Santa Cruz—the highlands

Baltra&SCThe above map, adapted from GalapagosMap.com, is most definitely not a road map.  The route shown here is very, very approximate!

Saturday, May 11, afternoon

The bus from the airport at Baltra (top of the map) took us on a short (perhaps 15-minute) ride to the water taxis that cross Canal Itabaca, the channel that separates Isla Baltra and Isla Santa Cruz.  (If you’re traveling with an organized group, your guide takes care of the fee for the taxi.)  Carolina worked to make sure all of her “brood” made it onto the same taxi.  This ride lasted only about 5 minutes, since the taxis cross at point where the channel is only about 1/3 mile wide.  If we were doing it continuously, the bus ride from the channel to Puerto Ayora would have taken about 45 minutes.  But we made several stops. 

Does this girl on the water taxi look happy to be back in the Galápagos?

canal_ferryOnce off the taxi, we paused at the “welcome center” on Isla Santa Cruz.  We soon boarded another bus just for our group to take us to the highlands.  We had been to the highlands on our first trip, but can you ever spend too much time with Giant Tortoises?  I think not.

welcomeFirst stop—Los Gemelos (The Twins), a pair of volcanic pit craters (some call them sink holes) on either side of the road.  Located at the higLosGemelos_1hest point on Santa Cruz, these depresLosGemelos_2sions were created when the magma chamber emptied and the ground above the chamber collapsed.  It’s a much greener area than the rest of the island because the garúas (mists) occur in the highlands during the cool/wet season, providing more moisture than the rest of the island gets.  The large scalesia trees near the road grow well here.LosGemelos_3On to lunch and Giant Tortoises at Rancho El Manzanillo. 

Continued on p. 2; click below.

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