Floreana Island takes its name from Juan José Flores, the first president of Ecuador, during whose administration the Ecuadorian government took possession of the archipelago. It is also called Santa María, after one of Christopher Columbus' caravels. It has an area of 173 km2 and a maximum altitude of 640 meters. It is one of the islands with the most interesting human history and one of the first to have been inhabited. Nests of pink flamingos and green sea turtles are found throughout this island (December to May). Also, a nocturnal seabird that spends most of its life off land is found here.
Floreana was the first inhabited island. The history of this island is very exciting because it includes the mysterious deaths of some inhabitants that have not been clarified to this day. If you are interested in the full story, you can read the book "Floreana" by Margaret Wittmer. She lived for more than 60 years in Floreana and died at the age of 95 in 2000. Her descendants still run a hotel on the island.
Asilo de la Paz (450 m mountain) is a wonderful place to visit, located a few kilometers from the island of Puerto Velasco Ibarra. Thanks to the freshwater found here, this area was inhabited by the first settlers, who found refuge in the nearby caves. Here you can easily observe the endemic finch species.
Post office Bay
On the north shore is Post Office Bay. In the early 19th century, whalers began leaving their mail in a barrel and receiving letters from other sailors on the way to their destination. This tradition is still practiced by tourists (obviously the barrel is no longer the original). The idea is to carry the letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Besides being the post office, this was the landing place for some of the first settlers.
Punta Cormorant is a light green beach (thanks to olivine crystals) located between two tuff cones, a colony of sea lions calls this place home. The trail (100 m) climbs up to a lagoon very popular with flamingos. A few dozen flamingos are often seen there, as well as oystercatchers, white-winged sandpipers, curlews, green sandpipers, black-bellied sandpipers, and black-bellied sandpipers. It is also recommended to watch the sky as Galapagos hawks fly over the lagoon often. The trail crosses the isthmus to a beautiful and incredible white sand beach where you can swim and enjoy the Island. White-tip sharks and rays are common here as they move through the water. From December to March, Pacific green sea turtles use this place to lay their eggs.
One of the most beautiful places to snorkel is the Corona del Diablo, a semi-submerged volcanic crater. The inside is sandy and protected from the swell, while on the outside the currents can be very strong. There are some underwater tunnels to explore. The area is home to many colorful fish, sea turtles, and sometimes sharks - for divers and swimmers, this is an unmissable opportunity!