Isabela Island Things To Do 🏝

Isabela Island is definitely the favorite populated island of most of the people that visit Galapagos. It has the most dazzling and varied landscapes, an exotic raw and savage uniqueness and a peaceful  lifestyle in harmony with all the animals and nature that makes everyone fall in love with this little peace of earth.

Find out what makes this island so special and all the tourism activities on Isabela Island (free and daily tours) that you can do if you are lucky enough to visit Isabela Island in Galapagos.

isabela galapagos things to do

All you need to know to plan your trip to Isabela Island in Galapagos

Isabela Island in the Galapagos is the largest in the archipelago. It is one of the least populated and most isolated, making it a true paradise for those seeking a total disconnection.

Must pack items for your Galapagos trip

Isabela Island Galápagos Map  🗺️

Before understanding how to get to Isabela, is useful to understand its location. Isabela is on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean, 900 km west from Ecuador mainland and is the most further island out of the 3 main islands in Galápagos. On this map, you’ll be able to see where exactly is Isabela located and it would be easier to understand how to get there.

transportation galapagos islands

How to get to Isabela Island in Galápagos? 🚤

The only two Islands with commercial flights airports are Baltra Island (north of Santa Cruz) and San Cristobal Island. Unfortunately, there are no flights from the mainland that land on Isabela.

For this reason, the best way to get there is on a water taxi from Santa Cruz Island which is the closest one. These water boats are the most common transportation between island on Galápagos.

The price of each way is around $ 35 and it takes 2 to 3 hours depending on the weather and sea conditions. The schedule for the water boats departures from and to Isabela are fixed and you should take them into consideration while planning your trip:

  • Santa Cruz – Isabela: AM departure is at 7 am and PM departure at 2pm

  • Isabela – Santa Cruz: AM departure is at 6AM and PM depature at 2PM

If you are in San Cristobal there is no direct ferry to Isabela, so we recommend you take one in the morning to Santa Cruz and in the afternoon take the Santa Cruz – Isabela ferry but we should warn you that’s going to be a bit tiring, so its better to spend a day in Santa Cruz and go to Isabela next morning if you have the time.

Another more expensive option is to take local flights on small planes that go between islands. There’s two airlines in Galápagos that offer this service. Prices per trip are around $150 but depends on the season. Here’s the website of both pages if you want further information:

With this option you will save a lot of time moving from one place to another (flights should be 30 min instead of the 2 hours on a boat) but since these flights are not so common time and availability may vary a lot from day to day.

Things you should and things you can’t bring to Isabela

Packing for Galápagos is not the same as packing for any other beach destination and especially at Isabela Island there’s a few items that would make your life easier while you are there.

Also, there are a few things you are not allowed to bring not only to Isabela but Galápagos Islands in general so make sure you know and understand all the Galápagos Rules and Entry Requirements before packing at your original location.

  • Valid passport: To enter Ecuador you need a passport valid for the upcoming 6 months. So don’t forget to review the document expiratino date before you jump into the plane.

  • Sunscreen: Don’t let the ecuadorian sun 🌞  ruin your vacation. The sun here hits harder than in other places (remember you are in the equator) so you’ll need to be extra careful. We recommend using a high SPF sunscreen and if you can also wear a cap or a hat to protect yourself!

  • Cash: There isn’t many ATMs in Galápagos and most shops and restaurants take only cash as payment method. That’s why we recommend bringing enough cash and if you can book in advance your trips and accommodation so you only have to bring money for your daily expenses.

  • Sport and comfortable shoes: We usually think flip flips when you are packing for the beach, but keep in mind that Galápagos is a beach but also an adventure destination, meaning you’ll have to walk through volcanic landscapes, rocks and its better to have the right shoes. We recommend this water shoes to keep you safe in land and water.

  • Bugs and mosquito repellent: In some beaches and hiking trips there’s a lot of mosquitos and annoying bugs. So better to bring your own mosquito repellent, you’ll thank us later!

  • Snacks: If you are planning a low cost trip keep in mind that Galápagos being an island needs to import most of the things from the mainland and that makes it a bit more expensive. So if you can do a quick trip to the supermarket and buy snacks you can bring to your trips do so. We recommend this because sometimes beaches are so isolated that there’s no place near to buy anything. This is amazing to disconnect but if you start feeling hungry you’ll be in a hurry. So better bring cereal or protein bars or sandwiches (but don’t leave any trash behind!)

  • Water bottleAs we said before, in Galápagos when you go on a beach or an excursion there isnt always a place to buy or get water so better to have yours and fill in on the hotel or any restaurant before you go. We recommend this instead of plastic water to avoid unnecessary waste. That way you’ll keep yourself hydrated and also protect the environment!

  • Your own snorkeling mask: this is optional because if you book any tour all the equipment needed its included. But we  highly recommend to buy one before your trip for 2 reasons (especially now that health safety is more important than ever). First reason is because you’ll feel more comfortable with a mask that you know how to fit well and hasn’t been used by many others.  Another reason is that there are a lot of spots in Galápagos where you can do snorkel on your own with sea lions, rays and many fishes so if you always have your maks with you you’ll make the most of your trip. There’s a lot of masks at different prices but here’s the ones we recommend:

  • Sport camera: The best way to keep the memories from your Galápagos trip. A sport camera is small, portable, water resistant and great for diving and snorkeling pictures (the dome accessory is amazing for this). There’s a lot of cameras at different prices. Here’s some recommendations:

What’s the best month to visit Isabela Island?

Every month is a great month to visit Isabela and Galapagos in general. However, even though Galápagos do not have the 4 seasons and its almost an all year summer, there a few variations that can impact some of the species you’ll get to see. Here’s a full article on the best time to visit Galápagos, seasons, weather and real time weather forecast for each island.

Free things to do on Isabela Island on Galápagos

Isabela is one of the best islands to do free activities on your own and it’s so big and beautiful you will always feel you didn’t have enough time to do all you want. However, to help you plan and create your personalized itinerary here’s some free and very cheap activities you can do on Isabela.

Snorkeling at Concha Perla

Concha perla is a shallow bay with very calm and transparent waters, the closest thing to a natural pool. Is located near the port and on the walk there you’ll get to see plenty of marine iguanas laying around and getting some sun.

If you have your own snorkeling equipment (as we have recommended) take it there and you will see a great variety of fish and sea lions. If you don’t have it, you can rent them or simply cool off and swim quietly in the water.

isabela concha perla
isabela concha perla galapagos

El Muro de las lágrimas, El Estero, Humedales

This is the ideal tour to spend a wonderful afternoon in Isabela. It is a path of about 5 kilometers where you can stop at different places, each one more beautiful than the other.

This route can be done on foot or by renting a bicycle for the day to make the trip lighter and faster. Price for the full day bike renting would be aroun $12 and $2 by the hour.

It starts at the Wall of Tears and back to the port you can stop at places such as El Estero, the resting beach and finish enjoying the sunset at Playa del Amor or having a cocktail at Beto’s Bar.

el estero isabela island galapagos

Turtle Breeding Center / Galapaguera

On Santa Cruz Island and San Cristobal you will also find turtle breeding centers, however, the one in Isabela is the most complete and is completely free. It is very close to the Poza de las Diablas, you can walk from there.

Poza de las Diablas Lagoon

If you want to see flamingos in their natural habitat, this magical place is ideal for watching these types of birds. This place is very close to Wetlands and Wall of Tears. The best way to make the most out of your time would be to start in the Galapaguera, from there take the path through the flamingo pool and when you leave you will be near the beach on the route that goes to the Muro de Las Lágrimas.

LET US ORGANIZE YOUR TRAVEL TO THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

 We’ll help you build and organize a personalized itinerary so that you make the most of your budget and time in the Galapagos Islands.

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By |2020-08-30T00:11:32+02:00June 20th, 2019|Isabela|5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Emma June 4, 2019 at 9:03 am - Reply

    Hola. I want to go whale watching in the bay between Isabela and Fernandina . Any Trips? Seems very hard to find any information online! Thanks Emma

    • admin June 5, 2019 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      Hi! when are you planning your trip? whales are only in ecuador for a short period of time, late july – august – early september so thats the first thing you should consider. Second, to go near Fernandina Island you must go by cruise because is a bit far and you can’t make it in one day so you’ll need to sleep on board. If you go on those dates its easier to go whale watching in Salinas or Ecuador Mainland where you may do a stoopover. Let us know if you need any help planning your trip or booking tours, we’ll be happy to help! galapagoslowcost@gmail.com

  2. Diving in Cyprus October 3, 2019 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    We are a family run dive centre in Cyprus, we love your content!

  3. Elpida Cyprus December 31, 2019 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    We are a family run dive centre in Cyprus, we love your content!

  4. Mario September 23, 2020 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    Hola
    Que tours tienen de santa cruz a isabela esta semana?
    Mario

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