A trip to Isabel Island is an unforgettable experience, an adventure full of surprises from start to finish for nature lovers, since close contact with a variety of species at sea, air and land can hardly be found anywhere else.
From the port of San Blas, a few minutes after setting sail you can find the world's largest fish: the whale shark, which can grow up to 48 feet long. To see this huge creature swimming close to the surface always moves everyone into a big exclamation; also, its slow and tranquil pace allows the time for photography lovers and nature watchers to admire and photograph this great animal in detail.
Very often groups of dolphins escort our boat (the Spotted Pantropical Dolphin) on our way to the island, which makes it even better. Also, frequently sea turtles and manta rays are seen - a whole show!
When approaching the waters around the Island dozens of humpback whales always welcome us. During the winter these impressive mammals migrate south in search of warmer and quieter waters to breed and mate. The Humpback is the world's most acrobatic whale, so it is highly possible to witness spectacular jumps.
Upon reaching the island we are greeted by noisy seagulls and brown pelicans who use the bay landing as their point of daytime stay. These and other species use the island as a nesting and mating site during the winter. On the way to the campsite, a bush forest serves as nesting support for the most abundant bird species in the island: the magnificent frigate, with an estimated population of more than 16,000 individuals.
The highest point on the island is Lighthouse Hill; on its top we find one of the two major nesting sites of the Blue-Footed Booby. This bird, along with the Brown Booby, nest on the ground; so we are easily able to make great pictures of them (of course, always following the guidelines of the National Parks authority). We are able to witness their courtship and place ourselves in the best point for the best shot. From the cliff walls of this hill you can see the start of the flight of the Tropicbirds with their elegant plumage: the male has a pair of long tail feathers extolling its beauty - always preyed upon by the frigates with their silent flight in search of a vulnerable nest to rob or a fish to steal. Since frigates lack wax on their feathers, they cannot keep their plumage dry and thus are not able to take flight from the water; so they need to predate on eggs, chickens or other birds’ catch.
According to geologists, Isabel Island is of volcanic origin. Eight volcanoes gave rise to an island chain, however due to the action of the sea all have vanished but one: Isabel. It is now completely inactive and its crater forms a small lake, "Crater Lake", which can be seen from Lighthouse Hill or from the summit of the volcano itself, located a short hike from the camp.
On the island there is a permanent presence of scientists from Mexico’s top university (UNAM) doing research, including continuously monitoring the behavior of birds in this sanctuary. These guys are very friendly and always respond to questions from visitors that wish to consult with them. Their camp site is located on the beach just in front of two huge stone formations known as "Las Monas" which are a symbol of Isabel Island; in this area there is an important nesting site of Sooty Terns and the second major group of Blue-Footed boobies.
Spread throughout the island iguanas, fake coral snakes, hermit crabs, red-footed boobies, sterns, and many more can be found, which contribute to make this site a dream destination for wildlife lovers.
Venture to know this paradise. Winter is the best time to live it.