Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado, San Cristobal, Galapagos 

Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado, San Cristobal, Galapagos 

One of the fantastic species to find in the Galapagos Islands is the giant tortoise. Galapagos Islands is known for preserving and protecting different endangered species including giant tortoises.

There are several tortoise breeding centers that you can visit in Galapagos. One of them is the Galapaguerra de Cerro Colorado on the island of San Cristobal.

All About Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado

Turtle at Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado, San Cristobal, Galapagos

La Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado, located to the south-east of the island of San Cristóbal, is a tortoise reserve constructed to enhance the state population of the island’s tortoises, Geochelone chatamensis. It lies in the Cerro Colorado region, which is also one of the few spots where you can observe the Calandrinia galapagosa, a plant native to San Cristobal and on the verge of extinction.

Unlike similar facilities, this one preserves semi-natural circumstances in which baby tortoises can hatch without needing incubators. Although incubators are available for their protection, they have never been used since the initial hatching of baby Genesis in 2005.

Its goal, like that of other breeding centers, is to enhance the survival rate of fresh hatchlings in the wild. They are maintained at the center for the first few years of their lives because they are especially vulnerable to imported predators.

The reserve consists of a 6-hectare area with stores selling locally made handicrafts and is surrounded by a stone wall to keep the tortoises safe. The region is the most ideal for the Galapaguera Center because its plant life and environment closely mirror their natural habitat found in other sections of the same island.

What to Expect at Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado

Smaller turtles at Turtle at Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado, San Cristobal, Galapagos

Visitors may walk informational routes around the reserve and witness the baby tortoises in the breeding enclosures, where the tortoises live in semi-natural settings. These herbivores spend over 16 hours every day munching on grass, leaves, and cacti, basking in the sun, and resting. Because of their sluggish metabolism and enormous internal water reserves, they may go for up to a year without eating or drinking.

The visitors center also provides discussions about the natural history of giant tortoises, as well as the similarities and differences between the tortoises of San Cristóbal and the tortoises of the rest of the archipelago. The size and shape of the Galápagos tortoises vary greatly, however, there are two major morphological varieties — the saddle-backed carapace and the domed carapace, which are most akin to their original shape.

The bigger domed tortoises are located on higher and more humid islands, whereas the smaller saddle-backed tortoises evolved on drier islands as a response to a lack of accessible food during drought. Males of the San Cristóbal tortoise have a saddle-backed appearance, while females and immature males are broader in the center and more domed in shape.

How to Get to Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado

The Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center, popularly known as the “Galapaguera,” is a visiting attraction on San Cristobal Island‘s northeast coast, about an hour’s drive from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

Galapaguerra de Cerro Colorado may be visited by taking a San Cristobal Highlands trip that includes a stop at this tortoise refuge. If you wish to conduct a self-guided excursion to the Highlands, you may also hire a taxi. Remember to bargain carefully with the driver and to keep your word about how much time you will spend within the facility.

When to Visit Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado

The Galapaguera tortoise reserve can be visited all year round. We recommend going early in the day when it is cooler because it becomes really hot in the afternoon. You should be prepared for a moderate trek into the wilderness on a volcanic gravel trail for viewing.

Other Species in Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado

Aside from the tortoises and baby turtles, there are also other animals to see in the area such as:

  • Darwin’s Finches
  • Galapagos Dove
  • Galapagos Giant Tortoise
  • Galapagos Lava Lizard
  • Galapagos Marine Iguana
  • Galapagos Mockingbird
  • Galapagos Rail
  • Galapagos Red Bat

Bottom Line

You should include Galapaguerra de Cerro Colorado or Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center in your Galapagos itinerary. It is definitely worth visiting as the tour is very educational. After visiting the breeding center, we appreciated the animals more and became more aware of taking care of nature.

About the author

Oleg Galeev

I'm Oleg, and together with my wife, we've explored Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, journeying through more than 20 cities (Quito, Cuenca, Banos, Tena, Puyo, Guayaquil, Riobamba, Otavalo, Mindo and more) and nearly every island in the Galapagos (including iconic ones such as Bartolome Island, San Cristobal Island, Isabela Island, Santa Cruz Island and more). In this blog, I give you my real thoughts about each place we visited. This info can help anyone planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands or mainland Ecuador. I'm just a traveler, not a tour company, so I'm not trying to sell anything. That means I'll tell you the truth—both the good and the bad — about traveling in Ecuador based on what we experienced.

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