Wall of Tears, Isabela Island, Galapagos

To take the trail to the Wall of Tears is to know Isabela Island in the Galapagos. Here you will experience the wildlife and solitude of this special place on your own, without a guide. The trail is free and begins at the edge of town opposite from the docks.

It is out and back, around 7 miles in total and mostly flat, plus any spur trails you plan on taking or hills your can optionally tackle. The path is very well maintained, you can choose to hike it or rent a bike in Puerto Villamil (easily found day of as signs outside the shops clearly offer rentals). Walk along the beach which gets more remote as you are further from town.

Pass little vistas filled with waterfowl, white cheeked pintails and black necked stilt.

A colorful cemetery sits off the side of the road.

At the guard station check in and use the restroom – the last on the route.

From here there are many official pull offs to scenic areas.

Lava tubes to walk in and over.

The mangrove zone which has all four species, including the impressive black mangrove which is the biggest of them all.

An estuary whose tidepools are infinitely interesting.

Cerro Orchilla is a good climb up to a magnificent view.

If you’re feeling tired however, you might want to save your energy for the hill at the end. Finally the namesake wall appears – built between 1945-1959, 65’ tall. It is ugly and tall, starkly contrasting for the serene natural world, a reminder of the pain prisoners endured building it.

Beyond it is another hill winding up to the tallest point along the trail with views stretching for miles.

Past the old WWII radar site there is a pensive bench and a million dollar vista – the end of the line.

The hike is filled with wildlife encounters – most exciting of all was seeing the Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat.

We encountered many of them along the trail.

While checking out the beach enclaves there were many marine iguanas lounging. Dark females,

colorful males,

all different sizes. Plenty of birds like the smooth billed ani who caught bees,

and famous finches.

Watch out for the abundant lizards always darting in an out of the path, often camouflaged.

Admire the uniquely Galapagos flora.

There is no place quite like the peaceful, rural, sleepy, Isabela – this long tranquil trail gives a great taste of the wonders that the island has to offer.

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3 Responses to Wall of Tears, Isabela Island, Galapagos

  1. julieovaltrades says:

    The tortoises are solitary so they don’t interact with anyone, but the iguanas love to hang out with one another. Finches are welcome to both reptiles, they eat their ticks!

  2. usfman says:

    How well do iguanas and tortoises get along?

  3. Linda Madsen says:

    That was beautiful seeing the trail you hiked in the Galapagos. Loved seeing the tortoises, birds and estuary.

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