Colony of blue footed boobies, Isabela Island

Isabela Island

The largest island in the Galapagos, Isabella is four times the size of Santa Cruz and formed by the merging of six volcanoes. As far as islands go, Isabela is a young island at around a million years old and has several active volcanoes. This is due to its close proximity to the hot spot which created this archipelago, the highest being Wolf Volcano reaching 1,707 metres.

Beach, Scalesia Lodge, Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands
Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands

A little more about Isabela Island

Isabela, shaped like a seahorse (if you’re lucky you may also spot one here), lies near the Cromwell Current which is rich with food and nutrients and helps attract the likes of dolphins, whales, blue-footed boobies and the Galapagos penguin.

White sandy beaches can be found in the south around Puerto Villamil and make for a great land-based Galapagos holiday option. From here you can easily explore ‘Tintoreras’ (whitetip reef shark alley!), Los Tuneles where rays and sea lions can be spotted, and for a more sobering insight, you can see the Wall of Tears where prisoners were forced to build a wall in the harshest conditions.

Galapagos Sea Lions, Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands
Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands

Galapagos sea lions

Elizabeth Bay lies along the western side of the island where you can take a panga ride out through the mangroves. The bay is home to sea lions taking a snooze in the web of branches and is a safe spot for turtles, offering the chance to see them up close as they bob up for air all around you.

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Our Galapagos Islands experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something to spark ideas for a unique adventure.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Rachael Tallents

Adventure, discovery and my curiosity for people and the natural world is what drives my love of travelling.  I am grateful for my parents’ desire to explore, and from an early age my eyes were open to diverse landscapes, cultures, and underwater worlds.

For the last 16 years, I have worked for a leading luxury tour operator designing incredible journeys for discerning clients and travelled to some magical places. I am excited to have joined Steppes Travel, and to be working for a company with such strong ethical and sustainable values.

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  • 01285 880 980

Paul Bird

The moment a blue footed booby makes its dive and plunges like a dart into the water is special, but to see hundreds do this at once was a breath-taking experience that Paul was not prepared for.

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John Faithfull

Half of the appeal of the Galapagos Islands is underwater, and a few minutes in the company of a five-metre manta ray off the coast of Isabela Island remains one of John’s most vivid memories of this incredible archipelago.

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Roxy Dukes

Wildlife is Roxy’s passion, so where better to immerse than in Darwin’s land? Having stepped on all but one of the islands in the archipelago and having personally visited our hand-picked selection of hotels and boats, there is little she does not know about the Galapagos Islands.

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Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Iguana Crossing £££££

  • Galapagos Islands

A boutique eco-friendly hotel with minimalist design aesthetics, Iguana Crossing offers a unique insight into life on the scarcely populated Isabela Island. Boasting a beachfront location in the small village of Puerto Villamil, the property is surrounded by endemic vegetation. Featuring just 12 stylish rooms and a suite, most of which benefit from balconies and expansive ocean views, Iguana Crossing has a roof terrace with jacuzzi and is the only property on Isabela to have its own oceanfront pool.

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Scalesia Lodge £££££

  • Galapagos Islands
  • Tented Camps

Set in the centre of an enchanting highland forest on Isabela Island, Scalesia Lodge is a new concept in Galapagos lodging that offers attentive service within a panoramic and isolated setting. Offering 16 modern and minimalistic safari-style tents with full bathrooms, wooden private decks and panoramic forest views, as well as a social area with huge wraparound terraces and a restaurant, the lodge is set within 40 private acres and boasts views to the coast and across the Pacific Ocean.

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Why Choose Steppes?

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