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For me, the wildest and most authentic island of the three.

Isabela is the largest island and one of the youngest in the Galapagos archipelago. Its history dates back millions of years, when it arose due to underwater volcanic eruptions.

The formation of Isabela began approximately one million years ago through a series of volcanic eruptions. Several volcanoes joined together to form the island, creating one of the most diverse geographies in the Galapagos. Some of the most prominent volcanoes that make up the island of Isabela are Wolf Volcano, Darwin Volcano, Alcedo Volcano, Cerro Azul Volcano and Sierra Negra Volcano.

Before the arrival of humans, the island was uninhabited. The Galapagos were first sighted by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, but permanent colonization of Isabela did not occur until the 19th century. During this period, whalers and pirates began to use the islands as a base to supply themselves with water and fresh food.

Isabela is the largest island in the archipelago and occupies around 60% of the entire land area of the Galapagos. It was formed by the Cerro Azul, Sierra Negra (Santa Tomás), Alcedo, Darwin, Wolf and Ecuador volcanoes that merged into a single island. All except the older Ecuador Volcano are still active today. Although Isabela has several places to visit, it is not very frequented by tourists. The small port Puerto Villamil (about 3,000 inhabitants) is the main settlement on the island.


Galapagos Islands Specialist


How to get

To get to Isabela, you can only do it by ferry from Santa Cruz or internal flight from Santa Cruz or San Cristóbal, since you will not find flights from the mainland of the country. If you want to do it by ferry, it is $30 ($35 superior category) plus two dollars that you must pay to the boatmen who take you to the dock (one in each port). The plane flight to/from San Cristóbal is 40 minutes and if you book in advance it usually costs about $120, while to go by ferry from San Cristóbal you have to pass through Santa Cruz, and there are usually only two schedules in the morning ( normally at 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m.), so you should consider whether you prefer to lose almost an entire day to get to the island taking two ferries, between waiting and queuing... I personally think that For the price difference, the plane is worth it, plus the views are incredible. Keep in mind that being by plane, weight counts and they weigh all your luggage on a scale... We went 10 pounds overboard (we had paid for 50lb and we were carrying 60lb) and they charged us $20 for the excess weight, I didn't care either. It seemed like too much.

When entering Isabela you have to pay a "port fee" of $10. We don't know very well what this rate is, but it is what it is if we want to visit this paradise...

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What to do for FREE in Isabela:

Simply stroll through Puerto Villamil... You will breathe in the relaxed and non-touristy atmosphere of the Island. In addition, it is a good place to eat a good seafood grill.

Visit "The Wall of Tears":

It is a historical site of Isabela because during the years 1946 to 1959 there was a Penal Colony on this island, in which the prisoners were forced to build a wall with enormous blocks of volcanic rocks that is about 100 meters long and 7 meters high. .

To get here it is a 6km journey from Puerto Villamil. You can walk or (better) rent a bike ($10 full day/$6 half day). We biked up to the wall in  1 hour and  15 minutes, without stopping at the viewpoints, where we stopped on the way down. Once you reach the wall, you can access the Bay Viewpoint, where you can contemplate the views of the coasts of Isabela. Shortly before reaching the Wall, you will also find the Cerro Orchilla viewpoint. Along the way you will find several pools and more viewpoints, as well as Playa del Amor, the Estero Tunnel... and more.

The climb is very worth it. Along the way you can find a lot of giant tortoises, finches, iguanas, etc. It depends on how long you want to stop at all the points, but normally it will take you about 4 hours by bike stopping at all the stops.

There is some unevenness but you don't need great physical fitness to go up, although, remember to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, since on sunny days the sun is very hot.

A must in Galapagos.

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Swipe to see more photos of the path to the wall

Swipe to see more photos of the Wall of Tears and its views (although we didn't have any good luck due to the rain...)

Path to the "Arnaldo Tupiza Chamaidan" Breeding Center:

You will find a 1200m walk, a beautiful walk where you will be greeted by marine iguanas on the walkway where the trail begins, followed by a lot of giant Opuntias, walking among manzanillos (be careful with them!!), leaving behind the Poza Baltazar, You will arrive at the turtle breeding center, dedicated to their breeding and conservation. (Open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). Although it is said that entry is free, the guides at the door asked for $10 per person, and as we thought it was a bit abusive we didn't get to enter...

If you continue up the road, you will reach the Posada de los Flamingos, where, if you are lucky, you can find a few specimens feeding in the lake full of brine shrimp.


Flamingo Pool

In the town of Puerto de Villamil you will find a lagoon where you can see many flamingos without having to go too far... A place with beautiful views, although the truth is that it is a bit sad to see (and smell!) what the place is like. waste disposal...

Concha Perla Bay

Beautiful place to snorkel, where with luck you can see penguins, pelicans, and even a family of eagle rays; and, without needing so much luck, you will get your fill of iguanas, wolves and sea turtles.

One of the most magical places in the Galapagos, and totally free.

It is accessed by walking about 20 minutes towards the port.

If you like the mountains you can also climb the Sierra Negra Volcano (1,490m) from Puerto Villamil. A van takes you to the town of Santo Tomás (20 km) and from there you can walk or ride a horse to the edge of the volcano (9 km). At the top you have a magnificent view over the 10 km wide caldera. There is a trail that takes you to some active fumaroles. This area is home to short-eared owls, finches, flycatchers and Galapagos hawks.


On the south west coast, Punta Moreno is located. Penguins and a wide variety of shorebirds (including flamingos if you're lucky) are often seen on the rocky shores. There is a trail that leads through the lava rocks. The Bolívar Channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands is often frequented by whales. 

Excursions in Isabela


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