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|Isabela (Albermarle) - Galapagos Island Guide Wildlife, Marine Life, Conservation & Geology|
Tel 0844 412 0848
Intl +44 1428 620012
Wilderness Yacht Safaris
Galapagos Wildlife Yacht Safaris
Galapagos Dive Liveaboards
Galapagos and Amazon by Sea Kayak, Dugout Canoe, Trekking, Biking & Snorkelling
Area Size: 4588 Km²
Isabela is situated on the western edge of the archipelago close to the Galapagos tectonic hot spot and is the largest and consequently most diverse island in terms of the wildlife and marine life. She is 4 times larger than the second largest island of Santa Cruz. There is a huge amount to see on this island, both in terms of wildlife and scenery. Aqua-Firma can take you some of the best of these by small boat, biking, snorkelling and a combination of 4WD and trekking. Other sites can only be accessed by live aboard boat.
In the shape of a seahorse, Isabela is approximately 1 million years old, making her one of the youngest Galapagos islands. With 5 of out of 6 of her volcanoes still active, Isabela is one of the most volcanically active places in the world.
Puerto Villamil is the third largest human settlement in the archipelago and is located on the south eastern tip of the island. It is considered to be the most attractive town of the Galapagos archipelago and is characterised by its long white sand beaches. It is a lovely place to spend a few days, whether just to relax or as a point from which to explore the island and its coastline.
It is very clear when you visit Isabela that its landscapes are moulded by volcanic activity. If you fly in, then you will see beneath you Turtle Island, which is a volcanic cone of which about one third has collapsed out of sight into the sea. As you fly over Isabela's southern land mass, its surface takes the form of molten lava which has dried. It is difficult to find anywhere on the island or its coast where you can't see at least one of its volcanoes.
The coast of Isabela is rich in marine life. The western coastline is known for upwellings produced by the Cromwell Current. The nutrition this brings helps to make it a very good place to spot whales such as the southern right whale, humpback whale, sperm whale, minke whale and orca. The north eastern coast is often good place for seeing Giant Manta Rays, as is Los Gemelos in the south - a coast which is excellent for marine iguanas, white tip sharks, Pacific Green Turtles and more.
Aqua-Firma explores Isabela Island in three main ways. Some of our Wildlife Yacht Safaris explore the coast of Isabela for as much as two whole days, with opportunities to walk inland and snorkel. Please check with us which of our itineraries go there.
For those who prefer to be land based, or particularly enjoy snorkelling, trekking and mountain biking, we can take you to explore the southern part of the island in detail. Highlights include opportunities to sea flamingos and a day trek to the peak of the Sierra Negra Volcano whose 6 mile wide crater provides one of the best opportunities to see far across Isabela and itds neighbouring islands. The stunning islets of Las Tintoreras and Los Gemelos are highlights in the south where we can see white tip sharks at the sea surface, Giant Manta Rays and marine iguanas whilst snorkelling, Galapagos penguins and a host of other marine life and coastal birdlife.
For keen divers, some of our dive liveaboard trips encompass Cabo Marshall which is the best place in the islands to dive with Giant Manta Rays. Punta Vicente Roca is another great dive spot which has only recently come back onto liveaboard itineraries.
Photographs kindly provided by Ralph Pannell
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