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Adventure Cruises in Post Office Bay
Unique among Galapagos sites, cruises to Post Office Bay offer comparatively little in the way of wildlife encounters or geological formations, but they do feature a chance to be part of a charming and unusual tradition. In 1793, whalers passing through the archipelago set up a wooden barrel on the northern coast of Floreana Island to serve as a makeshift postal box. Lonely mariners hoping to reach loved ones back home would drop notes in the barrel while taking with them any messages left behind by fellow seamen. The tradition persists to this day, with visitors dropping unstamped postcards into the barrel and taking with them a card or two to deliver back home.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Galapagos adventure cruise without the opportunity to explore some point of geological interest! Near the post office is a lava tube, a cave formed by the flow of lava rather than water erosion. The cave can be explored by intrepid visitors seeking adventure activities. A few steps from the lava tube lie the remains of a failed Norwegian colony.
Top things to do and see at Post Office Bay
Post Office Bay attractions include the opportunity to take part in a unique naval tradition, explore the depths of a lava tube and wander the ruins of an abandoned fishing village.
A historical oddity, Post Office Bay allows visitors to communicate in a unique way with their friends and family while playing international mail carrier! Drop off a postcard of your own, sort through mail left in the barrel, and take any cards destined for an address near you so that you may hand deliver it to its (likely confused but surely charmed) recipient.
Though the area’s volcanos are long dormant, lava once carved its way through the island’s stony skin. Once it has hardened and broken away, the lava left behind deep caves, called lava tubes. One such tube can be found and explored near Post Office Bay, offering a fascinating lesson in volcanology.
In 1926, Norwegian fisherman attempted to establish a colony near Post Office Bay. The village failed but its ruins still stand, a sober reminder of the area’s generally inhospitable nature.
A dinghy ride along the nearby coves offer the opportunity to spot wildlife, including sharks, sea turtles and sea lions.
Top Tips for visiting Post Office Bay
- Don’t forget to bring a few postcards of your own to drop in the barrel, along with a bag or purse big enough to store a few postcards bound for your home town or city.
- Some visitors take an unstamped card and, once home, affix a stamp and mail the card to its recipient. To keep with the Post Office Bay tradition, however, you should endeavour to hand deliver the card and tell the recipient what has brought you to their doorstep. Spreading and sharing the story of Post Office Bay is part of the adventure and the fun!
- Note that Floreana Island is home to a species of wasp that is attracted to perfumed sunblock and bright colors, so best to wear unscented skin protection and leave the new floral-printed shirt on the cruise ship!
Best time to cruise to Post Office Bay
There is no best time to visit Post Office Bay as its main attraction, the postal box, is not dependant on the seasons. It is still a good idea to plan ahead, however, as the conditions in the area may vary throughout the year.
For example, Post Office Bay in January to April is especially hot, with intense sunshine, so sunblock and a hat are recommended. Meanwhile, January to March offers the best water visibility and warmest water temperatures, making it the best time to enjoy the beach along the bay. The salt mines are driest throughout the summer months, from June to September.
Where do Post Office Bay cruises depart from?
Galapagos small ship cruises to Post Office Bay will typically leave from San Cristobal Island, Baltra, or Puerto Ayora, on the island of Santa Cruz. Galapagos cruises leaving from San Cristobal are serviced by the San Cristobal airport, a short distance from the port town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, while cruises departing from Baltra or Puerto Ayora are serviced by the airport on Isla Baltra. Using public transit, Puerto Ayora is approximately an hour from the airport.
Note that your cruise itinerary may begin and end at different points, meaning that you may be flying into Baltra, for example, but leaving from San Cristobal. Both airports are reached via flights from Quito and Guayaquil on mainland Ecuador.
Contact our reservations team today to book your next Galapagos adventure cruise.