Galapagos Island Cruise Vacation Packages & Tours      

HOME

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS INF.

GALAPAGOS MAP

GENERAL INFORMATION

SPECIALS

CRUISE PACKAGES

GALAPAGOS TOURS

CONTACT US

For more information on each of Galapagos Islands click on name
Baltra Island Bartolome Island Pinta Island Española Island Fernandina Island
Floreana Island Genovesa Island Isabela Island Marchena Island Darwin Island
Rabida Island Santa Cruz Island Santiago Island San Cristobal Seymour Norte
  Santa Fe Island Santa Maria Island Pinzon Island  

Isabela Island - Galapagos

Isabela Island - GalapagosShaped like a sea horse, Isabela is the largest of the the islands in the Galapagos, more than 4 times larger than Santa Cruz the next largest.  Isabela is 80 miles (100 km) in length and though it is remarkably beautiful it is not one of the most visited islands in the chain.  Its visitor sites are far apart making them accessible only to faster boats or those with longer itineraries.

Isabela Island - GalapagosOne of the youngest islands, Isabela is located on the western edge of the archipelago near the Galapagos Hot Spot.  At approximately 1 million years old, the island was formed by the merger of 6 shield volcanoes - Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf.  All of these volcanoes except Ecuador are still active making it one of the most volcanically active places on earth.  Visitors cruising past Elizabeth Bay on the west coast can see evidence of this activity in the fumaroles rising from Volcan Chico on Sierra Negra.

Two of the volcanoes Ecuador and Volcan Wolf lie directly on the Ecuador. 

Isabela Island - GalapagosVolcan Wolf is the youngest of Isabela's volcanoes and at 5,600 ft (1707 m) the highest point in the Galapagos. Isabela is known for its geology, providing visitors with excellent examples of the geologic occurrences that have created the Galapagos Islands including uplifts at Urvina Bay and the Bolivar Channel, Tuft cones at Tagus Cove, and Pulmace on Alcedo.

Isabela is also interesting for its flora and fauna.  The young island does not follow the vegetation zones of the other islands.  The relatively new lava fields and surrounding soils have not developed the sufficient nutrients required to support the varied life zones found on other islands.  Another obvious difference occurs on Volcan Wolf and Cerro Azul, these volcanoes loft above the cloud cover and are arid on top.

Isabela's rich animal, bird, and marine life is beyond compare.  Isabela is home to more wild tortoises than all the other islands.  Isabela's large size and notable topography created barriers for the slow moving tortoises; apparently the creatures were unable to cross lava flows and other obstacles, causing several different sub-species of tortoise to develop.  Today tortoises roam free in the calderas of Alcedo, Wolf, Cerro Azul, Darwin and Sierra Negra.

Alcedo Tortoises spend most of their life wallowing in the mud at the volcano crater.  The mud offers moisture, insulation and protects their exposed flesh from mosquitoes, ticks and other insects.  The giant tortoises have a mediocre heat control system requiring them to seek the coolness of the mud during the heat of the day and the extra insulation during the cool of the night. 

When tortoises reach 20 to 25 years of age they become sexually active.  Beginning approximately a month before the end of the rainy season the tortoises mate, after mating the females set out on a journey to lay their eggs.  Alcedo Females  venture down to the sandy shores of Urvina Bay building nests in the sand.  The female digs a hole with its hind legs approximately (30cm) deep.  Once she is please with the hole she deposits between 2 and 16 eggs then covers them with a layer of mud and urine before starting her journey back up the mountain.  Baby tortoise take between 120 - 140 days to hatch usually happening between December and April.

On the west coast of Isabela the nutrient rich Cromwell Current upwelling creating a feeding ground for fish, whales, dolphin and birds.  These waters have long been known as the best place to see whales in the Galapagos.  Some 16 species of whales have been identified in the area including humpbacks, sperms, Sei, Minkes and Orcas.  During the 19th century whalers hunted in these waters until the giant creatures were near extinction.  The steep cliffs of Tagus Cove bare the names of many of the whaling ships, which hunted in these waters.

Birders will be delighted with the offerings of Isabela.  Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants also feed from the Cromwell Current upwelling.  These endemic birds nest along the coast of Isabela and neighboring Fernandina.  The Mangrove Finch, Galapagos Hawk, Brown Pelican, Pink Flamingo and Blue Heron are among the birds who make their home on Isabela.

On the southern shore of Isabela is Villamil considered the most beautiful spot in the islands, this small town with a relaxed attitude is Isabela's main town.  Visitors can enjoy the beauty of Isabela at one of the small hotels available here.

Visitor Sites

Punta Albemarle

Land Site, Dive Site

Elizabeth Bay

Panga Ride, Dive Site

Punta Garcia

Land Site

Punta Moreno

Panga Ride, Land Site

Tagus Cove

Panga Ride, Dive & Land Site

Punta Tortuga 

Snorkel/Swim Site

Urvina Bay 

Land Site

Villamil

Settlement Area

Sierra Negra Volcano

Land Site (Strenuous)

Punta Albemarle

Isabela Island - GalapagosAt Isabela's remote northern tip reminisce of a U.S. WWII radar base lines the shore. The rough seas and pounding surf make it difficult for visitors to do much more than see the water barrels left behind.

Those fortunate enough to go ashore at Punta Albemarle are able to see that the site is much more.  It is the nesting site for Flightless Cormorants and home to a colony of the largest Marine Iguanas in the islands.

Visitor Sites

Landing:

 Wet Landing

Highlights:

WW II ruins, Flightless Cormorants, Marine Iguanas

Conditions:

Rough Surf

Notes:

One of the least visited sites in the islands

Elizabeth Bay

Isabela Island - GalapagosLocated on the west coast of Isabela, at the Perry Isthmus, Elizabeth Bay is a marine visitor site (no landings are permitted).  As you visit Elizabeth bay panga Galapagos Hawks soar overhear and schools of Pompanos and Dorados can be seen swimming underneath you. Your panga brings you to Las Marielas the small islets just outside the bay and home to the largest concentration of Galapagos Penguins living in the islands. This is one of the island's breeding site for Penguins.  The ride continues into a red mangrove cove.  The panga passes through the red root and green leaf breeding ground for fish and Sea Turtles .  Brown Pelicans, Flightless Cormorants, Spotted Eagle Rays, Golden Rays and Sea Lions are often seen.

 

Quick View

Landing:

Panga Visit - No Landings

Highlights:

Penguins, Sea Turtles

Conditions:

Bay with Island and Mangrove Cove

Notes:

Excellent views of Sierra Negra and Alcedo Volcanoes and Fernandina

Punta Garcia

Isabela Island - GalapagosLocated on the eastern coast, across the Isabela Channel from James Island. Previously the site was only accessible by panga, the park service now permits land visits.

Arriving at Punta Garcia begins with a dry landing in some rough current causing the panga and passengers to get wet. This is the  only visitor site on Isabela reachable without sailing around the west coast.

Darwin Volcano looms above this barren landscape covered with Aa Lava . Just above the shoreline Flightless Cormorants used to be seen breeding between March and September. The birds now seem to have deserted the site leaving an occasional Brown Pelican behind.

 

Quick View

Landing:

Dry Landing

Highlights:

Lava Formations, Brown Pelicans

Conditions:

Rough water and sharp lava

Notes:

Protect Camera gear when going ashore. The rough waters can cause a "wet" dry landing.  Wear sturdy shoes for walking on the sharp lava

Punta Moreno

Isabela Island - GalapagosIsabela Island - GalapagosA colorful part to any tour located on the western shore of Isabela, Punta Moreno is often the first or last stopping point on the island (depending on the direction the boat is heading). Punta Moreno is a place where the forces of the Galapagos have joined to create a work of art.  The tour starts with a panga ride along the beautiful rocky shores where Galapagos Penguins and shore birds are requently seen. After a dry landing the path traverses through jagged black lava rock.  As the swirling black lava flow gave way to form craters, crystal tide pools formed-some surrounded by mangroves.  This is a magnet for small blue lagoons, Pink Flamingos, Blue Herons, and Bahama Pintails. Brown Pelican can be seen nesting in the green leaves of the mangroves .  You can walk to the edge of the lava to look straight down on these pools including the occasional green sea turtle, white-tipped shark and puffer fish. 

This idyllic setting has suffered from the presence of introduced species . Feral dogs in the area are known to attack Sea Lions and Marine Iguanas.

 

Quick View

Landing:

Dry Landing

Highlights:

Flamingos, Blue Herons

Conditions:

Dry and Hot

Notes:

Bring plenty of water and good shoes

Tagus Cove

Isabela Island - GalapagosIsabela Island - GalapagosLying directly east of Fernandina on the west coast approximately 2/3's of the way up Isabela is the narrow channel of Tagus Cove.  Arriving here the boat will sail through the Bolivar Channel, these are the coldest most productive waters in the Galapagos, the upwelling of the Cronwell Current, where dolphins and whales are frequently seen.  Tagus Cove, named for the British naval vessel that moored here in 1814, was used historically as an anchorage for pirates and whalers.  One can still find the names of the ships carved into the rock above the landing (a practice now prohibited). The coves quiet waters make for an ideal panga ride beneath its sheltered cliffs, where blue-fitted boobies, brown noddies, pelicans and noddy terns make their nests, and flightless cormorants and penguins inhabit the lava ledges.

From the shore, a wooden stairway rises to the dusty trail passing through the Paleo Santo Forests to reach the  perfectly round saltwater crater, Darwin Lake.  Continuing on the trail around the lake through a dry vegetation zone, and then climbs inland to a promontory formed by spatter cones.  The site provides spectacular views back towards the anchorage in the bay, as well as Darwin Volcano and Wolf Volcano farther north.

 

Quick View

Landing:

Dry Landing

Highlights:

Graffiti from early visitors & Hike to Darwin Lake

Conditions:

Slippery Rocks

Notes:

Bring good shoes, hat & plenty of water

Punta Tortuga

Isabela Island - GalapagosJust north of Tagus Cove on the western side of Isabela is Punta Tortuga, a bathing beach surrounded by mangroves . Here the black  sand beach and mangrove swamp were tectonically uplifted in 1975.

Visitors who venture into the swamp have the opportunity to see the tool-using Mangrove Finch , endemic to Isabela and Fernandina. The Mangrove Finch holds twigs or spines in its beak and uses the tool to hunt for grubs. If the tool is a particularly useful one for the finch it will save it for future use.

Punta Tortuga offers a spectacular view Fernandina's volcano. In 1825 the American ship Tabor anchored here at Banks Bay to watch an eruption. The close proximity to the eruption and the heat generated caused the boat's rigging to melt.

Quick View

Highlights:

Mangrove Finch

Conditions:

Black Sand Beach & Mangrove Swamp

Urvina Bay

Isabela Island - GalapagosLying at the foot of Alcedo Volcano , south of Tagus Cove , is Urvina Bay (Urbina Bay) one of the best and the most recent example of Geological Uplift in the Galapagos. Uplift occurs when the molten materials beneath the surface shifts. In 1954 the shoreline was uplifted nearly 15 feet (4 meters). The coastline was driven 3/4 of a mile further out to sea, exposing giant coral heads and stranding marine organisms on what was now on shore. A Disney film crew visited the site shortly afterwards and discovered skeletons of sharks, sea turtles and lobsters unable to find the ocean from the rapidly rising land. Schools of fish were found stranded in newly formed tide pools. Boulder sized coral heads can be seen near the area that once was the beach. The uplifting of Urvina Bay was followed by an eruption of Alcedo a few weeks later.

Isabela Island - GalapagosSeasonally Urvina Bay provides a nesting area for many of the Galapagos creatures. Female tortoises journey down from Alcedo to lay their eggs in the sand. Galapagos Penguins , Flightless Cormorants and Brown Pelicans nest in the area as well.

The visit begins with a wet landing on the white sand beach. Difficulty of the route varies by season. The trail ranges from stark and easily passable during the dry season to mildly challenging requiring wading to pass during the rainy season. Visitors cross the uplifted region learning about this geological wonder. Then reach the sandy area that was once the beach. Shorter visits return to the landing point on the same path, while longer visits continue past the coral heads and new beach.

Other highlights of this site include Marine Iguanas and some of the largest Land Iguanas in the islands, and Galapagos Cotton an endemic plant, historians believe the Incas brought to the islands, while naturalist theorize it floated across from Peru.

Quick View
 

Landing:

Wet Landing

Highlights:

Galapagos Penguin, Flightless Cormorants, Coral Heads, View of Alcedo, Marine and Land Iguanas, Nesting Tortoises

Conditions:

Walk is along the beach and shoreline conditions vary by season.

Notes:

Watch out for waves when going ashore

Villamil

Isabela Island - GalapagosLocated on the southeastern coast of Isabela. Puerto Villamil is the main settlement areas on Isabela.  A small peaceful town with a laid back atmosphere offers quite a different experience than the tourist shops on Puerto Ayora .  

Villamil and the neighboring settlement of Santo Tomas were founded in 1897 by Antonio Gil.  Villamil began as the center of a lime production operation.  The lime produced by burning coral found off Isabela. Santo Tomas served as a sulfur mine and coffee plantation.  The ventures were only somewhat profitable due to water limitations.

Isabela Island - GalapagosTogether Villamil and Santo Tomas now have a population of approximately 1000 people. There are a variety of rooms available for visitors and equipment and supplies available for those climbing the near by Sierra Negra Volcano.

Villamil is often considered the most beautiful site in the Galapagos with its long white sand, palm lined beaches.  Behind Villamil are several brackish water lagoons where P ink Flamingoes, Common Stilts, Whimbrels, White-Cheeked Pintails, Gallinules are usually seen. The lagoons are nesting areas between November - April.  The beaches and lagoons near Villamil are home to the best migratory bird viewing in the Galapagos.  Villamil is also home to the Darwin Center's tortoise breeding center on Isabela.

Quick View

Landing:

Dry Landing

Highlights:

Migratory Birds, Common Stilts and Pink Flamingos

Conditions:

Peaceful settlement area and excellent birding

Notes:

Settlement Area Extra Services Available

Sierra Negra VolcanoIsabela Island - Galapagos

Located in the southern part of Isabela between the volcanoes Alcedo and Cerro Azul. Sierra Negra's caldera at 6 miles x 5 miles is the largest in the Galapagos and the second largest in the world.

The journey up to the crater begins at Puerto Villamil. From town you follow the road to the small town of Santo Tomas where it is possible to rent a horse. Whether on foot or by horse the trip takes between 3 - 5 hours. The landscape along the way is quite lovely. Once on top there are a series of fumaroles inside small craters. The view during the "rainy season" is quiet spectacular.

This trip is normally done as an overnight camping trip, allowing visitors to camp at the crater rim.

Quick View

Landing:

Dry Landing

Highlights:

Visit to the Crater, Spectacular Views

Conditions:

Strenuous Hike

Notes:

Overnight Camping Permitted
For more information on each of Galapagos Islands click on map or name
Baltra Island Bartolome Island Pinta Island Española Island Fernandina Island
Floreana Island Genovesa Island Isabela Island Marchena Island Darwin Island
Rabida Island Santa Cruz Island Santiago Island San Cristobal Seymour Norte
  Santa Fe Island Santa Maria Island Pinzon Island  
For a unique Galapagos Vacation, Galapagos Vacation Cruises &Tours proudly presents a collection of exceptional collections of cruise ships and boutique yachts for the travel packages that will make your visit to Galapagos Islands an treasured experience. Call us for your next Galapagos Vacations
1-888-319-8233

Galapagos Island tour packages cruises Galapagos Islands Vacation tour packages and cruises Asta Galapagos Islands tour packages and cruises

Galapagos Vacation Packages & Tours Cruises- -Studio City, CA- Cal. 91604

HOME | Galapagos islands information | MAP | GALAPAGOS ISLANDS GENERAL INFORMATION | SPECIALS | Packages | Tours M/V Galapagos Legend | Eclipse Cruise Ship | The M/V Galapagos Explore II | Yacht Isabella | IM/Y Coral I Cruise Ship | |Cormorant Evolution Catamaran |The Millennium Catamaran |T he M/Y Monserrat Cruise Line First class Yacht |The Galapagos Odyssey Yacht |Galapagos Journey I |The luxury Catamaran Athala |Queen of the Galapagos Catamaran |Evolution Luxury Ship |La Pinta Galapagos Yacht |M/VSanta Cruz |Grace Yacht Luxury |The Eric Motor |Letty Motor Yacht|Treasure of the Galapagos Mega Catamaran|Flamingo Motor Yacht |M/S "The Beagle" sail boat |S/S Mary Anne A truly classic sailing ship!|S/S Sagitta Sail Ship Sail boat |Ocean Spray Mega Catamaran |Galapagos Voyager Yacht |Samai LodgeRed Mangrove |Red Mangrove Sierra Negra Lodge, |Aventura Lodge, Santa Cruz Island |Red Mangrove Lodges| M/Y Coral II Cruise Ship | Finch Bay Eco Hotel | The Millennium Catamaran |T he M/Y Monserrat Yacht About Us | Contact | email | Home About us| Links|

© 1998- 2014- Galapagos Cruises • Sagitar Travel • Galapagos Island Cuises specializes • Wholesale Tour Operator • Sherman Oaks California • CST # 2063352-40 • All Rights Reserved     Web Design By EB


Galapagos Island Cruise Vacation Packages & Tours