Floreana Island was named after Juan José Flores, the first president of Ecuador, during whose administration the government of Ecuador took possession of the archipelago, having previously been called Charles Island (after King Charles II of England). It is also called Santa Maria after one of the caravels of Columbus.
07:00 – 07:30 AM
We will pick up you from your Hotel, Tour starts at the tourist Dock (Meeting point with our Licensed Guide) in Puerto Ayora – Santa cruz island, We will travel with our Speed boat for ca. 2 hours.
Then we arrive to Black beach (volcanic ash) – Floreana Island.
Yes, we arrive Ca. 9:00 am to Puerto Velasco Ibarra, near Black beach, then we get on board our typical open Truck or CHIVA and head for the highlands. Travelling we will pass by the great Cerro Pajas volcanic Hill & the Scalesia Forest, look forthe the unique to this island medium tree finch … ( Dontg forget your binoculars !)
at noon we Later on , we will arrive to Asilo de la Paz visitor site, and then we will hike for 10 minutes to get to the area of the reintroduction of Giant Tortoises on Florena Island ..:.ask to your Guide for the reason of the extinction of this Tortoises endemic species in this island !
ater on we continue hiking to the fresh water source .. the reason for the first human setlement in this Island ..
Later on we will discover the nearby caves that were used by the early settlers and Pirates ..
At noon we will return to Puerto Velasco Ibarra to have lunch in our restaurant, click on for an actual video.
After lunch we will have great swimming an snorkeling, guaranteed: sea turtles and sea lions .. Floreana is really a must!!
Later on at 3 PM , return to Puerto Puerto Ayora – Santa Cruz Island.
Tour Price includes:
- Naturalist Guide fluent in english.
- Snorkel equipment.
- Described excursions.
Prices do not include:
- Alcoholic Beverages.
FLOREANA QUICK HISTORY
Floreana Island is an island of the Galápagos Islands. It was named after Juan José Flores, the first president of Ecuador, during whose administration the government of Ecuador took possession of the archipelago, having previously been called Charles Island (after King Charles II of England). It is also called Santa Maria after one of the caravels of Columbus.
The island has an area of 173 km² and a maximum altitude of 640 metres.
Floreana was a favorite stop for whalers and other visitors to the Galapagos. When still known as Charles Island in 1819, the island was set alight as a prank by helmsman Thomas Chappel from the Nantucket whaling ship the Essex Being the height of the dry season, the fire soon burned out of control and quickly surrounded the hunters, who were forced to run through the flames to escape. By the time the men returned to the Essex almost the entire island was burning. The crew were upset about the fire and Captain Pollard swore vengeance on whomever had set it. Fearing a whipping, it was to be some time before Chappel admitted to being the culprit. The next day saw the island still burning as the ship sailed for the offshore grounds and after a full day of sailing the fire was still visible on the horizon. Many years later Thomas Nickerson, who had been a cabin boy on the Essex, returned to Charles Island and found a black wasteland: “neither trees, shrubbery, nor grass have since appeared.” It is believed the fire contributed to the extinction of some species originally on the island. One year later during the same voyage, the Essex was sunk by a massive bull sperm whale.
In September 1835 the second voyage of HMS Beagle brought Charles Darwin to Charles Island. The ship’s crew was greeted by the Acting Governor of Galápagos, Nicolas Lawson, and at the prison colony Darwin was told that tortoises differed in the shape of the shells from island to island, but this was not obvious on the islands he visited and he did not bother with collecting their shells. He industriously collected all the animals, plants, insects and reptiles, and speculated about finding “from future comparison to what district or ‘centre of creation’ the organized beings of this archipelago must be attached.”
In 1929, Friedrich Ritter and Dore Strauch arrived in Guayaquil from Berlin to settle on Floreana, and sent messages back encouraging others. In 1932 Heinz and Margaret Wittmer arrived with their son Harry, and shortly afterwards their son Rolf was born there, the first citizen of the island to have been born in the Galápagos. Later in 1932, the self-described “Baroness” von Wagner Bosquet arrived with companions, but a series of strange disappearances and deaths left Margaret Wittmer as the sole survivor of the group who had settled there. She set up a hotel which is still managed by her descendants, and wrote an account of her experiences in her book Floreana: A Woman’s Pilgrimage to the Galapagos.
The demands of these visitors and early settlers devastated much of the local wildlife and both the endemic Floreana Tortoise and the endemic Floreana Mockingbird became extinct on the island.
When Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Island of Floreana in 1835, he found no sign of its native tortoise and assumed that whalers, pirates and human settlers had wiped them out. Since about 1850, no tortoises have been found on the island (except for one or two introduced animals kept as pets by the locals). It makes sense, therefore, that the International Union for Conservation of Nature would classify the Floreana tortoise Chelonoidis elephantopus (sometimes called Chelonoidis nigra) as extinct. A species of Galapagos tortoise thought to have been extinct for more than 150 years may, in fact, be alive and well.
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