The famous Galápagos Giant Tortoises, Geochelone chatamensis, were nearly wiped out through habitat destruction, over-hunting, and invasive species, but thanks to the efforts of conservationists, the Giant Tortoises are making a comeback.
Similar to other reproduction centers on the other islands, Galapaguera Colorado Hilll is a breeding center that aims to create natural habitats and conditions for the Giant Tortoises to thrive. This center tries to mimic natural conditions as much as possible and unlike other similar facilities, they have not used incubators for the baby tortoises since 2005.
After a few years, once the tortoises are mature enough and are likely to survive predation from invasive species, they release them into the wild.
Located in the southeast of the island near Cerro Colorado, from where its name is derived, the breeding center allows visitors to see the Giant Tortoises up close. For many it is a highlight of their time on the islands.
If you look closely around you, there’s a good chance you can also see the critically endangered endemic plant, Calandrinia galapagos; a small shrub that resembles a baobab tree.
Visitors should arrive in the morning to avoid the heat and be prepared to walk a little as the trails loop you around the facility, through informative exhibits on the different tortoises and baby tortoise enclosures. Additionally, visitors are treated to a plethora of other unique species, such as; Darwin’s Finches, iguanas, and bats, among others.
To get there, your best options are either an organized tour or to hire a taxi for a self-guided option. As always, negotiate with the taxi driver before getting and driving off.