Floreana was the first Galapagos Island to be colonized by Ecuadorians in 1832, and was used initially as a penal colony. Today, the tiny hamlet of Puerto Velasco Ibarra is home to two thirds of the island’s approximately 100 permanent residents.
This little village houses the island's only hotel, the Pension Wittmer, still run by the members of the first family to live in Galapagos, which is also where Floreana’s only telephone can be found!
There is a recently built church, and one small school here. There are no restaurants or bars or other trappings of tourist life, but you have the opportunity to be driven into the highlands through the Scalesia forest in an open-sided bus the locals call a chiva. This ride takes you through various smallholdings to a freshwater spring at Asilo de la Paz where you can visit a tortoise sanctuary.
Highlights at Puerto Velasco Ibarra
- Oldest habitation in the Galapagos
- Ride to the tortoise sanctuary