Charles Darwin Research Station, Galapagos Islands - Stein Travel

    • 16+ years

    • 12-15 years

    • 2-11 years

    • 0-23 months

Welcome to Charles Darwin Research Station

Near Puerto Ayora is the Charles Darwin Research Station, that contains a National Park information centre and a museum. It is also has a protected baby tortoise nursery that aims to boost the endangered species of the Galapagos tortoise, whose enormous saddle-shaped shell gave the islands their name (the Spanish word 'galápago' means 'saddle'). There is a walk-in enclosure where visitors can meet the giant tortoises face to face. The station is also home to 150-year old Lonesome George, the world's only surviving Pinta tortoise. Until he was discovered in 1971 the race was considered extinct. Hunting in the 18th century and the introduction of goats in the 1950s, which destroyed the vegetation, had wiped them out.

Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz
Spanish is the official language, but Quechua is the main language spoken among the indigenous people.

The US Dollar (USD) is the official currency in Ecuador. In 2000 the sucre was replaced by the dollar as the legal currency, but despite dollarization, the sucre will likely persist in rural areas for a while longer. It is recommended that travellers bring both US dollar notes and travellers cheques as other foreign currencies are difficult to exchange outside of Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. Small denominations in good condition are the easiest to exchange outside of the main cities. In the main centres most currencies can be exchanged at banks and exchange houses ( casas de cambio) at variable commission rates. ATMs are available in the cities, and major credit cards are accepted in tourist areas and large hotels although a commission of 6-8% is often charged.

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