Galapagos: Santiago and Santa Cruz

Sealion and pup

On Santiago Island, we met more laid-back sea lions. You can just about make out the red creatures around them which are Sally Lightfoot crabs like the one below. Also in the gallery are a marine iguana and a yellow warbler.

Despite being inspired to visit Galapagos because of Darwin’s finches, we got loads of pictures of other birds but only one of a finch which was so poor it wasn’t worth scanning 😦

Giant tortoise and John

Our final island was Santa Cruz, which hosts the largest human population in the archipelago, the town of Puerto Ayora, the Charles Darwin Research Station and the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service. We were there to visit the wonderful giant tortoises.

From there we got the ferry back to Baltra for our flight out, having had an amazing time.

Would I go back to Galapagos? I’d love to but, ethically, I think I probably shouldn’t. It’s still the case that tourism is regulated to protect the wildlife, but much less so than when we were there. At that time, Santa Cruz was the only inhabited island – now, hotels have been built on several others. I’ve made enough impact on this unique ecosystem and will save it as a beautiful memory.


  1. Anabel, I am catching up on reading tonight and I came across your Galapagos post. Interesting information. I have tossed around the idea of a trip there. I have a friend who is a guide with National Geographic. He leads tours to the Galapagos and Iceland and Greenland. I think we would end up on smaller boats and I get motion sickness easily. Interesting about your thoughts on ethics. Your posts are always fun to read!


  2. You borugh out a very serious ethical question. Turism is good for people’s lives, but what about the enviroment that same tourism exploits?
    I think we are too concentrted on ourselves today, and we are not willing to renouce anything. I really applaude your ethical sense.

    I love the toirtoises. The first time I heard about the Galapagos I was a kid, and it was a very famous TV documentary about the island and their wildlife. You probably know what I’m talking about.
    How is it meeting tortoises? They are such ancient beings. I think I’d feel… I don’t know, strange 🙂


  3. I heard Sarah (Great Great Grandaughter of Darwin) talk about the impact of tourist sandwich choices on the islands. Swimming between the smaller islands looking at the tomato species, she noted how the hybrid seeds from the thrown food, was competing successfully with the native species and having a negative effect on the natural balance.


  4. The tortoises on Santa Cruz were one of the things I loved best about the Galapagos (after a couple islands, I got sick and tired of boobys and other birds – so much poop everywhere (which, I realize, is probably not the impression one should take from the islands, but it’s the one that stuck with me)). It would be first, but as I also got to snorkel with penguins and sea lions, I really can’t pick one as a favorite.


  5. Hi Anabel – I can understand you not wanting to go back to the Galapagos bearing in mind the ecosystem and conservation aspects … I can’t believe they’ve built hotels there … mind you Namibia is much the same – no-one has stepped on many of the dunes, shoreline for millennia – a step lasts over 100 years …

    Fabulous that you were able to enjoy .. cheers Hilary


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