Puerto Ayora is a surprise to those visitors who arrive in Galapagos expecting the bare bones facilities of a remote natural park. Instead the largest town in the archipelago, Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island is a lively town with a number of upscale hotels, excellent restaurants, and fashionable boutiques. Still, nature is never far away in the Galápagos, and wander the street or around the harbor, you’ll see pelicans, marine iguanas, sea lions, and blue-footed boobies, as well as the yachts of visitors to the islands. The town is also the home of the Charles Darwin Foundation’s research station, which offers tours explaining their current programs to monitor the animal populations of the islands and preserve this unique environment.
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