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GENERAL HOTEL QUESTIONS

  • WHERE IS THE FINCH BAY GALAPAGOS HOTEL LOCATED?
  • HOW DO I GET TO THE HOTEL?
  • CAN I FLY DIRECTLY FROM AN INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION TO THE GALAPAGOS AND THE FINCH BAY?
  • WHAT ACTIVITIES CAN I ENJOY EASILY FROM THE HOTEL?
  • ARE CHILDREN WELCOME AT THE FINCH?
  • DO YOU ACCEPT TRAVELLER’S CHECKS AT THE HOTEL?
WHERE IS THE FINCH BAY GALAPAGOS HOTEL LOCATED?

The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is ideally-located at Punta Estrada, a 5-minute aqua taxi ride across the bay from Puerto Ayora, on the southern side of central Santa Cruz Island. It occupies a prime position right next to the only public beach in Puerto Ayora.

HOW DO I GET TO THE HOTEL?

We always encourage our guests to consider our transfer services, which will take care of all of the logistics of arrival and departure. If you choose one of our programs, your first day’s itinerary will vary according to the day of the week and your programs, so please get in touch so that we can send you the correct documentation.

If you would like to book just the hotel, and do not want us to help with transfers, please follow these instructions:

  • To reach the Galapagos Islands, 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 Canal de Itabaca (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 (over the highlands of Santa Cruz, a distance of 42 km (26 miles).
  • Upon arrival to Puerto Ayora, walk to the public dock and take a water taxi to the dock of the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. From here, walk along the signed path to the hotel (about 5 minutes).
CAN I FLY DIRECTLY FROM AN INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION TO THE GALAPAGOS AND THE FINCH BAY?

All international flights coming to Ecuador will stop directly at either Mariscal Sucre International Airport (Quito) or José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (Guayaquil). If you are changing flights from Quito to Galapagos, you will have a mandatory stop in Guayaquil. If you travel directly to Guayaquil, you will fly directly to the Galapagos. Depending on your departure date and itinerary, you will be landing in the Galapagos at either Baltra Airport or San Cristobal airport.

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, a short hike leads 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 TRAVELLER’S 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?
  • DO YOU HAVE A SPA?
  • CAN I FLY DIRECTLY FROM AN INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION TO THE GALAPAGOS AND THE FINCH BAY?
  • WHEN IS THE RESTAURANT OPEN?
  • DO YOU HAVE ROOM SERVICE?
  • DO YOU HAVE LAUNDRY SERVICE?
  • DO YOU HAVE BATHTUBS IN THE ROOMS/SUITES?
WHAT TYPES OF ROOMS DO YOU HAVE?

The hotel has two categories: Finch Bay Suites and Finch Bay Rooms. Please see the Rooms page for more information.

DO YOU HAVE A SPA?

Not yet. For now, you can ask for a local masseuse to come to the hotel for your treatment. Please inquire at the Front Desk.

CAN I FLY DIRECTLY FROM AN INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION TO THE GALAPAGOS AND THE FINCH BAY?

Yes, all of our rooms and suites are air conditioned. The restaurant and lounge are open to the sea breeze and cooled by overhead fans.

WHEN IS THE RESTAURANT OPEN?

Breakfast is served from 6:30 to 10:00; 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, for an additional fee.

DO YOU HAVE BATHTUBS IN THE ROOMS/SUITES?

No, we don’t. We have showers in the rooms/suites.


YACHT EXPLORATION TO THE ISLANDS

  • WHICH ISLANDS DO YOU VISIT WITH THE HOTEL’S YACHT?
  • WHAT’S THE LONGEST NAVIGATION WITH THE DAY TOURS?
  • CAN I SNORKEL DURING YOUR YACHT DAY TOURS?
  • DO I NEED A WETSUIT FOR SNORKELLING?
WHICH ISLANDS DO YOU VISIT WITH THE HOTEL’S YACHT?

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. Snorkel equipment (mask, snorkel and fins) is included for free.

DO I NEED A WETSUIT FOR SNORKELLING?

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?
  • HOW FAR IS THE GALAPAGOS FROM THE MAINLAND?
  • WHAT TIME IS IT IN GALAPAGOS?
  • WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT GALAPAGOS?
  • WHAT’S THE GALAPAGOS NATIONAL PARK FEE AND THE OTHER FEE?
  • WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN THE GALAPAGOS?
  • SHOULD I GO SWIMMING IN THE GALAPAGOS?
  • WHAT SHALL I PACK?
  • THE ESSENTIALS
  • APPAREL
  • GEAR
  • WHAT’S THE BEST FOOTWEAR FOR GALAPAGOS?
  • IS ALL OF THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS A NATIONAL PARK?
  • WHAT ARE THE NATIONAL PARK RULES?
  • ARE THE ANIMALS IN GALAPAGOS TAME?
  • ARE ALL OF THE ANIMALS ON GALAPAGOS GIANT LIKE THE TORTOISES?
  • WHERE DOES THE NAME GALAPAGOS COME FROM?
  • WHY ARE THE FINCHES SO IMPORTANT?
IS THE SUN STRONG?

Yes, very. Act accordingly! Make sure to wear sunscreen and a sunhat even on cloudy days.

HOW FAR IS THE GALAPAGOS FROM THE MAINLAND?

The archipelago is located 1,000 km (600 mi) from the mainland, less than 2 hours flying time from Guayaquil and an additional 55-minute flight (plus a 30-40 minute layover) if you are travelling 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?
  • Endemic species are found here and nowhere else and they are not afraid of humans, which means you can see them from up close.
  • The islands offer virtually unchanged, pristine natural environments.
  • A “living laboratory” of evolution.
  • Great weather all year round.
  • Haunting volcanic landscapes.
  • A wonderful place to 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 USD 100, and the migration control card (to help regulate immigration to the islands) is USD 20 per person. These fees are subject to change.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN THE GALAPAGOS?

It’s always a good time to visit the Galapagos but there is some variation in the weather depending on the time of year. There are two distinct seasons in the islands, each of which offers its own pleasures in terms of vegetation and landscapes. Wildlife does not migrate and so is visible year round.

The rainy, hot season is from December to June when humidity is high and average temperatures range from 26°-30° C (80s F). 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 20°-24° C (70s F) 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. Snorkelling and swimming make up an important part of the Galapagos experience.

WHAT SHALL I PACK?

Here’s a checklist to help you prepare for your trip of a lifetime with us in the Galapagos. Please remember that flights to Galapagos restrict checked luggage to one (1) piece that does not exceed 23 kg (50 lb). Hand luggage cannot exceed 8 kg (17 lb). So, pack light and pack smart!

THE ESSENTIALS
  • Toiletry kit
  • Personal medication
  • Passport Tickets
  • Printed itineraries
  • Travel insurance
  • Health insurance information
  • Credit/debit cards – write down their emergency numbers separately.
  • Cash (US Dollars)
APPAREL
  • Sunglasses (optional: neck strap)
  • Wide-brimmed hat or cap
  • Bandana
  • Windbreaker jacket
  • Warm sweater or fleece
  • Sun block & lip balm (waterproof + SPF 50 or higher)
  • Insect repellent
  • Shoes
  • Light-weight hiking shoes
  • Water-resistant, closed-toe sport sandals
  • Anti-slip sandals for onboard
  • Hiking shorts
  • Lightweight hiking pants
  • Casual pants and shorts (men)
  • Casual dress, skirt, shorts or pants (women)
  • Short-sleeve T-shirts
  • Long-sleeve shirts or rash guards for sun protection
  • Underwear
  • Socks (normal and for hiking)
  • Bathing suits (minimum 2)
GEAR
  • Small backpack/daypack (preferably waterproof)
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Video camera
  • Extra memory cards and batteries
  • Tripod (optional)
  • Appliance chargers & adaptors if necessary (plugs in Ecuador are US-style A & B, 2 flat pins, 110 V)
  • Prescription snorkelling mask or specialized snorkel equipment*
  • Sealable plastic bags of various sizes
  • Journal

* All normal snorkeling equipment is available onboard and at the Finch Bay. Some charges may apply.

WHAT’S THE BEST FOOTWEAR FOR GALAPAGOS?

You should have good walking shoes/trainers, and a pair of Teva-type, closed-toe sandals. Also, depending on your programme, you may need to carry a pair of long sports socks with you the day you arrive in order to take advantage of visits to the highlands of Santa Cruz, where the tortoises roam free.

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.

WHAT ARE THE NATIONAL PARK RULES?

The Galapagos National Park Service controls all visitor activities within the parks, including the vessels itineraries. Visits both within the National Park sites and the Marine Reserve, are always escorted by licensed Naturalist Guides. By following these rules, you are directly contributing to the ongoing local conservation efforts. The only footprints we want to leave are in the sand…

  • Do not stray from the trails.
  • Do not disturb any wildlife or remove any native plant or rock material.
  • Make sure you do not bring any live material to the islands – even accidentally – or from island to island. Insular ecosystems are fragile biological units.
  • Approach wildlife cautiously and always follow your Naturalists’ advice.
  • Do not feed the animals. Particular attention should be given to water bottles.
  • Do not bring food to the visitors’ sites.
  • Try not to startle and make sure not to chase any animal from its resting or nesting area.
  • There is no smoking on the islands, nor on any boat (dinghy) during your visits. The use of cellular or satellite phones is prohibited on the visitors’ sites.
  • Please do not buy any souvenirs made from native Galapagos species (except for wood).
  • Make conservation your business! Please do not hesitate to show your conservationist attitude. Become a Galapagos devotee and ask us about our protection programs that support sustainability on the islands.
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 islands’ 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 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 colouration: anyone who can says they can identify all of them in the wild at a glance is a liar!


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