Galapagos Puerto Villamil is a small peaceful town that offers a different experience to its visitors.
Villamil and its white sand beaches is over and over again considered to be one of the most beautiful sites in the Galapagos Islands. Behind the town of Villamil are several brackish water lagoons where Pink Flamingoes, Common Stilts, Whimbrels, White-Cheeked Pintails, Gallinules are usually seen.
The lagoons are nesting areas between November – April of each year. The beaches and lagoons near Puerto Villamil are home to the best migratory Galapagos Coastal Birds viewing in this Archipelago.
Some other people also consider Puerto Villamil as one of the world's most beautiful tropical destinations. The area is made up of volcanic soil left over from eruptions by Puerto Villamil's five active volcanoes. Villamil still retains its local charm and has not been overrun with too many visitors yet.
If you like snorkeling then Las Tintoreras is the perfect spot. You can hire a small local to take you the the Tunnels, which is a wonderful area of eroded lava islets filled with abundant sea life.
From the dock of the town, you can walk along the boardwalk through tangled mangrove stilt-roots to Concha de Perla. Here, you will be able to do snorkeling with Galapagos marine life such as sea turtles, penguins, colorful fish, and manta rays. Snorkeling with these marine animals is safe.
The lagoons in the western part of Puerto Villamil are another amazing place to watch the wildlife native to the area. The lagoons themselves create an extensive network of shallow bodies of water that connect the local wetlands.
The wetlands of Villamil were designated as an international Ramsar Wetland Site in 2002. The lagoons have viewing platforms for visitors to watch the wide variety of water birds and flamingos in the.
The town of Puerto Villamil, near the huge Sierra Negra volcano, was founded on 1897 and named after the general who annexed the Galapagos Islands to Ecuador in 1832. Now there are around 1,000 settlers who fish or farm coffee and fruit in the highlands.
Villamil began as the center of a lime production. The town of Santo Tomas (near Villamil) served as a sulfur mine and Galapagos Coffe plantations. These businesses were not too profitable due to water limitations in the Galapagos Islands.
The small town of Villamil has sandy roads, simple houses with fences of woven branches and cactus. There is a small main square in front of the mayor building and a small church. From here you can head north of the square that will take you out of the town towards the airport and highlands.
Everything in Puerto Villamil is within close walking distance, so you will not often see automobiles or buses. Outdoor activities such as swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and watching wildlife are available all over the Island, along with great tasting seafood restaurants serving always fresh fish from the surrounding waters.
The locals value their tranquility, but are friendly and welcoming to visitors. It is easy to arrange activities and get directions with or without the benefit of an organized tour.
It is also a great place to find a hammock and relax, swim and snorkel, enjoy the local seafood and a cocktail at a bar overlooking the water. Most visitors come to Puerto Villamil by boat from Santa Cruz Island, but it is also possible to fly between these two Islands.
The long sandy beach out the front of the town is perfect for viewing seabirds, iguanas and crabs, and for sunset walks.
Around the harbor you will see sea lions move smoothly through the water or rest on any convenient rock.
Galapagos Penguins and Blue footed Boobies can often be viewed from the cruises offered by many small boat owners.
This wall is a reminder of the work of three hundred prisoners who lived here between the 1940s and 1950s.
They had the assignment of building their own prison, using the only material at hand (sharp-edged lava boulders).
Driven on by guards, they made a wall of around 190m long, 9m high and 6m wide at the base, but many died in the process.
The prison colony was closed down after a revolt in 1959, the wall was unfinished.
You can arrive to this place after a two hour walk to the West along the coast road beyond several peaceful beaches.
If abundant marine life is what you will like to see, then Las Tintoreras is the best place.
From the dock a trail leads past scuttling marine iguanas up to a lagoon and a narrow channel, where you will see the shiny shapes of White Tipped Sharks cruising back and forth.
It is safe to swim and snorkel in the lagoon but don't swim in the channel itself as it's not big enough for both you and the sharks. If you're lucky you may see rays and marine turtles too.
You can also visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, which is just twenty minutes from the city's downtown.
Work is ongoing here to repopulate the Island's five unique tortoise subspecies, each of them based around the five largest volcanoes.
The Galapagos Islands will always exceed beyond your wildest expectations. And Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island is a good example of this.