What is the Wal of Tears?
“El muro de las lagrimas” (Spanish for wall of tears) is a huge lava-rock wall located West of Puerto Villamil. It tells the devastating history of Isabela and is the most cultural site in Galapagos. During the penal colony time from 1946-1959, prisoners were forced to build the wall. It only served a single purpose. The captives should keep suffering. Living conditions were extreme, which cost many prisoners their lives. Some say the cries and pain of the prisoners can still be heard today. As sad as the history of Isabela has been, as beautiful is the path towards the historic site. On this path, you will discover a variety of small lagoons, white sandy beaches and crossing points packed with marine iguanas. This trip is perfect to let your soul dangle while getting a better understanding of the local history.
Detailed Tour Description
The tour starts at the centrally located Agora Office. You can choose to do this tour either by bike or by walking. However, the around 6 km long route is much more enjoyable by bike. After you decided between the two options a pick-up truck will transport you to the national park checkpoint.
From there on you will quickly get to the first lagoon. This lagoon is a habitat for many different birds, for instance, Flamingos. One special thing about this lagoon is its ability to change color. It can change from a greenish to a bright pink shade. The next stop on this tour is the Playa del Amor. This remote beach is perfect for a short swim and you will also find Iguanas which are nesting right next to it. Due to this nesting spot, you can find “Iguana crossing” signs along the way to the wall and will discover many large specimens. When you prefer a more shaded area to relax than the Playa del Amor, you will love the next lagoon. It is a hidden treasure in between red, white and black mangroves. Hence, it is often frequented by locals which seek relaxation.
As you get closer to the wall of tears the route gets a little steeper and dryer, but your chances are good to get close to some giant Turtles. The wall of tears will most definitely be higher and wider than you expected. When you touch the lava rocks and listen to the very own story of your guide, you will start to see more than just stacked rocks. Most tours end here. Though we highly recommend going up to the viewpoint. Your effort will be rewarded with a very calm view of the ocean and large parts of the island. Take your time and just enjoy this place.
The fun part about riding all the way up with the bike is that you also can ride everything back without any effort. Our bikes get regularly maintained but still be careful on the gravel. Listen to your guide's instructions to keep safe. Finally, you will be able to visit the tortoise breeding center in Puerto Villamil. This center is an essential part to save endemic tortoises from extinction.
Sun Protection & Glases
Good waking shoes
Towel & swimsuit (optional)