Travel guide to Isabela Island, Ecuador

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Darwin Lake and Palo Santo Trees, Isabela Island, Galapagos
Darwin Lake and Palo Santo Trees, Isabela Island, Galapagos

Isabela Island is one of the most exceptional places to visit on earth and it is the largest of the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. It is a beautiful island which is best known for its exceptional beauty, wildlife, and the flora and fauna of these islands.

This island of Ecuador was shaped around 1 million years back by the merger of 6 volcanoes – Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra, and Wolf, the greater part of them are as yet dynamic. This makes Isabela a standout amongst the most volcanically dynamic places on earth.

Galapagos Beach at Sunset, Isabela Island
Galapagos Beach at Sunset, Isabela Island
How to reach this magnificent island

Isabel is one of the islands in the Galapagos which is not very easy to reach like the Santa Cruz Island which is well connected by the Baltra Airport. Hence to reach Isabel you have to use the following means:

–    By Air – Take an inter-island flight from San Cristobal Airport to Isabela, Santa Cruz, and Baltra islands. Bookings can be made through EMETEBE site. EMETEBE is the only airline that runs in the islands. It will around 30 minutes to reach by a plane ride.

–    By water – Another means which will help you reach the island is to take the ferry from Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island). It will take around 1.5-2 hours to reach Isabela from Santa Cruz Island by boat.

Where to stay

According to the reviews of the earlier travellers to the Galapagos Islands, we have curated a list of places to stay which provides the best value such as:

  • La Casa de Marita
  • Hotel Albemarle
  • Iguana Crossing
  • La Gran Tortuga
  • Hotel El Paraiso de Isabela
  • Hotel Cally Galapagos
  • Cormorant Beach House

All the hotels and places are listed are among the ones which offer a decent and comfortable stay. Due to their exceptional features like:

  • A wonderful ambience which is quiet, rich and green
  • You may likewise have the capacity to see wandering tortoises in here as well
  • Lovely and comfortable facilities,
  • Professional and talented staff with a superb administration,
  • Helpful with travel itineraries
  • Wonderful food
  • Offers free Wi-Fi
  • Few of them offer a magnificent view of the beach
Things to do

The things to do during your travel to the island are:

  • Wildlife watching
  • Scuba Diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Surfing
Sierra Negra Volcano in the Galapagos
Sierra Negra Volcano in the Galapagos
Places to visit on Isabela Island 
  • Puerto Villamil – a small village in the island
  • Number of beautiful and mind-blowing beaches
  • Las Tintoreras– is an islet found simply off the bank of Isabela Island toward the south of the inlet of Puerto Villamil.
  • Amazing wildlife at Las Tintoreras including penguins, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, sea lions, blue herons, and sally lightfoot crabs.
  • Los Tunnels which is also known as the Tunnels
  • Sierra or Cerro Negra volcano- one of the most active volcanos in the region.
  • Wall of tears- A historical site in the island, which was constructed during the existence of the penal colony on the island, from 1944 to 1959. The wall was constructed using big rocks by the detainees in the penal colony. It is around 25 m (65 ft.) tall and is situated around 5km outside of Puerto Villamil town.
  • Tortoise breeding centres
A Sea Lion sleeps on a park bench on Isabela Island in the Galapagos, Ecuador.
A Sea Lion sleeps on a park bench on Isabela Island in the Galapagos, Ecuador.
Must see animals of the Galapagos Islands
  • Giant Tortoise Breeding Centers
  • Penguins
  • Marine iguanas
  • Albatross
  • Sea lions
  • White-tipped sharks
  • Manta rays
  • Eagle rays
  • Seahorses
Island travel guide/ tips

To witness this exceptional island you are advised to carry the following in your pack:

  • Waterproof camera or dry sack for gadgets
  • Binoculars
  • Bathing suit
  • Swim cover
  • Sun cap, sunscreen, shades
  • Refillable water container to lessen plastic waste.
  • Medicines for seasickness
  • A change of clothes
  • A waterproof coat and umbrella as a shield from the sun and in case it rains
  • Hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes
  • Some extra cash

The best time to venture to every part of this wonderful island is all around the year. But you can design your trek based on the season in which you wish to explore the region, either in winters or summers.

Read more: Other islands of Galapagos

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