In addition to the volcanic formations at Bolivar Channel, Urvina Bay, and Tagus Cove, you can enjoy the amazing wildlife that dominates Isabela, including the famous Galapagos tortoises, as well as hundreds of tropical bird species, penguins, marine iguanas, Darwin’s finches, and cormorants. Also be sure to check out the tortoise breeding center. Along with incredible flora and fauna to explore, visitors who wish to stay on Isabela will find the settlement of Puerto Villamil laid-back and welcoming. Its white, sandy beaches and quiet lagoons are the quintessential Galapagos experience.
Things to know before you go
- Guided tours of the island’s lava tunnels and volcanic crater, as well as kayaking and snorkeling tours, are popular options.
- Bring cash since ATMs are hard to find and not all places take credit cards.
- Isabela Island’s giant tortoise breeding center is considered the most comprehensive of all the islands’ centers and it’s free.
How to get there
If you are planning on visiting Isabela Island, keep in mind that the nearest airport is on Baltra Island; there are daily flights from Baltra to a small landing strip on Isabela. Options for boat transport between the islands ranges from group tours to private yachts. Ferries from Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island to Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island take about 2.5–3 hours.
When to get there
There's never a bad time to visit the Galapagos since it’s considered a year-round destination. What you plan to do and the wildlife you want to see may dictate when you visit. Blue-footed boobies typically breed between June and August, so this is the best time to see them on land. During these months, nature lovers and bird watchers flock to Isabela.
One of the most iconic birds in the Galapagos, the blue-footed booby, as the name suggests, is easily identifiable by its characteristically large blue feet, which play a part in courtship; females tend to pick males with brighter blue feet. Recently, there has been a decline in their population due to marine plastic pollution and lack of sardines. Several conservation groups are now studying the risks to the seabirds.
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