During our trip to the Galapagos, while talking to locals on Isabela Island, we learned that there is a path on the island, just outside the village of Puerto Villamil, that leads to a place steeped in history: the wall of tears (el muro de las lágrimas).

So we set off to discover this very special place, which the locals tell us about.

We decided to rent bikes for the day, and set off in the early hours of the morning to take full advantage of the trail all day long, and also of the cool morning air.

Tip: this activity is best avoided in very hot weather, or in the middle of the afternoon. Don’t forget a bottle of water and sunscreen.

Along the trail, where we pass a few other cyclists and walkers, we take several breaks on the beaches that line the route.

We take a quick look at La Playita, located at the entrance to the park, a shady little beach where we’ll enjoy a siesta on our return from the tour.

Then we stop off at La Playa del Amor, a magnificent beach of white sand contrasting with volcanic rock, where sea turtles come to lay their eggs from January onwards, hatching in April.  We’re careful not to get too close to the “enclosures” made of ropes attached to pieces of wood, which indicate the nesting sites.

We also enjoy a swim in the shade of the mangroves on the surprising and equally charming Playa del Estero (estuary beach).


After the beaches begins the turtle trail (la ruta de las tortugas). If you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll spot a few wild giant tortoises on the side of the road. During these unique and unlikely encounters, only the sound of nature accompanies us. Here, they are said to be a reminder of the importance of life and a symbol of hope.

We finally reach the wall, surrounded by vegetation. The atmosphere is heavy.

We learn from a memorial to the victims that Isabela has hosted several penal colonies. The last of these, where the worst criminals were sent in 1946 by the Ecuadorian government, involved the construction of a wall as punishment. The condemned men traveled long distances to transport the stones used in its construction. This labor killed most of them, until 1958, when they revolted and killed their guards.

Rounding the wall, we reach steps leading to a viewpoint overlooking the upper part of the island on one side, and the ocean stretching to the horizon on the other.

In front of us, a landscape of contrasts between the blue hues of the ocean and the green curves of extinct volcanoes.

If you like to know a little bit about the history of the places where you’re staying, we highly recommend this day trip, which combines culture and nature.

To discover the Wall of Tears in Isabela and other Galapagos wonders, contact us.