Isabela Island’s west coast and its neighbor island Fernandina host an unparalleled density of species, even at the Galápagos scale. In this area, plankton-rich water attracts numerous marine mammals, sharks, rays and birds. It is the only area where one of the most fascinating birds in the World, the flightless cormoran, can be seen. It also shelters not less than 90% of the Galápagos penguin population (you can also meet them around Puerto Villamil). Snorkelers never forget the underwater sight of those two bird species diving for fish. Sharks, sea turtles, rays, starfish, seahorses and angelfish are some of the many species that can easily be observed around Isabela.
There are many snorkel spots on Isabela Island, but not all can be easily accessed. One only spot can be visited freely, without any guide: Concha de Perla, just a few minutes walk from Puerto Villamil, is a must-see if you happen to spend a few days on the island. Starting from Puerto Villamil, two other sites can be visited through day excursions with a guide: La Tintoreras (located just a few hundred meters south of Concha de Perla) and Los Tuneles, a maze made of volcanic rock pools where turtles, seahorses and rays are to be spotted. Isabela’s east coast is too distant from Puerto Villamil for a one-day round trip, so the only way to go there is to take part in a multi-day naturalist cruise. Cruises give snorkelers access to exceptional sites such as Vicente Roca Point and Tagus Cove.
There are two sensibly different seasons in Isabela, as there are on the whole Galápagos archipelago. The warm season (December-May) is a tropical one, with warm and wet weather (79 to 86°F/26 to 30°C). Water temperature (around 79°F/26°C) is then ideal for snorkeling, but rain showers often happen. From June to November, weather turns dryer and temperatures lower down to an average of 73-79°F/23-26°C. During this season, consider snorkeling with a wetsuit: water temperature can get down to 64°F/18°C, often under an overcast sky.
More than 170 spots have already been published on Snorkeling Report, but there are still many spots to be added! You too can contribute to populate the map by sharing your favorite snorkeling spots around the world. The more snorkelers will contribute, the easier it will be for you, and other snorkelers, to find sites and enjoy the underwater world!
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Found all around the island; seen daily swimming with snorkelers at Concha de Perla
Common at Concha de Perla and Tagus Cove
Common and easy to see on all spots; large groups at Punta Vicente Roca
On all spots; large colonies in Tagus Cove
Occasionaly sighted in the water at Tagus Cove and Vicente Roca Point
On all spots; appreciates rocky areas
On all spots, Concha de Perla included
On all spots
Abundant on all spots, sometimes seen in large schools
Present in Los Tuneles, Tagus Cove and Las Tintoreras, but well camouflaged and hard to find
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