Isabela Island: The most complete guide to traveling on your own
In this travel guide, you’ll find information about what to do, how to get there and where to stay for 3 days without depending on a tour.
Isabela Island is one of the four inhabited islands of the famous Galapagos and the biggest of them all. The comments that I always hear from travelers about this island is that it’s the most beautiful; I agree, because, for me, it’s also my favorite for the following reasons: proximity to beaches for swimming, ease of getting to the viewpoints, the tortoise reserves, naturally occurring pools, etc.
With little urban development, this island maintains a small-town feel with a wild touch making it stand out from Santa Cruz or San Cristobal Island, considered to be more like small cities.
- When to go to Isabela Island?
- How to get to Isabela Island?
- Where to go on Isabela Island
- What to do on Isabela Island ?
- 3-day itinerary on Isabela Island Galapagos
- How much money to take to Isabela Island
- What to take to Isabela Island
- Cruise to Isabela Island
- Recommended by Choko
- Isabela Island Map
- ES: Isla Isabela
- OTHER GUIDES
WHEN TO GO TO ISABELA ISLAND
HOW TO GET TO ISABELA ISLAND
- Inter-island flights to Isla Isabela: There are two airlines that operate between the islands from Santa Cruz or San Cristobal to Isabela Island. These are Emetebe y FlyGalapagos
- Inter-island ferries to Isabela Island: If you want to go to from San Cristobal to Isabela on an inter-island boar, also called ferries, you will have to take 2 speedboats. First, one that goes to Santa Cruz and then you’ll wait for the ferry that goes to Isabela.
Recommendation: One hour prior to traveling by an inter-island ferry or speedboat, take seasickness medication, like Mareol or Anautin. Try to sit in the back of your vessel or ask to go above, where the captain is seated.
PLAN YOUR TRIP ON ISABELA ISLAND
If you’re traveling to the Galapagos, I recommend dedicating 3 days of your itinerary to exploring and fully appreciating Isabela Island.
WHERE TO GO ON ISABELA ISLAND GALAPAGOS
WHAT TO DO ON ISABELA ISLAND GALAPAGOS
» EXCURSIONS FROM ISABELA ISLAND GALAPAGOS
This tour lasts for approximately 3 hours. It includes a Panga ride to observe turtles and manta rays while a guide summarizes the tour. Afterwards, you head to a small island to observe pelicans, blue-footed boobies and penguins (depending on the season).
Then, you arrive at Tintoneras Island for a 45 minute hike. You’ll see adult and juvenile marine iguanas since this is one of the their breeding areas. The trail will take you to a canal where the Tintonera sharks rest and, finally, you’ll reach a sea lion beach. From there, you return to the boat to snorkel and observe marine life.
Price: USD 60
Morning schedule: 08h00 – 08h30 – 09h00 – 09h30 – 10h00 y 10h30
Afternoon schedule: 12h30 – 13h00 – 13h30 – 14h00 – 14h30 – 15h00
Islas Tortugas are a group of small islands found 30 minutes from Isabela island and it’s a good spot for intermediate to advanced divers. Share some rare moments with incredible sea creatures such as manta rays, Galápagos sharks, and occasionally hammerhead and Mackerel sharks. Sea turtles, marble fish and other varieties of open-water fish also inhabit this area.
Price: USD 180
Includes: All scuba equipment and 2 dives.
*A minimum of 6 people need to be signed up for the dive to take place.
This tour descends into the Trillizos Volcano, located near Sierra Negra Volcano. It begins as a nature hike then you reach a point where you can rappel 150 meters down. The entire tour lasts 3 hours. The tour includes all security equipment, make sure to take comfortable clothes and hiking shoes.
Price: USD 60
Contact: Ulise Alvarado // Whatsapp: +593997685275 // Teléfono: +59352529146 // email@example.com
Soon, you’ll be able to do a hike to the Sulfur Mines at Sierra Negra Volcano. It’ll be a similar tour as that of the volcano but focus on the western part of the crater.
» FREE ACTIVITIES FROM ISABELA ISLAND GALAPAGOS
The ‘El Faro’ beach is ideal for learning how to surf and it’s on the way to Humedales. The waves are formed at the beach break and you have a lot of space to wait for the next round. You might be surfing with manta rays and sea turtles, so be careful!
These two locations are near each other and you can observe giant tortoises in the breeding center, as well as some flamingos, if you’re lucky. You can get here by foot or bicycle.
A natural swimming pool near the Puerto Villamil dock and a cool spot to snorkel. You’ll see many fish and along the way you’ll pass many sea lions.
These are usually part of a bicycle route – you can reach the Wall of Tears and along the way stop through marshlands and beaches. There’s also lookout point (mirador) with a spectacular view of Isabela Island.
HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I TAKE TO ISABELA ISLAND GALAPAGOS
ISABELA ISLAND TRIP BUDGET PER PERSON: USD 372
WHAT TO TAKE TO ISABELA ISLAND
3-DAY ITINERARY TO ISABELA ISLAND GALAPAGOS
07h00: Travel by ferry from Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz. Departs at 7am and 2pm
09h00: Arrival to Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island.
09h30: Check-in at your hotel 🛎
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Accommodations and hotels recommended by Choko
11h00 a 17h00: Cabo Rosa Tunnels Tour
17h20: Snorkel at Concha Perla, a natural swimming pool.
09h00: Rent bicycles
It will cost you between USD $15 – $20 to rent a bicycle for the whole day.
09h00 a 16h00: Bicycle route until the Wall of Tears / Muro de lagrimas
This bike route is of moderate difficulty; try not to go to fast because, if you fall, you’ll get pretty scraped up by the volcanic rocks. Places you can visit along this route: ▪ Humedales ▪ Mirador ▪ Muro de las lagrimas ▪ Poza de los Flamencos ▪ Centro de Crianza Tortugas Gigantes Arnaldo Tupiza Chamaidan ▪ Concha Perla.
07h00 a 14h00: Sierra Negra Volcano
14h00: Check-out at Hotel.
15h00: Take a ferry from Puerto Villamil on Isabela towards Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island.
CRUISE TO ISABELA ISLAND GALAPAGOS
Some yachts include in their itinerary islands of the West and North, including stops at these places on Isabela Island, which are only accessible by sailing on cruises that leave from Santa Cruz Island.
TIPS FOR YOUR TRIP TO ISABELA ISLAND:
GALAPAGOS WITH CHOKOTRIP
Below are a few links to different types of content related to the Galapagos, including a few guides. All of this content is updated and based on my annual trip to the Islands.
Isabela Island Map