Welcome to Puerto Villamil, the captivating town nestled on Isabela Island in the Galápagos archipelago. With its pristine white-sand beaches and serene brackish-water lagoons teeming with pink flamingos and diverse bird species, Puerto Villamil is a true paradise for nature enthusiasts. This hidden gem of Ecuador has transformed from a quiet fishing village to a charming destination for travelers seeking both tranquility and adventure. In this guide, we'll unveil the allure of Puerto Villamil's attractions, from the astonishing Sierra Negra Volcano to the enchanting underwater world of Punta Vicente Roca. And, while exploring the island's wonders, don't miss the chance to savor Isabela's delectable seafood cuisine at its finest restaurants.
Voyagers Travel includes a visit to Villamil in all of its land based Isabela bound tour itineraries, here are a few sample programs:
There are also several Galapagos cruise programs that include Puerto Villamil and other areas of Isabela in their itineraries:
When you think of the Galápagos, the majestic Giant Tortoise comes to mind. Discover where you can encounter these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.
If you are keen to seeing huge tortoises roaming around, Isabela Island has the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Centre where they take care of tortoises. When the tortoises turn five years old, they let them out into the dry forest on the island. Along the trail to a place called the Wall of Tears, you can spot these tortoises hanging out in the forest. It's one of the easiest spots to find tortoises on the whole island!
Another awesome place to see tortoises in their natural habitat is at Alcedo Volcano. This volcano is one of the six big hills that helped create Isabela Island. Alcedo Volcano is like a giant tortoise paradise! It's believed that the biggest group of Galapagos Giant Tortoises in the whole world lives here.
A while ago, people used to be able to hike up Alcedo Volcano for fun, but that stopped in the late 1990s. Nowadays, if you want to visit this volcano, you have to request a special permit from the Galapagos National Park Service. They make sure everything's safe and good for both the tortoises and visitors. And only 12 people, plus a guide, can go at once.
Regardless of where you choose to spot them, make sure to immerse yourself in the tortoises' world, observing their gentle movements and ancient wisdom. Marvel at the biodiversity that surrounds these iconic giants, making your journey a truly enriching experience.
Puerto Villamil, the picturesque gateway to Isabela Island, beckons with its unique blend of natural wonders and laid-back charm. Immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of Sierra Negra Volcano and explore the coastal beauty of Urbina Bay. Delight in encounters with marine life at Tintoreras and Punta Vicente Roca. Be captivated by the intriguing history of Wall of Tears. From tranquil lagoons to remarkable diving sites, Puerto Villamil offers a plethora of experiences for every nature enthusiast.
Your journey through Isabela's enchanting landscapes is incomplete without savoring its culinary treasures. Delight your taste buds with the freshest seafood dishes at Puerto Villamil's finest restaurants. Indulge in mouthwatering flavors that celebrate the bounties of the ocean, from succulent shrimp in coconut sauce to flavorful fish in Ecuador’s take at ceviche. As the sun sets over the Pacific, treat yourself to an unforgettable dining experience that perfectly complements your island adventure.
Immerse yourself in the wonders of Puerto Villamil over a span of 3 to 4 days to fully appreciate its natural beauty and experiences.
While exploring the highlands, keep an eye out for vibrant bird species like the Vermillion flycatcher, the Galapagos martin, Hawks and endemic wildlife that call the highlands home. By the beach keep an eye out for marine iguanas and penguins on the rocks.
Apart from Tintoreras islets and the Flamingo lagoon, explore sites like Sierra Negra Volcano and Wall of Tears for a comprehensive Isabela experience.
Embark on a scenic journey on an open bus from Puerto villamil passing by the small settling called Santo Tomas and onwards to the trail head. To the rim of the caldera it is about 2 hours hiking, if you want to reach the major lava flows like volcan Chico the entire circuit takes about 6 hours.
Embark on a memorable journey to the Concha de Perla Lagoon, a must-visit gem for those seeking free adventures in Isabela. This picturesque lagoon, surrounded by lush mangroves, is just a short stroll from Puerto Villamil town. Discover marine iguanas and vibrant fish from the wooden deck before snorkeling in its crystal-clear waters. With a stroke of luck, you might even spot turtles, rays, and reef sharks, creating an unforgettable family escape.
Step into history at the Wall of Tears, a thought-provoking attraction on Isabela Island. Built between 1946 and 1959 by former inmates of the Isabela Penitentiary Colony, this stone wall stands as a testament to their hardships. Despite its solemn past, the surrounding landscape offers stunning vistas. Perfect for hikers and history enthusiasts, the journey to the Wall of Tears also leads to the breathtaking "El Radar" viewpoint, providing panoramic views of Isabela's coastline.
Cerro Orchilla Hill beckons travelers en route to the Wall of Tears. This captivating hill offers panoramic vistas of Isabela's southern landscapes, including Puerto Villamil town and its surrounding volcanic hills. A splendid alternative to the Wall of Tears hike, Cerro Orchilla Hill offers a sweeping view of Isabela's lush greenery. Along the way, consider a detour to Playita beach or explore the Humedales Wetlands Park for added natural splendor.
Embark on a short yet captivating hike to El Radar Viewpoint on Isabela Island. Along the path, enjoy additional viewpoints, including the Wall of Tears viewpoint. From these vantage points, witness the mesmerizing beauty of Isabela's coastline and verdant landscapes.
Indulge in relaxation at Puerto Villamil Beach, a stunning 4 km stretch of paradise along Isabela Island's coast. Sink your toes into its white sands and immerse yourself in turquoise waters. Witness pelicans fishing and marine iguanas basking in the sun as well as penguins on the rocky part of the coastline. Venture to the eastern side for an opportunity to ride the waves. A perfect escape for beach lovers, Puerto Villamil Beach offers a serene retreat on Isabela.
Discover the unique blend of culture and natural beauty in Puerto Villamil's downtown area. This tranquil coastal town offers a serene environment compared to bustling Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz. Explore local restaurants serving fresh fish and ceviche, and relish international flavors at beachfront bars. Don't miss the chance to spot flamingos in the town's lakes and enjoy live events at the small stadium.
Encounter the wonders of Los Humedales, a free natural park characterized by diverse mangroves and lakes. Journey through this park on your way to the Wall of Tears and witness flamingos and giant tortoises in their native habitat. Discover an intimate beach called Playa del Amor, where marine iguanas gather. Embrace the park's allure while en route to other Isabela attractions.
Indulge in the serene beauty of La Playita Beach, an alternative to Puerto Villamil's main beach. Situated at the entrance of Los Humedales Park, this beach offers a bay-like ambiance. While remote, the allure of this beach is complemented by the expansive Puerto Villamil Beach nearby. Experience tranquility against the backdrop of Isabela's natural splendor.
Embark on a unique adventure at the Giant Tortoise Reserve (Arnaldo Tupiza breeding center), a captivating free attraction dedicated to preserving these majestic creatures. A short 15-20 minute walk from Puerto Villamil's downtown, this reserve allows up-close encounters with these gentle giants. Learn about the conservation efforts safeguarding their species, including crucial breeding centers. A visit to the Giant Tortoise Reserve offers insight into Galapagos' remarkable biodiversity.
Unearth the wonders of Cueva de Sucre, a natural attraction in Isabela Island. This lava tunnel entrance offers a unique experience reminiscent of Santa Cruz Island's caves. Plan a visit by renting a taxi or coordinating with tour companies, possibly on your way to explore Sierra Negra Volcano or Volcan Trillizos. Enter for free and enjoy a picnic area within its confines.
For surf enthusiasts, Isabela Island offers excellent spots for riding the waves. Beyond the main Puerto Villamil beach, explore El Faro, El Hospital, Barahona Point, and Quinta Ola. Even if you're a beginner, numerous local establishments offer surf lessons. Elevate your Isabela adventure by embracing the thrill of surfing.
In conclusion, taking Puerto Villamil as a base invites you to a world of natural wonders and captivating experiences. Engage in snorkeling escapades at Concha de Perla Lagoon, immerse yourself in history at the Wall of Tears, and bask in the beauty of viewpoints like Cerro Orchilla Hill and El Radar. Explore charming beaches, downtown allure, and protected reserves. From giant tortoises to surfing waves, Isabela promises a journey of discovery and adventure.