The Galapagos Islands offer more than pristine beaches, world renowned diving, jaw-dropping marine life and diverse ecosystems. A history lives here and not just from Charles Darwin and passing pirates. In the 18th century, homesick seafarers traversing through this archipelago, left messages for loved ones at an unofficial post office, coined Post Office Bay (consisting only of an erected birdhouse-like barrel filled with letters), on Floreana Island. Sailors passing by would pick up the letters and deliver them to their recipients — stampless. This was kinship at its best and, amazingly, it still thrives today.
In the mid to late-1800s, messages in a bottle prevailed in the Americas, and today, they continue to do so. Thousands of letters still pass through Post Office Bay via vessels passing through and, of course, via tourists.
Ships from all over the world have since replaced the infamous and original wooden barrel, that is now devoutly covered with travellers’ notes, postcards and keepsakes. And, driftwood-painted names and dates pile around the post office site and pay tribute to long-ago message-bearers.
So, after checking out the giant tortoises on Floreana Island, take a quick sift through the letters and collect the ones with en route addresses for you to deliver on your way home. Hand delivering is the tradition but you won’t lose points for taking the modern route.
The Galapagos Islands invites visitors to see its beauty, experience its landscapes, value its history and, most importantly, take a letter and leave a letter. Show the world that you’ve been here, since serious conservation regulations won’t allow you to carve it anywhere anyway.