Asilo de la Paz :: Floreana Island

Tourist Attractions

Asilo de la Paz


The Asilo de la Paz is a hill 450 m high that is behind Straw Hill in the agricultural area of the island.

The main attractions are of an historic type: one is the cave of pirates and the other is the freshwater spring. The two sites are located at the base of the hill.

Both the cave as well as the spring is on private property but the surrounding area belongs to the Park. A Scalesia pedunculata woodland exists, in good condition, Straw Hill is an area where the Galapagos Petrel nests.

You can climb by walking from Puerto Velasco Ibarra, but you have to calculate that it's 8 km on foot following the municipal road. You can also hire a bus to go up in 45 minutes and then walk about 350 meters until you reach the spring.

Near Asilo de la Paz, the National Park Service built a corral where you can see Galapagos tortoises (from various islands) captivity.

The agricultural area of Floreana is known for its plum orchards, tamarind and especially citrus. These were introduced to the island from that time Ecuador took possession of the archipelago in 1832.

It is possible that the pirate Patrick Watkins, who lived on the island for a period of time in late 1700 introduced citrus.

The spring found in Asilo de la Paz provides water to the entire population of Floreana (100 people approx). There is a pipe that runs from there to Port Hill behind the Straw. The settlers did the work of installing the pipe in the form of a Minga (community volunteers).

The cave of the pirates has its history since it was the home of the first settlers of the island, Patrick Watkins lived there first, then Dr. Ritter and his companion Dora Strauch and then the Wittmer family. The cave was used temporarily by the latter as a den till they built a proper house.

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Floreana was the first island to be colonized by Ecuadorians in 1832. Under the assignment of General José de Villamil, Ignacio Hernandez took possession of this island in this archipelago in the name of the brand new Republic of Ecuador. The name "Floreana" pays tribute to Juan José Flores, the first president of Ecuador, under whose government the islands were acquired.

This island was a penal colony, which did not last long due to lack of fresh water. The colony moved to San Cristobal where there is a freshwater lagoon. At present, most people living on Floreana are dedicated to agriculture and livestock.

In recent years there has been an introduction of a wasp, Polistes versicolor versicolor, quite aggressive, whose venom can cause discomfort and can be dangerous for people with allergies. The wasp has spread throughout the archipelago. It is causing serious problems for native animals and its eradication is extremely difficult. At present a search is underway for a biological control that does not harm the endemic carpenter bee, Xylocopa darwinii. Still, nothing has been found.

Many of the studies done on the Galapagos petrel or pata pegada, Pterodroma phaeopygia, have been made in the upper area of this island. At present, the GNP sends two park rangers periodically for rat control and to check for nests. The success of pata pegada hatchings reaches 98%.

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