Discover the Beauty of Floreana Island
It used to be known as Charles Island, named in honor of England’s Charles II, but Juan Jose Flores, who was Ecuador’s first president, reclaimed the archipelago and the island was renamed to Floreana Island as a tribute to Flores. It is also sometimes referred to as Santa Maria, after one of Columbus’ caravels. Floreana forms part of the Galapagos Islands. It has a long history with mariners, thus there are many stories and legends related to the island.
Floreana Island covers an area of a hundred and seventy-three square kilometers and stands at a height of six hundred and forty meters. During the eighteenth century, Post Office Bay was used as a post office by whalers. A wooden barrel was placed for a post box, and as boats came past to go back to the United States and Europe, they would stop to take a look through the letters and take them home to deliver them to their recipients by hand. Not only was the island an ideal location for animals, plant life and as a post office, but the island had fresh water, giving mariners the opportunity to collect water for their journeys. One fascinating story related to Floreana Island is that of the Essex. Its sailors had set the island alight in 1918, and a year later a bull sperm whale sank the ship.
Charles Darwin reached the then named Charles Island aboard the HMS Beagle in 1835, and was told on his arrival that the tortoises’ shells differed in shape, depending on the island on which they lived. Darwin decided to rather collect insect, plant samples, animals and reptiles. It is still till today a vital nesting location for marine turtles, as well as sea birds, pink flamingoes and sea lions. Due to the colonization of the island, the Floreana Mockingbird and Floreana Tortoise tragically became extinct. Today, there are approximately a hundred and seventy residents on the island, with a small hotel and restaurant that is run by the Wittmer family, who have been on the island for centuries.
Visitors to the island can look forward to picturesque hikes. Devil’s Crown is a popular destination with snorkelers, as the seas surrounding Floreana Island are filled with rays, sharks and various other breathtaking sea life. Other attractions are the two hundred year old post barrel where travelers can still post a card or letter, and a miniature soccer field for day visitors to enjoy. Punta Cormorant and Black Beach are also recommended attractions to explore. Floreana Island is a beautiful island to visit, where tourists will find tranquility, natural beauty and an amazing history to discover.