Santa Maria Island

 

 
 


This is the first and the smallest of the 4 inhabited islands. One of the more southernmost islands, Floreana has a rich soil and a water supply
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      Punta Cormorant  
     
 
There is a wet landing onto a, literally, green beach so coloured because it is made from olivine crystals (volcanic silicates of magnesium and iron). Pencil sea urchins may be found on the beach.
A short walk inland and the trail comes to a brackish lagoon. This is home to one of the biggest populations of flamingos in the archipelago. Also present are pintail ducks and stilts. The trail crosses a narrow neck of land and comes to a white beach on the eastern side of the island. Ghost crabs inhabit the beach, and rays and turtles can be seen in the sea.
To the west is "Devil's Crown" - a small islet of jumbled rocks. It is an old spatter cone that has been eroded by the sea. It is one of the best places in Galapagos to snorkel with: sea turtles, Galapagos Sharks, Moray Eels, and sea lions. Outside of the crown it is possible to see Hammerhead Sharks, not to worry, they are not aggressive and do not enter the Crown itself.
 
     
     
 
 
      Post Office Bay  
     
 
In the late 18th Century, whaling ships started to leave letters for home in a barrel. The idea was that ships on their outward voyage would leave letters for ships on the homeward voyage to collect. The tradition has continued and it is possible to leave postcards which will be collected by other tourists from the same part of the world and posted by them. In the same way, one is expected to collect any cards that it is possible to post. Walking through this vegetation one comes to an abandoned site where there was a short lived Norwegian fish drying and canning operation. This lasted for about two years from 1928.
 
     
     
 
 
      Puerto Velasco Ibarra  
     
 
By special arrangement it is sometimes possible to visit the Wittmer Pension. This belongs to a family which settled on the island in 1932 and have been there ever since. To find out more about the history of Floreana, it is recommended to read the novel “La Baronesa”.