Floreana is one of the Galapagos islands with the most interesting human history. One of the earliest islands to be inhabited, this island has long been a favorite site of visitors including pirates, whalers and early settlers.
The island 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.
One of the oldest islands Floreana illustrates the aging process of a volcanic island. 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.
Post Office Bay:
Whaling Captain James Colnett established the wooden post barrel in the early 1793. At the time whaling was a big industry, ships were typically gone for 2 years at a time. The Galapagos Islands were a frequent stop for these ships. Outbound ships would drop off letters after rounding the cape and the ships returning home would mail them. Arriving at Post Office Bay you will land on a brown sand beach, passing the sea lions lying in the sun. At the post barrel the guide will pull a hand full of letters for the group. Continuing the tradition, the letters are brought home with the traveler and then mailed to the addressee. Visitors also have the opportunity to send letters of their own.
To see the crown you need to go underwater; an almost completely submerged volcano, which erosion has transformed the cone into a series of jagged peaks creating the “Devil’s Crown”. The remains of the volcano create a haven for seabirds such as boobies, pelicans and frigates. Red-billed tropical birds can be seen nesting in the crevices. This is one of Galapagos best places to do snorkeling.
The visit to Punta Cormorant offers two contrasting beaches. Arriving on shore you will encounter a green sand beach (the green sand is caused by the olivine crystals derived silicates or magnesium and iron) from here you will follow the trail leading to a lagoon where pink flamingoes and other shore birds can be seen. The walk continues to another beach on the other side made of fine white sand particles known as “Flour Beach”. In the waters ghost crabs and rays can be seen swimming.