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Centro De Crianza “arnaldo Tupiza” - Other Activity Puerto Villamil - Ecuador

The Centro de Crianza (or “Rearing Center”) is a sort of nursery for Giant Tortoises located within walking distance from Puerto Villamil. There are several pens housing grown tortoises, mainly from the different volcanoes on Isabela Island, as well as dozens of young tortoises in protected cages. Look for the ones from Cerro Paloma: the adults there were the only 6 left of their species in 1994, although now there are some babies at the center.

An easy paved path leads through the penned-in area and ends up at an information center (and gift shop, naturally).

Unlike the Charles Darwin Research Station, the pens here are not open and you can’t go in with the tortoises to have your photo taken. The walk is shadier, though.

Although you can take a taxi to the Centro de Crianza, it’s much more fun to walk. The trail leads outside of Puerto Villamil near the Iguana Crossing Hotel and wends through mangroves, swamps and salty lagoons where you can see ducks, flamingoes, herons and other wading and swimming birds. The trail takes about 40 minutes to walk, but it’s in good shape and pretty easy. You do not need a guide to walk on the trail or visit the Centro de Crianza.

You can book a half-day tour in Puerto Villamil which will include the trail, the Center and the Wall of Tears for about $20, as long as there are enough people who want to do it. It isn’t a bad idea, as a guide will help spot wildlife and tell you about the plants and animals that you’re sure to see on the trail as well as the history of the wall.

The center is a popular stop with cruise ships that visit Puerto Villamil.

Trail Difficulty: 1/5 (center) 2/5 (lagoons and mangroves: it can get a little hot so bring water).

Wildlife (including the trail AND the center):

Highly Likely to see:

Giant Tortoise

Lava Lizard

Marine Iguana


Probable to see:


Pintail Duck


Possible to see:

Common Moorhen



Galápagos Island Visitor Sites, Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Other Activity Types:
Zoo, Wildlife refuge

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Here are other activities in and around Puerto Villamil that may be of interest: Sulfur Mines, Humedales/wetlands and Cueva De Sucre/sucre’s Cave.

22 Sep 2010

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