Floreana Island is a 67 square mile island located at the far south of the Galapagos archipelago, named in honor of Juan José Flores, Ecuador's first president. It is a shield volcano, formed as a result of a volcanic eruption. It has a very rich history, as it was the first island to be colonized in 1832, by Ecuadorians.
There are about 100 residents on the island, two-thirds of them living in the port town Puerto Velasco Ibarra. The only hotel on the island, Pension Wittmer, is managed by descendants of the Wittmer family, one of the first families to have established in Galapagos.
You can reach Floreana on a Galapagos islands cruise and there are some facinating visitor sites you can explore on your tour here. Cormorant Point features two different yet amazing beaches: the white sand Flour Beach made of fine coral sand, a nesting spot for Green Sea Turtles, and a green sand beach, getting its color from olivine crystals. This point's main attraction is the flamingo lagoon, and you can admire here on your birdwatching tour Galapagos flamingoes in their search for shrimp, pintail ducks, various species of finches ans large-billed flycatchers.
Post Office Bay is one of the most intriguing visitor sites in your Galapagos cruise, featuring the world's most unusual post office. It is a piece of the archipelago's history that still lives today. In 1793 a wooden barrel was put here by whalers, so that sailors could put letters inside, that would be then carried to their destination by other sailors heading in that direction. Nowadays, visitors put addressed postcards and go through the pile to see if there are some they could deliver personally. Near Post Office Bay, on your tour here, you can actually go inside a lava tube. There's a ladder you descend into the tube and you can follow a several hundred yards trail.
The highlands of Floreana offer two points you can explore on your tour, at the bottom of the cone Asilo de la Paz: Cerro Alieri and The Peace Asylum, or Asilo de la Paz. Cerro Alieri is 15 minutes away from Puerto Velasco Ibarra and it can be reached by vehicle. This site is famous for the variety of plants you can see here, over 48 species from which most are native (56%), or endemic (33%). A bit further, 45 minutes away from the port town is The Peace Asylum, a fascinating historical site where you can visit what were once pirate caves.
Devil’s Crown, Floreana Island's marine site that cannot be missed on your cruise, is one of the greatest places in Galapagos for swimming and snorkeling. It is actually an eroded volcanic crater, with a ring of uneven rocks coming out of the water. Inside this ring, you can see coral reefs and a diversity of marine life, including King Angel Fish, sea lions, Balloon Fish, sea turtles, eagle rays and various species of sharks. Another beautiful snorkeling and diving site near Floreana is Champion Islet, a tiny island famed for being a great place to see dolphins.
Floreana Fast Facts:
- Post Office Bay is the most unusual post office in the world, used by sailors in the 1700s and still used by tourists.
- Descendants of the first family established on the island run the only hotel on Floreana.
- Floreana Island is home to former pirate caves tourists can visit.
Blue-Footed Booby, Brown Pelican, Darwin’s Finches, Galapagos Barn Owl, Galapagos Dove, Galapagos Frigatebirds, Galapagos Giant Tortoise, Galapagos Green Turtle, Galapagos Land Iguana, Galapagos Lava Heron, Galapagos Lava Lizard, Galapagos Marine Iguana, Galapagos Mockingbird, Galapagos Penguin, Galapagos Petrel, Galapagos Racer Snake, Galapagos Sea Lion, Galapagos Sea Robin, Galapagos Sharks, Galapagos Shearwater, Galapagos Short-eared Owl, Galapagos Sting Rays, Great Blue Heron, Greater Flamingo, Mobula Rays, Red-Billed Tropicbird, Red-lipped Batfish, Vermilion Flycatcher, Yellow-crowned Night Heron