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Isabela, Galapagos

Volcanos above and below the sea

sunny 90 °F

Isabela is the largest of the Galapagos Islands, yet it is hardly inhabited. The main city is Puerto Villamil where we stayed with a family in their pension. We were there when the island’s founding celebration was happening in the highlands; they had ‘big’ parties in the town, a rodeo in the highlands, and a big Ecua-Volley tournament right near our pension. Ecuadorian rules volleyball is about as awkward to watch as netball if you are a basketball fan, but it drew big crowds!

One of the places to explore there is an active volcano called Volcano Chino. After hiking through a forest of invasive guava trees, we landed on what could have been mistaken for mars. The landscape turned bare and crumbled below each step. There were lava tunnels and jagged basalt craters everywhere. Kneeling down we could stick our hands into steamy holes to felt the steaming heat of mama Earth.

We have to hand it to the underwater volcanic tunnels called Los Tuneles for the awesome snorkeling. The sea life was supersized from the 12 foot wide manta rays, the 7 feet long sea turtles, and the lurking sharks inside dark caves, we just couldn’t believe our eyes!

We had the best time on a short boat trip to Islote Tintoreras for a snorkel/hike combo that packed in huge amounts of wildlife including penguins! After our snorkel we walked through what was like the kindergarten for marine iguanas, with a million little juvenile iguanas piled on top of each other right next to a shark cove that we could look straight down into. Then after walking through a lichen covered lava rock field with the adult iguanas, we reached a sea lions breading beach. The walk was probably only about 45 minutes, but there wasn’t a single minute without some amazing wildlife and scenery being right up in our personal space. If there is one place in the Galapagos you go to, it should be here!

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 14:02 Archived in Ecuador

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