Sierra Negra Volcano Hike, Isabela Island
Isabela Island is formed from six separate volcanoes (Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf). Being the largest island, it has many visitor sites covering a large diversity of ecosystems, from barren lava flows to evergreen lush forests. No cruises start or end in Isabela Island and so the best way to get there is to either take a public speedboat from Santa Cruz Island, or take a small plane (we can help you organise all these logistics)
Sierra Negra is one of the largest volcanos of Isabela, and the only one visitors are allowed to hike. Its enormous caldera offers a perfect setting to hike in volcanic terrain and enjoy not only beautiful landscapes but also some of the native fauna and flora which makes the Galapagos famous.
After a 30 minutes’ drive from Puerto Villamil town, through some barren lava flows followed by lush humid vegetation, you will arrive to the Park ranges outpost where your hike begins.
During the first hour the trail goes uphill through some lush fern-covered trees but it is a relatively gentle slope with a low gradient. One you get to the edge of the rim you start to get magnificent views of the 10 km diameter caldera. Your trail will continue for the next hour right along the rim of the caldera as the vegetation gets drier and drier as you advance into the side of the caldera protected from the winds and the clouds.
The last part of the hike goes down to Volcán Chico, a collection of small craters which erupted during the 1970´s where you can see fumaroles and impressive volcanic landscapes.
Before you return following the same path, you will have a picnic lunch under the protective shade of a large tree. (If you don’t fancy the hike, you can also hire to rent horses to do this route).
Hiking Distance: 15 km (5-6 hours)
Altitude Change: from 870 to 990m high
Hiking Conditions: Easy trail, muddy sections and rocky terrain. You will need some rain gear.
Highlights: Bests hiking trail in the Galapagos, volcanic landscapes, Galapagos Hawks, Mockingbirds, Darwin Finches, endemic plants.