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December 29, 2017 0

Snorkeling in Galapagos is sure to be one of the most magical experiences you’ll have during your time in the archipelago. The biggest reason why? Because of the vast amount of fauna you’ll have surrounding you, almost as if you’d summoned them for yourself! Being a source of curiosity for other creatures is almost like a superpower unto itself, such that with just a little bit of patience and fearlessness, snorkelling in Galapagos will have creatures swimming within arms-length of your snorkelling mask, ogling your presence to try and “figure you out.” It’s an incredibly fun experience, which is why we recommend making it a core part of your Galapagos experience while staying at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel! Read-on and get stoked by finding out what animals you’ll get to swim with while snorkelling in Galapagos!

Sea Turtles

Galapagos green sea turtle swimming.
The green sea turtle can be spotted around the Galapagos Islands!

Both majestic and lethargic in their demeanour, sea turtles are a treat to swim beside while snorkelling in Galapagos. Their slow and ridiculously laid-back style of movement underwater makes them an easy target for us human to get up close to (but remember, not too close!) and snap a beautiful picture of their worn and wise-looking shells and long flippers.

Sea Lions

Perhaps one of the most playful creatures of the sea when it comes to snorkelling in Galapagos, sea lions truly are a spectacle to revel in and even become a part of (when they’re curious enough)! These adept swimmers won’t hesitate to get incredibly close to you to check you out! They’re quick and skilful with their movement and will swim at you full speed before doing an underwater “somersault” of sorts and swimming away reluctantly. They’re even curious enough to nibble at your flippers if you let them! Extra cute points for swimming next to a Galapagos sea lion pup (just watch out, as the mothers of these pups are highly protective)!

Marine Iguanas

Scuba diving in Galapagos with marine iguanas.
Scuba diving in Galapagos is one of the most incredible experiences on Earth.

Bold, rugged and beautiful in their own right, snorkelling in Galapagos with these “imps of darkness” (as Darwin himself saw it fit to call them) is a pretty cool experience. Bonus points if you get to see them feasting on their main diet – nutritious algae that cling to the rocky shores in Galapagos waters. Their giant claws and tenacious grip are a sight to behold. If you’re hanging out in shallow waters, you can even walk beside one as they slither like snakes just below the surface of the water, with their heads poking out like miniature dogs. Getting next to them while snorkelling in the Galapagos means you officially have the bragging rights to say you swam with the only species of iguana that can swim in the world!

Sharks

Slick and daunting with their greyscales and pointed fins, sharks seen while snorkelling in Galapagos are incredibly deceptive in the sense that they erroneously portray a dangerous image. Fun fact: they’re super docile! Sharks, in fact, are highly misunderstood creatures and are actually much less threatening than many people believe. The importance of sharks in Galapagos, too, is highly overseen. While snorkelling in Galapagos, you’ll get to swim over a school of white-tip sharks and silky sharks.

Snorkeling in Galapagos with Penguins

Flapping, zipping and propelling themselves around underwater like superfast mini-submarines, Galapagos penguins are one of the rarest species of penguins given they’re the only ones to live north of the equator! In Galapagos, the relatively colder waters are what allow them to thrive in this unique environment. Note: These can only be seen on the western side of Galapagos, available via Western Islands Galapagos itineraries.

The adventure has just begun. Check out our Finch Bay diving programs here.

Christopher Klassen

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December 22, 2017 0

There are two different seasons that occur throughout the Galapagos Islands: hot season and dry season, the biggest difference being that the former is filled with sunny days and the latter with somewhat windier days. Nevertheless, these two distinct seasons in Galapagos are huge factors in contributing to the vegetation that goes on display throughout the year along with certain patterns of wildlife activity. Being a remote group of islands out in the Pacific, however, means that seasonal migration patterns are pretty much non-existent; the islands themselves are simply too far away from anything for the majority of animals to leave for a part of the year. This means that seasons in Galapagos, despite being distinct, make the archipelago a year-round destination.

A Tale of Two Seasons in Galapagos

Couple in Española Island
The hot season in Galapagos is from January till May.

What makes the weather in Galapagos so special is the peculiar presence of trade winds and ocean currents. As a result of these, both seasons in Galapagos see relatively mild tropical conditions and dry weather when compared to other regions along the equator.

During the dry season in Galapagos, the ocean’s currents that “corner” the islands from both the south and west are partly responsible for this tendency. The Humboldt Current is what helps bring up the cold Antarctic waters from the south, pulling it up along the coasts of Chile and Peru and ultimately flowing into the archipelago to cool the waters of Galapagos. The Cromwell Current, meanwhile, serves as a deeper undercurrent that enters from the west and brings in even colder water to the Galapagos. These considerably lower ocean temperatures are what foster plenty of marine life to arise, simultaneously lowering the amount of rainfall and decreasing the amount of “green” vegetation around.

Snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands
The dry season is the perfect season for snorkeling!

Seasons in Galapagos are harbingers of change, and the hot season is no exception: December sees the aforementioned currents and winds that arrive during dry season weaken. It’s during this season that water temperatures around the archipelago gradually rise as warmer waters from the Panama current start to enter the islands, which means that the number of evaporation increases, too. Hotter atmospheric conditions begin to appear and then, come January all the way up to April, the hottest months in Galapagos will be in full swing, with average temperatures hovering around 78 °F/ 26 °C mark. It won’t be until mid-March that the Galapagos will begin to cool down again as both colder water currents and southeast trade winds make their way back to the archipelago as the Dry Season starts, and thus, the cycle repeats itself.

How does the Hot Season Compare to the Dry Season?

Compared to the rest of the year, the hot season in Galapagos feels significantly warmer. Islands experience an overflow of vegetation and terrestrial species such as land iguanas and tortoises (which feast on the plant life) will be out and about in full force. Moisture is also relatively higher during the hot season, meaning light showers are more common during brief moments in the day. Warmer sea temperatures are present as well, meaning many guests often won’t require the use of a wetsuit!

Whatever time of the year it be, guests at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel are guaranteed to enjoy the best of what Galapagos has to offer! Book your stay with us today!

Christopher Klassen

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December 4, 2017 0

When do Galapagos giant tortoise eggs start hatching?

Galapagos Giant Tortoise Eggs are starting to hatch throughout this month of December (and will continue to hatch up until April), and it’s much to the delight of our guests that are lucky enough to spot them in the wild! If guests wish to raise their odds of spotting Galapagos giant tortoise eggs hatching, the Charles Darwin Research Centre (on Santa Cruz Island) and the Puerto Baquerizo Moreno Tortoise Breeding Centre (on San Cristobal Island) both offer visitors the chance to see numerous hatchlings in captivity. The arrival of the hot season in Galapagos brings with it a number of things that are full of life, read on in this blog to find out more about this member of our select group of BIG15 iconic species – Galapagos giant tortoise eggs hatching!

Giant Tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station
Giant Tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station

From Seed to Surface: Galapagos Giant Tortoise Eggs Hatching & Nesting

It is sometime between the months of June and December that Galapagos giant tortoises breed. Following this period of heightened copulation levels, the mother giant tortoise will begin making their way down into the lowlands as the hot season in Galapagos starts to roll in. Fertilized female giant tortoises will wander the lowlands briefly, typically around the beach areas, before find and deciding on a spot to dig a hole in.

Females can’t see the hole they’re digging because they rely on their strong back legs to do so, consequently making it a tedious job that requires several hours (sometimes even days) to finish creating a hole that ends up being approximately 30cm/1ft deep. Using a mixture of sand and urine, a plug of mud is created and used by the female to cover and seal the eggs (2-16 in total) in the hole. Following this, she goes away.

Giant Tortoises in Santa Cruz Island's highlands
Enjoy the beautiful sight of Galapagos’ most iconic animals!

Temperature is crucial when it comes to defining the sex of the babies, with warmer temperatures creating more females and cooler temperatures creating more males. Here’s a handy mnemonic: “cool dudes and hot chicks.” Once born, it will take a whopping 15 years before it can be seen which are females and which are males.

4-8 months is the approximate amount of time that it takes for the tortoises to develop within their hard-shelled eggs. Once they crack open, it can take these hatchlings up to a month to dig themselves out of the hole to reach the surface.

Tiny and light, the hatchlings weigh a mere 80g/2.8oz and are roughly 6cm/2.4in long. Later on, in life, their weight will increase tenfold and average around 225kg/500lb – a truly astounding gain of size and weight within a handful of years!
Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel has tours that offer one of the best ways to see the Galapagos Islands, which include the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. This offers our guests the chance to experience Galapagos giant tortoises hatching (if you’re lucky enough)! However, you can raise your odds by simply heading to the Charles Darwin Research Centre over in Puerto Ayora, which is only a stone’s throw away from the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel property!

Are you interested in exploring the ultimate secluded destination?

Christopher Klassen

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November 30, 2017 0

The Santa Fe land iguana in Galapagos is a member of our prestigious BIG15 group of iconic species in Galapagos. It is endemic to the island of Santa Fe which is viewable on our Sea Lion Yacht, making it a superb reason to hop aboard it at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel and head on over to check out this majestic creature in all its glory and mysterious colors. The island itself is located a mere 24 km2 (0.3 mi2) off the eastern coast of Santa Cruz Island!

Santa Fe Land Iguana: What’s in the name?

This species of the land iguana (Conolophus pallidus) differed and branched away from its more widespread cousin in the archipelago – the Galapagos land iguana (Conolphus subcristatus) – around 8-10 million years ago.
The generic name, Conolophus is actually green for “spiny crest,” which references the spiny ridge that lines their backs. Compared to the common Galapagos land iguanas, the Santa Fe land iguana has smaller dorsal spines. They also have a slightly darker shade of browner throughout their scales and also possess a tapered snout. This more obscure coloring allows the Santa Fe land iguana to blend in even more perfectly with its surroundings, making it a harder target to snare for predators. Oddly enough, Charles Darwin referred to them as being “ugly animals, of a yellowish orange beneath, and of a brownish-red color above: from their low facial angle they have a singularly stupid appearance.”

Santa Fe Land Iguana is an endemic species of the Galapagos Islands.
Santa Fe Land Iguana is an endemic species of the Galapagos Islands.
Where to stay in Galapagos?
While the Galapagos Islands offer plenty of accommodation options on both Santa Cruz and Isabela Islands, there’s truly no better option than the Finch Bay Hotel. This hotel in Galapagos is the only one with sustainability practices both in its operation and cuisine. It is also the only one with a private pool and direct access to a secluded beach. This makes it a perfect option when visiting Galapagos with kids. Enjoy this and many other perks in the best hotel in Galapagos, selected by TripAdvisor. Check out our rooms and suites!

Santa Fe Land Iguana: Notable Features

Santa Fe land iguanas are mainly herbivores, which means they’re often seen eating on the ubiquitous prickly pear that grows on the opuntia cactus that’s found throughout Santa Fe Island.
They do this to both absorb the nutritious components of the cactus as well as to hydrate their bodies with fresh water. What’s a rather unusual creature that’s feeding on the Santa Fe land iguana? Darwin’s finches! Except all they do is simply peck off the parasites that often live atop the bodies of the Santa Fe land iguana.

The arrival of feral goats, thanks in large part to the presence of pirates and whalers in Galapagos, was a huge reason for their decimated numbers on Santa Fe Island. Fortunately, the Galapagos National Park stepped in, back in 1971, to keep the species alive by eradicating all the goats thereon. Nevertheless, the Santa Fe land iguana remains a vulnerable species because of its limited distribution on this single island. Their population is estimated to hover around the 7,000 marks.

Their breeding season sees 3-11 eggs laid by the female and isn’t all that different from the hatching season for Galapagos marine iguanas. It takes around 50 days for this clutch of eggs to hatch inside their respective burrows.

So be sure to make the Santa Fe land iguana a part of your experience if you’re looking to check off as many species from your BIG15 list as possible! The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel makes for the perfect home base to explore the surrounding visitor sites and iconic wildlife!

Are you interested in exploring the ultimate secluded destination?

Christopher Klassen

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November 23, 2017 0

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to be part of a great experience preparing traditional Galapagos food; and not only for me as a chef, but for the entire Finch Bay team. We were hired to cook a VIP dinner here in the Galapagos Islands for Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, his wife, his team and a special guest that was none other than Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel was requested to cook for very house that they were staying at on Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos. Our whole team rose to the occasion and we couldn’t have been happier with how well everything turned out. Adding to our purpose of creating traditional Galapagos food, we took this opportunity get super creative inventive while making the most out of the amazing ingredients from our land and the bountiful Galapagos waters. Cooking for Presidents is no easy task, but showing the world all the possibilities that exist when it comes to preparing traditional Galapagos food is a goal me and my culinary team fully dove into!

The Menu: Our Little Spin on Traditional Galapagos Food

We designed a unique menu for the evening that included several of the emblematic and endemic goods that are found throughout the islands. Our carefully-crafted menu included:

  • Smoked octopus with potato and sweet pepper foam
  • Red tuna ceviche with sweet and sour orange sauce
  • Passion fruit sorbet infused with tequila
  • Lobster with coconut sauce and a garlic and saffron butter accompanied with green plantain patacones and spicy pico de gallo
  • Coulant with 72% cacao Hoja Verde chocolate, ginger ice cream and vanilla foam infused with frankincense

 

We started our mise en place (meal prep) early in the morning, so that everything, including any and all necessary kitchenware, would be ready for the evening. The logistics were actually a lot of fun! Remember that we’re talking about the Galapagos Islands here: it’s not like we have a truck at our disposal that we can just drive down the road. For transportation, we actually had to find the next best thing – a tractor. We hired one that was big enough to move all our kitchenware and ingredients over to the harbor from the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. We then moved everything onto a boat to transfer everything from Punta Estrada to Puerto Ayora. Once we got to the other side, we put it all inside an actual truck that helped move everything over to the house where the President was staying.

Ready, steady, go!

The President’s security detail was extremely thorough. They checked all the food items as well as the kitchenware we brought with us. They also took samples of the food we had already cooked and passed it through a scanner to see if it was in good condition and if it complied with their safety standards. Obviously, the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel’s Restaurant passed the test! Everything here is always prepared fresh and only uses the best quality ingredients!

Once we got the green light from security, we were finally ready to put the best of our abilities to the test!
Our team in charge of providing catering for this special event included only 4 people from the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel: Cesar, the Maître; Johanna, Captain of Waiters; Sebastian the Sous Chef; and myself – the chef!

We took over the kitchen in the President’s house and continued organizing and preparing everything for the event which was set to begin at 8:00 pm. If there is one thing about official events like these, especially presidential ones, it’s that they start right on time.

We ended up cooking an out-of-this-world meal for the Presidents of Chile and our beloved country of Ecuador, the First Lady, and the Chancellors and Ambassadors of both countries. Everything went as smoothly as the turquoise waters of the Galapagos sea. So when it was all over, we all collectively let out a giant sigh a relief!

An Evening with Traditional Galapagos Food: Conversation and Everlasting Memories

When the dinner was finally finished, I went out to the dining room to greet the dignitaries that we had the pleasure of cooking for that evening. I took my time to explain each individual dish, focusing mostly on the ingredients and highlighting the fact that these came from the islands. Our guests expressed their gratitude, happiness and satisfaction over how delicious the dinner had been, commenting that it had served as the perfect complement to an evening filled with friendly and diplomatic conversation. They also showed a lot of curiosity and interest in what the ingredients were and how, exactly, we had prepared them.
I can’t say it enough: I love my job! And what I love most about it is making people happy with my food, transmitting the passion that my team and I imbue every dish with, and creating memorable experiences that will hopefully remain in the hearts of our guests forever! We truly want our guests to take a bit of the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel back home with them and have it remain as one of their fondest memories of the archipelago. On this occasion, we were able to honour our President and President Bachelet, with whom we were able to share a little taste of Ecuador, traditional Galapagos food, the unique ingredients found here and, most importantly, a piece of our hearts that went into each and every one of the dishes we cooked. I am thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we had as part of the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel team. It was truly an honour to cook for the Presidents and their respective teams.

We love to cook, we live to cook and we cook to live.

Join us on this gastronomic dream of ours that is just starting! Become a part of traditional Galapagos food and the new culinary traditions as imagined by the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel!

Christopher Klassen

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November 17, 2017 0

When we think of the Galapagos, we usually think of white-sand beaches teeming with wildlife. And sure enough: This is what the Galapagos are! However, there are many other sides to the archipelago aside from beaches: black-lava shores, beautiful cliffs, landscapes dotted by cacti, craters and, of course, there’s the amazing highlands of Galapagos. The irregular geography of most of the biggest islands, which happen to be the result of volcanic activity, is home to different types of vegetation and wildlife that vary with altitude. During your stay at the fabulous Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel – the only beach-front hotel in Santa Cruz – you will want to make the most of your time in the Galapagos. It’s not very often that we get to visit such exotic and distant locations. Santa Cruz is not only home to some amazing beaches, such as Tortuga Bay and Garrapatero, but also to some amazing formations that are present up in its mysterious highlands that are sure to leave you breathless. Some visitors coming to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel might have a Highland Visit included as part of their itinerary, but even if you don’t, read on to learn more about some of the amazing things you will be able to see when you venture through there. Ask at the Finch Bay’s reception for recommendations on the best way to go about your highland exploration: we promise they will be more than happy to help you find taxis and guides, should you need them.

The highlands of Santa Cruz

Bellavista and “El Trapiche”

After a short drive to the highland town of Bellavista, you will get to the starting point of your exploration. While up there, why not stop for an intense cup of Galapagos coffee before deciding on your next move? It’s still a novelty crop on the island that keeps on improving its taste and aroma over time! You can either rent some bikes and helmets and take a short ride to the “El Trapiche” hacienda or continue on by car, depending on how you feel. At “El Trapiche,” which is a small family farm, you will be able to learn about how sugarcane liquor is made, as well as try some brown sugar and fresh sugarcane juice. Watch as these artisanal products are made and sample their sugarcane juice at each of their different stages.

Los Gemelos and the Scalesia Forest

Los Gemelos in Santa Cruz Island
Be sure to visit Los Gemelos when traveling to the Galapagos Islands, it’s a stunning view!

You can also drive past Bellavista to the highest point of Santa Cruz and go see the famous “Los Gemelos” (The Twins). These volcanic formations are located at both sides of the highway and consist of lava chambers with collapsed ceilings (due to erosion), forming crater-looking holes on the ground. The formations are not visible from the highway, as they are hidden below a beautiful scalesia forest. Scalesias is a giant type of daisy and is endemic to the Galapagos. So park and walk a few meters – the drive there is worth it and the view will impress you!

Rancho Las Primicias

The highlands of Santa Cruz are also a wonderful place to see the most iconic Galapagos BIG15 species in the wild, most notable of which is the colossal Galapagos giant tortoise. Visit “Rancho Las Primicias,” a family-owned farm turned into a Galapagos giant tortoise reserve and marvel at these giant creatures as they peacefully roam around the property. You’ll get to see them eating, snoozing or taking a nice refreshing bath in a mud pool. You can even stand next to them for some fantastic photos, but just remember not to touch them as it is forbidden by the Galapagos National Park to touch the wildlife, as this could gravely interrupt their natural processes!

Lava tunnels

Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel's Land Program
Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel’s Land Program includes a visit to the lava tunnels.

Around the area of “Las Primicias,” be sure to ask your guide or driver to take you to one of the many lava tunnels throughout Santa Cruz’s highlands. They’re usually located inside private properties but most are open to visitors and charge but a small fee for entry. Lava tunnels that are open to the public are well kept and illuminated. Take a walk through one of these amazing volcanic formations and go back to a time when the islands where being born.

Christopher Klassen

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October 25, 2017 0

The Santa Cruz Fish Market is a lively place in Puerto Ayora, and it’s not all that far from the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel – the only beach-front property on the island. Walking there makes for a pleasant and amusing stroll along the bay in Puerto Ayora, and guests often have their senses stimulated by a number of things throughout the walk. Stop for a refreshing cocktail or cold beer, and look around the city’s many souvenir shops to find a perfect gift to take back home. Everyone is sure to find it’s easy to melt into the Galapagos Island life. From the number of rays that glide underwater to soaking up the laid back island vibes that surround the town, guests are sure to enjoy the walk and get a special treat that’s located not all that far from the Charles Darwin Research Station.

When guests arrive at the Santa Cruz Fish Market, it’s often the case that newcomers don’t just hang around to get a look and what’s being cleaned and sold – they often stay for the spectacle surrounding it.

The Santa Cruz Fish Market: Fresh from the Sea

There is no fresher fish than the one that’s caught in the morning and cooked in the afternoon. Living on an island has this exact advantage. Because of the Galapagos’ location on the equator, where both the Cromwell and Humboldt currents meet, seafood is as diverse as it is delicious. Always abiding by the strict Galapagos National Park regulations on when and where to fish, artisanal fishermen go out every morning and afternoon to catch some of the islanders’ most common and favorite fish. At the Santa Cruz Fish Market, you will find beautiful yellow-thin tunas (bonito), groupers (bacalao), and endemic fish such as camotillo, scorpion fish (brujo), and red snapper (pargo).

Where to stay in Galapagos?
While the Galapagos Islands offer plenty of accommodation options on both Santa Cruz and Isabela Islands, there’s truly no better option than the Finch Bay Hotel. This hotel in Galapagos is the only one with sustainability practices both in its operation and cuisine. It is also the only one with a private pool and direct access to a secluded beach. This makes it a perfect option when visiting Galapagos with kids. Enjoy this and many other perks in the best hotel in Galapagos, selected by TripAdvisor. Check out our rooms and suites!

And come the lobster season, you will find two species of this crustacean served everywhere, the smaller-sized slipper lobster and the famous red-lobster. Restaurants are located just minutes away from the Santa Cruz Fish Market and these prepare the fish with their very own recipes every day. Try the Finch Bay’s fresh red snapper in a reduction of Andean mushrooms or its famous grilled tuna seared with a sesame crust. Your mouth is sure to start watering the moment you look at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel’s restaurant menu!

 

Galapagos traditional food
A combination of Galapagos traditional flavors.

The Action Surrounding the Santa Cruz Fish Market

Frequent fans of this informal attraction at Puerto Ayora are the pelicans that waddle all over the counters and the sea lions that poke their heads up beside the sellers, sniffing at the coveted treasures that they’re slicing up. Among this audience: the random iguana just hanging out on the side, passively watching the whole thing unfold – again giving guests the chance to visually see how such a diverse number of species manage to peacefully co-exist with each other and us, humans!


The fish market, where wildlife interacts with humans!

If you decide to go for a morning stroll down Puerto Ayora’s boardwalk, make sure to stop and admire this scene that truly depicts “organized chaos,” and have your camera ready to capture a sneaky pelican trying to steal a fish!

Are you interested in exploring the ultimate secluded destination?

Christopher Klassen

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October 19, 2017 0

When I came to the archipelago for the first time, the first question I had for the local people and my team of warrior cooks at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel was: What is the most meaningful, classical or popular dish or dishes from the Galapagos Islands? Everybody told me different stories about their favorite food, but nobody had really shared the same concept or notion of what an emblematic Galapagos dish consisted of, exactly. So the question remains: What is traditional Galapagos food?

Is There Traditional Galapagos Food?

The people I asked began by telling me about how the Islands are inhabited by people from all throughout Ecuador; these of which had come to live here for different reasons and during different periods since the discovery and colonization of the Enchanted Isles. I started to research and read about the first colonizers that came here. What did they like to cook? How did they prepare it? What ingredients did they have at their disposal? The truth is that I found little to no information on this. I discovered there really is no iconic dish that is specific to the Galapagos.

Bartolome Island view in The Galapagos Islands.
The astonishing view from one of the most iconic visitor sites of Galapagos.

However, there was no downside to finding out the Galapagos lacked a culinary tradition of their own. As I exchanged experiences and got to know the galapagueños a little better, I noticed a pattern in what they considered to be the islands’ gastronomical asset: their natural resources. A gift that people in the Galapagos have learned to never take for granted.

A Gift from Life

And this was perhaps exactly the type of answer I was hoping to find! Appreciating what planet Earth gives us – isn’t that the essence of food, after all? When fishermen sail out to the open sea every day to bring us back their bounties to cook, we can’t help but feel incredibly thankful. Giant lobsters, the freshest of fish, endemic prawns and octopi. The Galapagos’ sea is so rich with life, that we have the extraordinary opportunity to create dishes that you will not taste anywhere else in the world. The freshness of what is caught from the sea, combined with the produce harvested by farmers in the highlands of Santa Cruz and other inhabited islands, make for the best and most exotic combinations you will ever try. Flavors you could have never imagined exist right here in the Galapagos.

Ecuadorian food at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel
Enjoy Finch Bay’s restaurant creative take on Ecuadorian cuisine!

How Are Traditions Born?

With all this information and the ingredients we have available, we got to the most interesting part of the creative process as chefs: we now had to use our research to find out which are the most beloved ingredients in the archipelago in order to start creating culinary traditions of our own – traditions that respect our natural environment, while allowing us to design some of the most extraordinary combinations of flavors.

Who are the Manufacturers of Traditions?

Inside Finch’s kitchen, we are a very multicultural group. We come from different cities and communities from all around Ecuador and the Galapagos too. In our creative space, each cook shares their ideas for new recipes and dishes, some of which come from places as far away as our childhood memories, often times the fondest memories of all.

When creating dishes, I particularly enjoy the plating process, that is – the arrangement and overall styling of food upon a plate. Through the use of fresh and delicious garnishes, I seek to convey the environment and ecosystem of the Galapagos. I find inspiration everywhere, from the different hues of the sea, to the rough rocks on the beaches. Having the opportunity to observe the Galapagos’ unique wildlife and vegetation zones truly encourages one’s inspiration to reach unimaginable levels.

Are you interested in exploring the ultimate secluded destination?

Ecuadorian food at Finch Bay Hotel.
We find inspiration in the uniqueness of the islands.

Start from Scratch!

At the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, we are creating traditional Galapagos food from scratch! The detailed manufacturing and craftsmanship of our own plates allow us to be immersed in a rather creative atmosphere, making it easier for new and clearer ideas to come to our heads.

In the end, cooking in the Galapagos has only reinforced what has long been my cooking philosophy: we love to cook, we live to cook and we cook to live!

So join us on this gastronomic journey! We’re just getting started!

Finch Bay Hotel's restaurant
Evoking the beauty, colors, and textures of the Galapagos through detailed plating.

Christopher Klassen

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October 13, 2017 0

When you are a kid, very few things can beat a trip to the beach. Spending days lying under the sun, swimming in the ocean and making sandcastles is enough to make any kid (young or old) happy for a very long time. Add to that the amazingly tame and unafraid wildlife (which range from trees, animals, and craters of huge proportions), the numerous activities from which they can learn and have fun, and emphasis on the importance of caring and preserving our natural environments, and you have an experience of a lifetime.

– Blue-footed boobies courting –

If you are considering a Galapagos vacation with your family, staying at Santa Cruz’s only beach-front hotel – the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel – is the best way to go, especially if there are kids involved. Fill your days with exploration and adventure, and give yourself some moments of well-deserved relaxation while your kids have the time of their lives in Galapagos. Imagine an out-of-this-world family Galapagos experience and read on to learn about our top reasons for why the Galapagos is a kid’s paradise.

The Beaches

Couple strolling down Garrapatero Beach in the Galapagos Islands
There’s plenty of fun activities for all ages to enjoy in Galapagos’ beaches!

The Galapagos are home to some of Ecuador’s and even the entire world’s most beautiful beaches. Tortuga Bay, located at a walking distance from Puerto, was selected as one of the world’s best beaches. After a 45-minute walk down a paved trail you will first arrive to Playa Brava, a beautiful long beach that is known for its strong currents, but don’t stop here quite yet. Keep on walking down the beach and follow the shoreline over to Tortuga Bay: it’s calm, protected waters and the shade of the Poison Apple tree make for the perfect spot to spend the morning or afternoon with the family. And if you wish to explore a little further, visit El Garrapatero beach (30-minute bus ride away) or Las Bachas. Or simply stay at Finch’s very own secluded beach – Playa de Los Alemanes! All of these are gorgeous, white-sand beaches, teeming with life that will make for some unforgettable memories.

Aquatic Fun Awaits

Ah, yes… and then there are cerulean blues of the waters that lap up against the beautiful and aforementioned beaches. The aquatic hues beckon each and every guest to take a dip in their vivid colors to cool off. The best part? They’re teeming with a near overabundance of life below. So strap on this fins and try on that snorkel and mask: you’re about to experience a vast and vivid underwater aquarium. Bonus points for if the kids manage to swim with playful Galapagos sea lions pups!

Everything is Bigger

We all remember how much bigger things were when we were kids. The Galapagos offers adults and children the chance to experience that together. With an abundance of vast, mind-bending terrains and giant underground lava tunnels that look like they’re from another world all the way to the Galapagos giant tortoises that amble around like something out of Jurassic Park, the Enchanted Isles are a place that humbles and mesmerizes by the sheer size of the things it hosts. Oh, and did we mention that Galapagos is home to one of the largest species of daisy in the world?

Galapagos is a Cageless Zoo

Blue-footed boobies and guests
Blue-footed boobies found at North Seymour Island.

Animals, animals… everywhere. For kids, the Galapagos is like walking around in a cageless zoo, where animals peacefully coexist and show absolutely zero signs of fear in the presence of humans. Land and marine iguanas amble by the trails and beaches while Galapagos sea lions waddle ashore and hunker down right next to where you’re lying on the beach.

– There is no sense of “personal space” for these native species, and it’s a great experiential tool to, because…. –

The Galapagos Inspires Young Ones to Care for Nature

Adults will gawk at just how well these animals manage to coexist with our presence.
For the kids, it might even seem trivial that they’re able to living alongside the animal so peacefully, especially because it harkens back to just how natural this way of life is. If this can happen on the scale of the Galapagos islands, the kids will definitely feel encouraged to take the memory of the islands back with them and continue to respect nature the way they saw it was possible here.

These are the top reasons for why the Galapagos are a kid’s paradise!

Are you interested in exploring the ultimate secluded destination?

Christopher Klassen

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October 5, 2017 0

Travel by Yacht to Santa Fe Island with Finch Bay Hotel

Santa Cruz is the perfect base from which to explore some of the Galapagos’ most beautiful and unique islands. Be it either through a Galapagos cruise or a land-based option, Santa Fe Island is a sweet, little gem that lovers of both flora and fauna will come to enjoy all the same. If a land-based option is what you are after – maybe because you want to be able to manage your own agenda and have a taste of the island life – staying at Santa Cruz’s only beach-front hotel is probably the best way to go. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel has options for pretty much every taste and offers packages that will make everyone’s Galapagos adventure a unique experience. Be it relaxation, adventure, exploration, sports, gastronomy, intimacy, or island life, Finch Bay has it all. If time allows it and you are looking to explore beyond the island of Santa Cruz to get a more comprehensive Galapagos experience, you can get a taste of a true luxury yacht trip without having to go too far. Ask at the Reception about the hotel’s Sea Lion exclusive vessel, and visit Santa Fe Island by Yacht!

Yacht Sea Lion
Day Tours aboard Yacht Sea Lion

The Oldest Island in the Archipelago

Studies suggest that Santa Fe Island is in fact the oldest ones in the whole archipelago, mainly because of the underwater rock formations that date back approximately 4 million years. Its relatively flat surface. which was caused by uplifting, is home to two endemic wildlife species – the Santa Fe land iguana and the Santa Fe rice rat – and the largest species of opuntia cacti. But these are not the only species you will be able to observe at this relatively small (24 km2 / 9.3 mi2) but packed island! So have your camera ready, and check these iconic Galapagos species off of your Big15 list: the Galapagos hawk (the islands’ top predator), the blue-footed booby, the Galapagos sea lion, the frigatebird (great and magnificent), the marine iguana and the Nazca booby.

Finch Bay's guest with Galapagos sea lions on Sant Fe Island.
Join us and encounter the most playful Galapagos sea lions!

The beautiful Santa Fe Island awaits! Explore this magnificent island of the Galapagos Archipelago with Finch Bay Hotel.

The Santa Fe Land Iguana

This Galapagos BIG15 species that is endemic to Santa Fe can only be found on this island, which is a good reason for putting it on your Galapagos list of must-see things. This species differs from its cousin, the Galapagos land iguana, due to its smaller dorsal spines, slightly browner color, and tapered snout. Unlike its lighter-colored cousin, the Santa Fe land iguana’s brown shade makes for a useful adaptation tool, as it blends perfectly with its surroundings, which in turn makes it harder to be spotted by potential predators. Its diet consists mainly of the prickly pear that grows on the island’s Opuntia cactus. And as the iguana feeds on its favorite fruit, Darwin’s finches feed on the parasites that are sometimes found on the reptiles’ scales. Ever since the eradication of the feral goat in the year 1971, the Santa Fe land iguana’s population starting recovering, but it’s still considered a vulnerable species due to its limited distribution on just one island. Nowadays, the Santa Fe land iguana population is estimated to have approximately 7,000 individuals.

Santa Fe iguana spotted in Galapagos
This species can be found at just one place in the entire world: Santa Fe island.

Visit Santa Fe Island by Yacht and Return to your Home Over in Santa Cruz!

After an adventurous trek to observe the islands’ unique land iguana, bask under the sun with its Galapagos sea lion colony at one of the most beautiful coves in the archipelago. Swim and snorkel around in the surrounding turquoise waters before heading back to the Sea Lion yacht and navigating back to your home in the Galapagos – the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. Oh, and did we mention that an out-of-this-world cocktail and gourmet meal would be waiting for you when you get back?

Now that is a true Galapagos experience!

Christopher Klassen

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