Explore one of the most important highlands of Isabela such as the Sierra Negra volcano, the largest active volcanic crater in the Galapagos Islands. There are many things to do in Isabela. Relax at the “Shell Pearl”, which is a bay with plenty of shallow, calm, and clear water. Here you can go swimming and snorkeling with sea lions and penguins.
Upon your arrival to Baltra Island after arriving on your flight, a driver will be waiting for you on the other side of the Itabaca Channel on Santa Cruz to transfer you to Puerto Ayora. Once you arrive in Puerto Ayora you will be dropped off on the main pier to find your speedboat to Isabela Island. You’ll get on a small water taxi to the speedboat ferry and then it will be about a 1,5-hour ride to Isabela. When you get off the speedboat on Isabela Island you’ll board another water taxi to the Isabela pier. The entrance fee for Isabela Island is $10 per person. Once you pass this area a Spanish-speaking driver will take you to your hotel.
After your breakfast, a guide will arrive at your hotel to pick you up to start your adventure of discovering the Isabela wetlands on a bike. The wetlands on Isabela are a series of trails that lead you to the following areas; El Cerro Orquilla (sightseeing point), El Estero and Wall of Tears (penal colony and mangrove forest), La Poza Escondida (rock and wood trail), Poza Redonda (lava tube), El Tunel del Estero (lava tunnel and marine landscape), La Playa del Amor (coral and sand beach), Mirador de Los Tunos y Pozas Verdes (trails with sightseeing points).
Also, a part of the wetlands is the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center. This was created for the protection of giant tortoises and is a great place to see different species of tortoises in different phases as the center is concentrated on their reproduction. The purpose of the breeding program is to try and recuperate the existence of giant tortoises on islands that no longer have tortoises due to almost becoming extinct from invasive species. There is a great interpretational section for guests to learn more about the threats that are posed to the giant tortoises and how the national park is taking steps to protect them.
In the afternoon a tour of Tintoreras begins. This area is composed of a chain of small inlets, coves, and hidden beaches. It is a great place to either snorkel or kayak where white-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, sea lions, marine iguanas, and various tropical fish can be seen. In this area, there will also be blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds, and other shore birds that call the Galapagos Islands home. To arrive and return to and from the Tintoreras you will travel by boat.
“Los Tuneles” is one of the most spectacular visitor sites for scuba diving and snorkeling on Isabela Island. The water is shallow and very clear, offering perfect views of this sea sanctuary. A series of lava flows produced unique geological formations such as a series of arcs and tunnels underneath and above the water that it has created a perfect habitat for many Galapagos species. The entrance to the site is sometimes tricky as the access can be complicated. The best time to visit the tunnels is between January and May and the average water temps is between 64 – 71-degree F (18 and 22 degrees C).
Getting to the tunnels is an exciting boat adventure where you can see large quantities of seabirds such as blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, Nazca boobies, and more. Aquatic species that may be seen are marine iguanas, sea lions, manta rays, penguins, lobsters, and sea snakes, not to mention the amazing array of tropical fish species. After the tour, you return to your hotel to collect your belongings and meet at the port to take a speedboat back to Puerto Ayora for your last night in Galapagos on Santa Cruz Islands.
After breakfast, a guide will pick you up and you will discover the wetlands by bike. The wetlands are a complex of trails that leads you to El Cerro Orquilla (sightseeing point), El Estero (mangroves and majagual forests, penal colony), La Poza Escondida (rock and wood trail), Poza Redonda (lava tube), El Túnel del Estero (lava tunnel, marine landscape), La Playa del Amor (coral and sand beach), Mirador de Los Tunos y Pozas Verdes (trails with sightseeing points) and La Playita (beach).
The Breeding Center Arnaldo Tupiza was created for the protection of giant tortoises, a great place to see the efforts of conservation and animal welfare. Just a few minutes away from the town you will find a nice lagoon with pink flamingos, a natural habitat for these beautiful animals. Keep in mind that you will not visit all these sites, it depends on your local guide and tour itinerary.
In the afternoon, you will have a Kayak ride at “Las Tintoreras”. It is a chain of small islets full of coves and hidden beaches. The islet of Tintoreras is situated in the south of Puerto Villamil. It has a bay where it is possible to see sea lions, marine turtles, iguanas, manta rays, etc. This bay is connected by a superficial crack with crystalline water, which is closed off during low tide. In this crack, it is possible to see the sharks from Blanca Point swimming with the rest of the tropical fish and sea lions. It is necessary to travel in a boat to get to Tintoreras, and the access and routes are easy.
No Meals included
Around 5:20 am a driver will take you to the pier to check in on the speedboat. From Isabela pier to the Speedboat, you will have to take a water taxi again. Once arriving in Santa Cruz you will have to take a water taxi from the Speedboat to Santa Cruz’s pier. Finally, a Spanish-speaking driver will take you to the Itabacca Channel. From here, you have to cross the channel and take a bus or a taxi to get to the airport and catch the latest flight.
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Gulliver Expeditions is a tour operator that offers unique Ecuador and Peru tours. Specialized in adventure travel such as climbing, mountain biking and horseback riding. We offer both pre-planned packages as well as tailor-made tours that can include the Amazon rainforest, once-in-a-lifetime Galapagos cruises and expeditions to Machu Picchu.
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