Galapagos archipelago largest Island - Puerto Villamil
Largest in the Galapagos, Isabela is bigger than all the other Islands put together. It naturally towers over the rest, but it’s not only about the size but scenic beauty the place is known for. Named after the Queen of Spain, this naturally gifted place has six volcanoes and quite a few of them are still active. So this one million year old Island is still rising and with it is its stake amongst travellers all over the world. The Equator line passes through the Northern part, which only adds to the attraction of this breathtakingly beautiful place.
Interesting geological features make the place what it is
Six shield volcanoes, Darwin, Ecuador, Alcedo, Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul merged together to form this gorgeous Island. The mountains might have been two separate ones sometime in the past, but today they stand tall and together. Ecuador is the only volcano here that’s not active. Hence today it’s one of the most active places on the planet when it comes to volcanic eruptions. Volcano Ecuador and Wolf, which is the highest point here, are situated directly on the equator, which make them so unique in this regard. Many geological occurrences have been a hallmark of the place and make for interesting viewing.
Isabela is often divided into the Northern and Southern regions, which have their unique highlights too. While the Northern region is wild, abundant, remote and known for its shallow waters, the Southern area where the massive volcano Sierra Negra casts its overwhelming shadow, has many fumaroles where volcanic gasses can be seen.
Wildlife is another attraction of the place
The vegetation zones are very different from others in archipelago and that’s because the young lava fields and the soil around it, don’t have enough nutrients to support them; but the wildlife more than makes up for it. Slow moving tortoises are a huge attraction and it’s believed that they cannot cross the lava, which has led to creation of many sub species of tortoises. Boobies, pelicans, cormorants and penguins are also found in abundance here, which makes the place an absolute delight for bird watchers. One can also indulge in whale and dolphin watching from the west coast of the Island. And while you are taking in the marine life, keep an eye out for the Marine Iguanas too.
This is also a place where you can partake in activities like horse riding and surfing, which are not possible on some of the other Islands in the archipelago. Little wonder Isabela holds a special place in travellers’ hearts.
Landing: Dry Landing (Puerto Villamil, Tagus Cove), Wet Landing (All other docking/landing sites)
Wildlife Highlights: Batfish, frogfish, octopus, Galapagos sharks, sponge, flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, marine iguanas, rays, sea turtles, flamingos, blue herons, alcedo Tortoise, pelicans, boobies, sea birds
Activity Higlights: Dining, Hiking, horseback riding, surfing, sun and beach, birdwatching, swimming and snorkelling, scuba diving,
Conditions: Several terrains from easy walks on the beach to walk on lava and ruff terrain and high in the mountains, Beach landing swimming and snorkelling.
Notes: Isabela is a destination in itself, you can find thousands of Giant tortoises by reaching the caldera at Alcedo volcano, it can done as a horseback riding trip.