The largest island in the Galapagos, Isabela was formed by five volcanoes whose lava flowed into one another to form one giant landmass. About 80 miles from north to south, most of Isabela is covered by barren landscapes made up of volcanic rock. There is vegetation in the northern areas, however, including a giant Galapagos tortoise breeding ground. Isabela’s volcanos are also the highest in the Galapagos, with Volcan Wolf reaching 5,400 feet.
Puerto Villamil – The largest town on Isabela Island, Puerto Villamil is home to many native Galapaguenos including fisherman and farmers from the surrounding hillsides. The town itself is surrounded by lagoons and white sand beaches.
Urbina Bay – Located on the west coast of Isabela Island, at the foot of Volcan Alcedo, Urbina Bay was formed by a unique volcanic uplifting in 1954. The submerged lava layers rose up out of the water, making for interesting elevations and expanded shorelines. Today, giant tortoises and land iguanas walk along the beach and tropical fish swim in and out of the coral reef.
Punta Moreno – A hidden cove tucked past a maze of mangroves, Punta Moreno is an excellent place to see moorhens, white-cheeked pintail ducks, and pelicans. Flamingos are also common, and lava cactus accentuate the volcanic landscape. Punta Moreno is located on the western shoreline of Isabela Island,
Tagus Cove – Located on the upper peninsula of Isabela Island, on the the western shoreline, Tagus Cove faces out across the water to Fernandina Island. Penguins and flightless cormorants live in the cove and a short hike up to a viewpoint allows panoramic views of Volcan Darwin.
Elizabeth Bay – Elizabeth Bay is known for the many volcanic rock islets that dot the cove, and the mangrove swamps just off the mainland of Isabela Island. Above water, you’ll find blue-footed boobies and penguins. Underwater, baby sharks, spotted eagle rays, and golden rays take refuge in the protected cove.
Vicente Roca Point – Made up of two different coves on the northwestern tip of Isabela Island, Vicente Roca Point is a fantastic place to see seahorses, sea tortoises, and mola-mola sunfish. The volcanic rocks that protrude from the water also host blue-footed boobies, terns, and penguins.