The Galápagos Islands is ultimately a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean comprising of piles of lava, dotted with shield volcanoes (a type of volcano named for its low profile typically formed by the eruption of highly fluid lava), many of which are periodically active. Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity reflects the processes, and it is the repeated volcanic eruptions that have helped form the striking ruggedness of the arid landscape that lure travellers from around the world.
Made up of 13 major islands, plus a handful of islets and rocks, the Galápagos’ largest island is Isabela, approximately 129 km (80 mi) long. It is here one impressive volcano, Sierra Negra mightily stands. Rising nearly 1,371 m (4,500 ft), Sierra Negra is one of the largest shield volcanoes in the region, coalesces with the volcanoes, Cerro Azul and Alcedo.
Admirers far and wide are drawn to Sierra Negra to peer into its glowing fumaroles and expansive caldera; with a diameter of 9,6-plus km (6-plus mi), the crater reigns as the second largest on the planet. Despite Sierra Negra’s seemingly ever-present fog, devotees still climb its monumental slopes to enjoy the sweeping, and if you’re lucky, unobstructed, surrounding vistas. Though the volcano remains active today, there hasn’t been any recorded activity since 2005. Still, seismologists keep a watchful eye on all eruptive zones to ensure guest safety.