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Galapagos Islands Photo Gallery - Day 5 Puerto Ayora and Santa Cruz Highlands

In August 2007 we traveled to Quito, Ecuador, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, and the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos 5-1-01 Puerto Ayora Boats In Academy Bay Puerto Ayora is a modern town with a population of over 12,000 people on Santa Cruz Island and is an obligatory stop for all ships so there are many hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, internet cafes, etc. We were surprised by the hustle and bustle in Academy Bay, with over 50 boats anchored in the bay.

Galapagos 5-1-01 Puerto Ayora Boats In Academy Bay

Galapagos 5-1-02 Puerto Ayora Landing Once on shore we walked for about 20 minutes through Puerto Ayora to the Charles Darwin Research Station, a non-profit international research center established in 1964.

Galapagos 5-1-02 Puerto Ayora Landing

Galapagos 5-1-03 Puerto Ayora Darwin Research Station Flowers Here are some of the flowers at the Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz, including the passionflower and the yellow prickly pear flower.

Galapagos 5-1-03 Puerto Ayora Darwin Research Station Flowers

Galapagos 5-1-04 Puerto Ayora Darwin Research Station Tortoise Corral We walked along a raised boardwalk at the Darwin Research Station weaving through the trees, scrub and cacti past the tortoise corrals, where we saw fully grown giant tortoises.

Galapagos 5-1-04 Puerto Ayora Darwin Research Station Tortoise Corral

Galapagos 5-1-05 Puerto Ayora Darwin Research Station Tortoise With Saddle Shell At the Darwin Research Station we were able to see the Galapagos tortoise whose enormous saddle-shaped shell gave the islands their name. The Spanish word 'galapago' means 'saddle'. This saddle-shaped species of tortoise evolved so it could stretch its neck to eat high vegetation.

Galapagos 5-1-05 Puerto Ayora Darwin Research Station Tortoise With Saddle Shell

Galapagos 5-1-06 Puerto Ayora Darwin Research Station Tortoise With Dome Shell We also saw the dome shelled tortoises at the Darwin Research Station. The star giant tortoise, Lonesome George, didnít come out when we visited. He is the last of the Pinta tortoises, found in 1971 and transferred to the Darwin Research Station.

Galapagos 5-1-06 Puerto Ayora Darwin Research Station Tortoise With Dome Shell

Galapagos 5-1-07 Puerto Ayora Darwin Research Station Tortoise Close Up Here is a close up view of a giant tortoise at the Darwin Research Station.

Galapagos 5-1-07 Puerto Ayora Darwin Research Station Tortoise Close Up

Galapagos 5-1-08 Puerto Ayora Darwin Research Station Land Iguana Here is a land iguana at the Darwin Research Centre at Puerto Ayora.

Galapagos 5-1-08 Puerto Ayora Darwin Research Station Land Iguana

Galapagos 5-1-09 Puerto Ayora Main Street After leaving the Darwin Research Station, we were free to wander around Puerto Ayora until lunch time. We walked back down the main street, did our emails, and had a freshly brewed coffee.

Galapagos 5-1-09 Puerto Ayora Main Street

Galapagos 5-1-10 Puerto Ayora Waved Albatross Statue If you didnít get a chance to see a waved albatross, there is a large one in Puerto Ayora.

Galapagos 5-1-10 Puerto Ayora Waved Albatross Statue

Galapagos 5-1-11 Puerto Ayora Boats In Academy Bay Hereís a view of the waterfront of Puerto Ayora and the boats anchored in beautiful Academy Bay.

Galapagos 5-1-11 Puerto Ayora Boats In Academy Bay

Galapagos 5-1-12 Charlotte Ryan, Peter Ryan and Jerome Ryan Posing At Academy Bay, Puerto Ayora Charlotte Ryan, Peter Ryan, and Jerome Ryan wait for the pangas to take us back to the Eden for lunch, posing in front of the hustle and bustle in Academy Bay in Puerto Ayora, with over 50 boats anchored in the bay.

Galapagos 5-1-12 Charlotte Ryan, Peter Ryan and Jerome Ryan Posing At Academy Bay, Puerto Ayora

Galapagos 5-1-13 Peter Ryan At Academy Bay, Puerto Ayora Hereís the rare Peter Ryan Arctic Monkey basking in the sun near the seashore at Puerto Ayora.

Galapagos 5-1-13 Peter Ryan At Academy Bay, Puerto Ayora

Galapagos 5-1-14 Puerto Ayora Great Blue Heron The great blue heron is the largest of the Galapagos herons, here seen on the Puerto Ayora seashore. It is a fierce and efficient predator and lives of a wide range of marine life.

Galapagos 5-1-14 Puerto Ayora Great Blue Heron

Galapagos 5-1-15 Puerto Ayora Eden After lunch on the Eden, we took the pangas back to Puerto Ayora and boarded our bus to the highlands, traveling on a road through all the different vegetation zones. The road was built to link the Baltra Airport with the town.

Galapagos 5-1-15 Puerto Ayora Eden

Galapagos 5-2-01 Santa Cruz Highlands Tortoise Reserve Tortoise and Vermilion Flycatcher Our first stop in the Santa Cruz Highlands was the Giant Tortoise Reserve, a great place to see the tortoises in the wild. Here is our first tortoise with the brilliant vermilion flycatcher facing it. The male vermilion flycatcher is a stunning red colour and is certainly one of the islands most colourful characters; the female has a pale yellow vest.

Galapagos 5-2-01 Santa Cruz Highlands Tortoise Reserve Tortoise and Vermilion Flycatcher

Galapagos 5-2-02 Santa Cruz Highlands Tortoise Reserve Inside a Tortoise Shell The Giant Tortoise Reserve on Santa Cruz had a tortoise shell so we could see what they look like on the inside.

Galapagos 5-2-02 Santa Cruz Highlands Tortoise Reserve Inside a Tortoise Shell

Galapagos 5-2-03 Santa Cruz Highlands Tortoise Reserve Tortoise Although the walk around the Tortoise Reserve can take up to an hour, we saw them everywhere. The tortoises on Santa Cruz have dome-shaped shells.

Galapagos 5-2-03 Santa Cruz Highlands Tortoise Reserve Tortoise

Galapagos 5-2-04 Santa Cruz Highlands Los Gemelos Los Gemelos, the twins, are two 30m deep craters formed by the collapse of empty magma chambers.

Galapagos 5-2-04 Santa Cruz Highlands Los Gemelos

Galapagos 5-2-05 Santa Cruz Highlands Scalesia Forest The endemic scalesia forest is an eerie world of shifting mists at Los Gemelos.

Galapagos 5-2-05 Santa Cruz Highlands Scalesia Forest

Galapagos 5-2-06 Santa Cruz Highlands Lava Tunnel As we got back to the outskirts of Puerto Ayora, we stopped at a lava tube called the Tunnel of Endless Love, named for the heart shaped hole in the roof. The tunnel is 800m long. Lava tubes are underground tunnels formed by huge lava flows whose exterior cooled and hardened, while the interior kept flowing, leaving tunnels.

Galapagos 5-2-06 Santa Cruz Highlands Lava Tunnel