Blogs from Isabela Island, Galápagos, Ecuador, South America


South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island February 27th 2023

Traveling - it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. Ibn Battuta On the oft chance you missed our previous's the link. Join us for part two of the Galapagos adventure. Life on a Galápagos cruise offers a great deal of variety. Most of our week was spent taking zodiacs to rather desserted islands for hiking or wandering while observing, enjoying and stalking animals or doing a zodiac coastal exploration of rock formations where the birds, iguanas, and other wildlife enjoyed congregating. It never ceased to amaze us how the animals didn't seem to mind if we came up close. They weren't posing or anything, but there was a sense they had no fear from these weird beings dressed somewhat oddly and so eager to take their photo. Perhaps they simply decided we ... read more
Blue Footed Boobie
Land based iguana
Grapsus grapsus....crab of the Galápagos

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island November 14th 2019

Another rough night, and awoke to mild panic and a less than gentle chiding that I had forgotten to set the alarm....only 30 mins to get ready for breakfast and prepare for another busy day of activity.. We had moored in Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela..the largest island of the Galapagos. Our Panga took us on a gentle trip around the mangrove inlets, where we saw turtles, and many fish in the shallow water, many more birds, including Pelicans, penguins and the rare flightless cormorant. On return to the boat we were given the opportunity to jump in and swim or snorkel round the boat. The water was a little colder than before, despite being almost on the equator, due to us being now exposed to the cooler Cromwell Current coming from the ... read more

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island November 13th 2019

Not too good a nights sleep due to a lot of pitching and rolling, but found ourselves in a delightful bay on south east coast of Isabela Island. Panga ride to a decent jetty at the little town of Puerto Villamil where dozens of marine Iguanas and sea lions lay around in the sun, in the middle of the road, on the beach, jetty, and even commandeered the benches! Went for 7Km hike up to rim of massive crater of Sierra Negra Volcano, withe largest basaltic caldera in the Galapagos, thankfully inactive. Currently. Returned to boat again for decent lunch of ceviche (prawn, fish, and octopus), before returning to shore to visit a breeding sanctuary for Galapagos giant tortoises. I hadn't known that Galapagos means 'Giant Tortoise', from which the archipelago got its name. If not ... read more
Sally Lightfoot Crabs

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island June 17th 2019

Another early morning and a day packed with adventure. Kirsten as always sets an alarm on her phone and we were set to get up at 6:30. This was not a shower day for Chester, so 30 minutes is all that is needed to get ready. Except, the alarm did not go off this morning, and Kirsten woke up at 6:40. No matter, we were both ready by 7 and had 15 minutes for breakfast before our first pick-up. Today we were hiking an active volcano. The hike was 16 KM, which is about 10 miles. We had all our gear: hiking boots, rain jackets, water, sunglasses. Thankfully, there were only 8 of us on the hike with our guide. Everyone was young and fit, except of course the two of us. We get shuttled every ... read more

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island June 15th 2019

Kirsten was complaining that we are do not get to sleep in at all on our trip. Today we were able to set the alarm for 7 am! For us, that was sleeping in. Chester was in bed last night early with her ear all jacked up, and Kirsten stayed up watching horrible television. We both still got plenty of sleep and were up and ready to go! Today was a travel day to another island after our morning excursion. That meant we needed to pack up everything before we left. Packing up everything didn’t mean the little lizard that was crawling around in Kristen’s suitcase before she finished packing. We definitely have some little creatures in our bags that are probably coming home with us. Jorge, our guide, picked us up at 8:30 for a ... read more

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island November 30th 2018

Another calm, smooth overnight navigation had us at Moreno Point on Isabela island. I should mention how we get off the boats with the dry-landings. Fabian and Christian who did a lot of the zodiac driving would jump off first and then Fabian would always say “one by one, side by side” which we would all repeat and they would grab your arm and you would grab theirs and they pulled you up. This was a dry-landing onto a massive black lava flow which had big cracks that created mini-canyons. Some parts were quite smooth and looked like highways with big cracks in them. The various shapes were fascinating. After walking over the lava flow for a while we then came across some lakes with beautiful flamingoes which were quite a contrast to the harsh black ... read more

The yacht had not moved very far since yesterday. Both excursions this morning and afternoon were to areas on the northwestern side of Isabela Island, opposite Fernandina. The morning destination was Urbina Bay, featuring a black volcanic beach. So far I (Lesley) had avoided 'wet landings' and continued doing so. Don, Caroline and Max boarded the Zodiac to hike around a flat-ish rocky area and then to spend an hour snorkeling. Don describes here what they saw. After wading to the beach we donned the hiking shoes we had carried. Our snorkling gear we left in a cluster in the beach - it wasn't as though people were going to meander by and plunder our stuff! We wandered the trail following the guide, who highlighted plants and birds that we passed. This guide also pointed ... read more
after tortoise ate apples
Caroline examines what Max found on volcanic Urbina beach
Writing on the Wall of Tagus Cove with HMS Beagle 1835

Day 9 - Isabella and Fernandina Island 3 May 2018 + edits Isabella 5,000 population -> Isabela 2,000 At 3:30 am we crossed the equator again to the northern hemisphere. No we didn’t notice any difference. Then at 5:30 am we again crossed back to the southern hemisphere - but we were still asleep and the motion of the rocking of the yacht didn’t change at all! We slept late this morning - until 7 am and again awoke to the magnificent rock formations of Isabela Island. Four of the islands are inhabited by humans and Isabela is one of them. The human population of approximately 2,000 lives in the south of the island. During the trip with the exception of the beginning and the end we avoided all the populated parts of the archipelago. After ... read more
dark rocks line Isabela Island cave
Sea Lions swim around our Zodiac
way to Fernandina lava fields

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island August 31st 2017

All of our activities today were at Isabela. For me, it consisted of three activities: a cruise in the pangas at Elisabeth bay in the morning, and a walk up into the hills at Tagus Cove, plus a panga ride at the same location. There was an afternoon opportunity for a snorkel trip, but I declined. I surmised (correctly, as it turned out) that I would not see anything worth the chill. Elisabeth Bay is the location of the nesting sites of the Galápagos penguins. It is worrisome to see them using such limited nesting sites. WE got our first look at them at this morning's panga ride. (Actually, my second look since I got dive-bombed by two on the earlier snorkel trip, but did not see them above water). We went deep into the mangrove ... read more
Penguin nesting site
Galápagos penguins
Galápagos penguins

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island August 17th 2016

Starting with a 3am start we headed out to the airport for our flight to Galapagos. We had to have our bags checked to make sure we were carrying no seeds or animals!! Ironically apples were ok to take to the Galapagos but not to take into Mexican customs!! We arrived on the island of Baltra, an Island dedicated to the airport from here we headed across to Santa Cruz for lunch via bus, boat and bus again before getting a 2-3hr boat to our first island stay. Our first island, Floreana introduced us to seals, red sea iguanas and giant tortoises. We did some snorkelling and saw some amazing sea turtles, completely oblivious to humans!! This island is home to only 150 people and some giant tortoises which we also saw. Our second island, Isabela ... read more
Santa Cruz 'port'
Reg Iguanas on Floreana Island

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