Our last stop in our Galapagos Islands hopping tour was the very large island of Isabela. There are a number of 2 – 3 day tours that you can take to Isabela, but we opted instead to see the place ourselves, as we had done with Santa Cruz.
There are 2 ways to get to Isabela, by ferry or via a tour boat. The only differences between the 2 options are price ($25 for ferry and $30 for tour boat) and times (am or pm). As we didn’t want to travel early morning we opted for a tour boat. These go daily so there is no problem in terms of having to plan your trip, and tickets can be bought almost anywhere. The only additional charge is a dock tax of $5 per person when you arrive, but you do not need to pay this again when you leave.
In total we spent 3 days on Isabela and stayed at the Posada del Caminante in Puerto Villamil, which offered cheap and basic rooms but with our own kitchen. The one perk of the place was they had an all you can eat oranges and bananas policy, very good for replenishing your vitamin count!
The first day we spent the afternoon walking around the town and took a stroll down to the snorkelling area of Concha y Perla, located next to the port. As with Santa Cruz, you can hire snorkelling gear and wet suits in the town, but we had done enough snorkelling and so just went for a quick swim.
Day two we went on a tour of the Sierra Negra, the second widest volcano crater in the world at 10km diameter, and Volcan Chico, a viewing area for the amazing volcanic landscape of the island. The tour is a 2 hour walk up with stops along the way and a lunch break, followed by a 2 hour walk back.
The tour itself was fairly intense and some people struggled, but not due to the walk itself but rather the midday sun, which was far too hot for a 2 hour return walk to the bus. Apparently, the weather is not usually that clear so I am not sure if we were lucky or not in that respective. It did give us amazing views of the crater, but on the other hand we all burned to some degree and felt a bit dehydrated afterwards.
On our last day we only had the morning available as the boat was going back at 2.30pm, so we went to the nearby wetlands and saw the resident flamingos, which is a free activity.
There are plenty of other options for Isabela including tours to the tunnels, snorkelling trips to the nearby Tintoreras islands, and free activities such as the Mango viewpoint, the wall of tears and the breeding centre.
All-in-all Isabela is a nice and relaxed place to be with plenty of nearby beaches, snorkelling options and better weather! The only thing to note is that shop prices are even higher here!