The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel was presented with the title of World’s Leading Green Hotel for 2019 by the World Travel Awards™ at their 26th annual ceremony, held earlier this month on December 3rd. The WTA recognizes and praises excellence in the tourism industry and to be a garden green hotel.
Located in the center of the archipelago, on the island of Santa Cruz, the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel was honored for its environmentally responsible practices and sustainable tourism philosophies. For this Galapagos-based hotel, the most important thing is to preserve the pristine quality of the islands while sharing the enchantment and beauty of this place with travelers from all over the world.
Hotel Manager Javier Gómez says, “Our staff is honored to have received this award. It is a reflection of the dedication and love that our team demonstrates every day of the year, and it shows our commitment to the unique people and ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands.”
What makes the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel a Green Hotel?
Among the hotel’s responsible practices is the efficient handling of electricity. Finch Bay has incorporated the use of solar panels, LED lighting, and motion sensors. These changes were implemented in the wake of an energy audit conducted with Ecuador’s Ministry of Energy.
Additional energy-saving measures include encouraging guests to use lights and air conditioning units moderately. By limiting the amount of electricity needed for these two elements, the energy generated by the hotel’s solar panels can cover up to 70% of what is required to heat the hotel’s water.
Another one of Finch Bay’s responsible practices includes avoiding the use of plastic. To date, plastic has been almost entirely eliminated from every process at the hotel. For example, the property provides guests with reusable water bottles and doesn’t carry plastic-bottled beverages in their restaurant.
What is the Finch Bay Hotel’s commitment to the Galapagos Islands?
In order to support the local economy and the responsible consumption of organic products, the hotel makes use of providers based in the Galapagos Islands. Additionally, a fair amount of the fruit, vegetables, and other ingredients used in the Finch Bay’s kitchen are grown in the hotel’s very own organic garden.
Everyone who works at the hotel is a resident of the Galapagos Islands. As such, they share in the philosophy and commitment that distinguishes the Finch Bay Hotel as the only National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World™ in the archipelago.
For example, each morning, the hotel staff comb the Playa de los Alemanes beach, located just in front of the property, and collect any trash they find. The hotel personnel has also planted over 500 mangrove trees in the surrounding areas in an effort to promote care for the environment and to conserve the beauty of this fragile ecosystem.
If you wish to learn more about the World’s Leading Green Hotel for 2019, we invite you to visit the website.
Santa Fe land iguana: a highly exclusive species in Galapagos
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: 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!
How to experience the Galapagos islands: land or sea?
In isles as enchanted as these, there’s always so much to see, so much to do… but what exactly are the ways to experience Galapagos? This blog explains exactly that: how to experience the Galapagos Islands. Basically, experiencing the islands can be narrowed down into two categories, the latter of which branches out into a handful of sub-categories. There’s a sea-based option and land-based option. Follow along in this blog to find out how to experience the Galapagos Islands.
How to Experience the Galapagos Option #1: On Land
Look no further than the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel if you’re looking for a.) the only beachfront hotel on Santa Cruz Island and b.) an enriching, relaxing, and rejuvenating land (and sea! We’ll get to that below) experience. Staying on land is an option that caters to those more interested in experiencing the archipelago one step at a time, gradually taking it all in as it comes at your own pace and of course: lounging by the shore side with a nice drink in hand before heading into town to soak in the local island life.
Not to mention: it’s probably the best choice for those that are slightly more prone to seasickness (please note: there are “sea-sickness proof” cruises in the archipelago that help abate this symptom). However, those with sea legs that looking to head out and experience a little more of the archipelago while enjoying the comfort of their land-based option are privy to…
The Land & Sea Option
With its own Sea Lion Yacht, the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotels offers its guests the opportunity to check out a number of the surrounding, beautiful islands from the comfort of a fully-equipped, luxurious and modestly-sized vessel. Guests are treated to a buffet lunch throughout their travels to the islands, and multiple activities are offered as well. And if you’re looking for an even more expansive way of experiencing the islands, there’s always…
Expand your horizons even further with this incredible option that grants guests the ability to fly from Santa Cruz Island all the way to the largest island of the archipelago that is Isabela. Add to the number of checkmarks that you’ve built up on your Galapagos BIG15 list of iconic species and revel in an even greater amount of majestic views by standing at the rim of one of the world’s largest craters.
Another great option for experiencing the islands is hopping on a cruise, which instantly grants you access to more visitor sites in the Galapagos National Park, species, islands and the company of an expert guide that will follow you along the whole way. It’s worth noting that a sea-based option grant guests the opportunity to visit places that simply can’t be accessed by staying on land (due to how far away certain visitor sites are). All-in-all, the best part about having these two options is the fact that guests can link them together if they wish. When it comes to looking for how to experience the Galapagos Islands, is it too much to ask for both options? With Metropolitan Touring, it never is.