Isabela Essential Journey
Hotels: Volcano – Casita de la Playa / Iguana Crossing
Activities: Wildlife interaction, walking, snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing on the beach.
Isabela is the largest island in the archipelago and home to more wild tortoises than all the other islands combined, with a unique species living in every volcano area on the island.
Its wildlife is beyond comparison.
A known spot for whale watching, you can spot humpbacks, orcas, sperms as well as giant rays and sea turtles. It boasts incredible beaches and a quiet, natural beauty that will enchant you.
Click here to learn about the most compelling reasons to choose a Galapagos land-based tour.
- Visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where you’ll find hatchlings and older breeding species endemic to Isabela.
- Walk on an interpretation trail to Wall of Tears, a former prison colony.
- Visit a local organic farm, learn about sustainable agricultural practices and enjoy wildlife and birdwatching while you taste a cup of delicious Galapagos coffee.
- Walk and observe giant tortoises, flamingos and other beautiful birds.
- Visit Tintoreras, a marine sanctuary where you’ll walk and snorkel.
- Sail to Los Tuneles, a crystal clear lava tunnel formation where you’ll snorkel with sea lions, reef sharks, sea turtles, marine iguanas, eagle rays, penguins, seahorses and so much more.
- Relax on pristine white-sand beaches.
DAY 1: Visit Tintoreras islet and an ex-prison colony surrounded by pristine beaches.
We take short boat ride from town to Tintoreras, where we´ll walk and snorkel. These calm waters are home to sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, rays and penguins. Tintoreras offers a high concentration of wildlife that will amaze you. After going around on the boat and walking on Tintoreras itself, we snorkel for a chance to marine life abundant in this bay.
We then set out on one of the most scenic walks in the Galapagos. Our destination is the Wall of Tears, a soaring wall of volcanic rock built by the prisoners once held in Isabela’s former penal colony, solely to keep them from madness. Our walk takes us along immaculate beaches and through brooding mangroves and brackish lagoons. As we pass through these varied ecosystems, we’ll spot giant tortoises, flamingos, and other birds. (L)
DAY 2: Enjoy a visit to Isabela´s highlands, learn about organic farming and enjoy amazing birdwatching
This morning we head up to the highlands and explore the rim of the Sierra Negra volcano. One of the youngest lava fields in the world, surrounded by Galapagos hawk and endemic plants, the effort is worth it. Then we visit a local ranch to have lunch and learn about the life of the first Isabela settlers. We’ll explore organic agriculture practices, gentle animal farming, coffee plantations, sugar cane production and some amazing vegetation and birdwatching. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet the locals and share in their daily lives and traditions. (B, L)
DAY 3: Giant Tortoises Breeding Center, flamingos and a great snorkel
Our afternoon takes us on a short trail walk leading to the Giant Tortoise Center, completed in 1994 and home to the tortoise populations of southern Isabela. We’ll get a chance to see hatchlings as well as older tortoises.
Along the way to the Tortoise Center we pass through a manzanillo forest surrounded by wetlands, home to the famous giant pink flamingos a delightful and unexpected sight for Galapagos.
After a delicious lunch made with local and organic products, we head to one of the favorite local hangouts, Concha y Perla, for a fantastic swim and snorkel. (B, L)
OPTIONAL DAY/NIGHT EXTENSION:
DAY 4: Visit the incredible lava maze of calm, clear turquoise waters called Los Tuneles
A scenic boat ride takes us to Los Tuneles, a calm natural aquarium protected by lava-formed tunnels and rock. The water is so clear you can see marine life from the boat. You’ll swim along manta rays, reef sharks, penguins, sea turtles and a variety of tropical fish and octopus. This is a snorkeling paradise and a marine bird sanctuary. (B, L)