Visiting Isla Isabela in the Galápagos Archipelago

First Impressions (continued)

A view of the sandy main street in downtown Puerto Villamil. Across the street (towards the left side of the picture) is a tree-shaded park in the town's central square.   Some colorful buildings.

Believe it or not, this is the town's discotheque (in Spanish, discoteca). A sign above the door says you must be at least 18 years old to enter. The discoteca is visible in the previous photo, too.   These houses were along the beach further from the center of town.

A simple cafe and bar.  

After leaving the Port Captain's office, we decided to take a walk around town to check it out. With only 1,200 inhabitants, Puerto Villamil is a much smaller and quieter town than Puerto Ayora, which has a population of 10,000. Puerto Ayora's economy is greatly enhanced by being the home port for numerous tour boats, but it seems only a few tour boats call at Puerto Villamil.

Along the waterfront in the center of town there was a sandy park with a tourist pier, a playground, and a few small picnic pavilions. On either side of the park the waterfront continued with small buildings that were shops, residences, or perhaps modest tourist facilities. Back from the waterfront the town had a central square with a small leafy-green park. All the streets radiating out from the town's center were unpaved sand, but they sometimes had paved sidewalks.

As we walked across town, we saw relatively few people and almost no traffic. We passed a number of simple shops, a couple of modest hotels, and numerous residences. We also saw two internet cafes, one of which was a new government-sponsored facility that was actually free, as a "grand opening" special. We came across the Saturday market and Marcie bought a couple of items (a pineapple and a squash). It was a very small market and they didn't have much available.

As we continued walking we encountered two other cruisers coming back from the lavanderia. They were a Danish couple who spoke excellent English, and we chatted for a while about Isabela attractions and other Galapagos cruising information. Moving along, we came to the second dinghy landing area at the far end of town. This landing had a stone pier for dry landings and a sandy beach for wet landings. The landing was well-protected from ocean swell by the outer reefs, but it was farther from both Nine of Cups and the center of town. The surrounding water was also quite shallow, and even a dinghy had to carefully follow a roundabout channel to reach the deepwater anchorage.

At the far end of town, the harbor has a shallow area where local fishermen moor their boats. Most of them are sturdy wooden boats; almost all had Yamaha outboards. Just to the right of the picture is the stone pier.   Nine of Cups at anchor, as viewed from the beach at the far landing. This telephoto picture has compressed the sense of distance so it looks like there are nearby breaking waves and jagged rocks. Actually, both the waves and the rocks are far away; our location is safe and secure if a little rolly.

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