Field ex­perts

Robb Report (Malaysia) - - Travel & Fine Dinning -

Far-flung des­ti­na­tions call for a travel agency with well- es­tab­lished lo­cal con­tacts. Ja­cada Travel is a be­spoke agency with a team of spe­cial­ist travel de­sign­ers with in- depth, first- hand knowl­edge of var­i­ous re­gions, es­pe­cially South Amer­ica. Serv­ing mostly a well-heeled and well- trav­elled clien­tele, it also un­der­stands that lux­ury is not just about the hard­ware but the unique ex­pe­ri­ences it can of­fer. Its web­site, www.ja­ca­da­, of­fers more in­spi­ra­tion for tai­lor-made trips to all cor­ners of the globe.

as mu­sic in the woods,” Bauters as­sured, quick to dis­pel any spooky con­no­ta­tions. On my last day, af­ter ex­plor­ing Reserva El Chato, a fam­ily- owned tor­toise re­serve where the rep­tiles mi­grate be­tween low­lands and high­lands, and trekking through a lava tun­nel the day be­fore, Salazar brought me and other guests on a boat trip to Plaza Sur to see sea lions and the hy­brid igua­nas which are the high­light of the is­land, since only a few ex­ist in the whole of Gala­pa­gos. Though dis­ap­pointed that I wouldn’t get to see the colonies of blue- footed boo­bies and red frigate birds on North Sey­mour Is­land or the pen­guins on Fer­nan­d­ina or Is­abela, we are lucky to spot two of the hy­brid igua­nas af­ter walk­ing around the 0.13km is­land. A first-gen­er­a­tion hy­brid, these in­trigu­ing ge­netic chimeras are the­o­rised to be ster­ile.

De­spite cap­ping vis­i­tor num­bers to pre­serve the wildlife on this UNESCO World Her­itage site, pop­u­la­tions are dwin­dling. There were once 300,000 tor­toises across 15 species in these is­lands. To­day there are only 15,000 across 11 en­dan­gered species. It would cer­tainly be a shame if the strange and won­drous denizens of this land seem­ingly lost to time soon find them­selves rac­ing against the clock. ≠

We are lucky to spot two of the hy­brid igua­nas on Plaza Sur.

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