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Puerto Villamil

The charming town of Puerto Villamil is probably the best-kept secret in Galapagos. It’s very small and underdeveloped – none of the streets in town are paved – but there’s a lot to see and do, and it’s well worth spending a couple of days here if you’re doing the whole island-hopping thing.

First stop: the beach. Puerto Villamil is located right on one of the best beaches in all of Galapagos, a spectacular two-mile stretch of silky bone-colored sand and palm trees. Since there are fewer than 3,000 full-time residents in Puerto Villamil, the large beach never gets packed, even on the hottest days.

Services in town are pretty basic. There’s a post office, some laundry places, a couple of internet cafes, one dive shop, a small hospital and an assortment of hotels, tour agencies and restaurants of varying quality. Although there is a co-op sort of bank, it is worth remembering that there is no ATM in Puerto Villamil, and if you run out of cash here, it’s next to impossible to get more. According to locals, the bank did put an ATM in once in response to their complaints, but it was a fake one: simply a front with a screen that said “Out of order, please come back later.” Eventually they even took that away.

Puerto Villamil is a paradise for those who like outdoor activities. It’s possible to snorkel in several nearby places, including La Calera, Tintoreras and Concha de Perla. Just hiking around town will lead you past a couple of salt lagoons often filled with swimming and wading birds. Popular hikes include the Sierra Negra Volcano, the trail to the visitor center and a coastal walk to the Wall of Tears, built by convicts during the time that Isabela was home to a penal colony.  

Locals seem divided about the tourism boom. Some have embraced it, while others can still be a little surly to outsiders. Service in hotels and restaurants is by far the worst in the islands, as hotel operators and waiters seem at best clueless and at worst apathetic. There are a couple of notable exceptions: see the hotel and restaurant descriptions for suggestions.  

Neighborhoods in Puerto Villamil: Around Puerto Villamil,

Other places nearby Puerto Villamil: Puerto Ayora, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and Puerto Velasco Ibarra.







03 Sep 2010

Top Places in Puerto Villamil

Around Puerto Villamil

102170 West of the town center, there is a scenic trail leading north off of the main road to two visitor sites. A short distance after the start of the trail, you will encounter La Poza de los ...
City Zone
Around Puerto Villamil, Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Things to do in Puerto Villamil

Tintoreras

“Tintoreras” is the local word for the White-tipped Reef Shark, a harmless shark species not uncommon at many snorkeling sites in the islands. The rocky islands in the bay of Puerto Villamil ...
Beach
Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Urvina Bay

One of the most interesting visitor sites in Galapagos, Urvina Bay didn’t even exist in 1953. Well, the bay did, but not the stretch of land that is now the visitor site. You see, in 1954, there ...
Beach
Around Puerto Villamil, Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Tagus Cove

Tagus Cove is a small bay near a volcanic crater which has filled in to become a lake. Cruise boats anchor in the cove and land their passengers on a small beach where they can still see graffiti ...
Beach
Around Puerto Villamil, Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Humedales/wetlands

The Humedales, or “wetlands,” are a can’t-miss for those staying a couple days in Puerto Villamil. The humedales consist of a good trail through mangroves, pools, beaches and rocky shores. ...
Other Activity
Around Puerto Villamil, Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Cueva De Sucre/sucre’s Cave

Sucre’s Cave is a lava tunnel located in the agricultural zone of Isabela Island. It’s an interesting cave to explore, but bring your own light. It’s part of the Galapagos National Park, but ...
Other Activity
Around Puerto Villamil, Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Sulfur Mines

Deep in the interior of Isabela Island are some old sulfur mines that it’s possible to visit. You’ll need to take a tour from Puerto Villamil to get there, because there is some National Park ...
Other Activity
Around Puerto Villamil, Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Punta Moreno

Located on the western shore of Isabela Island, Punta Moreno is a popular site where a lot of wildlife can be seen. The trip usually begins (or ends) with a panga ride along the rocky shore: keep ...
Hiking
Around Puerto Villamil, Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Sierra Negra Volcano

Sierra Negra Volcano is the closest one to Puerto Villamil and it makes for a popular hike. It’s a day-long affair and you’ll definitely want to have a guide because it’s possible to lose the ...
Hiking
Around Puerto Villamil, Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Centro De Crianza “arnaldo Tupiza”

The Centro de Crianza (or “Rearing Center”) is a sort of nursery for Giant Tortoises located within walking distance from Puerto Villamil. There are several pens housing grown tortoises, mainly ...
Other Activity
Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

The Wall Of Tears/muro De Las Lagrimas

In the 1940’s and 1950’s, Isabela was a penal colony, and one look at the terrain around town will tell you that it must have been a harsh one. Prisoners who did not behave were sent to work on ...
Monument
Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Isabela Dive Sites

The SCUBA diving in Isabela is much more limited than in Puerto Ayora or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. There is only one dive shop in Puerto Villamil – Isabela Dive Center – so you’re pretty much ...
Diving
Puerto Villamil, Ecuador
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