The Iguanamen of Isabela, Galapagos

Galapagos Culture

As I relaxed after a snorkeling tour, I sipped coffee in the main square of Puerto Villamil (on Isabela island) and enjoyed the soft music playing in the backdrop. Then, all of the sudden I became aware of the lyrics.

They were singing about the Galápagos!

Who are the Iguanamen of Galapagos?

If you hear blues music on your Galapagos vacation, there is a good chance that it is the local group Iguanamen from Isabela island.

Residents of Isabela are particularly fond of the music—and the acoustic twangy beats seem to go well with the chill vibe of the town.

The group’s most famous member was the late “Gringo Juan.” He was an American named Juan Volkes, who was rumored to be hiding from the law, he passed away in 2008.

They released three albums – Iguanaamerica, Super Criollo Blues y Más, and Iguanamen de Galápagos. While some songs such as “Ain’t no sunshine” are covers, there are quite a few original numbers including songs titled “Santa Cruz Blues” and “Isabela.”

“Isabela” Lyrics

The lyrics of the song Isabela don’t do much to dispel the rumours about the band members hiding from the law…

“Going to Isabela never coming back.
Going to burn my bridges, cover up my tracks.
Cause in Isabela, life is mighty fine.
In Isabela, oh the sun is gonna shine.”

Where to find the Iguanamen

You can find the Iguanamen of Galapagos on last.fm and there are a couple of songs on Youtube (below). It’s the perfect music for getting excited about your Galapagos tour! Enjoy, and let us know what you think!

 

Meet the Author

Lisa Cho is an expat living in Ecuador, originally from San Francisco, California. She writes about the Galapagos Islands on this site and about her mainland Ecuador adventures on CuencaCultureShock.com

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