A must-see while in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, the biological research station known as the Charles Darwin Research Station is a great way to take in some interesting facts about the environment of the Galapagos many take for granted while relaxing on the beach and having a pina colada. On display, the center has available information on local conservation, habitats, and other interesting relevant statistics.
Certainly the station's most impressive attraction is the tortoise breeding center, where you can see tortoises of all shapes and sizes, including the famous Lonesome George, at 90+ years old, and the last remaining member of the Pinta Island subspecies. Access to the tortoises is quite open and visitors can feel free to walk amongst them as well enjoy a last-minute photo-op.
Visitation to the Charles Darwin Research Station is included in the $100 National Park entrance fee even though many tour packages will often include it as a part of the package. Access to the center is a mere 30 minute stroll from the from the beautiful Puerto Ayora town center. After enjoying some fresh calamari and a cocktail, simply take stroll along Avenue Charles Darwin until it ends…and that’s it!