Puerto Villamil (Isabela Island)

#8 in Best Things To Do in Galapagos Islands
Puerto Villamil (Isabela Island) picture
Jesse Kraft / EyeEm/Getty Images

Price & Hours

Free

Details

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

See all Hotels in Galapagos Islands »

More Best Things To Do in Galapagos Islands

Tortuga Bay (Santa Cruz Island)1 of 10
Rancho Primicias (Santa Cruz Island)2 of 10
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).

Read more
shalamov/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Galapagos Islands »

Explore More of Galapagos Islands

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

30 Top Babymoon Destinations, Trips and Ideas

From romantic beach getaways to big city adventures to glamping in the forest, these locales will inspire your babymoon planning.

Gwen PratesiOctober 15, 2019

15 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

These tips will help pregnant women travel the world in comfort and style.

Holly JohnsonOctober 10, 2019

The Best Chicago Segway Tours

See all the top sights in the Windy City without breaking a sweat.

Marisa MéndezOctober 3, 2019

The Best Washington, D.C., Bus Tours

Here's everything you need to know about D.C. bus tours.

John RodwanOctober 1, 2019

How to Visit Vatican City: Tours and Things to See

This country within Rome has a lot to offer travelers.

Lyn MettlerSeptember 30, 2019

13 Beautiful Castles in Germany

Fall in love with Germany's noble past by touring its magnificent collection of historic castles.

Kyle McCarthySeptember 26, 2019

The Best Antelope Canyon Tours

Here's the essential information you need for a satisfying visit.

John RodwanSeptember 26, 2019

How to Get to Machu Picchu: Tours and Tips for Visiting

Here is everything you need to know to plan a trip to Machu Picchu.

Lyn MettlerSeptember 24, 2019

15 Things a Hotel Concierge Can Help You With

From tying bow ties to teaching local languages, there's almost no request a concierge can't handle.

Lyn MettlerSeptember 23, 2019

The Best Gettysburg Tours

Use these helpful tips to plan a successful visit to the national military park.

John RodwanSeptember 18, 2019