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Puerto Villamil

Puerto Villamil is a small port village located on the southeastern edge of Isla Isabelamarker in the Galapagos Islandsmarker. Of the 2,200 people who live on Isabela, the majority live in Puerto Villamil. The harbor is frequently full with sailboats, as Villamil is a popular stop for private yachts making their way to the Marquesas Islandsmarker as it is the westernmost town in the Galapagos Islandsmarker.

Traditionally residents of Puerto Villamil have earned a living either through agriculture or fishing. Over the years the government has made moves to move the population away from fishing and into tourist-based activities. However this move has been hotly debated and has created political incidents including in 2000 when a group of sea cucumber fishermen kidnapped baby tortoises in order to have the government extend their fishing limits.

On the southwestern edge of town a boardwalk was created by the park with assistance of US Aid. It leads through mangrove environments passing along saltwater lagoons filled with flamingo, common stilts, whimbrels, Bahama pintails, and gaiollinules that come here to sweep the mud in search of brine. At the end of the walkway is the Tortoise Breeding Center which was built in order to help preserve the many species of Isabela Tortoises.

On the northern edge of town near the dock are a series of small islets including one known as Las Tintoreras where a colony of white tip sharks can often be seen resting in the lava canal.

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