El Chato Tortoise Reserve

Walking with Giant Galapagos Tortoises at El Chato !

Before I go any further, I just wanted to say this was one of my favourite tourist attractions during the whole trip to Galapagos! It’s a reserve for giant tortoises so you’re able to see them in their natural habitat!


      • Rating:  MustDo
      • Cost: USD$3
      • Location: Highlands of Santa Cruz

Since it was a reserve, we weren’t allowed to go in on our own so our taxi driver became our guide to start our quest to search for these majestic creatures. We were ecstatic when we came across the first tortoise laying on the grass just a few steps away from us! He was so big and heavy that he left a visible trail behind him.


The next one we found was chillin’ in a little pond…maybe he was trying to cool himself off in this hot weather…


We also encountered one right in the middle of the path which I guess was in the midst of eating an apple when he came across us and decided to hide back into his shell instead. Poor thing…he looked so frightened!


Our excitement reached its peak when we saw from a distance an ENORMOUS tortoise moving towards us. This one was HUGE!


The guide told us he was around 180 years old…you can definitely tell his age from how daring he was! He was not scared of us one bit! These two Australian guys would stick their go-pro cameras right in front of the giant tortoise’s face and he would keep strolling along, eating his food, completely ignoring them! Amazing!


From up close, he literally looked like a dinosaur roaming the lands, it was quite a breathtaking experience! We couldn’t stop taking pictures of it!


Look how cute his tail is!


Here’s a video of our encounter with this GINORMOUS animal 🙂

This was definitely a one of a kind experience, I highly recommend it! I promise you won’t regret it!

tipsTo get to the Highlands of Santa Cruz (which consists of attractions like
Los Gemelos, Los Tunneles, & El Chato), I suggest hiring a taxi driver for $35+tips instead! There are tours available but they limit the time spent at each attraction whereas the taxi driver will just wait for you so you can have as much free time as you want. Definitely cheaper than going with a tour!


Back to Galapagos Main Page

Next Activity: Wildlife in Galapagos

Planning your next adventure? Feel free to leave me a question!