After our visit to the beautiful Santa Cruz Island, we took a small boat to our next destination namely the stunning sea-horse shaped Isabela Island formed of 6 volcanoes of which 5 are still active. It was quite a rough but breathtaking ride through turquoise waters. Upon arrival in Isabela we were greeted by sea lions sunning on the dock. Can you imagine anything more unique? This island is the biggest in the Galapagos archipelago and with almost a million years behind it also one of the youngest. Undisturbed by progress, the human population here leads a peaceful co-existence with wildlife like giant tortoises, iguanas, blue footed boobies, sea lions, penguins, sea turtles and with white-tipped reef sharks to name a few. To preserve all this beauty, make sure to visit with a Green Awareness.
Sierra Negra Volcano
About 27 kilometers from the sole settlement Puerto Villamil towards the north-west is a volcanic crater named Sierra Negra, a popular hiking destination. The fact that this volcano was active as recently as 2005 has not hindered the tourist activity in any way and has even added more to its mysticism and charm. From the drop-point we hiked about 1 kilometer to the huge caldera – the second biggest in the world – from where the views were absolutely stunning.
We hiked for another 5 kilometer on an easy path next to the caldera – enjoying all along the way a fabulous view over the crater – till we reached the famous Jaboncillo tree. This proved to be the perfect place to rest our feet in the shade. After a small break, we continued hiking towards the Volcano Chico which is a quite challenging hike of about an hour through lava fields. Remarkable is the word to describe the amazing flora and if you come across any fauna then all your tiredness disappears in a jiffy simply by looking at something so unique and beautiful. The main highlights surrounding Volcano Chico are lava fields belonging to different eruptions, fumaroles and a stunning panoramic view of several volcanic peaks.
There is no place here to provide even a bit of respite from the burning sun, so make sure to carry enough water and plunge yourself liberally with sun block.
Concha de Perla
Close to the dock area in Isabela is a path leading into the depths of the mangrove forest, this trail leads to the beautiful Concha de Perla. Home to sea turtles, sea lions and penguins, Concha de Perla is a popular snorkeling spot not just because of its beauty but also because of its safety. There is a main pool teeming with marine life in all its glory and a little bay over the ledge of volcanic rock. We unfortunately did not have the chance to swim with sea lions here but we did come across lots of huge sea turtles and tropical fish.