Description of Isabela Island
Isabela Island is the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago. It is formed by six different volcanoes, which gives it a very varied topography with lagoons, black sand beaches, mountains and steep cliffs.
The main tourist attractions of Isabela Island
- Sierra Negra Volcano: Sierra Negra is an active volcano located on the south-eastern part of Isabela Island and is one of the largest and most active volcanoes in the world. It is about 6.20 miles wide and has an altitude of 3687 feet. The hike up Sierra Negra usually starts from the town of Puerto Villamil, located on the southern coast of the island. The hike itself takes about 5-6 hours and passes through beautiful scenery, including scrub forests, black lava fields and smoking craters. Visitors will also enjoy incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding islands. - Las Tintoreras Islet: Las Tintoreras Islet is a small island located about 10 minutes by boat from Puerto Villamil, the main town on Isabela Island. This island is a popular attraction for visitors who come to discover the unique wildlife of the archipelago. The name "Tintorera" means "bull shark" in Spanish, as this area is known to be a resting place for bull sharks. Visitors can observe these fascinating animals from the shore of the island or while snorkeling around the islet. - Humedales: These wetlands are located near the town of Puerto Villamil and are a popular destination for visitors looking to observe Galapagos wildlife. The Humedales consist of several shallow lakes and lagoons that are home to a wide variety of birds and other marine animals. The area is also characterized by mangrove formations that are home to species such as herons and brown pelicans. Visitors can also observe flamingos, ibises, sultanas and cormorants. - Elizabeth Bay: Elizabeth Bay is a protected bay located on the west coast of Isabela Island. This bay is famous for its spectacular natural beauty and for the many species of marine life that can be observed there. The bay's waters are calm and shallow, making it an ideal place for wildlife viewing. The bay is best known for its population of sea turtles, which can be seen swimming in the bay's shallow waters. Visitors will also see stingrays, sea lions, marine iguanas and a variety of seabirds, including blue-footed boobies and masked boobies. - Moreno Point: Moreno Point is a spectacular natural site located on the west coast of the island. This site is famous for its unique volcanic formations, lunar landscapes and abundant marine life. Moreno Bay is lined with mangroves and provides an ideal habitat for a variety of marine life. Visitors will see sea lions, marine iguanas and a variety of marine birds, including blue-footed boobies and masked boobies. - Tagus Cove: Tagus Cove is a must-see when visiting Isabela Island. Located on the west coast of the island, it is a secluded cove with spectacular scenery and a rich geological and cultural history. The history of Tagus Cove dates back centuries, when pirate and whaling ships frequented the waters of the Galapagos. Visitors can still see the graffiti left by these sailors on the cliffs surrounding the cove. Today, Tagus Cove is mainly used as a wildlife viewing site and as a place for visitors to relax. - Urbina Bay: The bay was formed by a volcanic eruption several centuries ago and is lined with black lava cliffs. Visitors can see remnants of coral washed up on the beach, evidence of the rising ocean floor that took place here decades ago. The waters surrounding Urbina Bay are rich in marine life, and visitors can see a wide variety of species, including eagle rays, sea turtles, marine iguanas and fur seals. Urbina Bay is also home to a wide variety of seabirds, including blue-footed boobies, masked boobies, brown pelicans and flightless cormorants. - The Wall of Tears (Muro de las Lágrimas): The Wall of Tears was built by prisoners of the penal colony sent by the Ecuadorian government during World War II. The prisoners had to transport volcanic lava stones from a quarry located more than 0.6 mile away to build a wall that had no obvious purpose. It is so called because of the tears shed by the prisoners who suffered and died during its construction. Today the wall is a historical monument and a place of memory for the prisoners who were victims of the penal colony. - Vicente Roca Point: Vicente Roca Point is a diving and snorkeling site located on the northwest coast of Isabela Island. It is considered one of the best dive sites of the archipelago due to its varied and abundant marine wildlife. Hammerhead sharks, reef sharks, eagle rays, sea turtles, marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins and sea lions can be observed, as well as a great variety of tropical fishes such as scorpion fishes, puffer fishes, butterfly fishes, surgeonfish and angelfish. The colorful corals and sponges add beauty to the underwater landscape. - Giant Tortoise Breeding Center: This center was established in 1991 to protect endangered giant tortoises and to promote research and education on their conservation. The center raises giant land tortoises in captivity to protect the young turtles from predators, disease and habitat loss. Turtles are released into their natural habitat when they are large enough to survive in the wild. The Giant Tortoise Breeding Center offers guided tours to learn more about their habitat and conservation efforts to protect this iconic Galapagos species.