Travel Guide to Floreana, Galapagos Islands
Floreana, the sixth largest and one of the oldest of the Galapagos Islands, is known for the mysterious history of its earliest inhabitants, with involves alleged murders, for its unique postal systems, for the stunning wildlife and for the incredible snorkeling spots. The only settlement Puerto Velasco Ibarra is located on a black sand beach in a sheltered bay. Floreana is remote and the least visited of the four inhabited islands, which makes the island a little quieter and more relaxed. We had one of our best snorkeling trips on Floreana where we could spot sharks and really enjoyed the hikes with the incredible views of the sunset.
Why should you go there?
Our favorite things to do on Floreana
Exploring Post Office Bay (no guide necessary, during cruise and land based trip possible)
Snorkeling at Champion Islet (guide necessary, during cruise and land based trip possible)
Exploring Punta Cormorant (guide necessary, during cruise and land based trip possible)
A few practical tips for booking a tour
Generally, the tours are booked up quickly and we had difficulties getting a seat on some of the tours on other islands. Therefore, we recommend that you book your tours as soon as you arrive on Floreana. However, we do not advise you to book tours online as they are much more expensive. You can also ask your hotel staff in advance if they can organize the tour for you.
Most tour operators only accept cash. Some operators accept credit cards as well, but only with a huge additional fee of up to 20%. Therefore, make sure you bring enough cash as there are no ATMs on the island.
Let the tour operators know in advance if you have any special requests. We asked for vegan / vegetarian food that we got on all tours.
How to get there?
There are three ways to visit Floreana. You can take a cruise ship, take a day trip or stay on Floreana as it is one of the four inhabited islands of the Galapagos Islands.
We arrived at Floreana with our cruise ship, which was very comfortable because we went there overnight and could start exploring the highlights of Floreana in the morning.
If you want to take a day tour, you can book with tour operators in Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. However, you will spend around four hours on the speedboat.
Instead, it's worth staying a night on Floreana. You can reach the island by speedboat from Santa Cruz or San Cristobal. The speedboats run daily from Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal to Puerto Velasco Ibarra, Floreana and cost 30 USD each way. There are also water taxis in Puerto Ayora and the other cities that will take you from the pier to the speedboat and back on land and cost 1 USD. Tickets can be purchased at the main pier or your hotel staff can arrange tickets for you and it is recommended to buy them a day in advance.
You start at the main pier in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal, where your luggage will be checked (again) and you will arrive at the pier in Puerto Velasco Ibarra, Floreana. The journey takes two to three hours. Keep in mind that the sea can be rough. If you are sensitive, take some Dramamine with you and make sure you have a seat in the shade.