Basically only what I know from Charles Darwin movies. (I have seen quiet a few) I was definitely not expecting to see what I saw on Santa Cruz Island, that being Tortuga Bay.
And that wasn’t the only beach, there were many and much more of them than I thought. Beach Vacation was most definitely not my original thoughts on the Galapagos.
The fact that I got to lie in a bikini on a beach when I originally thought I was just going to be glued to a pair of binoculars with hiking boots strapped to my feet made me very happy!
I love surprises like that. They allows me to really feel those “magical travel moments“, even after all the extensive travelling I do. Hence why I don’t like to place any expectations on my trips and what I should experience and see. I prefer to just let them play out and discover them as they happen.
Charles Darwin Research Center
Ok, now this is more like what I am used to! A research center dedicated to the endemic species of the Galapagos on Santa Cruz Island. It also used to be home to the late Lonely George , the last of his bread of Giant Tortoise. Now it’s the main breeding grounds for the 4 breads of Giant Tortoise species on the island.
In the research centre they collect tortoises from the largest 4 islands in the Galapagos and bring them to the centre to monitor and bread for conservation efforts. Each tortoise is then classified into groups from the island they are brought in from and they’re placed in an appropriate habitat. Each habitat mimics their original island so that once they mature they can be released again back on the island they came from.
Now how they mark the tortoise might come off as a bit of a shock, they carve numbers into the shells and they paint the indents with a specific colour corresponding to each island. This is a somewhat controversial practice as it scars the tortoise, but in reality it’s painless and the tortoise’s don’t care since they aren’t into appearances as much as we are. As a bonus the markings help prevent them from being killed by poachers since their shells are their most valuable part.
Can I just stop to comment on how much I utterly adore these creatures?! The photos don’t quite do them justice but they are truly something from a prehistoric time. I was absolutely mesmerized when I first spotted these birds, in the wild, enjoying a simple lagoon. #newfavoriteanimal please.
Once again another perfect example of pleasant surprises while travelling.
My Advice: Don’t memorize EVERYTHING there is to see and do in a particular destination you are going to, because then when you visit, there will be nothing left to surprise you! And you’ll also feel disappointed if you either miss those sites or if they don’t live up to your expectations.