The blue heron at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel
It is not often that you get to interact with wildlife so closely that it almost feels normal. Then again, if you are in the Galapagos Islands, normal is not something you are after. Here, every day is an out-of-this-world sort of day. Sunsets seem as if they were pulled out directly from a Turner painting, but in a tropical setting. Wildlife is so undisturbed by human presence that you easily become an active observer from just a couple of metres away. Landscapes seem to belong to the moon or Mars, and combine perfectly with the turquoise waters, green hills, and volcanic rocks as black as the night. Everything imbued with poetry, no matter where you look. This is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that while sipping on a perfectly crafted Chakrita cocktail that a gorgeous and elegant blue heron would gracefully land by the peaceful Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel pool and walk around it as if he owned it. I take that back: this whole archipelago is the heron’s territory. We are just mere visitors that must try and go unnoticed as life unravels around us.
– Without a doubt: You will definitely see a blue heron at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel –
Getting to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel
You have just arrived to the Galapagos Islands. After crossing the Itabaca channel on a motor boat, a private car awaits to drive you to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. On your way there, you will drive through the only giant daisy forest in the world. This endemic and giant member of the daisy family that only grows in the Galapagos is called Scalesia, or Scalesia pendaculata. It can grow up to 20m in height with a 60cm circumference.
Shortly after seeing them, you will drive through Bellavista (a small town located in the higher part of the island of Santa Cruz) before finally arriving to Puerto Ayora – the archipelago’s biggest town with almost 12,000 inhabitants. To get to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, you will board the hotel’s private and small motorboat that will take you to the other side of the bay within 3 minutes. From that point on, your baggage will be transported to the hotel by the staff, and you will go for a 5 to 10 minute hike on a comfortable trail that leads up to the only beach-front hotel in all of Puerto Ayora at Playa de los Alemanes.
After a refreshing welcome beverage you will be taken to your room that either will either look towards the hotel’s natural garden or the sea. You will probably want to start exploring the archipelago right away, so why not start with your own hotel? On the grounds of Finch Bay, as well as in the mangrove beach in front of it, you will find an unbelievable amount of life waiting to be discovered. Waiting outside your door are lava lizards, curious finches, ducklings and of course – the blue heron.
– Finch Bay’s natural garden –
The Elegance of the Blue Heron
It seems intentional that such an elegant-looking bird as the blue heron should be seen at such a unique hotel. (almost as if it’d been secretly hired to be part of the decoration). Practically unnoticed, they walk around the garden and the pool, waiting for an unsuspecting catch. Not bothered at all by the human presence that surrounds it, the heron walks towards the pool, sips on the water quietly, and continues his ballet in slow-motion. He is so quiet and graceful that untrained eyes don’t spot him right away, despite standing within metres of the spectator.
This bird, also known as the Galapagos great blue heron, can be commonly found on some of the biggest islands, such as Isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. It’s covered with blue and greyish feathers, has a pointy yellow beak, a long, stylish neck, and two very long and thin legs that make it look more like a ballet dancer than a bird. It can grow as tall as 130 cm (4 ft) with a wingspan of 210 cm (7 ft), which makes for a very pretty sight when you get the chance to see them land or take flight. They are also very efficient predators that feeds mostly on lava lizards, marine and sea turtle eggs, frogs, mice, insects, small fish, and occasionally, small birds.
– Galapagos great blue heron. Photo credit: Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43046317 –
Having a Cocktail with the Blue Heron at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel
After a long day of exploration in this magical place, make sure to stop by for a relaxing afternoon drink by the Finch Bay’s swimming pool. Order one of the house’s favourite cocktails (like the Darwin or Chakrita) and get ready for a breathtaking sunset and keep your eyes open for the blue heron. You won’t want to miss its graceful and delicate movements they survey their realm.