Isabela is the largest island in the archipelago. It arose from the confluence of several volcanoes, which are still active by the way. There are about ten visitor sites. Most of these are on the west coast. They are mainly served by the larger cruise ships. This is due to the great distances and the often rough seas on the west coast of Isabela Island. Smaller boats rarely come to Isabela’s west coast. Puerto Villamil (3000 inhabitants) is the largest town on Isabela and has a few hotels and a small airport. Here you can rent a boat. This is necessary if you want to reach the other side of the island. There is no land road.
There are beautiful beaches at Puerto Villamil. A 20 minute walk away is the Laguna Villamil, a favorite spot for bird watchers, where you can find pink flamingos and some 20 other species of wading birds.
The Sierra Negra volcano
If you like climbing, you can start the climb of this 1490 meter high volcano from Puerto Villamil. You will find land birds such as the Galapagos goshawk and the short-eared owl. You can also see the bright red flycatcher. The view from the spectacular crater with a diameter of about ten kilometers is great in clear weather. Nearby is the Volcan Chico: with its colored volcanic rocks it looks like a moonscape. Sulfur vapors rise from craters and lava tunnels.
The Muro de Lagrimas (Wall of Tears)
This site is a 2.5 hour walk west of Puerto Villamil. This 200 meter long wall of 8 meters high was built by prisoners.
Along the climb to Alcedo Volcano you will find the largest population of wild giant tortoises in Galapagos. Most of the beautiful pictures of giant tortoises you saw were taken here. The landscape with its steaming sulfur fumes, the crater with a diameter of seven kilometers, the lava flows and the many bird species make the climb worthwhile.
This bay is located at the foot of the Alcedo volcano. In 1954, volcanic forces pushed up a coral reef here near the coast. You will find the walking cormorant, marine iguanas and pelicans.
Punta Morena is located along the north coast of the island. There is a 2.1 km path that leads past solidified black lava fields to a number of beach lakes. Usually you will see penguins and a large number of beach birds (sometimes also flamingos). You have a nice view of three active volcanoes.
In the far north lies Punta Albermarle (the old name of Isla Isabela). The Americans had a radar base here during the Second World War.
The walking cormorant can be viewed here. There is a mangrove area between the lava rocks. It is an ideal area to explore in a small panga.
The marine iguanas of Punta Albermarle are among the largest in Galapagos.
Tagus Cove (Caleta Tagus)
This is an inlet on the east side of the island, where whalers and pirates docked. There is a path (1800 mt) up to a small crater with a salt lake. The path leads to the top from where you can see the other side of the island. In clear weather you have an impressive view of Wolf, Darwin, Alcedo, Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul. A pagan trip along the coast is also recommended here. You will often find whales in the sea channel between Isabela and Fernandina. You often sail between schools of dolphins and the whales’ spray fountains often come close to the ship.