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quikflikchiq Puerto Villamil - A travel report by tara
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Puerto Villamil,  Ecuador - flag Ecuador -  Gal├ípagos
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quikflikchiq's travel reports

Island time in Puerto Villamil

  9 votes
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Puerto Villamil is a town on Isabela, one of the Galapagos Islands. Most of the inhabitants live in agriculture and fishing, but also tourism is growing. It's a nice place to hang out on the beach for a few days or do some snorkeling.

Sally Lightfoot crab on Puerto Villamil Wharf
Sally Lightfoot crab on Puerto Villamil Wharf
The volcanic islands, located 1000km off Ecuador's coast, inspired British naturalist Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Centenarian tortoises and blue-footed boobies live alongside 18,000 islanders who earn a living from fishing and tourism.

Located in the western part of the archipelago, Isabela is larger than all of the rest of the islands combined. Comprising six volcanos, the island is about 75 miles long and covers 1771 square miles. Its highest point on Wolf Volcano rises 5600 feet above sea level. Due to most of the visitor sites being on the western side of the island, far from Santa Cruz, only the longer (and hence more expensive) boat tours visit this island.

The town of Puerto Villamil at the southern end offers lodging and food to visitors wanting to stay on the island.

Puerto Villamil is quite accessible from Santa Cruz - there is a daily boat leaving to Puerto Ayora at 6:00am and leaving from Puerto Ayora back to Puerto Villamil at 2:00pm. It's a rough and noisy two hour boatride and cost $30USD one-way.

Favourite spots:
White tip reef sharks
White tip reef sharks
Snorkeling around Las Tintoreras or Concha de Perla is excellent.

Las Tintoreras is just off the island - a water taxi ride away. Here you will find Shark Alley which is a lagoon where the white tip reef sharks sleep and rays glide through very lazily. They can be seen from the trail, but it's not allowed to go snorkeling in the lagoon. The lava rocks are filled with marine iguanas sunning themselves (and spitting salt).

The snorkeling at the beach behind is excellent however, and eagle rays and sea turtles can be seen here.

To get there take a watertaxi at the docks. The price is around $3 per person depending on group size and bargaining skills.

What's really great:
Main street of Puerto Villamil
Main street of Puerto Villamil
Puerto Villamil is a very tranquil place to visit.

The whole town can be explored in just over an hour but there are also lovely places to visit just outside of the town.

The streets are covered in sand and whilst we were there they were replacing a lot of the street lights with poles made from local woods and beautiful lamps. There are many seats along the main roads and they are building park and play areas.

Townspeople love to chat and the food is freshly prepared and rather cheap.

There were rough seas for a couple of the days that we were there so the amount of seafood available was severely limited. However there is always chicken and rice !

Sierra Negra volcano crater
Sierra Negra volcano crater
Down on the waterfront, near the Naval Base is a bar called SeaLion. Run by Sea Lion - he is a naturalist guide.

He can take you on a tour of the Breeding Station, snorkelling out to Los Tuneles, or The Tunnels which are a wonderful area of eroded lava islets filled with sea life.

He can also take you on a tour of Sierra Negro, one of the five volcanoes on the island. It has the second largest crater in the world and the views at the crater rim are impressive. It is a 1.5 hr horse trek and lunch is served after a 30 min walk across the moonlike landscape to Vulan Chico. You can sit middle of a field of lava with views right down the Galapagos Island chain. The price is $30USD, but cheaper without English speaking guide or without a horse. If you want to camp or go without guide ask permission at the park office in Puerto Villamil first.

Baby Sea lions
Baby Sea lions
Bar de Beto is a beachfront bar popular with locals and travelers, good to grab a beer and chill out.

They also have a selection of hostel rooms.

Friends of ours rented the third floor penthouse (beach front with private bathroom) for around $30USD total per night and we rented a large room with a private bathroom just across the street for $30USD per night.

There are other hostels closer to the marina which are available for $10USD per night.

Published on Wednesday January 30th, 2008

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Sun, Feb 03 2008 - 04:40 AM rating by downundergal

Great report on a not very accessible destination.

Sat, Feb 02 2008 - 04:57 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Enjoyed reading the report.

Thu, Jan 31 2008 - 08:53 AM rating by davidx

If, like me, one has no hope of seeing these famous islands, reading a top class report like this is the next best thing.

Thu, Jan 31 2008 - 01:56 AM rating by rangutan

Thrilling hot-tip for the extreme traveller. Perfectly presented!

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