March 2, 2011 § Leave a Comment
What visit to the Galapagos Islands would be complete without a visit to see the Giant Galapagos Tortoises? Our #6 choice for top places to visit in the Galapagos is actually two places with a similar experience the Tortoise Preserves located in the highlands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal.
Galapagos Tortoises are the symbol of the Galapagos and seeing these gentle giants in the wild is truly a magical part of any trip. On the island of Santa Cruz you can take a trip approximately 20 minutes outside of port to the small village of Santa Rosa. The reserves were established to protect the tortoises from the local cattle ranches. During the winter months tortoises are present throughout the area and there are several reserves you can visit. During these months the female tortoises return from the coast and enjoy several months consuming the lush vegetation of the highlands – this is also the time of year when the tortoises mate. During the summer months it is male tortoises you will find in the highlands and the best place to find them is at El Chato Reserve.
On the highlands of San Cristobal the national park has constructed a tortoise preserve at Cerro Colorado. The facility is slightly over 4600 square feet with almost 3000 feet of trail wandering through the native plants like cat’s claw, manzanillo, Galapagos cotton, and acacia. The trails combine gravel and board walk trails through the terrain allowing you to view tortoises of various sizes as well as endemic birds including the Galapagos flycatcher, small ground finch, small tree find and Chatham Mockingbirds.
Whether you see the tortoises in the highlands of Santa Cruz or San Cristobal viewing Galapagos Tortoises in the natural habitat is a wonderful experience not to be missed and for that reason it is our #6 top places to visit in the Galapagos.
To learn more about where to see tortoises in Galapagos see our Blog on best places to see Galapagos Tortoises