Isabela Galapagos Tours
Isabela Cruise Extensions  E-mail

Isabela Galapagos

It's simply impossible to rave enough about Isla Isabela in the Galapagos.  Anyone who's been there seems to share our passion for Isabela.  It offers so much pristine beauty, rare stunning beaches, active volcanoes, great food and gracious residents.  This is where you can walk alone for hours on a beach that feels like talcum powder.  You can trek active volcanoes.  You can snorkel with giant mantas, sharks, sea lions, enormous man-sized sea turtles and of course, the Galapagos penguin.  See blue-footed boobies, flamingos and the Galapagos Hawk.  Find seahorses wrapped around mangrove roots a mere 1 foot beneath the surface.  For our full rave and photos, please see our Isabela blog entry and our Isabela photo gallery.

We can offer you any type of customized group tour in Isabela, but have designed one specifically for divers who also want to experience the glory of topside Galapagos before or after a dive cruise, all the more appealing since liveaboards are no longer allowed to make land visits.  Our Isabela Itinerary is the perfect pre or post-dive cruise option. It's not uncommon for a diver to debate which they enjoyed the most...diving Darwin and Wolf or their time on Isabela.  

PLEASE NOTE that we no longer offer this tour to individuals except those who are also our liveaboard clients. If you are not our liveaboard client and are interested in one of our extensions, please contact us for a customized itinerary for 6 or more.  

If you wish to extend your time on land, we are more than happy to add a Santa Cruz day tour to your Isabela extension.  There are sites typically only accessible from a cruise.  There are also options for you to spend an independent day in Isabela or Santa Cruz.

Click on the tabs below to learn more. Click on each star to see more about that day. 

Pre-Cruise Itinerary

 

 In order to make the afternoon speedboat transfer to Isabela, you must arrive on the early flight into Baltra.  We will make sure of this if we book your flight, but if you plan to book your own flights, you will need to make sure of this. Our driver meets you in Baltra, assists with your luggage and escorts you to Itabaca Canal where you board a ferry for the 10 minute crossing.  On the other side (Santa Cruz), you will be driven across the island of Santa Cruz and into Puerto Ayora  to the speedboat office.  You will have your bags inspected for organic goods and board for the transfer which will take approximately 2 hours.  We will meet you at the dock in Isabela and escort you to your hotel. 
Los tuneles, isabela-galapagos

Los Tuneles is, simply put, one of the most magical spots in the whole of the Galapagos. It is a labyrinth of submerged lava tunnels inside the breakers, so the water is not just completely calm, but swimming- pool clear. There are large schools of fish, Sea Turtles, White-Tipped Reef Sharks, Lobster, Sea Lions, Eagle Rays, Marine Iguanas and Galapagos Penguins. Los Tuneles also has a 'turtle highway', a route turtles take between the mangrove and the sea that means you often literally watch them passing each other in two lanes, as though on a highway.  Blue Footed Boobies nest in Los Tuneles. The backdrop is an incredible land-before-time vista with two active volcanoes looming above, Volcan Sierra (last erupted in 2005) and Cerro Azul (last erupted in May 2008).

We will then move along the coast to find seahorses in water a mere foot deep.  Sea turtles here are often 5+ feet.  Lunch will be aboard in a tranquil, mangrove lined bay.  Los Tuneles is an amazing place you will never forget.

Time and conditions permitting, we next venture north to another spectacular spot called El Finado.  This is a bay chocked full of man-sized turtles.  It is truly a visual that helps it sink in that the Galapagos has one of the most prolific populations of sea turtles on the planet! Also, we can usually find the giant Pacific Seahorse wrapped around mangrove roots in water that is only a foot or two deep...often viewed with a turtle sleeping below.  

Overnight in Isabela.

Sierra Negra, Isabela-Galapagos

AM:  After breakfast, you'll be transported up to Sierra Negra to begin your Volcano Trek around the edge of the world's second largest caldera of an active volcano.  You will also have the option to trek over to Volcan Chico, which most agree offers magnificent views in an other-wordly moonscape.  Feel the heat of lava beneath your feet or carefully pass your hand over a fumerole to feel the heat of the steam from activity below the earth.  What an experience to trek an active volcano!

PM: The Isabela Breeding Center is a fascinating place where you can see many tortoises of all sizes and shapes as well as learn more about their life spans.  Afterwards, walk 1 kilometer back into town on a wooden walkway above Isabela wetlands with shorebirds and marine iguanas.

Overnight in Isabela. 

Once you are in Isabela, you don't want to leave.  So we offer the option of having a free day to do as you wish.  There are so many options to choose from:

-You could go shore snorkeling on your own. See maps of our favorite places here and here.
-You could pick up a tour in Isabela such as Las Tintoreras. 
-You could wander the 3 kilometer white sand beach where you can find a lava tunnel into the sea and have the place to yourself apart from marine iguanas, turtles and shore birds.
-Rent a bike and ride down the coastal drive. You will see lots of marine iguanas, shore birds, and most likely tortoises in the wild.
-Go surfing!  

Departure by speedboat is at 06:00 AM.  There is no direct speedboat from Isabela to San Cristobal, so you will need to first transfer to Santa Cruz.  Navigation time is approximately 2 hours.  Upon arrival, you can leave your bags in the speedboat office leaving you free to have a proper breakfast and wander around Puerto Ayora before returning at 1:30 PM / 13:30 PM to transfer to San Cristobal.  Navigation time to San Cristobal is approximately 2.5 hours.

If you don't relish the idea of an all day transfer,  there is the option of a flight from Isabela to San Cristobal.  Sometimes, the flight is at 08:30 AM, sometimes at 1:30 / 13:30 PM.  It takes about 30 minutes to fly to San Cristobal on the small inter-island flights.  While this frees up time for you to spend other than in transit, weight limits are very restricted on the small planes, so we will need to send your dive gear and excess luggage by boat and then you will need to collect it in San Cristobal.  Flights cost $175 pp each way from Isabela to San Cristobal or vice versa.  The weight limit is 20 lbs / 9 kilos.

Post-Cruise Itinerary

Rather than sleep on-board for your final night, it is best to disembark on the final day of your cruise in order to have a full day of activities on Day 2.  You will dive in the morning and come into Puerto Ayora in the afternoon for a visit to the Darwin Station.  After your in-town farewell dinner with your dive cruise mates, you will overnight in a Santa Cruz hotel.
Tortuga Bay Galapagos

AM: Free Morning.

PM: You will transfer by speed boat to Isla Isabela, transfer to your hotel with a bit of time to relax on the beach or wander around this charming village before dinner.  Overnight Isabela.

Sierra Negra Volcano Trek

AM:  After breakfast, you'll be transported up to Sierra Negra to begin your Volcano Trek around the edge of the world's second largest caldera of an active volcano.  You will also have the option to trek over to Volcan Chico, which most agree offers magnificent views in an other-wordly moonscape.  Feel the heat of lava beneath your feet or carefully pass your hand over a fumerole to feel the heat of the steam from activity below the earth.  What an experience to trek an active volcano!

PM: The Isabela Breeding Center is a fascinating place where you can see many tortoises of all sizes and shapes as well as learn more about their life spans.  Afterwards, walk 1 kilometer back into town on a wooden walkway above Isabela wetlands with shorebirds and marine iguanas.

Overnight in Isabela.

Los Tuneles, Isabela Galapagos

Los Tuneles is, simply put, one of the most magical spots in the whole of the Galapagos. It is a labyrinth of submerged lava tunnels inside the breakers, so the water is not just completely calm, but swimming- pool clear. There are large schools of fish, Sea Turtles, White-Tipped Reef Sharks, Lobster, Sea Lions, Eagle Rays, Marine Iguanas and Galapagos Penguins. Los Tuneles also has a 'turtle highway', a route turtles take between the mangrove and the sea that means you often literally watch them passing each other in two lanes, as though on a highway.  Blue Footed Boobies nest in Los Tuneles. The backdrop is an incredible land-before-time vista with two active volcanoes looming above, Volcan Sierra (last erupted in 2005) and Cerro Azul (last erupted in May 2008).

We will then move along the coast to find seahorses in water a mere foot deep.  Sea turtles here are often 5+ feet.  Lunch will be aboard in a tranquil, mangrove lined bay.  Los Tuneles is an amazing place you will never forget.

Time and conditions permitting, we next venture north to another spectacular spot called El Finado.  This is a bay chocked full of man-sized turtles.  It is truly a visual that helps it sink in that the Galapagos has one of the most prolific populations of sea turtles on the planet! Also, we can usually find the giant Pacific Seahorse wrapped around mangrove roots in water that is only a foot or two deep...often viewed with a turtle sleeping below.  

Dinner and Overnight in Isabela.

Isabela Galapagos

Experience has taught us that the sole regret people have when they depart Isabela is that the tour they were on left them no time to explore for themselves. Isabela inspires that and, while that is challenging to impossible on other islands, on Isabela it feels like a mandate.  You can explore the beautiful 3 kilometer long beach inside the National Park where you will probably only have marine iguanas for company.  There are spots where you can snorkel from the shore with giant turtles, marine iguanas, sea lions and more.  Bike down the shore to experience the beach on one side and wetlands full of endemic and transient shore birds on the other side.  Try your hand at surfing, a popular Isabela pastime.  Head over to Concha de Perla for some snorkeling.  There is so much to do in Isabela that your only problem will be not having enough time to do it all.

Dinner and Overnight in Isabela.

You will have an early morning transfer via speed boat to Baltra in order to catch your flight back to mainland Ecuador.
 

Hotels

Below are the hotels we work with due to price, location and in short, value.    

Santa Cruz: Pelikan Bay Hotel and Galapagos Suites.  Isabela: Iguana Crossing, Casa SolCasa de Marita and our wonderful economical option, Rincon de George.

Hotel upgrades are available. Recommendations:  Sol y Mar or a private villa on Santa Cruz.  A suite at Casa de Marita, Hotel Albemarle and Hotel Iguana Crossing on Isabela.

Price and Availability

GROUPS ALL INCLUSIVE RATE:

Our Isabela Extension group rate (6 or more) is $1195 pp in a standard hotel and includes: Accommodations in a standard (based on double occupancy), all inter-island transfers by speedboat, airport transfer from Baltra (approximately 50 kilometers), all tours, all meals and 24/7 assistance on Isabela.

Rates do not include:  Personal Expenses (laundry, alcohol, etc) and gratuities  

INDIVIDUAL RATE:

Our Individual traveler price is $1395 pp for the post-cruise itinerary and $1450 pp for the pre-cruise itinerary in a standard hotel and includes:  Accommodations in a standard (based on double occupancy), all inter-island transfers by speedboat, airport transfer from Baltra (approximately 50 kilometers), all tours and 24/7 access to assistance on Isabela. 

Rates do not include: Meals (except as indicated), Isabela dock departure tax ($5 pp), Personal Expenses (laundry, alcohol, etc) and gratuities.

Neither rate includes: Flights to Galapagos, National Park Entry fee, Visitor Control card. 

Get in touch with us to discuss our programs, our availabilities or to allow us to answer any and all questions you might have about visiting Isla Isabela or diving the Galapagos.

Add Ons

Additional options in Isabela include diving (of course!), fishing, camping, surfing, historical tours and lots more.  Just let us know what you are interested in and we'll be happy to organize your adventure.  

You may also fly from island to island rather than taking a speed boat.

We are experts at helping you make the most of land-based options in all 4 of the populated Galapagos Islands...it's just that we think you will enjoy Isabela the most.  Don't hesitate if you are interested in options on Santa Cruz, San Cristobal or Floreana. 

Contact us with your requests and questions. 

Don't forget to check the Isabela information on our blog...many more photos and much more detail.