Travel Tips

Allow yourself extra time before and after your arrival to Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. You may want to book a night stay in Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz) before and after your time on Isabela Island.

  • Your Stay
    Being the largest island of the Galapagos archipelago, Isabela offers plenty of independent activities and tours. We suggest a minimum of three nights to explore wildlife and experience the island's unique atmosphere. For a more relaxed visit, a stay of five to seven nights is recommened.
  • Money
    There is no way to get cash once you are on Isabela. There's a small local bank that does not work with international banks and an ATM that does not reliably work with foreign cards. Make sure you are carrying enough cash for your entire time on Isabela. Many local restaurants and shops do not accept credit cards. Those that do accept cards charge a hefty fee for this service. A budget of approximately $400 per person is advisable to do all major tours on Isabela like Tunneles, Tintoreras and hiking Volcano Sierra Negra. ATM's are available in both Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz) and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal).
  • Equipment
    There are several tours on Isabela that require proper footwear. We recommend you bring hiking shoes in order to be comfortable walking on the lava fields. Local rental shops can provide you with wet suits, goggles and fins as there are plenty opportunities for snorkeling.
  • Sun screen
    Isabela Island is stretched across the equator line where sun exposure is very intense. We advise you to bring sun screen as you might not find your favorite brand in the local shops of the island, and if you need to buy it here, it will be very expensive. If you can bring reef-safe sunscreen, that is great! It's also a good idea to wear SPF clothing (long sleeve shirts and rash guards) to avoid having to put on so much suncreen.
  • Sea Sickness
    If you are prone to sea-sickness and will be traveling by boat or partaking in a boat adventure like Tunneles or Tintoreras, it is recommended you take motion sickness medication before hopping on board in order to avoid sea-sickness.
  • Things to Pack
    In addition to items mentioned above, you’ll need a few island essentials! A swimsuit, a rain jacket, good hiking shoes and a sun hat are important. Along with your personal items, you may want to bring an underwater camera and extra batteries for electronic toys too. A headlamp or flashlight may come in handy.
  • Power and Cell Service
    It is not unusual for power to go out in town for an hour here or there – or sometimes a few hours. Cell service is generally ok in town, but not available once you wander out on day tours.
  • Shop Hours
    Siesta time is practiced widely on Isabela Island. The island is also pretty quiet at night. This means shops tend to close after lunch, at 1pm, until about 5pm. They re-open for a few hours around dinner time, and close again by 9pm.
  • Other Fees
    In addition to the Isabela Island entry fee ($10-15US), don’t forget all visitors to the Galapagos must pay a $100US park entry fee upon arriving in the islands, as well as a $20 Ingala tourist card fee at the airport before flying to the Galapagos.
  • Islands
    There are numerous islands in the Galapagos, as well as countless islets and rocks. Only four of the islands are inhabited, with the town of Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz Island, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island, Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island and Puerto Ibarra Velasco on Floreana Island.
  • Galapagos National Park
    Only 3% of the Galapagos Islands is set aside for urban development. The other 97% is protected as the Galapagos National Park. Development is banned in these areas as is unaccompanied tourist. You will need a certified naturalist guide to enter the protected areas of the Galapagos National Park.