Finch Bay Hotel FAQ’s
GENERAL HOTEL QUESTIONS
Where is the Finch Bay?
The Finch Bay Eco Hotel is ideally-located on Punta Estrada Santa Cruz Island. It occupies a prime position right next to the only public beach in the town of Puerto Ayora, on the southern side of Santa Cruz Island. (see location page).
How do I get to the hotel?
We always encourage our guests to consider one of our transfer services, which will take care of all of the logistics of arrival and departure. However, if you would like to book just the hotel, please follow these instructions:
To reach the Galapagos Islands (unless you’re arriving on your plane or boat), take a flight from the mainland of Ecuador (Quito or Guayaquil airports) to Baltra airport (GPS); there are at least 2 daily flights from either city. Make sure you book your flight to Baltra Island (GPS). Upon arrival to Baltra Island (airport) take a short ride by bus to the Itabaca Canal (make sure you take the bus to the canal, NOT to the pier) then cross the Itabaca Channel by ferry to Santa Cruz Island. Once on the other side of the canal, take a bus or a taxi to the town of Puerto Ayora (through the highlands of Santa Cruz, a distance of 26 miles or 42 km). Upon arrival to Puerto Ayora, walk to the public dock and take a water taxi to the dock of the Finch Bay Hotel. From here, walk along the path to the hotel (5 minutes).
Can I fly directly from an international destination to the Galapagos and the Finch Bay?
No. All commercial flights depart from the airports in Guayaquil or Quito on the Ecuadorian mainland. Therefore, unless you are arriving on your own plane or boat, you must fly from the mainland. There are at least 2 daily flights from either city. Make sure you book your flight to Baltra Island (GPS).
What activities can I enjoy easily from the hotel?
There are plenty of places to visit in and around the port of Puerto Ayora. At the hotel, why not hire some sea kayaks and go for a paddle around the bay? From the hotel, it’s a short walk to the beautiful cliffs known as Las Grietas, which offer some great swimming. On the other side of town lies the famous Charles Darwin Research Centre and the Tortoise Rearing Programme, headquarters of science in the Galapagos Islands. Further afield, it’s an invigorating walk to lovely Tortuga Bay, which offers surfing and a quiet beach. And then inland, in the highlands, one can visit giant tortoises in the wild, explore the island’s agricultural life, and visit Garrapatero beach, where it is also possible to enjoy mountain biking and trekking.
Are children welcome at the Finch?
Yes, absolutely. It’s a most amazing place for young minds to enjoy the wonders of the Galapagos!
Do you accept Travelers Checks at the Hotel?
No, we don’t. However, we accept all major credit cards and/or cash at the hotel.
SPECIFIC HOTEL QUESTIONS
What types of rooms do you have?
The hotel has two categories. Finch Bay Suite and Finch Bay Room. Please see the Rooms page for more information.
Do you have a spa?
No. For now, you can ask for a local masseuse to come to the hotel for your treatment. Please inquire at the Front Desk.
Do you have air-conditioning?
Yes, all of our accommodations are air conditioned. The restaurant and lounge are open to the sea breeze.
When is the restaurant open?
Breakfast is served from 6:30 am to 10:00 am; lunch from 12:30 to 15:00; and dinner from 19:00 until 21:30.
Do you have room service?
We do not offer this service.
Do you have laundry service?
Yes, we do.
Do you have bathtubs in the rooms/suites?
No, we don’t. We have regular showers in the rooms/suites.
YACHT EXPLORATION TO THE ISLANDS
Which islands do you visit with the hotel’s yachts?
Our yachts visit wildlife-rich North Seymour, iconic Bartolome, the wildly rugged South Plaza, and the beautiful Santa Fe.
What’s the longest navigation with the day tours?
The longest navigation is the trip to Bartolome Island, at 2’15”. Add 45” by bus to the Itabaca Channel (where the boat is moored) to this journey time. Other islands are about 1’30” distant.
Can I snorkel during your yacht day tours?
All of our trips include time to enjoy some snorkelling – one of the highlights of any Galapagos experience – whether at the same island, or at a nearby site. A modest fee of $15 per person applies for suit usage for the duration of your stay. Snorkel equipment (mask, snorkel and fins) is included for free.
What’s with the wetsuits on board your yatch day-tour yachts?
We recommend using ‘shorty’ wetsuits from May to December, when the waters in Galapagos are colder and it’s more comfortable for snorkelers to remain longer in the water. A modest fee of $15 per person applies for suit usage for the duration of your stay.
GENERAL GALAPAGOS QUESTIONS
Is the sun strong?
Yes, very. Act accordingly! Make sure to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days.
How far is the Galapagos from the mainland?
600 miles/1,000 km. About an hour-and-a-half flight from Guayaquil, 2 hours from Quito.
What time is it in Galapagos?
UCT (GMT) – 6 hours. One hour less than on the Ecuadorian mainland.
What’s all the fuss about Galapagos?
- Endemism species are found here and nowhere else.
- The islands offer virtually unchanged, pristine natural environments.
- Explore haunting volcanic landscapes.
- Disconnect from the world!
What’s the Galapagos National Park fee and the other fee?
The entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park (www.galapagospark.org) is currently $100, and the migration control card (to help regulate immigration to the islands) is $20. Per person.
How warm is it?
It depends on the time of year. There are two pronounced seasons in the islands.
The rainy, hot season from December to June when humidity is high and average temperatures are in the 80s F (26°-30° C). There may be occasional showers, but the days are generally hot and sunny.
From June to November, you can expect cool winds, occasionally bringing with them a light misty-type drizzle called “garúa”. Temperatures average in the 70s F (20°-24° C) during the day and lower at night.
Should I go swimming in the Galapagos?
Of course! It’s part of the second-largest Marine Reserve in the world and it’s a place where the wildlife both on land and in the water is fearless, giving you a great opportunity to discover all that lives beneath the waves. Snorkeling and swimming make up an important part of the Galapagos experience.
What shall I pack?
- 1 Small backpack (waterproof).
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sneakers with rubber soles.
- Long pants.
- Long and short sleeved shirts.
- Wind breaker.
- Bathing suit -wetsuit for snorkelling in cold months.
- Hat or cap.
- Toilette kit (biodegradable shampoo please).
- Sun block.
- Camera & camcorder.
- Any medicine you may be taking.
What’s the best footwear for Galapagos?
You should have good walking shoes/trainers, and a pair of Teva-type sandals.
Is all of the Galapagos Islands a national park?
Very nearly. In fact, 97% of the archipelago’s islands is designated a national park. Human settlements are concentrated on the remaining 3%. There are strict rules about visiting the areas on islands that have been designated as visitor sites by the national park authorities. The Galapagos is also part of a huge Marine Reserve, which ranks among the largest in the world.
Are the animals in Galapagos tame?
This is not the best term to describe the animals in Galapagos, since this would imply that they had been tamed by humans, or domesticated, if you will. We prefer to say simply that they are fearless, because their ancestors never perceived humans as a threat, and so neither do they.
Are all of the animals on Galapagos giant like the tortoises?
No, although marine iguanas can get surprisingly big! Nor are giant tortoises endemic to the Galapagos. The elephantine sub-species developed in other parts of the planet, too. In Galapagos, the interesting aspect to note is the speciation of the tortoises once they arrived on the islands, evolving in time into different species, to the extent that different island’s species are unable to reproduce amongst themselves.
Where does the name Galapagos come from?
From the medieval/Renaissance Spanish term for a type of saddle that was raised up at its front. The Spanish sailors who came across giant tortoises – of whom various subspecies have ‘saddle back’ shells – named them “galápago” after these saddles.
Why are the finches so important?
The finches on Galapagos are special because they are the bird species that inspired and illustrated Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. The work of the Grants on Daphne Major (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beak_of_the_Finch) is an excellent case study of finch populations. The variations they show over a short period of time clearly proves that, as Darwin argued, “species are not immutable,” and adaptations can occur rapidly in populations in order to exploit ecological niches. There are 13 species of finch in all in Galapagos, some very similar in size and coloration: anyone who can says they can identify all of them in the wild at a glance is a liar!