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.
Address: Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz
Telephone: (0)5 252 6146/7