Key Visitor Points
Puerto Velasco Ibarra
Most of the island’s 100-or-so permanent residents live in Puerto Velasco Ibarra. The quiet port town is home to the only hotel on the island, Pension Wittmer, a rest house still owned and run by the Wittmer family. Located in front of the hotel, Black Beach is a picturesque stretch with dark sand and deep blue waters. Friendly sea lions will often join swimmers and snorkelers in the water.
Post Office Bay
One of the most interesting sites on Floreana, Post Office Bay is where the island’s unique postal system was set up in the late 18th century. Without any other way to send letters home, whalers and pirates at sea left their mail without postage in an old wooden barrel on the bay. Fellow sailors on their way home will often sift through the mail and take the letters addressed to their hometown to deliver them by hand. To this day, travelers can take part in the tradition and leave postcards in the 200-year-old barrel in hopes of other travelers will take them back to their country.
After leaving postcards, travelers can trek up Baroness Viewing Point to enjoy the tranquil scenery. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like Darwin’s finches and lava lizards.
Cormorant Point (Punta Cormorant)
Two beaches make up Cormorant Point on the northern tip of Floreana Island; one is dubbed Flour Beach with pristine white coral shores, while another is a standout with eye-catching green sand due to the presence of olivine crystals from volcanic rocks. There’s also a pretty lagoon where there’s a wide variety of coastal birds and a healthy population of the Galapagos flamingo. A 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) trek will take travelers to a viewpoint overlooking the two beaches.
Devil’s Crown is one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos Islands, a must-visit spot consisting of a partially submerged volcanic cone eroded by the water. It’s a breathtaking underwater idyll, with marine life like white-tipped sharks, Galapagos sea lions, rays, eels, sea turtles, and even the occasional hammerhead shark and Galapagos penguin. Birds like boobies and frigatebirds often land on the volcanic rocks protruding from the water. Due to strong currents and rocky waves, only experienced swimmers are recommended to swim in these waters.
Also found off the shore of Floreana is Champion Islet, a rocky islet that’s another popular snorkeling and scuba diving site in the Galapagos. Marine animals spotted in the waters surrounding Champion include Galapagos sharks, sea lions, hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, and colorful tropical fish. Birds like blue-footed boobies, penguins, and frigatebirds are also present, but the islet is best known for being one of the last two habitats of the critically endangered Floreana mockingbird. Other small islets around Floreana include Enderby and Gardner islets.
Asilo de la Paz (Peace Haven)
Witness the site of the first human settlement at Asilo de la Paz in the Floreana highlands. The trek can be quite arduous, winding through a lush Scalesia forest, a giant tortoise breeding center, and a freshwater spring that made human settlement possible. Here, modern explorers can also take a peek at a small cave that used to be inhabited by pirates. It’s a surprisingly cozy living space, with the rocks carved into beds, shelves, and even a small fireplace. Different species of Darwin’s finches may also be spotted, while the nearby Cerro Alieri is excellent for plant-loving explorers, with over 48 plant species identified at the site.