Welcome to my Galapagos Islands Adventure Series.
Enjoy my first post in the series, Galapagos Islands – A Dream Trip Come True.
Have fun with Sensational Sea Lions of San Cristobal.
Don’t miss Wet & Wild Adventures On San Cristobal Island.
Experience the Mysteries & Majestic Sunsets on Floreana Island.
Explore more with 5 Experiences Not To Be Missed On Santa Cruz Island.
Welcome to Isabela Island! Settle in for a front row seat as we experience several of the wild and wonderful adventures this charming Galapagos Island has to offer.
Our accommodations for this three day adventure? La Casa de Marita, a beach front venue complete with gently swaying palm trees and swinging hammocks from which to enjoy the view. It’s our very own ocean-front oasis in paradise.
Our bags are unpacked. Let’s kick this Isabela Island adventure into high gear!
Welcome To A Galapagos Island Paradise
Isabela Island is the largest of the Galapagos Islands, and home to a variety of endemic wildlife. It’s home to the Galapagos penguin, the only penguin found close to the equator. It’s home to the second largest caldera on earth, located at the Sierra Negra Volcano.
And it’s home to this sleepy sea lion, napping on a local fisherman’s boat. Aww, doesn’t he look so comfortable, so happy? I wonder if the fisherman who owns this boat is equally as happy about this sea lion’s choice of venue for naptime?
Like other Galapagos Islands, sea lions co-exist with humans on Isabela Island. They do seem to reign supreme, or at least rule the beachside lounge chair! Why hello there, Mr. Bird. So sorry! We didn’t mean to disturb your nap. We’ll be moving on now.
Exploring Las Tintoreras By Ocean
Whether exploring by kayak, by snorkel, or on foot, Las Tintoreras provides the perfect introduction to island wildlife. This nearby cluster of rocky outcrops is home to several Galapagos treasures, and is where we begin our Isabela Island adventures.
So climb aboard a kayak and let’s get paddling on out to Las Tintoreras. Who knows what wildlife we will encounter this afternoon. Penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions, sharks, sea turtles and more call this gem of an island home.
Look to your left. There’s a fan favorite! Slowly glide past a colony of Galapagos penguins, basking in the afternoon sun. Maybe you’ll witness one dive in for an afternoon snack fresh from the ocean. No where else on earth are you likely to experience a Galapagos penguin, as you will here in it’s native habitat.
Look closely, up, down and all around. Galapagos at it’s best completely surrounds you. Gaze into the turquoise, crystalline clear waters for possible glimpses of eagle rays, sea turtles, and brightly colored fish swimming beneath the kayak. Quietly drift past a cluster of mangrove trees, where a sleepy brown pelican is peacefully at rest.
Exploring Las Tintoreras By Land
It’s time to dock that kayak, put aside the snorkel gear, lace up your hiking shoes, and explore Las Tintoreras on foot, where close encounters of the Galapagos kind are waiting around practically every rocky outcrop.
Hike along the well-worn, rock strewn path, right past a flock of blue footed boobies preening themselves beneath the afternoon sun. Check out the deep channels that cut through the land mass for possible white-tipped reef shark sightings. They live here too!
Peer closely along the rocks for some of the smaller Galapagos wildlife that inhabit this stretch of rock. Watch out for those brightly colored Sally Lightfoot crabs as they scurry across the rocks, intent on hiding from these latest human intruders.
Continue on down the trail, to this secluded stretch of beach. But don’t tread too closely. This beach might just be closed to humans, it’s sandy expanse reserved as a private oasis for that ever present Galapagos sea lion.
Marine iguanas too, call Las Tintereras their home. This lonely soul keeps a close watch on all who enter his paradise.
A Hike To Sierra Negra Volcano And Beyond
It’s not all about the wildlife on Isabela Island, though. It’s also home to one of the most volcanically active places on earth. But don’t let that frighten you off. A hike to the rim of Isabela’s Sierra Negra Volcano is well worth the effort. Rising nearly a mile above the ocean floor, the Sierra Negra caldera is a massive expanse of smoldering lava flows from it’s last eruption in 2005. And what better way to experience it than to hike to it’s edge?!
Stop and ponder Mother Nature at work. Soak in the views across this enormous, 7-mile wide volcanic crater. Then continue hiking further up the trail and beyond, straight into the Volcan Chico lava fields. You’ll want to wear some tough hiking shoes today. This fresh lava field is hard on the feet!
Experience A Giant Tortoise Breeding Center
Ready for a break from all that high energy adventure? Great! Let’s slow it down a little. All the way down to giant tortoise speed. That’s right. It’s time to head on over to the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding center and get up close with this endangered species.
Here you will find local wildlife conservationists hard at work reviving this gentle giant, once the object of massive poaching that endangered it’s very existence. Meander along the center’s walkways past a species beginning to thrive once again within these walls.
Take a moment to ask questions of local wildlife experts. Witness the circle of a tortoise’s life, from egg to hatchling to a senior tortoise living out his days in calm respite from the outside world. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss.
A Well-Earned Beach Front Rest & Relaxation
Tired from all that adventure? The beach is where it’s at now. It’s the perfect way to end the day. Go for a relaxing walk, several marine iguanas as your companions. Or cool off with some body surfing in the refreshing ocean waves.
Finish the day off with a stop over at Beto’s Beach Bar. Grab a drink and settle in for a front row seat as the sun slips beyond the horizon.
One More Galapagos Stop … Santa Cruz Island!
Reflect upon today’s Isabela Island adventures and experiences while sipping a cool one, the sun setting on another fabulous day in the Galapagos Islands. You’ve earned it! Good night, Isabela Island. You certainly have been a paradise found.
Have you been to Isabela Island? What do you think? Was Isabela Island your beach front oasis? Could it represent your very own paradise found? Do share in the Comments section below.
All images from C.Biederman