Smack bang in the centre of the Galapagos, you’ll find Santa Cruz Island. The only island to host all six vegetation zones found in the archipelago, it also boasts the largest town (in terms of population), Puerto Ayora, which is packed with attractive boutiques and bustling bars overlooking the glistening waters of Academy Bay, as well as the renowned Charles Darwin Research Station. Away from the town, on the north shore of the island (and only accessible only by dinghy), is Black Turtle Cove. Explore its calm waters and watch as curious turtles poke their heads above the water, small reef sharks circle below,
and pelicans, herons and egrets dance above the mangroves ahead. Those itching for more adventure can venture into the highlands’ lava tunnels. Featuring high jagged walls that disappear into complete darkness, these natural curiosities hint at the archipelago’s volcanic history and provide much-needed relief from the Galapagan sun.

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