Isla Isabela: Los Humedales – Wall of Tears and Los Tuneles
June 17, 2010 § 3 Comments
If you follow the main road in Puerto Villamil to the south all the way to the end you’ll reach an area called Los Humedales and The Wall of Tears. Los Humedales is one of the hidden gems of Isabela. Taking a bicycle and a picnic lunch is an excellent way to spend the day. “Humedales” translates to Wet Lands and this area is characterized by sandy beaches, rocky shores, and mangroves.
The area has a number of trails where you can see all four species of mangroves found in Galapagos. Mangroves are an extremely important role in the Galapagos. They are one of the first plants that take hold on any of the islands and provide a nursery for young marine animals as well as a nesting site for birds.
Following the various paths you will discover secluded beaches, natural pools, lava tunnels, and the cemetery for the island’s first inhabitants. A fabulous destination for bird lovers it is the mating area for pink flamingos and the best area in Galapagos to view migratory birds including whimbrel, short-billed dowitcher, wilson’s phalarope, common tern, blue-winged teal, osprey, black-bellied and semipalmated plovers, greater and lesser yellowlegs to name a few. In recent years the national park has released young giant tortoises from the Isabela Breeding Center in this area and by following the trail it’s possible to encounter small 5 year old and 25 year old giant tortoises in the wild.
At the end of the road you will find the Wall of Tears a sad reminder of the history of Isabela. The wall was constructed between 1946 and 1959 while Isabela was a penal colony. As punishment the prisoners were forced to build the wall from huge blocks of lava. The wall is named for the many convicts that died while building the wall.
In contrast to the peaceful setting of Los Humedales a visit to Los Tuneles begins with more of an adrenaline rush. Traveling by boat approximately 30 – 45 minutes south of Villamil you’ll reach an area where rolling waves seem to be the norm. In a masterful feat of seaman ship the boat captain skirts past white capped waves. If you can brave the entrance to the area you will be delighted by the best snorkeling in the Galapagos. Los Tuneles is a unique site where the hot lava froze into a number of odd shapes creating bridges and tunnels. Snorkeling here you will find schools of fish, lobsters, sea lions, sea turtles, penguins and so much more.
Read our blog Los Tuneles Snorkeling at its best to learn more about this wonderful area.