How to get to Isabela Island

It looks like you’re planning a trip to the beautiful Galapagos! You’re likely here because you’d like to know how to make your way to Isabela Island. In this blog we share with you some information that will help you make your way to us.

One of the four inhabited Galapagos Islands, Isabela Island is the biggest and arguably the most beautiful! Its naturally occurring pools, tortoise reserve, long sandy beaches, diverse wildlife, fantastic volcanos and its alluring seaside village – Puerto Villamil – make it highly appealing for visitors to the Galapagos. This magical spot in the Pacific Ocean sees visitors experiencing truly wild nature, topped off with a warming ‘tiny-town’ feel, one that you can’t get on other more densely populated islands.

During a trip here, you’d be missing out without embarking on a snorkelling tour with Pahoehoe Tours, surfing the waves with professional surfer, Junior, at Galapagos Bike & Surf, or sampling local seafood at seaside haven, The Beach.  For more information about these businesses, and other things to do and see on Isabela Island, check out our Ultimate Guide. 

But first, you have to get there!

Due to its location and the fact that it is less frequently visited by cruises, Isabela Island is visited far less than other nearby islands. Getting here takes a little more thought. But don’t let that put you off. There are couple of easy options, both of which are not only easy, but actually somewhat enjoyable. 

Those looking to explore this beautiful island might have to make their own way, but they certainly won’t look back! In this blog post, we help you figure out how to make your way to Isabela Island. Whether you’re looking for information about coming from other islands or from mainland Ecuador, we’ve got you covered!

Directions from mainland Ecuador 

Getting to the Galapagos Islands is easy once you arrive in Ecuador. Flights leaving from both Quito and Guayaquil are daily. These flights arrive at both the Islands of Baltra and San Cristobal. From these two spots, you can travel by ferry to Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. TAME, LATAM, and Avianca all fly from the mainland to the Islands of Baltra and San Cristobal, meaning you have more than one choice!

map to show how to get to Isabela Island

Directions from Baltra 

Those looking for the most direct route to Isabela Island from Baltra, should opt for a flight with airlines Fly Galapagos or Emetebe, which take visitors straight to Puerto Villamil from Baltra. With a couple of flights heading out to the island per day, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to make your way.

Whilst this might be the fast way to travel throughout the Galapagos Island, we recommend taking the ferry, embracing slow travel and enjoying the adventurous nature of your trip (it’s cheaper this way too!). Allowing extra time for your travels is a great way to gain a deeper appreciation of the islands.

As a result, visitors might like to opt for travel by boat during their trip to the Galapagos Islands. Usually accommodating for about 25 people, ‘ferries’ here are more like small speedboats. From the airport in Baltra, there are four parts to your trip to Isabela Island. Having said that, many people choose to stay in Puerto Ayora for a few days before coming to Isabela Island, which is conveniently placed along the way! The four parts to your journey from Baltra to Puerto Villamil include:

  1. Taking the airline bus to Ithabaca canal.
  2. Boarding a quick ferry across the canal to Santa Cruz Island.
  3. Taking a bus, or a taxi, to Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz).
  4. Boarding a boat to Isabela Island.

Ferry crossings between Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz) and Puerto Villamil (Isabela Island) take about two hours and cost around $30. Meanwhile, the first three steps of this journey cost only a handful of dollars.

Directions from San Cristobal 

There is no direct route from San Cristobal to Isabela Island other than by plane. Similar to the journey from Baltra, a couple of flights per day between the two islands make it easy for guests to make the trip if they are on a tight schedule.

Alternatively, taking a ferry from San Cristobal to Isabela Island offers tourists a natural itinerary for their trip to the Galapagos. This is because in order to get to the island, you must first travel to Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz) by ferry. This option is great for those wanting to see all three of these islands, those looking to make frequent stops or those with a sense of adventure! Doing this trip in one day is still possible if necessary! A ferry leaves in the morning from San Cristobal and a second ferry leaves in the afternoon from Puerto Ayora.

Accommodation on Isabela Island

A trip to Puerto Villamil is quick and stress-free, regardless of where in the Galapagos Islands you are coming from. Once you have arrived on Isabela Island, make your trip even more relaxing by choosing to stay at Chez Manany. The laid-back feel, surrounding greenery and proximity to lots of attractions make it perfect for a stay in the Galapagos!

Isabela Island accommodation

To find out more about Chez Manany, click here.

Looking for more information about things to do whilst on the island? Find out more in out Ultimate Guide!