Post Office Bay

What to do and see on Floreana Island!

Posted: September 26, 2012. Filed under: Information about the different Galapagos Islands

Floreana is the fifth largest island and is also known as Santa Maria or Charles. Only on this island you will find the Floreana tree finch. It has various attractions and two mooring sites. Located approximately 4 to 5 hours west of Espanola and equal distance south of Santa Cruz, this island has long been a favorite site of visitors including pirates, whalers and early settlers.

One of the oldest islands Floreana illustrates the aging process of a volcanic island. Unlike the younger western islands, Floreana’s volcano has been long extinct and is in the advanced stages of erosion. The erosion process gave the island the nutrients and soils need to sustain plant life. The combination of this rich soil and a good water supply have given the highlands of Floreana a diversified landscaping of native and introduced flora.

Floreana is best known for its colorful history of buccaneers, whalers, convicts, and colonists. In 1793 British whalers established the Post Office Barrel to send letters to and from England. This tradition has continued over the years, and even today visitors may drop off and pick up letters, without stamps, to be carried to far destinations. Punta Cormorant offers two highly contrasting beaches. The landing beach is of volcanic origin and is composed of olivine crystals, giving it a greenish tinge. At the end of the short trail is a carbonate beach of extremely fine white sand. Formed by the erosion of coral skeletons, it is a nesting site for green sea turtles.

In the 1930′s Floreana was the setting for intrigue and mystery. A German dentist and his mistress, a young family (the Wittmer family who still live on the island) and a self-styled baroness with three men came to settle in the island. Shortly after the baroness and her lovers arrived chaos began. The baroness and her entourage terrorized the other inhabitants while planning to build a luxury hotel.

Eventually the baroness, two of her lovers and the dentist all turned up missing or dead. There has been much investigation searching for what really happened on Floreana, but there have never been any hard answers. John Treherne wrote of these people in “The Galapagos Affair

Visitor sites:

Asilo del paz: an area for a day walk where you can find the Floreana tree finch.

Post Office Bay: do not forget your post! Here you will find a letterbox, a lava cave and a swimming beach.

Punta Cormorant has a green beach because of the mineral olivine that it contains. You can walk, snorkel and swim here. A big chance that you find flamingos in the lake. Other animals you might see are the American black-necked stilt, the American oystercatcher, willet, whimbrels, the white-cheeked pintail duck and the Galapagos hawk.

Corona the Diablo: the devil’s crown is a big rock formation in the sea where you can see the red beak tropic bird, the pelican, herons and lava gulls from a panga. If you are snorkeling you will see a variety of tropical fish, coral formations, sea lions and sometimes a shark.

Nearby is Champion Island: only here you will find the Floreana Mocking bird!

You can visit Floreana Island with a day tour from Santa Cruz or with one of our different land tours.

 

 

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