Backpacking Isabela Island on a Budget: Your Ultimate Guide

Discover the wonders of Backpacking Isabela Island on a Budget with this comprehensive guide. Our 9-day adventure in the tranquil haven of Puerto Villamil offers unique experiences and wildlife encounters without breaking the bank.

Isabela Island Budget-Friendly Activities

1. Snorkelling at Concha Perla

Tip: Concha Perla is a must-visit snorkelling spot where you might witness sea lions and penguins hunting together. Keep an eye out for blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas.

2. Walking Adventures

  • Sendero de los Flamencos: Explore a wooden boardwalk through salina pools to witness flamingos and swimming marine iguanas.
  • Beach Walk Malecon Puerto Villamil: Experience swarming crabs and flocks of hunting blue-footed boobies.
  • Wall of Tears: Hike to see wild tortoises, marine iguanas, and enjoy private white sand beaches and El Estero (Mangrove) diversity.
  • Boat Pier and Concha Perla: Observe penguins, sea lions, and passing stingrays in the water.

3. Renting Bicycles

Tip: Affordable bike rentals near the town’s trail paths offer a quick and economical way to explore Isabela Island. Prices are around $15 per day.

4. Las Tintoreras Tours

Kayak Tour ($60): A remarkable experience where you can kayak to the national park, witness penguins, marine iguanas, and snorkel with penguins.

Land Tour ($45): Boat over to the lagoon for a hike, spotting white-tip reef sharks, marine iguanas, and blue-footed boobies.

5. Los Tuneles Tours

Tour Cost: $90 for a 3-4 hour tour exploring canals in lava rocks, encountering oceanic mantas, turtles, rays, penguins, sea lions, and various marine life.

6. Volcan Sierra Negra and Volcan Chico Hike

Note: While we didn’t opt for this hike, it’s available for those seeking a rocky volcano hiking adventure on Isabela Island.

Budget-Friendly Culinary Delights

  • Frozen, chocolate-covered bananas: Available at various bakeries for $0.50.
  • Pastry puff cones: Filled with caramel and custard, costing $1-2 at local bakeries.
  • Best Budget Dinner: Visit the volleyball courts before sundown for a delicious BBQ smoked chicken thigh, cheese-stuffed mashed potato ball, and salad.
  • Other Budget Meal Options: Most restaurants offer a “Merienda” (meal of the day) for $5-7, featuring a soup, meat, rice and beans, salad, and fresh fruit juice.

Budget Accommodations: Gladys Mar Hostel

Stay at Gladys Mar Hostel for a budget-friendly experience. On the top level, it offers beds, a toilet, a clothesline, and free water filling. The cost is $15/night per person.

Have questions about Backpacking Isabela Island on a Budget in the Galapagos? Feel free to comment below, and I’ll provide helpful insights!

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