After motoring all night to reach Santa Cruz, we disembark early. The town of Puerto Ayora is alive with movement and sound. After a few days without seeing much human development, Puerto Ayora is a whole different ballgame. Vicky takes us to a tortoise reserve in the highlands, where we see 7 different giant tortoises. They don't seem happy to see us and hide their heads in their shells when we come near. We also explore the lava tubes nearby and go to see Los Gemelos, two identical craters that formed at the same time on either side of the road. It reminds me of the wonders of the natural world, a common occurrence when in the Galapagos! After lunch in Puerto Ayora, we head out to the Charles Darwin Research Station. It is HOT HOT HOT in Puerto Ayora and I should have brought a hat or more sunscreen for the 15 minute walk from town to the research station. At the station, we see Lonesome George and many other tortoises. Vicky tells us the difference between the species and how each species is from a different island. We also see some of the largest iguanas ever! After the afternoon's activities, we are free to explore on our own. We do some shopping and meet the rest of the group downtown later for dinner and drinks right on the water.
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