Sierra Negra Hike, Isla Isabela

Mark & Sue Owen
Tue 5 May 2015 19:17

We have been here a few days and are enjoying this less developed island.  Entry formalities were very straightforward and were completed in less than 10 minutes at the dinghy dock.  There’s no regular water taxi service here, so we take the dinghy ashore and have to ‘run the gauntlet’ of the sea lions and marine iguanas blocking our path.  Some of the sea lions are a bit grumpy and have been known to bite unwary cruisers, so it pays to be on your guard.


Each of the three islands we’ve visited has something to offer.  The town of Puerto Villami is very laid back, with sandy roads and a handful of shops.  Isabela is the largest island of the archipelago and consists of six volcanoes intermittently active.  On our second day we booked ourselves on a hiking tour of the Sierra Negra Volcano, the oldest of the volcanoes on Isabela. 


We were a group of 9: Two Brits, two Germans, two Italians and three Canadians, plus our tour guide Carlos and we left the town at 7.15 a.m. in a couple of trucks to the start of our 16 km hike.  The terrain was not at all difficult and we made fast progress with Carlos pointing out land features and wildlife too.  Being the first group that morning we were fortunate to see a wild tortoise and land iguana – a real bonus.  At over 5 km wide, Sierra Negra has the 2nd largest caldera in the world and is still active.  Our trek took us over the lava fields to Volcan Chico which, with its bright colours, was a truly stunning sight. 


We were back in the town by 1.15 p.m. after an excellent and informative trip.  Well worth it.


At the start of our hike with Carlos our tour guide:


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Views of the Caldera:


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The wild animals we saw:


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Over the Lava fields to Volcan Chico:


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Feeling the hot air coming from a vent and sitting in a larva tunnel:


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