Take a day tour to one of the most outstanding sites in Isabela Island, Galapagos. Sierra Negara is one of the six volcanoes that form Isabela, it is also the most active one. It offers an amazing experience as you hike along its enormous caldera and enjoy beautiful landscapes across a color-filled volcanic terrain. Sierra Negra is also home to Galapagos famous native fauna and flora. This naturalist-guided tour starts at Puerto Villamil and crosses the rim of the caldera along its East side and then heads into the fresh lava fields north east of the main crater.
Hiking Distance: 15 km (5-6 hours) Altitude Change: from 870 to 990m high Hiking Conditions: Easy trail, muddy sections and rocky terrain. You will need some rain gear.Trip Highlights: Bests hiking trail in the Galapagos, volcanic landscapes, Galapagos Hawks, Mockingbirds, Darwin Finches, endemic plants.
Get ready for Sierra Negra Volcano hike (wear comfortable clothes, walking shoes and a light rain jacket). Make sure your camera is stored in waterproof bags, wear some sunscreen, bring enough water, and a hat. The meeting point will be Hotel San Vicente, located at a central point in Puerto Villamil. Be there at 7 am to have enough time to prepare your box lunch at the hotel with the foodstuff of your choice.
After a 40-minute drive from Puerto Villamil through some barren lava flows and endemic vegetation, you will arrive to starting point for the hike.
The hike is long in terms of distance, but not very difficult as the slopes are quite gradual. The first hour the trail goes uphill on a relatively gentle slope through some lush fern-covered trees. Once you get to the edge of the rim you can catch sight of the 6 miles in diameter and 300 feet deep caldera. Sierra Negra Volcano has the second largest crater in the world. The hike then continues for the next hour along the rim of the caldera as you will witness the vegetation get drier and drier as you advance. You will then reach Volcan Chico, a collection of small craters which erupted during the 1970´s where you can see fumaroles and an impressive volcanic landscape. This area also provides a spectacular view of Elizabeth Bay across Isabela. You will have time to enjoy your box lunch under the shade of a large tree known as Jaboncillo before reaching Volcan Chico.
Return time to San Vicente Hotel - Puerto Villamil is programmed around 3 pm.
** IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to fulfill this tour, you must be at Isabela Island (Puerto Villamil) one day prior to departure.
** IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to recent increase in volcanic activity near Sierra Negra volcano on Isabela Island, certain areas of Volcan Sierra Negra have been declared off limits to visitors. Since Janaury 17, 2018, the hiking area known as Volcan Chico, has been closed for hiking. The trail may be re-opened at any time, or other areas may be restricted, depending on seismic activity. For now, our hiking tour will reach up to Elizabeth Bay viewpoint, but the regular hike in Volcan Chico will be omittedNote: There is an option to ride a horse for an additional cost, if interested please let us know beforehand. However, horse rides only reach till Jaboncillo.