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Formed by volcanic cones, lava flows and tuffs from a now-dormant volcano, Santa Cruz is the second-largest of the Galapagos Islands. Most cruises that call here include visits to the Charles Darwin Research Station, where a visitor center lends insight into geography, climate and conservation programs. Santa Cruz is home to marine iguanas, giant tortoises known to reach up to 475 pounds and roughly 20 species of birds like waved albatross and blue-footed boobies. Excursions include dinghy rides to Black Turtle Cove for up-close looks at sea turtles, reef sharks and rays in the shallow waters, as well as trips to Dragon Hill, where a walking trail leads along pristine shores to a lagoon lookout for pink-flamingo sightings. Guests also can stroll through lava tunnels, sunbathe near basking sea lions and venture to the highlands for massive tortoise sightings.
Currency: US dollar (US$)
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