Why you should visit Isabela Island
- Take a panga ride through mangroves to see turtles and snoozing sea lions
- Hike to Sierra Negra Volcano, second biggest caldera in the world
- Explore Los Tuneles, a labyrinth of lava tubes and spot rays, sharks and sea horses
- Snorkel with Pacific green turtles, sea lions and whitetip reef sharks
- Rest on the white sandy beaches on Villamil Bay
Our specialists 'Must Do'
For a better understanding of how the island was created take a hike to Sierra Negra, one of the world’s largest caldera and onto Volcan Chico. Experience this bizarre landscape and walk across the black lava fields. At the viewpoint on a clear day you can see right across the island to the northern volcanoes of Wolf and Darwin. Along the way you are likely to see finches, yellow warblers and lava lizards.
By water, sail around the north of the island to have a good chance to see Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants and the rare mola mola (sun fish). Even orcas can be spotted around Punta Vicente Roca and snorkelling here can reward you with sightings of Pacific green turtles as well as seeing flightless cormorants diving for food. At Tagus Cove you can see the names of the ships that have stopped here and been painted on the cliff side, some date back to 1800.
A little more about Isabela Island
The largest island in the Galapagos, Isabella is four times the size of Santa Cruz and formed by the merging of six volcanoes. As far as islands go, Isabela is a young island at around a million years old, and has several active volcanoes. This is due to its close proximity to the hot spot which created this archipelago, the highest being Wolf Volcano reaching 1,707 metres.
Isabela, shaped like a seahorse (if you're lucky you may also spot one here), lies near the Cromwell Current which is rich with food and nutrients and helps attract the likes of dolphins, whales, blue-footed boobies and the Galapagos penguin.
White sandy beaches can be found in the south around Puerto Villamil and make for a great land-based Galapagos holiday option. From here you can easily explore ‘Tintoreras’ (whitetip reef shark alley!), Los Tuneles where rays and sea lions can be spotted, and for a more sobering insight you can see the Wall of Tears where prisoners were forced to build a wall in the most harsh conditions.
Elizabeth Bay lies along the western side of the island where you can take a panga ride out through the mangroves. The bay is home to sea lions taking a snooze in the web of branches and is a safe spot for turtles, offering the chance to see them up close as they bob up for air all around you.
When to go to The Galapagos
The Galapagos is a year round destination with two seasons; the hot, wet season which runs from December to May and the dryer, cooler season which runs from June to December. In the wet season the island is lush and green and the waters are slightly warmer. In the cooler, dry season the islands are transformed - looking desert-like, the trees lose their leaves and turn white.