Have questions? We're here.
Massive Tortoise in the Galapagos

Charles Darwin Research Center

Talk with an expert
Customize any aspect of your Galapagos trip. 1.800.344.6118
Help Me Plan My Trip
Talk with an expert
The Charles Darwin Research Center was created in 1960 by an international committee in order to promote research, conservation, and education in the Galapagos Islands. The center is located on Isla Santa Cruz, a short walk away from Puerto Ayora. At the center, visitors can tour the Van Straelen Exhibition Center where staff members are available to answer questions about the islands and the ongoing restoration process. The center also runs slide shows (narrated in several languages) that describe the history of the islands and the current conservation efforts.

In addition to the exhibition center, the tortoise rearing house and the adult tortoise house, provide opportunities for visitors to observe the 11 subspecies of tortoises up close. In the rearing house, hatchlings and young tortoises are nurtured until they can be released, at about four years of age, to their home islands. Nearly 2000 young tortoises have been released so far!

Tortoises that cannot be released back into the wild find their home in the adult tortoise house, an area with several different enclosures for the education and protection of tortoises from each subspecies. Handling the tortoises is prohibited, but this is a great place to get close up photos of the tortoises feeding on cacti and snoozing by the artificial pond. It is also the only place to see the last remaining member of the Isla Pinta subspecies, Lonesome George. He is estimated to be anywhere between 100 and 150 years old! Efforts are being made to encourage him to mate with a female of a related subspecies, but so far he has shown little interest.

Beyond the tortoises are several shaded patios along the elevated boardwalks that weave throughout the center. Here visitors can take a break from the crowds and observe many of the native bird species, including Darwin's famous finches.

Don't miss the Charles Darwin Research Center as part of your Galapagos experience! Nearly all of the Galapagos cruises and tours include a stop at the center as part of their standard itineraries.

Want to Go?

region
Frigatebird in the Galapagos Islands
Galapagos
continent
Peruvian weavers
South America

Why Travel With Adventure Life

More Reasons
Us with our Maasai guide Dennis
Tailored to You
Tell us your travel interests, dreams and desires, then let our experts tailor the perfect trip for you!
Monks conversing in a Buddist temple
Peace of Mind
You can have confidence in our experts' dedication to traveler safety, comfort, & providing a seamless trip.
A pair of friendly sea lions
Responsible Travel
We are fully committed to low impact travel that not only preserves but gives back to the amazing places we visit.
A man photographs a King Penguin at only a few feet away.
Insider Access
Our personal expertise & experience, local partners in our destinations, & access to over 150 small ships are all invaluable to designing your unique journey.

Awards and Accolades

All News