Isla Isabela

The Isla Isabela posts are a family effort; they are the same on all our blogs due to Wifi challenges and time constraints.

Isla Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago covering about 4,500 square kms. We took the two hour “ferry” ride from Puerto Ayora Wednesday morning (Dec.7th) and arrived at 9:00 a.m. The ferry cost $30.00 US per person and there is a $10.00 US per person entry fee to the island. Of course, no credit or debit cards – cash only.

Isabela from the water
Isabela pier

The only town on the island is Puerto Villamil, a sleepy, sand street town with a very laid back feeling. It sits on one end of a beautiful, long powder sand beach. With an island population of about 2,400, the town is incredibly quiet and it’s obvious everyone knows everyone. There are only small hotels and hostels in the town – no large chain hotels here (yet). Unfortunately, it appears the sand streets may not be around for much longer as new sidewalks have been built and I imagine the streets will follow. The vast majority of the island is inaccessible by land due to lava terrain.

Two kms from our hotel, beach about three kms long
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Anna crossing the finish line, training for track and field
Casa Los Delfines, top floor room
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Sand streets for now
Private terrace at Los Delfines


Isabela is the western most island in the archipelago and also the youngest with four active volcanoes. The islands are “born” from volcanoes and drift eastward at a rate of a few centimetres each year, all the while, slowly sinking.

One day, Graham, Alex, and Rachel rented bikes for a couple of hours (while Tina and Anna had ice cream and chilled on the beach). It was an eventful couple of hours as we saw pink flamingos, giant tortoises at a breeding centre, a red lagoon, and rode our bikes along the beach. We all felt we could have easily spent another week here snorkelling, exploring, and relaxing.

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Pink flamingos
Tortoise breeding center, sorted by age
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Red lagoon

On Saturday morning, Dec. 10th at 5:30 a.m. we hoped in and on (the girls rode in the back) our pickup taxi to catch the 6:00 ferry back to Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. Just as we were about to leave, Graham’s keen eye spotted a Galapagos TT ( not to be confused with the booby). The TT (aka Tilley Tourist) has very distinct markings from the Tilley hat, after which it is named, to the seven pocket travel vest and nine pocket zip off travel pants (never enough room for compact field guides and field glasses). This particular one was a banded TT due to the stripe around its middle, known as a fanny pack.

Taxi to ferry
Banded TT with fanny stripe at mid section
Ferry to Santa Cruz – early morning, busy days, sleep when you can


One thought on “Isla Isabela

  1. Hi Rachel,
    What an amazing trip you all are having. Isabela island looked so beautiful and it appeared there were not many people there, which is cool. I also loved that you GT to see the Galápagos penguins. There are so many unique creatures in this part of the world and so few people get to experience them. I envelope you, but maybe someday I will get there too.

    Love you lots. Aunt Carla.


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