One of the most amazing places in the Archipelago of Galapagos and especially for family trips is- unquestionably – the Isabela Island. The largest Island of Galapagos which straddles the equator, combines very attractive activities such as swimming, snorkeling or hiking on lava areas –with a possibility to enjoy a coast line views together with birds watching. This unique and reach local wildlife which is attracted to this particular Island, has to do with amazing upwelling’s that are taking place here. An upwelling means that it’s a process where the countering of 2 ocean currents or even more is happening and brings to the surface of the ocean an amazing amount of plankton. Plankton as a nutrient which constitutes a beginning of the marine food chain for all of the fish species being themselves also the food for different birds. That’s why we can admire on this location so many different wildlife animals including among others the amazing Galapagos Penguins, Flamingos, Blue Footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies but also called “princes of Galapagos” very friendly Sea lions. Thanks to the mentioned upwelling’s, we have additionally very unique opportunity to go snorkeling with Sea turtles or even with sharks. Of course, please be aware of the fact that you will be not in a kind of ZOO but in the natural protected wildlife, so not every creature animal could be seen from a close distance, but for sure a lucky close eye contact moments will happen.
You will have at your disposal our charming hotel, perfectly situated on the coastal area of the Isabela Island – in Puerto Villamil:
Isabela Island is our number one destination, that we thought to make a unique tour for 5 full days. And this we are going to detail here below day by day:
ISABELA ITINERARY - 5 DAYS
Arrival by airplane from Baltra to Puerto Villamil where you will get located in a very comfortable and peaceful location, additionally very closed to the ocean. You will be really astonished by the serenity of this particular place.
Than your first tour activity called “Dry Landing” experience, which means you will use your socks and hiking shoes without worry about getting them wet. Not only that aspect is important, as you will enjoy walking visit of Las Tintoreras (the Islet) where the sufficient traction will be needed for your stability on the lava’s irregular surfaces.
The name “Tintorera” is also typically referred to the whitetip reef shark, which you will have occasion to see here this day. On top of that , you will be able and it’s really exceptional during the day to see it while sleeping on the bottom of the water in a large numbers, like a family. Continuing your further walk, you will be also amazed by one of the unique places in the world, where you will be able to see baby marine iguanas. These endemic animals you cannot see many on the Islands , because of the presence of its main predators which are: the local Hawk and Galapagos snake. That’s’ why iguanas are extremely shy and hiding all of the time. But the famous adults marine Iguanas can be seen in a very large numbers thanks to the abounded quantity of marine algae on the Archipelago.
Las Tintoreras and the whole Archipelago are not only a home to a large endemic species, but it also explains very interesting geological history of this place, as its uplifted and above big lava tunnels or more tiny ones so called Lava tubes. Besides that, we can also see another particular geological effect in the form of rock white pigmentation. All of this is very beautiful and impressive.
You will also see another important member of this local combination of wildlife- Baby Sea lions ,which are absolutely astonishing. These creature are so friendly, that they will let you approach them as close as possible, of course always in the presence of their Mama’s. This exclusive time will offer you fantastic opportunity to use your photographical skills and immortalize really exceptional and unique moments. The moments on this coastal area very rich in marine production of life.
After couple of hours of hiking, there will be a nice chance to go snorkeling and you will be ready for a deserved lunch. As it will be on the nice beach area while having a lunch, you can continue swimming or relaxing here, however it is recommended to stay together all the time under the supervision of our naturalist guide of the group.
In the afternoon – you are going again for next but not too long walk, from your hotel and then you are going to explore beautiful pinky waters which happens to be nothing else but the salty or salinity concentration , which is fantastic combination of sea water with the sun. Together with all typical for this place microscopic algae’s and shrimps, which form the principle food for these amazing birds called the Greater Flamingo. This excursion will take place in the area named Los Humedales (the Wetlands) where another activity will be waiting for you: the visit of the breeding Giant Tortoise conservation Centre. The creation of this Galapagos Turtle Sanctuary was a solution for the reproduction barriers in the past because of the treat of the animals such as goats, donkeys or rats. For many years the question mark was how to preserve this fantastic animal ? But finally by managing the accurate temperature levels (with the use of solar energy) during the time of incubation of the turtles, successful baby male and female division was possible in order to reproduce them in captivity. Dealing with an animal that is prehistoric must be very special as the way they live is very slow and their life is based on vegetation (pretty low metabolism) and Island conditions (big spaces to walk). It is very touchy and interesting to see a face of a baby turtle and how interaction takes place with the people trying to save them. At the same time a volunteering program, that we as a company run here in Isabela is volunteering. If there as a person wiling to volunteer here, there is a fee for us, we take care of you and your timing but definitely we don’t give any responsibility to the National Park. They are basically very kind to the organization as our company and glad that we would have voluntaries people to take care of the turtles. For any further information, please contact us. Learning about the conservation makes a better world and you are welcomed to join us in our team in order to do it !
After this you will be free to walk back to the hotel or to enjoy a beautiful sunsets that happen to be here or also to enjoy nice organic sandy beach (magnificent place to take off your shoes) and walk back to the hotel along this beach.
Back in the hotel you will be briefed in details by your guide about what is going to happen next day. But not only that, you could talk also about a particular subject depending on the interests of your group. Going into interesting details about the geology, sea currents, sea birds, natural history or anything in particular about this place will increase your curiosity and your explorer’s enthusiasm for the rest of your stay on the Island.
You will finish the first day with a welcoming dinner as you will need to elevate your energy levels for the upcoming second day on Isabela Island , Puerto Villamil – the land of a dream.
At about 8:00 in the morning you will start your first activities of the day spending most of the time in contact with underwater marine and coastal wildlife, another amazing experience will be waiting for you. As a mean of transport we will use a boat departing from Puerto Villamil arriving to the bay for snorkeling and afterwards bird watching. It’s very important and strongly advised to be well prepared for it in advance, in terms of your own snorkeling equipment but please don’t forget to bring also a good binoculars with you. We will explore the bay which is very special thanks to its different Islets characterized by the erosion of the rocks (it’s when the Ocean is progressively “eating” the rocks thus the coastline). This is probably the most suitable location, in general, to see various seabirds, as its their strategic take off area towards the ocean in a search of food like plankton or sardines. Also these islets are a very functional location for nesting purposes. That’s why it will be one of the most important moments of the trip for the people passionate about the ornithology thanks to the presence of the magnificent Frigate birds, the Nazca boobies , swallow-tailed gulls or other coastal birds including penguins. During your snorkeling adventure you will experience the presence of the large size fishes such as Manta Rays, Igor Rays but also some species of sharks like Hammerhead sharks or famous Galapagos sharks.
In the afternoon you will have 2 choices: either you can go again snorkeling for about 1 hour, in the area with baby marine iguanas or penguins and some territorial fishes like Damsel fish. Or you can chose for free and very pleasant walk on the beach.
Back in the hotel you will be again briefed about what is going to happen the next day.
Well equipped with your hiking shoes , early in the morning , you will go by bus to the highlands of the Isabela Island, where you are going to visit a majestic and recently active volcano called Sierra Negra. This volcano holds the second largest caldera of our planet. It’s a big chamber which has as a unique behavior of volcanos, a large and steamy lava tunnels. Which is working in the different sections of the caldera and this is when you have the caldera growing in different parts of the rim or also called in different parts of the border. The caldera diameter is big enough to have there a large colony of giant tortoises. When being there and looking at caldera, we feel a sensation of respect to the nature, it’s so majestic, it’s a guarantee of interesting and mysterious geologic experience. It’s beautiful to look at this unique volcano in the world, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, here on Galapagos Islands. Isabela Island together with volcano Sierra Negra has in total 5 volcanos, all of them are enormous and above 1000 m of attitude.
The group will continue hiking uphill with a guide at a moderate tempo as it could be very tough , especially in the rainy season (starting from December) with the possibility of the muddy ground. In the highlands the group will approach the height of about 3500 feet or 1066 m above mean sea level, so this hike will offer you a possibility to see the endemic vegetation with its different layers, thus with different zones of climates. Which is really interesting because depending on the amount of water, it gives also the possibility to have some bird life, than we can observe here among others a Galapagos hawk.
We return by bus to the town where the lunch will be waiting for the group.
After the lunch you are going to have 3 activity options:
First is 6 km distance biking to look for a baby giant tortoises, with difficult terrain so rather for those who would like to have additional physical exercise.
Second option would be to stay and relax on the beach and third: snorkeling
The last full day in Isabela when the group will start a journey by boat enjoying the coast life. In this exploration you will observe a beautiful and massive presence of Galapagos pacific green Sea turtle together with sharks, rays and also possibly if lucky moments occur, you could spot the Killer whales. So we do know for sure , that you are going to have a great time after arrival to this nice area. The boat will be anchored near rocky area called Lava tunnel where people will land and with short walk distance they will be able to see blue footed Boobies. Very impressive and unique moments of watching them hunting from the air into the sea for sardines (for females) and for anchovies (for males). This food is giving such nice and characteristic to this specie , blue foot color (for female) and turquoise (for males) This color helps also the females to protect the boobies babies from the snakes and for the males is helping in reproduction of the specie.
You will go back by boat to the town having your lunch before afternoon.
In the afternoon, you will have a beautiful chance for snorkeling in “Concha de perla” .After walking about 35 minutes you will discover a beautiful little bay with shallow friendly waters, with no waves and the possibility to explore the baby marine iguanas.
Last day is the day of your take-off from Isabela to Baltra airport, early in the morning.