After breakfast, explore the Floreana highlands on our open-air bus (chiva), an unbeatable, historic, and comfortable way to see the island. On the way our Naturalist Guide will point out the wildlife and give us an idea of the colorful history of some of Floreana’s first inhabitants, such as the Wittmers (whose descendents still live on the Island), the ‘Baroness’, and the pirates that once visited here. They will also tell you about the “Enigma of Floreana”, involving the mysterious deaths of several of the Island’s inhabitants, a riddle that has never been solved.
After driving into the highlands, we reach Asilo de la Paz (Peace Haven) where our hike begins. Hike to this historic site, explore pirate caves, and visit the freshwater spring that provides water for the entire Island. Along the way, you can expect to see giant tortoises lumbering around in the vegetation or even on the trail. We leave Asilo de Paz walking down through a rural area where the local people grow produce for their own consumption: this is a fascinating example about how these island people survived in this remote place and over the years were able to develop an understanding of the local environment and now work to preserve their unique agricultural knowledge. Once back on the coast we will be able to watch the extraordinary behavior of the frigate birds who ‘dance’ as they wash their salty wings in the fresh water. With a little bit of luck, we may be able to see males puffing up the red pouches on their chests in an attempt to attract females.
From La Primavera, continue by chiva to Las Palmas, where the Island’s first permanent inhabitant, the eccentric Dr Ritter, lived and is buried. Arriving in 1926, this German physician believed that with a combination of exercise and the right vegetarian diet he would live to be 150 years old. He didn’t, but his story is one of the many strange ones that abound on the island. On the way we will see spectacular views of the Floreana shoreline, and on arrival sit down to a special barbeque.
In the afternoon, back at the lodge, we do more marine exploration, snorkeling, kayaking and stand up paddling, the newest water activity at the lodge. Haven’t used an SUP before? No problem, the staff and guides can teach you how to “walk on the water.”