Puerto Villamil (Isabela Island)

#8 in Best Things To Do in Galapagos Islands
Puerto Villamil (Isabela Island) picture
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Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.1

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Food Scene
  • 3.5Atmosphere

On Isabela Island, the largest island in the Galápagos, lies the quiet town of Puerto Villamil. Named after General José Villamil, the Galápagos Islands' first governor who settled in the area in 1832, this port town features white sand beaches, lagoons with pink flamingos and multiple restaurants and hotels. It is also a convenient spot to stay if you want to hike Sierra Negra Volcano, bike to the Wall of Tears or snorkel in Las Tintoreras', Los Tuneles' or Concha de Perla's waters.

Recent visitors raved about Puerto Villamil's sights, although several can only be reached by joining an organized tour from companies like Nature Galapagos & Ecuador and Andando Tours. If you're short on time and money but still want to fit in some snorkeling, travelers recommend bringing your own gear to Concha de Perla, which is free to visit and within walking distance of downtown.

You can get to this port town by ferry or plane; the island's airport is about a mile northeast of central Puerto Villamil. To explore Puerto Villamil without help from a local tour company, you can walk, bike or hail a taxi. The town itself is free to visit 24 hours a day, but tours and purchases made at local shops and restaurants cost extra.

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Tortuga Bay (Santa Cruz Island)1 of 10
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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Tortuga Bay (Santa Cruz Island)

Outdoorsy types don't flock to these two white sand beaches simply to bake in the warm equatorial sun. Travelers visit this isolated strip of Santa Cruz Island's southern coastline for some quality face time with the Galápagos' marine turtles. If you visit between January and February, you may even catch sight of the black turtles laying their eggs (hatchlings emerge and make their way to the sea between April and May). Even if you're not a turtle-lover, you can still get up close and personal with the other beach combers like marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs.

While most recent travelers describe their visits to Tortuga Bay as a highlight of their trips, some do caution that it can feel like quite a trek to get there from Puerto Ayora, especially in the hot sun. Also, remember that the beach closest to the bay's entrance (Playa Brava) has strong currents, so it's not suitable for swimming. If you want to swim, continue walking to the bay's other beach (Playa Mansa).

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