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Isabela Island

Isabela-the largest (4588 km2) and third most populous island in the archipelago-is often touted by locals as the gem of the Galápagos. Although Isabela is a less common island in cruise itineraries, due to the long passage and fuel use required to get there, the island has recently gained popularity among visitors due to its spectacular volcanic landscape and biological diversity, not to mention the relaxed beach-town atmosphere of its main port town, Puerto Villamil. With the exception of Puerto Villamil and the surrounding areas, all of Isabela's visitor sites are on the western side of the island. The following are the most popular visitor sites on cruise tours:

  • Tagus Cove combines natural and human history. Cliff faces are lined with graffiti from whaling and pirate ships, and waters are frequented with Galápagos penguins, flightless cormorants, and other seabirds. The terrestrial trail leads up the lower slopes of Volcán Darwin to a look-out point, which offers incredible views of a crater lake, lava paths, and volcanic formations.
  • Urbina Bay, south of Tagus Cove, is characterized by its unique terrestrial coral reef. Flightless cormorants, pelicans, and marine iguanas are often seen on land, while rays and sea turtles can be viewed swimming near the surface of the bay.
  • Elizabeth Bay is known for its marine features and creatures: take a dinghy ride around the bay to look for penguins, sea turtles, and rays and to explore nearby caves.

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