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The Great Escape to Paradise: Isabela Island

Isabela Island.

Hi there, I’m Mirjam. I’m originally from The Netherlands and lucky to have called Ecuador home for over a year. I was working in the tourism industry, which allowed me to explore the incredible diversity of this country. My adventures took me to the Amazon, the Coast, the Andes, and the magnificent Galapagos Islands. During my five weeks working with Rebecca Adventure Travel in Galapagos, I was stationed in Puerto Ayora, the bustling capital of Santa Cruz Island. And the best part? I managed to sneak away twice to my absolute favorite place: Isabela Island.


Unforgettable Wildlife Encounters in Isabela Island

More than just a taste of island lifeIsabela offers a double serving. The laid-back atmosphere one feels in Santa Cruz is amplified here, making relaxation and exploration even more inviting.

Marine iguanas sunbathing.

Marine iguanas sunbathing.

Why Isabela Island is my absolute favorite place in the Galapagos is no secret. Imagine a location where pristine beaches stretch as far as the eye can see, where sandy roads are more common than paved ones, and where every smile from the locals feels like a warm welcome from an old friend. With a mere 3,000 inhabitants, it’s a small island, and when you wander its streets, you’ll quickly realize it’s a place that embraces you like family.

However, the real magic of Isabela lies in its abundant wildlife. It’s a paradise where you don’t need to go on an expedition to encounter fascinating creatures. Sea lions and iguanas are your constant companions, and you’ll find them virtually everywhere you look. If you ever dreamed of swimming with sea lions, Concha de Perla, right next to the dock, is your go-to spot. These marine mammals love to play. Don’t forget your GoPro–you’re in for some of the most incredible memories of your life. Isabela isn’t just an island; it’s a haven of extraordinary experiences waiting to be discovered.

Top 5 Activities on Isabela Island

Mirjam Snorkeling in Galapagos

Mirjam Snorkeling in Galapagos

1. Snorkeling: Isabela Island offers incredible opportunities for snorkeling. Concha de Perla Lagoon is a renowned spot where you can explore the captivating underwater world of the Galapagos. Dive in to encounter a rich diversity of marine life, from colorful fish to unique Galapagos penguins.

Swimming with Sea Lions.

Swimming with sea lions.

2. Swimming with sea lions: For a truly unforgettable experience, take a swim with the curious and playful sea lions at Concha de Perla. These marine mammals are not at all camera-shy; they’re keen to interact with snorkelers and offer an extraordinary chance for underwater fun.

Biking in Galapagos.

Biking in Galapagos.

3. Hiking and biking: To get a taste of the island’s diverse landscapes, consider renting a bike and heading to Isabela’s Wetlands. This adventure takes you through sandy roads and pristine beaches. Keep an eye out for the impressive Galapagos giant tortoises that sometimes cross your path. Remember to carry enough water and protect yourself from the equatorial sun with sunscreen.

Galapagos Penguins in Isabela.

Galapagos Penguins are a species unique to the archipelago.

4. Wildlife Watching: Isabela is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Everywhere you look, you’ll spot unique creatures. From the iconic blue-footed boobies to iguanas basking in the sun, and even penguins, the island is teeming with remarkable birds and marine species.

Galapagos Giant Tortoise.

Galapagos giant tortoises thrive in the highlands.

5. Tortoise Encounters: The Galapagos Islands are renowned for their endemic giant tortoises, and Isabela Island is no exception. You’ll have the opportunity to witness these gentle giants in their natural habitat. These remarkable creatures are a symbol of the Galapagos, and your close encounter with them will leave a lasting impression. Don’t forget to capture this incredible experience with your camera!

Isabela Island’s Welcoming Community

The cultural experience on Isabela Island is a delightful departure from the hustle and bustle of urban life. In the charming town of Puerto Villamil, the island’s capital, modern technology takes a back seat, and genuine human connections thrive. What truly sets this place apart is the ease with which you can connect with fellow travelers and locals alike.

Tourists on Isabela Island.

There’s a lot to explore in Isabela!

Picture this: a single, bustling bar stands as a social epicenter where everyone gathers. No need to send messages or make calls; you simply show up, knowing you’ll run into familiar faces. This communal spirit continues beyond the bar. Strolling down the island’s sole main street, you’ll catch up with newfound friends and hatch plans for the evening’s adventures.

This unique sense of camaraderie is a testament to the island’s small-town charm. In an increasingly digital world, Isabela offers a refreshing reminder that the best memories are often forged through in-person interactions. So, leave your gadgets behind, immerse yourself in the local culture, and relish the joy of making lasting connections with the warm-hearted people of Isabela. It’s a place where friendships are easily kindled, and every night holds the promise of another unforgettable adventure.

The Top 3 Spots To Visit on Isabela Island

These spots encapsulate the natural beauty and diverse wildlife that make Isabela Island a remarkable destination for Galapagos explorers.

Concha de Perla

Concha Perla in Isabela.

Sea lions love to sunbathe!

Renowned as a must-visit haven for snorkelers and nature enthusiasts, Concha de Perla stands adjacent to Puerto Villamil, beckoning with its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life. This sheltered lagoon, a snorkeling paradise, offers an immersive encounter with the Galapagos’ underwater wonders. Here, the enchantment of swimming with playful sea lions unfolds, creating magical memories in the embrace of this aquatic realm.

The lagoon teems with a diverse marine spectacle, showcasing colorful fish, graceful sea turtles, and the iconic Galapagos penguins. Its proximity to Puerto Villamil ensures easy accessibility, inviting both seasoned snorkelers and first-time explorers. With its blend of natural beauty and marine biodiversity, Concha de Perla emerges as an essential destination in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago.

Los Túneles

Happy Guests in Los Tuneles.

Guests enjoying Los Túneles.

Situated on the southern coast of Isabela, Los Túneles beckons with its extraordinary geological marvels of lava tunnels and arches. A haven for snorkeling enthusiasts, this site presents a mesmerizing underwater realm where encounters with sharks, sea horses, and vibrant fish unfold. The intricate network of lava tunnels creates a captivating marine ecosystem, enhanced by crystal-clear waters for immersive exploration.

Above the surface, the landscape is equally captivating, adorned with colonies of blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas. Los Túneles stands as a testament to the Galapagos’ geological wonders, offering a rare glimpse into its rich biodiversity. This destination is a must for those seeking a unique blend of natural beauty and underwater adventure in the archipelago.

Sierra Negra Volcano

Sierra Negra Volcano.

Sierra Negra’s colorful terrain is a sight to see!

For those interested in hiking and witnessing stunning volcanic landscapes, a visit to Sierra Negra Volcano is a must. It’s one of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos and offers a challenging hike to the rim of the caldera. The views from the top are breathtaking, and you can witness the dramatic volcanic terrain. This active volcano presents a unique opportunity for hiking enthusiasts. The trail to the caldera rim offers not only a physical challenge but also unrivaled panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Sierra Negra provides a firsthand encounter with the forces that shape these islands. The vast caldera, formed by past eruptions, unveils an otherworldly terrain that captures the imagination. Sierra Negra stands as a testament to the dynamic forces at play in the Galapagos archipelago, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking both adventure and an understanding of the island’s geological history.


You can also contact us to create your customized trip. If you have special requests, like a complete private tour with services and hotels chartered, a honeymoon trip, a family trip, or a very short tour, just contact our Destination Experts and we will help.

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