Tintoreras Islet & The Tortoise Breeding Centre, Isabela Island
This day-trip takes place on Isabela Island and combines a visit to Tintoreras Islet and the Tortoise Breeding Centre.
Morning: Tintoreras Islet This is a small islet located close to the town of Puerto Villamil in the southern part of Isabela Island. It is named after the abundant reef sharks (tintoreras) which are often seen resting in shallow channels along the coastline. After breakfast one of our team will pick you up from your hotel and will take you to the town pier where a small local boat with a local Galapagos naturalist guide will be waiting for you. The journey to Tintoreras is very short and calm. Along the way you will be looking for Galapagos fauna, such as Blue footed boobies, which often rest in the rocks, Marine iguanas, herons and Galapagos penguins.
From the boat you will take a short walk along the coastline offering great opportunities to observe Galapagos fauna, including large groups of marine iguanas, shorebirds, herons, sea turtles, Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos penguins, rays and white-tipped reef sharks. After the walk the boat will take you to a sheltered bay to snorkel. This a great chance to experience the rich Galapagos marine wildlife, including king angel fish, parrot fish, surgeon fish, puffer fish, rays, sea turtles, penguins, sea lions and reef sharks.
After the snorkelling you will return to the main dock around midday.
Hiking Distance: 1 km
Hiking Conditions: Easy rocky terrain.
Highlights: Galapagos penguins, sea Lion Colony, marine iguanas, herons, sea turtles, rays, reef sharks, blue footed boobies, great snorkel.
Afternoon: Villamil town, Isabela – Tortoise Breeding Centre The Galapagos has 11 different species of Giant Tortoise of which five species are endemic to Isabela. A new breeding facility, built just outside Villamil by the Galapagos National Park Service is helping to increase the populations of these iconic endangered reptiles. Thanks to this breeding centre and the one located at the Charles Darwin Station in Santa Cruz, the populations of tortoises, which were in severe until the 1980´s is now recovering and has reached over 30,000 throughout the islands.
Activities: Hike (1 mi / 1,6 km)
Type of Landing: Dry landing
Highlights: Wetlands, salt and brackish lagoons on the way to the Breeding centre. Flamingos, Stilts, adult and baby Giant tortoises.
Afternoon: The Wetlands and the Wall of Tears The wetlands of Isabela Island are located just outside of Puerto Villamil. They consist of lagoons, swamps and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white cheeked pintail ducks, Gallinules and other shore birds. The wetlands can easily be reached on foot or bicycle via beautiful trails that wind through the swamps.
Whilst on your visit to the wetlands you can also visit the Wall of Tears. Ecuador established a penal colony in Isabela between 1945 and 1959. During this period, prisoners shipped from the mainland were treated brutally and forced to build a wall, stone by stone, in isolation, only to be asked to tear it down again and start over. This now historical site towering at 65 feet (25m) took the lives of hundreds during its construction and remains as a vivid reminder of a dark past.
Activities: Hike (5 mi / 7 km) Biking
Type of Landing: Dry landing
Highlights: Reef Sharks, Flamingos, Herons, coves, large mangrove trees, coastal lagoons, Marine Iguanas, Giant Tortoises.