We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Darwin Center on our own -- Heather ,please (& others)

SF Bay Area...
Level Contributor
4 posts
60 reviews
Save Topic
Darwin Center on our own -- Heather ,please (& others)

We will land, one day in March, just before 10:00 a.m. at Baltra, and thereby have the entire afternoon on our own in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island,

We wish to visit the Darwin Center and see the giant tortises as closely as possible. We look for education, and we like to see the animals in ways that are, of course, safe for both them and us.

How do we best organize that? Thank you.

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Galapagos Islands
Level Contributor
3,123 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Darwin Center on our own -- Heather ,please (& others)

Dear Rick,

the Darwin Centre's tortoise pen can be visited without any preparation - they are open to the public and are classified as a "Cultural Education Public Use" site by the Galapagos National Park service (see: http://www.galapagospark.org/onecolmap.php?page=sitiosdevisita_index)

You'll find plenty of tortoises in the tortoise pens (I used to live so close them, I could smell them!) and even some land iguanas in the iguana pens (I designed those!).

Have a nice trip!

Warmest regards,

Heather Blenkiron

SF Bay Area...
Level Contributor
4 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Darwin Center on our own -- Heather ,please (& others)

My dear, quiedra, chère Heather

[if I have all of my agreements correct <g>]

My wife and I will be in Buenos Aires for 10 days, cruise for 14, Santiago for four days, and then Guayaquil/Galapagos for a week. We had originally planned 10 days in Santiago, then made a last minute adjustment – after which we started to look for further details … finding many of your wonderful posts, that responded to many of the questions that we had.

Your timely, kind, and wonderful response to my specific posted question, with the key link, led me to answers to my basic questions about the Darwin Center, and, further, to questions that I hadn’t even fully formed yet.

So, thank you, gracias, and merci bien!

[I lived in Nancy for 2 years, many years back, have loved your country ever since, and have been fortunate enough to return several times.]

One of the items that the link you gave me led me to was "Rules for Visitors," which included:

“To visit the National park you must always be accompanied by a certified Galapagos National park guide.”

And another link in there led to “Naturalist Guides Galapagos National Park who are listed in Class I, II, III + Marine.” This raised several further questions for me.

-- Do I need to know more about these guides, and what the different classes mean, or is that only if going further inland than the center?

-- Is there a reason to try and hire a guide for half a day, or is that unnecessary for our purposes?

-- What do the differences in classes mean?

-- If I need/want such a guide, are they findable on short order on the island, do I ask our hotel to locate one when we walk in to the hotel, or ???

Once again, for the many anonymous readers who benefit so much from your shared wisdom based on your experience of having lived and worked at the Darwin Center, and for my wife and myself, thank you so much!

Rick Kaplowitz [gerick.travel at gmail]

Bristol, United...
Level Contributor
850 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Darwin Center on our own -- Heather ,please (& others)

You can visit the towns and agricultural areas of the inhabited islands without a guide. This includes the Charles Darwin research center which is free to enter. You will be able to get in the enclosure with some of the giant tortoises. You can get a taxi from anywhere in town for just $1 or from Baltra take the free airport bus to Itabaca Canal, a ferry for a few cents to Santa Cruz and then a taxi for $15 You could ask the taxi to stop at the twin craters on the way and wait for you (but most only speak Spanish). Don't let the taxi go as its difficult to get another at the craters.

If you want to hike in places like Media Luna then technically you don't need a guide but you would be advised to employ one if you don't know your way around. Even the twin craters can normally be visited alone if you sign the book and present your passport - however you will get more from your visit if you have a guide to point things out to you. Might be difficult to arrange if you only have the one day.

On the cruises, the higher end ships tend to have the better guides. Level III guides are degree qualified with good English. Level II should also have good English and good knowledge. Level I may not be so good at English language and/or not have much experiance. All guides are trained by the national park.

4. Re: Darwin Center on our own -- Heather ,please (& others)

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 08 August 2010, 05:18