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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

1930s Lore of Old Galapagos Charms Guests of Floreana Lava Lodge on Least Populated Island in Galapagos

Ecuador’saward-winning ecotourism company, Tropic Journeys in Nature (Tropic), since 1994 has led tours through the country’s most engaging landscapes including now the Galapagos where guests enjoy Tropic hospitality at Floreana Lava Lodge on Floreana Island.

Here Tropic integrates tourism with ecological, economic, socio-cultural and political concerns with local community tourism initiatives, as it does in the Amazon Rainforest with the Huaorani people, Andean region and the Pacific coast region of Ecuador.  Tropic’s communities receive real economic benefit from all tourism operations.

Only 150 people live on Floreana whose history abounds with extraordinary characters and enigmatic disappearances.

“Part of the fun of staying in one of the 10 family-owned cabins here is meeting the locals on this peaceful island that showcases the old Galapagos way of life,” said Jascivan Carvalho, owner of Tropic (, noting that guests also help the small community thrive in a sustainable manner.

Just a five-minute walk from the village, the lodge and cabins are located on one of the most secluded bays on Floreana that thus far has avoided large hotels. Accommodations on this island are under 30 capacities.

Each cabin has two twin beds (bunk beds for parties of three are available); each ocean-front cabin has its own bathroom, front porch, a reading and shady area. Cabins are appointed with air conditioning, reading lamps, clock radio, hot water, hair dryer, night tables, safe deposit boxes and WiFi. The lodge has a common area where guests can relax together and savor a welcome drink while enjoying a striking Galapagos sunset. There are an on-premise laundry and snack bar.

A 3 day/2 night package is from $875 per person double including accommodation and scheduled meals, transfers (island-to-island), guided activities and use of recreational equipment.

The wildlife above and below the waves includes manta rays, sea lions, sharks, sea turtles and the Galapagos Giant Tortoises, with the bonus of the underwater world while snorkeling. Lava Lodge is only a few steps from the "lobería" where visitors can watch the island’s famous sea lions in natural surroundings.

Over the last 10 years the Galapagos Islands have experienced a dramatic surge in tourism. Local economies have boomed, and as a consequence the old Galapagos way of life is vanishing. Floreana, the smallest of the inhabited islands, is the exception, although it was the first of the islands to develop tourism in the 1930’s.

Floreana´s fascinating story and the desire of the local people to offer a more relaxed and environmentally sensitive kind of tourism are reasons why Tropic has chosen to launch its new Galapagos adventure here, explained Carvalho. Tropic, along with the community, the Cruz family who own the lodge, and under the supervision of the Galapagos Authority, has created this new destination designed for visitors who are looking for something out of the ordinary, who will understand the value of slow-paced tourism on a highly active program.

Located on the ocean’s edge in Puerto Velasco Ibarra (named after a five-time president of Ecuador), the lodge, says writer Dena Haines, shares the lore of domination, betrayal, disappearance, death and a pioneering spirit of, among others:
  • A doctor who with a female companion lived as nudists, were vegetarians and shared a pair of metal false teeth (for chewing) between them.
  • A family seeking a simple life in a pristine environment for the health of their ailing son.
  • A baroness who with her three lovers wanted to rule the island and turn it into an exclusive resort.
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