FLOREANA (Charles)

Located in the South of the Galapagos Islands, Floreana Island is full of human history. In addition, it hosts abundant land wildlife and has one of the best snorkeling sites on the archipelago, Devil’s Crown. Depending on the site you visit (Floreana has 6 different ones), you will learn about this island’s inhabitants including whalers and pirates, entrepreneurs, and settlers with a mysterious story. Furthermore, you will enjoy its black or green beaches, or will fall in love with its land species and amazing marine fauna.

The six visitors’ sites on Floreana Island are:

  • Post Office Bay
  • Floreana’s Highlands
  • Black Beach,
  • Cormorant Point
  • Devil’s Crown,
  • Enderby, Champion, and Gardner Islets.

Highlights and Wildlife: human history, sharks, rays, turtles, sea lions, acer (snakes), hawks, barn owls, rails, three species of finch, the Floreana Mockingbird, sea lion, sea turtle, Galapagos penguin

Activities: Hiking, snorkeling, SUP, kayaking, zodiac ride

Total Area: 107 mi2 / 172 km2

Population: 150 people


Human history in Floreana Island goes back centuries when pirates and whalers used it to restock fresh water and food, and they established an innovative postal system in 1793. They used old whisky barrels as a post box to store letters, and sailors passing by acted as postmen sorting through the mail and taking letters addressed to their hometowns. They were responsible for delivering these letters personally. This honor system continues working, and travelers can become part of it if they want. You can either leave a postcard in the barrel or take one that is addressed to your hometown. Remember that you must deliver it personally when you get home.

On top of this fun site, Post Office Bay is also home to a large lava cave, to the Baroness Viewpoint, and to a soccer field. Depending on time, you will visit one, two, or the three of them. You need to hike up a steep sandy and rocky trail to reach the viewpoint. If you enjoy playing soccer, you can join your cruise crew on a match during your visit. 

Highlights and Wildlife: Human History, landscapes, sharks, rays, sea lions, and turtles

Landing: Wet landing

Activities: Hiking, Snorkeling

Activity Difficulty:

  • Snorkeling: Easy
  • Hiking
    • Post Office Bay: Easy
    • Lava Cave: Easy
    • Baroness Viewpoint: Moderate / Difficult due to uneven rock terrain and steep trail

Highlights and Wildlife: Volcanic landscapes, Flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, marine iguanas, sea turtles, Galapagos race snakes, sea lions

Landing: Dry landing

Activities:  Hiking

Activity Difficulty: Hiking: Moderate / Difficult due to uneven volcanic rock terrain


The Highlands of Floreana offer visitors two sites: Asilo de la Paz (Peace Haven) and Cerro Alieri. The first one is the main reason why whalers and pirates came to Floreana, its freshwater spring. Therefore, you will find small pirate caves where they lived during their stay in Floreana Island. Furthermore, you explore the original property of the settlers inhabiting this site in the 1930s, the main characters of the worldwide known real-life story The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden.

Cerro Alieri is a beautiful natural site, especially for botanists and plant lovers. Travelers can see more than 48 different species of plants. A large portion of them is unique to this site (33% of them are endemic, and 56% are native).

Floreana’s highlands are located at 450 meters above sea level, and trekking there can be challenging due to its uneven terrain and steep slope. However, you can also arrange transportation from Floreanas’s town, Puerto Velasco Ibarra

Highlights and Wildlife: Human History, flora, Galapagos racer snakes, hawks, barn owls, rails, three species of finch, and the Floreana Mockingbird.

Landing: Dry landing

Activities: Hiking

Activity Difficulty: Hiking:

  • To the Highlands: Difficult
  • In the Highlands: Easy

Located by Floreana’s town, Puerto Velasco Ibarra, this Black Beach is famous for its contrasting colors and its unique landscape. Sea lions are the beach's main inhabitants, and you will swim and snorkel with them and occasionally with penguins and sea turtles. You can also take advantage of this beautiful beach to relax and sunbathe.

Highlights and Wildlife: Black sand beach, sea lions, sea turtles, Galapagos Penguin

Landing: Wet landing

Activities:  Snorkel, Relax and sunbathe, Walk

Activity Difficulty:    

  • Snorkel: Easy
  • Walk: Easy

Cormorant Point has it all, abundant wildlife with an emblematic species like the Galapagos Flamingos, a great diversity of plants, and two paradisiac beaches, in just one site! It is probably one of the few sites on Earth where you can visit a white and a green sand beach within just a short hike.

Cormorant Point’s white sand beach, resulting from pulverized coral, is a Green Sea Turtle’s nesting place, so you can observe little tortoises hatching and making their way to the water, an unforgettable experience. Even though travelers do not get in the water, you will be able to spot reef sharks and several species of rays gliding through the shallow shoreline waters. You can also see blue footed boobies diving for fish.

In contrast, Cormorant Point’s green beach, resulting from olivine crystals, is an exciting snorkeling site where you will get in the water with sea turtles, sea lions, white-tipped reef sharks, and if lucky even Galapagos penguins. Otherwise, you can just relax on the beach and sunbathe.

In addition to this magic world at both beaches, the flamingo lagoon is Cormorant Point’s highlight. Travelers can observe this fascinating species, the Galapagos Flamingo. The brackish water and mud are home to shrimp, flamingoes’ food that also determines the color of this beautiful animal. A wide variety of birds live on this lagoon as well.

Highlights and Wildlife: White sand beach, Green Sand Beach, Galapagos Flamingoes, Sea turtles, Rays, Galapagos Penguin, White-tipped shark, Stilts, Several species of Finch, Pintail ducks, and Large-billed Flycatchers

Landing: Wet landing

Activities:  Snorkel, Relax, Sunbathe, Hike, Birdwatching

Activity Difficulty:

  • Snorkel: Easy
  • Hike: Easy

Considered by many one of the best snorkeling sites on the Galapagos Islands, Floreana island’s Devil's Crown is home to an unbelievable variety of marine wildlife including large animals and colorful fish species. Named Devil’s Crown because of the sunken volcano crater´s rock spikes forming a semi-circle that looks like a crown. It hosts coral reefs that attract a non-comparison diversity of sea life. 

Even though Floreana’s Devil’s Crown is famous for its underwater wildlife, travelers can also observe wonderful seabirds nesting on the walls of the crater and diving into the ocean looking for food.

Highlights and Wildlife:  White-tipped reef sharks, marble and eagle rays, sea turtles, sea lions, Galapagos penguins, hammer hammerhead shark’s wrasse, yellowtail grunts, balloon fish, amberjacks, hieroglyphic hawk fish, tiger snake eels, and angel fish.

Landing: No Landing

Activities: Snorkeling

Activity Difficulty: Snorkeling: Difficult

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