Isabela Island is situated in the northwest part of the Galapagos Islands. It is the largest island in the group and has a shape resembling a seahorse. This island is known for its significant volcanic activity, with six volcanoes present: Ecuador (which is inactive), Wolf, Darwin, Alcedo, Sierra Negra, and Cerro Azul (which are active). Isabela Island covers an area of 4670 square kilometers, reaches a maximum altitude of 5600 feet, and has a population of approximately 2,344 people. It is the only island in the Galapagos Archipelago that is crossed by the Equatorial Line.
Originally, Isabela Island was named “Albemarle” in honor of the Duke of Albemarle, one of the early explorers of the islands. It was later renamed “Isabela Island” in tribute to Queen Isabel I of Castile. Throughout history, the island faced challenges such as the introduction of non-native species, as well as encounters with pirates, whalers, buccaneers, and the first settlers who relied on land turtles for food and oil. Isabela Island was the third island in the Galapagos Archipelago visited by the scientist Charles Darwin during his famous expedition in 1835, where he studied the unique species found in the region.
The main city on Isabela Island is Puerto Villamil, a small port town inhabited by around 2,300 people. Its charm lies in the sandy streets, small hotels, bustling restaurants, and friendly locals. Visitors can also enjoy the beauty of the long, sandy beach with its soft sand. It is a wonderful place to explore and experience.