Crater of Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela Island.

© DC_Colombia/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Volcán Sierra Negra

The Galápagos Islands

Northwest of the tiny settlement of Tomás de Berlanga lies the massive Volcán Sierra Negra (1490m), which last erupted in late 2005. An 8km trail leads around the east side of the volcano. It’s possible to walk all the way around the caldera, but the trail peters out.

Galápagos hawks, short-eared owls, finches and flycatchers are among the birds commonly seen on this trip. The summit is often foggy (especially during the colder, drier garúa season, which extends from June to December) and it is easy to get lost. There are spectacular views from nearby Volcán Chico, a subcrater where you can see fumaroles. Several agencies in towns offer all-day tours (per person $35). These include transport up to the volcano, followed by an 11km walk. Bring a rain jacket, water and snacks (a sack lunch is provided).

Make sure you go only in a closed vehicle (and wear your seat belt); do not go in an open-sided chiva. A tragic accident in 2014 left several tourists on this outing gravely injured, when the driver of their chiva lost control coming down the mountain.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Galápagos Islands attractions

1. Muro de las Lágrimas

12.93 MILES

Some 7km west of Puerto Villamil is the Muro de las Lágrimas (Wall of Tears), a 100m-long wall of lava rocks built by convicts under harsh and abusive…

2. Pozo Villamil

14.27 MILES

Behind and to the west of the village is this lagoon, known for its marine iguanas and migrant birds, especially waders – more than 20 species have been…

3. Pozo Salinas

14.67 MILES

Around the corner from the main square, this small lagoon has a boardwalk along the edge, which makes a fine viewing spot for taking in the pink flamingos…

4. Iglesia Cristo Salvador

14.8 MILES

Looming above the central square, this church boasts uniquely Galápagos iconography. Note the stained-glass windows of native wildlife (marine iguana,…

5. Volcán Alcedo

27.35 MILES

The summit of this volcano (1097m) is famous for its 7km-wide caldera and steaming fumaroles. Hundreds of giant tortoises can be seen here, especially…