Daily Tours / Isabela

Daily Tours / Isabela

Isabela Island is by far the largest at nearly 1,800 square miles. Shaped like a giant seahorse, it has five active volcanoes, one of which erupted in 2005 and another in 2008. It is the largest of all the islands and greater in size than all of the other islands combined. Tagus Cove on the northwestern side of the island provided a sheltered anchorage for pirates, buccaneers, whalers, and others. Darwin visited Tagus Cove in 1835. In 1893, Antonio Gil, a well-known Guayaquileño, arrived in Galapagos and after visiting the other islands, colonized southern Isabela, founding the town of Puerto Villamil on the southern coast and later Santa Tomás in the highlands. He named Villamil after the freedom fighter from Guayaquil, José de Villamil. Villamil began as a center for a lime production operation where they burned coral collected in the coastal waters. Santa Tomás was the center for a sulfur mine in the caldera and a nearby coffee plantation. The ventures were only somewhat profitable due to water limitations. By 1906, Santa Tomás had a population of 200 people who depended primarily on the wild livestock ranging the slopes of Sierra Negra and on the exploitation of sulfur. By 1974 there were nearly 450 residents on Isabela. This number has increased in each official census, with the total in the 2006 census reaching 1749.

Sierra Negra Volcano is one of the most impressive examples of a volcano in the archipelago. Its caldera measures 10 km across from north to south and 9 km from east to west, and is considered to be the second largest caldera in the world. Visits to Sierra Negra require a 45-minute drive from Villamil followed by several hours of walking or horseback riding. The primary and easier-to-reach visitor site is Volcán Chico on the northeast corner of the volcano. Volcán Chico is a fissure of a parasitic cone that last erupted in November 1979. There visitors can walk on relatively recent lava flows. The site provides incredible vistas of the volcanoes of Isabela as well as Fernandina. At the other end of the caldera visitors who want to make a longer trek can view a system of fumaroles, known as the Sulfur Mine. Sulfur in the form of crystals has been deposited on the fumaroles for thousands of years.

$72.00
Daily departure

  •  Lunch
  • Bilingual naturalist guides
  • Tips
  • Towels
  • Personal expenses

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To reach Tintoreras, a group of small islets off the coast, visitors must take a dinghy ride. The small bay of completely tranquil turquoise water provides habitat for sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, rays, and other species. The bay is connected to a shallow crevice of crystalline water that is frequented by sharks. The relatively short loop trail is primarily on aa lava. Marine iguanas nest on the islet and sharks can be seen in the crevice where they rest during the day.

$66.00
Daily departure

  • Bilingual naturalist guides
  • Snorkel equipment
  • Snack on board
  • Tips
  • Towels
  • Personal expenses

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Concha and Perla is located a few meters from the Pier “El Embarcadero”. Access to the site is done by a wooden walkway, which crosses a mangrove forest, until reaching an intertidal pool. By a natural enclosure of rocks the site Concha and Pearl is structured as a kind of circular concavity that is fed by the sea with the change of the tides. This site is used by local people as a place to practice swimming and snorkeling.

$20.00
Daily departure

  • Bilingual naturalist guides
  • Snorkel equipment
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses

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An interpretive trail runs from town, through the Lagoons, and ends at the Tortoise Center, approximately 1.5 km from town. The beach and lagoons near Villamil are the best sites in the archipelago to view migratory birds. Black-necked stilts and flamingoes are two of the most common resident species.

The Tortoise Center of Isabela was completed in 1994 and houses tortoises from the populations of southern Isabela, many of which have experienced relatively high levels of poaching within the last 10-20 years. Visitors can see both hatchlings tortoises and the older breeding animals.

The Wall of Tears is an interesting historical site, usually visited by tourists staying in Villamil for a few days. It is a 6-km walk (one-way) from town (it is possible to get a ride half way). The trail passes the Villamil cemetery shortly after leaving town, with tombs of the first settlers. About half way to the Wall, the trail passes a white sand beach with surrounding lagoons where all four species of mangroves that exist in Galapagos can be seen. The trail continues through the dry zone until reaching the Wall. A penal colony existed on Isabela from 1944 to 1959. The Wall of Tears was built by the prisoners to keep them busy. It stands 5-6 m high, 3 m wide and is approximately 100 m long. It is a testament to a period of cruelty and torture.

$75.00
Daily departure

  • Bilingual naturalist guides
  • Snorkel equipment
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses

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Cabo Rosa (The Tunnels) Boat trip to visit a natural aquarium, where you can see volcanic formations of black lava in the form of arches, you can snorkel in transparent waters and enjoy fish of many colors, different sizes, see sea lions, sea turtles, eagle ray, lobsters, sea snakes and a variety of birds.

$190.00
Daily departure

  • Lunch on board
  • Bilingual naturalist guides
  • Snorkel equipment
  • Towels
  • Soft drinks
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses

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The Sucre Cavern, is a tunnel of natural lava that takes us to know the entrails of a volcanic island. For this, an ecotourism trail built entirely with volcanic materials must be crossed. This cave is located in an Agricultural Zone of Isabela Island approximately 14 km from Puerto Villamil.

$98.00
Daily departure

  •  Bilingual naturalist guides
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses

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Important notes:

  • Itineraries and programme are subject to change without previous notice due mainly to readjustment of the National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes or safety reasons.
  • Night diving allowed in selected locations only
  • All rentals and Nitrox are subject to a 12% IVA (VAT) tax
  • All payments on board cash only