Isla Isabela is the largest and youngest island of the Galapagos. It’s made up of 5 volcanoes fused together to make an island. Pretty awesome!
From Santa Cruz, I caught the afternoon ferry Neptuno. The boat cost $25 and the water taxi to get to the boat was 50¢. The two-hour journey was bumpy. I would definitely recommend taking a motion-sickness pill beforehand, although they did provide a vomit bag, just in case.
Just before arriving on Isabela, I had to board another water taxi for $1 then pay a $10 municipal tax fee. Ouch…
I stayed at Posada del Caminita. I love this place because they had a kitchen that I was allowed to use and they offered unlimited oranges and bananas (aka free breakfast) along with free water refills. For $18/night and the free amenities and working WiFi, it was a great bargain.
For my daily adventure, I rented a mountain bike for $2.50/hr or $15/day. Dan and I first biked to La Laguna del Flamingos. They need to change the name of the place to “Flamingo”, singular because we only saw one from very far away.
We then continued our journey along the beach route where we encountered/swerved around many iguanas and giant tortoises living in nature. It was amazing.
There were several viewpoints worth going. My favorite was the one before Mirador Cerro Orchilla. It’s unnamed, but there’s a bicycle parking spot. Once you get to the top, there is a bench there to enjoy the 360° view of Isabela. It was also there that I discovered my wallet sitting on a bench with all my money and cards still in there. Thank you, kind stranger, who left everything behind!
Further on, there is the bike parking for Mirador Cerro Orchilla (Wall of Tears). The wall is a part of Isabela’s history, but in actuality, it’s just a wall. Walking past the wall, follow the stairs up for maybe 20+ minutes until El Radar, the final viewpoint along this route.
In theory, you can do this biking route in less than four hours, but it’s nice to take your time.
Snorkeling can be done at La Concha de Perla (Pearl Shell) for free. It’s best to go in the morning for better visibility. The bridge is full of sleeping sea lions and sedentary iguanas. It gets very busy by midday. In the afternoon, the water can get murky.
For a better flamingo viewing option, head to the beginning of the trail to Centro de Crianza “Arnaldo Tupiza Chamaidan” next to the Iguana Crossing Hotel. There are three lakes where you can find flamingos searching for food, cleaning themselves and sometimes fighting.
I found a rundown playground with bits of shade next to the beach across the Iguana Point Bar, making it the perfect place to read a book while enjoying the ocean view.
The ferry Mi Sol took me back to Santa Cruz. It was a rough ride. Thank goodness for vomit bags, semi-cushioned seats and life jackets acting as pillows. And I would also like to thank my fellow passengers for the tissues, additional motion-sickness pills, and inhalers to help me survive the two-hour journey.
Tips for Isla Isabela:
- Shop at the Proinsular Market for snacks by the pier in Santa Cruz before boarding the boat. Prices are even higher on Isabela.
- Book your ticket for Santa Cruz or San Cristobal the day before you want to leave. Tickets can sell out fast.
- Bring your own snorkeling gear. Renting can add up. The water can get cold, so if needed, rent a wetsuit.