"Floreana - Isla Santa Maria" Isla Santa María by MalenaN

Isla Santa María Travel Guide: 33 reviews and 210 photos

The 5th day of the cruise with Cachalote (2011) we visited Floreana, also called Isla Santa Maria. In the morning we visited Punta Cormorant, where you can see the Greater Flamingo, and snorkelled at Devil’s Crown. In the afternoon we visited the Post Office Bay, a place where British whalers in the end of the 18th century placed a post office barrel. We mailed our own post cards there, visited a lava tunnel and snorkelled and relaxed on the beach. It was another great day!

Floreana is one of four inhabited islands in the Galapagos , but it has the smallest settlement. In the village Puerto Velasco Ibarra there are only about 150 inhabitants, and there are two hotels. It is a place we didn’t visit on the cruise and I didn’t have time to go there after the cruise either.

Update 2013: I visited Galapagos Islands again and this time I visited Floreana on a daytrip from Puerto Ayora. During this daytrip we visited Asilo de la Paz in the highlands and Puerto Velasco Ibarra, and we also snorkeled at La Loberia.

Charles Darwin visited Floreana in 1835. At that time the island was a penal colony.

In the 1930s some German immigrants settled on Floreana. There was a Baroness and her three lovers, a Dr. Ritter and his mistress and the Wittmer family. There seemed to be disagreement between the new neighbours and no one really knows what happened, but several people ended up dead or missing. Only the Wittmer’s survived and their descendants now run the hotel and restaurant in Puerto Velasco Ibarra.

Because Floreana has a long history of human presence the damage to the ecosystem has also been significant. For example the Floreana Tortoise has become extinct (but scientists think there might be one on Isla Isabela) and the Floreana Mockingbird endangered, and there is a big presence of introduced animals and plants. However, efforts are made to reduce the presence of introduced species.

  • Last visit to Isla Santa María: Jun 2013
  • Intro Updated Oct 11, 2013
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Reviews (26)

Comments (13)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Another excellent page on the Galapagos Islands. Wonderful photos you have taken of the scenery and animals!

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Feb 1, 2014 at 3:00 AM

      Thank you Dee! I enjoyed my visits there very much, especially while visiting when on a cruise in 2011.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Oct 23, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    I would also like to have a walk among the tortoises meditating about Charles Darwin's theory. I hope they will be able to get rid of the rats on Floreana. Thank you Malena for showing this remote place which I'm almost sure I'll never see...

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Oct 23, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Hello Sergey! Thank you for visiting my Floreana page. I do hope you get the chance to visit Galapagos Islands one day. It is an amazing place.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Oct 16, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    What a beautiful place and such wonderful creatures. The Tortoise Corral and the stone heads are fantastic. Wonderful page!

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Oct 16, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      Thank you for visiting Dee! The Giant Tortoises are lovely indeed.

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Nice page about your return trip to Floreana/Isla Santa Maria! You were lucky to see so much wildlife on land, sea and the air! Although I like snorkeling I admit I am afraid of sharks! You are very brave!

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Oct 13, 2013 at 8:37 PM

      Thank you for visiting Sylvia! There is so much to see in the sea and it is wonderful to see. Unfortunately I froze a lot this year while in the water. Maybe it was colder, or maybe it was just because I was skinnier and tired. Anyway, a long wet suite would have been good to have had (which I actually have at home).

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    Great that you had a return visit this year. Interesting new tips!

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Oct 13, 2013 at 3:05 AM

      Thank you for visiting Don! Yes, I'm glad I had the opportunity to visit Floreana again (but this time different sites than last time).

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Aug 6, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Malena, fantastic little page here I especially like the postcard story. If your postcard had to be hand delivered I guess you stil wouldn't have it. - I agree, that a handwritten note on your postcard would have made it much nicer.

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Aug 7, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      Thank you for visiting Holger! Im in Ecuador for the third time, but on Friday it is already time to go home.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Feb 24, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    It looks like it is still a remote area that holds many treasures to take in. YOur comments and picstures are very good.

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    Lots of great nature pics. I really like the big crab picture and the flamingos. What a unique way to mail postcards. Another great page Malena.

  • glabah's Profile Photo
    Jan 6, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Some great wildlife photos you have here. I had no idea that Great Blue Heron went all the way to the Galapagos Islands. They are fairly common around here.

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    Absolutely love the postoffice story!

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