Around some 600 thousand years ago, right on the hot spot 6 different volcanoes appeared from the underwater bottom and created the biggest land surface on the Galapagos Archipelago, Isabela Island. Those six different volcanoes got the water surface and raised their calderas more than 1000 meters above sea level. The island was created with the volcanic activity of Cerro Azul, Sierra Negra, Alcedo, Darwin, Wolf and the small-eroded Ecuador volcano.
The activity never stopped, even now in 2005 and 2008 Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul woke up throwing hot material from the rim of their calderas leaving enormous flows of lava and melted rocks. We can witness some activity in fumaroles rising around Sierra Negra the biggest Caldera of the Galapagos.
Isabela is a sea horse shaped like island with a largest surface, almost 4 times bigger than Santa Cruz, more than 4000 square km. Is located on the western part of the Archipelago and is affected by the Cromwell and Humboldt oceanic currents that bring the coldest waters to the Galapagos.
Two of the Isabela volcanoes lie right on the equator – Ecuador (the most eroded) & Wolf (some 1700 m above sea level) the highest point of the islands. Isabela is reputed by its geology, and volcanic acivity during the last decades. A visit to Isabela will give you the opportunity to discover the volcanic origins of the archipelago – visit Volcan Chico, Urbina Bay, Bolivar Canal, Tagus Cove or Alcedo.
Areas where pioneer plants develop surround the new lava fields. Extreme weather conditions erode the rocks and dead plants and animals bring enough organic material and nutrients that support next levels on the food chain. Therefore is Isabela an island with a diversity of life zones that maintain special species of animals.
There’s nothing similar to Isabela a place where a huge variety of birds, reptiles and mammals will make your visit one of the assets during your stay in this archipelago. Isabela is home of the biggest populations of wild tortoises than all other islands.
Isabela with an incredible topography built by successive eruptions creating geographical barriers where the slow movements of giant tortoises never reach, those big obstacles caused several different sub-species of animals that develop different in size and shape depending in the specials characteristics of this unique ecosystem.