Galapagos Post Office Bay

Galapagos Post Office Bay on Floreana Island became a mandatory stop to all sailors in the Galapagos Islands.


galapagos post office

It was British Captain James Colnett in 1793 who placed a wooden post barrel and then spreads the word and talks about a mailing system where packages and letters can be left there and get picked up by a passing ship in route to such destination.

At the time whaling was a big industry, ships were typically gone for 2 years at a time.

The Galapagos Islands were a frequent stop for these ships. Outbound ships would drop off letters after rounding the cape and the ships returning home would mail them.

Soon Post Office Bay became a mandatory stop to all sailors passing through the Galapagos Islands. Floreana Island is best known for its colorful history of buccaneers, whalers, convicts, and colonists.

In this vast and remote Pacific Ocean, it was the only official way to communicate with relatives, friends and governments.

The system worked under a very simple concept: anyone could leave mail at the barrel, and a passing ship will collect it and deliver it later. Post Office Bay is probably one of the most famous sites in Galapagos.

At the time, the Islands were well visited by ships navigating the world's oceans, and chances of getting your mail around continents was actually quite likely to occur.

Galapagos Post Office Activities

There is a lava tube just a few feet past the post barrel. If you have an adventurous spirit then this is the right site to explore.

You will descend into the lava tube by repelling down a rope.

The lava tubes were created in larger lava flows when the exposed outside solidified earlier and the molten lava inside kept flowing leaving behind empty tunnels and chambers.

Once you arrive to the lava tube you will walk for a few minutes until water fills the base of the tube.

Then you will have to wade through the water and by the time you reach the cave's mouth you'll be swimming in the water.

This is an exciting adventure that takes about an hour to complete.

Another site near Galapagos Post Office bay is Punta Cormorant. It offers two highly contrasting beaches.

The beach is of volcanic origin and is composed of olivine crystals, giving it a greenish tinge.

At the end of the short trail is a carbonate beach of extremely fine white sand.

Formed by the erosion of coral skeletons, it is a nesting site for Galapagos Green Turtles

Floreana Island is one of the four inhabited Islands in Galapagos, in addition to being a place of great natural beauty.

It is said that the first colonist of Galapagos was an Irishman named Patrick Watkins.

He was abandoned on Floreana Island in 1807 and survived by selling food supplies to visiting whaling ships.

Near Galapagos Post Office Bay there is also the remains of a Norwegian Fishing Village established in 1926 and abandoned a couple of years later.

The group of Norwegians arrived with the idea to start fishing and can operations. But the isolation and hard life in Galapagos together with some misfortunes had them abandon their dreams.

This Island was named after Juan Jose Flores who was the first President of Ecuador. It was during his administration that the government of Ecuador took possession of the Galapagos archipelago in 1832.

The total area of the Island is of 173 km2 and has a maximum altitude of 640 meters.

Floreana's volcano has been long extinct and is in the stage of erosion. The erosion process gave the island the nutrients and soils need to sustain plant life.

The combination of this rich soil and a good water supply has given the highlands of Floreana Island a diversified landscaping coupled with endemic flora.

As far as we know, Galapagos Post Office Bay in Floreana Island, is the earliest mailing system still existing in the East Tropical Pacific.

Also the sunsets here are stunning but only last a few minutes so be sure not to miss them.

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)
With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading! There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands
Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers. Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World
Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in. Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands
If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier. But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you. Small, well-priced, and reliable!

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire
The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table. This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!

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