My Favorite Galapagos Tortuga Reserve: Floreana Island

Floreana Island

My favorite place to see giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands is on Floreana Island.

There is a tortoise reserve in the highlands of Floreana where you can get close to the tortoises in their natural setting.

The tortoise reserve is in a wooded area and there are a few feeding platforms where the tortoises like to gather.

Getting Close To The Tortoises

I liked being able to walk around the area and bend down to get a better look at those huge animals. The only place within the reserve where we couldn’t walk was on the feeding platforms.

The tortoises were not bothered by our presence. They seemed just as interested in us as were in them. We were careful not to get too close to the tortoises, they need their personal space.

As I bent down near one of the tortoises he just slowly turned his head in my direction as if to say “yes, take my picture, this is my best side.”

Slow And Steady

The tortoises seemed to like it better when we moved slowly. Sometimes when someone made fast movements near a tortoise it would pull its head inside of its shell. That is a unique thing to see and hear.

As the head goes in it creates a deep, airy sound. It sounds almost as if the tortoise has just pushed all the air in it’s lungs out as fast and hard as he could. It’s a deep hollow sound.

The tortoises don’t walk very fast, but they are determined. They look awkward climbing over rocks and stumps. Their bodies are not very flexible because of their huge shell. As they make their way over rocks and stumps they can kind of teeter a bit when something gets caught under their belly. When that happens they just kind of keep pushing and digging at the ground, letting gravity help them out.

It was nice to see the tortoises in the other reserves on the Galapagos, but being right in with them on Floreana was much better.

Have you walked among the tortoises on Floreana? Please tell us what it was like by commenting on this post.

Meet the Author

Hi, I'm Dena Haines! I'm an traveler, photographer and Canadian entrepreneur. I'm a partner at Storyteller Media, a content marketing company for travel brands. I blog at GringosAbroad (Ecuador travel) and Click Like This (How to Use a GoPro).

2 comments… add one
  • Dee Deatherage Oct 27, 2014, 10:48 pm


    We are planning a trip to the Galapagos islands this year, and wanted to visit Floreana Island but can’t find any information on how to get there once we land at the Baltra airport or what it costs. Any ideas or thoughts on who to contact? We are going independently and not on a tour.


    • Lisa Cho Dec 10, 2014, 10:36 pm

      Hi Dee,

      I love Floreana Island. From Baltra airport, you need to first get to Puerto Ayora (airport bus, ferry across the channel, and a taxi into town.). Based on flight times you will need to spend the night in Puerto Ayora first. Buy your ferry ticket round trip from one of the kiosks in Puerto Ayora. It costs $30 each way, $60 round trip and leaves at 8am in the morning and comes back around 2:30. There are plenty of contacts that organize tours, but I am not sure who you would want to contact if you are going independently.

      Red Mangrove Travel Blogger

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