What to do and see in Isabela, Ecuador: The Best Places and Tips

September 7, 2017 Hana Mouser

The largest of the Galapagos Islands, Isabela is one of the most volcanically active places in the world. Whether this is thrilling or terrifying is up to you. It doesn’t seem to bother the iguanas and penguins of Las Tintoreras, a nearby island cluster and popular snorkeling site. Walk from Puerto Villamil through mangrove forests and saltwater lagoons to reach the Tortoise Breeding Center. Isabela was once used as an exile for prisoners, who built the devastating Wall of Tears as part of their punishment.
Restaurants in Isabela

1. Los Tuneles

SE Isabela Island | Nr. La Union Rock, Puerto Villamil 200250, Ecuador +593 99 242 3015
Excellent
83%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

Los Tuneles

Reviewed By Remi B - Sydney, Australia

You can't go to Isabela Island, or even the Galapagos, without doing this tour - we went with Pahoehoe company who were good. The snorkelling is fantastic, we swam with turtles, sharks and stingrays, and even got to see the famous seahorses. The guide took a go pro to film us underwater and we got the footage for free if you have a USB or memory card. The walking tour of Los tuneles was also cooler than I expected and we got to see the blue footed boobies up close!

2. Las Tintoreras

Puerto Villamil, Ecuador +593 5-252-9229
Excellent
64%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 723 reviews

Las Tintoreras

Reviewed By tracyrocks - Brooklyn, New York

Came here in October 2017 and first walked the lava formations and had to ensure that I did not step on any marine iguanas because they were all over sunning themselves. This was probably one of my top spots to see the iguanas because you are so close to them because they are just all over. Then you go see the slit of water between the high rock formations and see a large number of white tip reef sharks. Then we snorkeled and saw many turtles, starfish, sea urchins and fish. This was also likely one of my top spots to see turtles since there are so many. It was actually hard for myself and my friends to ensure that we didn't touch any while we were swimming.

3. Sierra Negra

Ecuador
Excellent
59%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 339 reviews

Sierra Negra

Reviewed By D2TG2 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Our group really enjoyed our day hiking Sierra Negra and the Chico Volcano. Make sure that you take weather appropriate clothing (windbreaker), plenty of water, sun screen, a great attitude, and mostly bring your camera!
The trip takes about 6-7 hours depending upon you speed so get an early start and you will still be able to enjoy other things for the rest of your day.
It is a hike. Up a volcano. The activity level is fair with no steep inclines and some loose footing and 16km/10 miles long. Can you (and your kids) hike/walk that far?

4. Concha de Perla

Puerto Villamil, Ecuador
Excellent
53%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 750 reviews

Concha de Perla

Reviewed By flaneur40 - New York City, New York

The boardwalk to the concha y perla snorkeling site is enveloped with gnarled trees and occasionally you run into a sea lion relaxing obliviously on the walk way. The snorkeling itself was uneventful; I didn't see anything, but it was a relaxing swim around the area. Not sure why it is so highly rated.

5. Centro de Crianza Arnaldo Tupiza

Puerto Villamil, Ecuador
Excellent
46%
Good
41%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 411 reviews

Centro de Crianza Arnaldo Tupiza

Reviewed By wwrj - St. Albert, Canada

We visited the tortoise centre on a Wednesday morning just before feeding time. All of the tortoises were hungry and alert, rusihing--as much as they could rush--toward us when we moved from pen to pen. Our guide was so knowledgeable and it was a great opportunity to learn about the different families, the species recovery plan and most of all the role of the Volcanos in the tortoise population.

6. The Wall of Tears

Puerto Villamil, Ecuador
Excellent
31%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
21%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 564 reviews

The Wall of Tears

Reviewed By 12Knocksinna - Dublin

The Wall of Tears is a 10km round-trip hike from town, but it's worth going because you can see giant tortoises en route. On our trip, we met 12 tortoises along the road, along with other wildlife and fauna to look at. The wall itself is not as large as you might imagine, but no one in their right mind would want to carry the lava bricks that make it up, You can go to a viewing platform beside the top of the wall to take photos, but you cannot walk on the wall itself.

7. Isabela Island Wetlands Complex

Galapagos National Park, Puerto Villamil, Ecuador
Excellent
60%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 56 reviews

Isabela Island Wetlands Complex

Reviewed By flaneur40 - New York City, New York

This made for a relaxing if uneventful walk after the tortoise breeding center. The boardwalk trail leads you through three bodies of water where you will inevitably see flamingoes and some other birds. I did not have a guide so I wasn't sure what birds I was seeing.

8. Laguna Salinas

Puerto Villamil, Ecuador
Excellent
29%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
34%
Poor
6%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 126 reviews

Laguna Salinas

Reviewed By S1PRA - Cali, Valle, Colombia

It is a cool place but do not expect to see tons of flamingos. A few are still around but they are distant

9. Turtle Island

Puerto Villamil, Ecuador
Excellent
89%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 9 reviews

Turtle Island

Reviewed By CaliTraveler23 - California

We went to Turtle Island on a snorkeling trip. We saw countless birds and many sea lions from the boat. This is a trip where you are not allow on land. It was pleasant to cruise slowly down the shoreline bird spotting. We went snorkeling and saw Hammerhead Sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays and Golden Rays. The water was cold enough for the wetsuits and had currents strong. The water was for strong swimmers only and not for children. We loved it and had an amazing time.

10. Isabela Island

Galapagos, 010850, Ecuador +593 96 774 2545
Excellent
78%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 39 reviews

Isabela Island

Reviewed By Jason M

A beautiful and unspoiled Island with very friendly people. There are many hostel and restaurants to choose from. Wildlife is in abundance and are friendly which provides lots of opportunities for pictures. There are many activities including snorkeling, diving and short hikes and walks which provide ample opportunity to enjoy the flora and fauna. A must do if you visit the Galapagos!

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