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Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island is the second largest of the Galapagos Islands and is located in the center of the archipelago. Santa Cruz has a long history of human settlement and agriculture which has left the landscape permanently altered by invasive species. Regardless, Santa Cruz remains a tourism hub for all of the Galapagos and it is the only island where tourists can readily experience the interior and higher elevations of a Galapagos Island. The main port town of Santa Cruz is Puerto Ayora, where the Charles Darwin Research Station resides. Here you can observe the breeding program the research station has for endangered giant tortoises, which live wild in El Chato Reserve. Puerto Ayora is also packed with attractive boutiques, fine dining, a vibrant social life, and oceanfront views over Academy Bay. You can also explore away from the town in order to visit windswept beaches, massive volcano craters, and swimming holes where you can dive from surrounding cliffs into calm turquoise waters. 

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