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May 16, 2019 0
Reading Time: 5 minutes

This Day Tour is offered on:

Mondays:* Las Bachas, followed by North Seymour | Sundays*: North Seymour, followed by Las Bachas*

*Please note: This blog will examine the Sunday schedule of this Day Tour. Approximate travel times and schedules stay roughly the same for both days, albeit with the order switched.

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The Galapagos Islands can be visited in many ways, be it aboard an amazing Galapagos cruise that follows well-thought-out itineraries or through a land-based option. The latter option, such as the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, is the perfect choice for those prone to sea-sickness or who wish to have the freedom to manage their time as they see fit.

Our hotel makes it a point to provide our guests with access to activities that truly make this destination a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. A perfect example of this is found in the Daily Tour Options we offer aboard our Sea Lion Yacht, which takes our guests on day tours to fantastic, nearby islands. In this blog, we invite you to come along for the journey as we examine what a Day Tour of North Seymour and Las Bachas Beach is like.

Sea Lion Yacht's Itinerary: North Seymour Islands and Las Bachas Beach

First Stop: North Seymour Island

Rise and shine for an exciting day of exploration! At 6:30 a.m., a delicious breakfast buffet will be ready for you to enjoy. After you’ve eaten, grab your camera, hat, and sunscreen and be prepared to head out from the hotel at approximately 7:45 a.m.! From the hotel, we’ll head to the town of Puerto Ayora, where we’ll hop aboard a transfer bus that will then take us on a relaxing 45-minute journey up and over the island of Santa Cruz to the Itabaca Channel, where we will board the Sea Lion Yacht.

From the Itabaca Channel to North Seymour, our sailing time is approximately 45 minutes. We will arrive at the small yet gorgeous island of North Seymour at around 10:00 a.m., where we will hop aboard our panga (dinghy) to perform a Dry Landing and disembark.

North Seymour Island Coastline

As we begin our hiking excursion of the island, you will immediately notice that there is a difference between North Seymour and its neighboring big sister – Santa Cruz. The second one displays an uneven terrain, rolling hills, and highlands that are home to a very different kind of vegetation compared to that which grows by the coast. On the other hand, North Seymour resembles a relatively flat slab of terrain! It’s actually the result of underwater uplift rather than volcanic activity. That’s right – North Seymour was actually once ocean floor! There is no known reason for how or why this formation came to be, but it nevertheless became the perfectly flat setting for wildlife that it is today.

North Seymour hike in the Galapagos

This island is packed with wildlife that surrounds visitors as they walk along the island’s trails. Prepare to be greeted by the lounging Galapagos sea lions and some of the most iconic Galapagos birds as they display their feathers and colors. In fact, North Seymour is home to some of the archipelago’s largest colonies of frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies! So birdwatchers, get ready for some serious bird action! If you’re lucky, you might stumble upon blue-footed boobies in the middle of their amusing courtship display.

Land iguana in the Galapagos Islands

Harmoniously living in the same space, you will also be able to observe the endemic land iguana, as well as its aquatic relative – the only marine iguana in the world. You’ll also likely encounter the masked cousin of the blue-footed booby – the majestic Nazca booby.

At North Seymour, you’ll most likely be able to check off up to 7 out of 15 of our BIG15 list of iconic species in the Galapagos.

Hours spent at North Seymour: approx. 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Next Stop: Las Bachas Beach

At around 12:00 p.m., we’ll set sail and head over to Las Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz Island. This journey will take approximately 45 minutes. Once we arrive at Las Bachas Beach, we’ll perform a Wet Landing and disembark.

Las Bachas shoreline in the Galapagos Islands

After WWII, US military barges were beached and abandoned here. Locals referred to the beach as the barges beach, a name that gradually morphed into “las bachas” in Spanish. Today it is an important nesting area for the eastern Pacific green sea turtle. Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, it is a glorious white beach, with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts all the way to flamingos.

American Flamingos at Las Bachas Beach in the Galapagos

Fantastic snorkeling, swimming, and/or simply enjoying the soft, white sand beach are some of the activities you can enjoy here.

Lunch will be ready and served at around 2:10 p.m., at which point we kindly invite guests to come back aboard the Sea Lion Yacht to enjoy their meal.

Hours spent at Las Bachas Beach: approx. 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

 

Once we’ve wrapped up our experience here, we’ll set sail and head back to the Itabaca Channel, a journey which will take approximately 30 minutes. Once we’ve arrived at the channel, we’ll disembark and hop on the bus that will take us (a 45-minute journey) back to Puerto Ayora, from where we’ll head back to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this wonderful Day Tour!

Ready to stay at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel and experience everything it has to offer? Talk to our Destination Experts, today!

Schedule a call

Please Note: Galapagos Day Tours are subject to change due to weather conditions, logistical reasons, guests’ safety and/or Galapagos National Park Regulations.

Christopher Klassen

how-do-i-get-to-finch-bay-galapagos-hotel.jpg

May 16, 2019 0
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is located on the southern end of Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos archipelago. However, in spite of being on one of the few, populated islands in the archipelago, the hotel manages to serve as a true oasis of tranquility, surrounded entirely by nature and with direct access to the beach.

No matter what you’re hoping to get out of your Galapagos vacation – be it relaxation, land or sea exploration (or a combination of all three of these!) – the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel offers flexible programs that allow you, our cherished guest, to experience a fantastic piece of the archipelago at your own pace and taste.

Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel y Playa de los Alemanes

What are my options for getting to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel?

If you’re a traveler hoping to focus entirely on simply enjoying your vacation and having everything taken care of, then our Finch Bay programs (the arrival process of which is detailed further down below) will provide you with full assistance from the moment you exit the airport in the Galapagos all the way to your arrival at our hotel, and onwards. All you need to worry about when you book our Finch Bay programs is making sure you enjoy the natural beauty of the Galapagos from the moment you get here! Scroll down below and have a look at how each of our programs work in terms of assisting you with your transfer from Baltra Airport to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel.

If you’re a traveler that prefers to take care of the details of your trip on your own, and you’re staying at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, this blog will also present you with a useful and convenient guide about how to get to our hotel on your own! We’ll actually start with that first.


How do I get to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel on my own?

  • Getting to the Finch Bay on your own
Getting to the Finch Bay on your own

To get to our hotel, the first thing you need to know is what airport you need to fly into. Keep in mind that the Galapagos Islands have 3 airports:

  • Seymour Airport on Baltra Island (airport code: GPS)
  • San Cristobal Airport on San Cristóbal Island (airport code: SCY)
  • General Villamil Airport on Isabela Island (airport code: IBB)

Of the three of these, the first two are the only airports in the Galapagos that you can fly into from the Ecuadorian mainland (keep in mind that you can only fly to Galapagos from the Ecuadorian mainland cities of either Quito or Guayaquil). Click here for more information on how to get to the Galapagos Islands from the Ecuadorian mainland. The third and final airport in this list is mainly only used for inter-island flights (which you can experience on our Island-2-Island Hopping Program!).

Programa Island Hopping del Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel

The Arrival Process

Nevertheless, if you’re going to stay at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, and you’re looking to buy your airline tickets on your own, it’s important to make extra sure that you book your flights so that they arrive and depart from Seymour Airport on Baltra Island (airport code: GPS).

Once you’ve arrived and gotten off the plane in the Galapagos, you’ll head through immigration services, where you’ll need to pay for your Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee as well as the fee for the airport shuttle service (named Lobito). After acquiring your park entrance and shuttle bus tickets, you’ll proceed to the baggage claim area, where you’ll retrieve your checked baggage.

Aeropuerto Seymour en la Isla Baltra

The Transfer Process

Note: If you booked your night(s) at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel independently of any of our programs, but still wish to have our transfer services included, please feel free to either tell us upon making your reservation or contact us directly by clicking here. Once we confirm this airport transfer service, you can rest assured that our representative will be waiting for you right outside the airport when you arrive. 

Once you’ve gone through the arrival process, simply exit the airport and hop on the shuttle bus that will take you down to the Itabaca Channel pier. Given this is a shared and public service, it’s possible you will have to wait until the next bus is available.

Once you’ve hopped on the shuttle bus, you’ll get to enjoy a brief, 10-minute ride across the mesmerizing, arid landscapes of Baltra Island until you arrive at the Itabaca Channel pier. Once at the pier, you’ll board a ferry that will take you to the other side of the Channel, dropping you off on Santa Cruz Island. This ferry ride lasts approximately 15-minutes.

Ferry atravesando el Canal de Itabaca

Once you arrive at the Santa Cruz Island pier, you’ll have the choice of either hopping aboard a public bus or hiring a taxi (the latter of which are pick-up trucks in the Galapagos!) that will assist you in taking you to Puerto Ayora, which is situated on the opposite, southern end of Santa Cruz Island. Should you opt for a taxi, it’s important that you tell the taxi driver that you wish to go to the “Muelle de Puerto Ayora.

Muelle Municipal de Puerto Ayora

The journey to Puerto Ayora from this side of the island takes approximately 60-minutes, affording you fascinating views of the landscapes and highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Lush farmlands and Palo Santo forests are just a few of things you’ll get to enjoy on your way to Puerto Ayora.

As we begin heading down from the highlands of Santa Cruz, you’ll notice a dramatic change in the surrounding scenery, as it becomes more urban in nature – and that’s because you’re finally arriving to Puerto Ayora! The bus or taxi will drop you off at the Puerto Ayora pier (Muelle Municipal de Puerto Ayora), where you’ll begin the final leg of your journey to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel.

Once at the pier in Puerto Ayora, you’ll need to board a water taxi that will take you to the hotel pier on the opposite side of the small inlet. Note: The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel has its very own water taxi that can take you to the hotel pier for free. In order to make use of it, you’ll need to call the reception desk at our hotel so that they can send it over to pick you up. You’ll also receive baggage assistance upon arriving at the hotel pier when you request the Finch Bay’s water taxi.

After you disembark from the water taxi at the hotel pier, you’ll enjoy a short walk (2,000 ft/600 m) along a pedestrian-only pathway that will take you through mangrove-areas and small, brackish lagoons before reaching the beachfront area and entering the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel grounds.

Welcome to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel!


How do I get to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel if I booked a program?

  • Finch Bay Your Way Program
  • Finch Bay Sea
  • Finch Bay Land
  • Finch Bay Land & Sea
  • Finch Bay Complete
Finch Bay Your Way Program

Note: Our driver will meet you at the airport outside of baggage claim and will accompany you and assist you with your luggage until you reach the Puerto Ayora public pier.

Follow your driver’s indications and get on the public bus just outside the airport with signs saying “Canal Itabaca.” This bus will take you across Baltra’s arid landscape to the Itabaca Channel. The transfer bus is a basic official airport shuttle which you may need to share with other passengers. Sometimes, this means we must wait a couple of minutes for the next available bus. The ride generally lasts no more than 10 minutes.

Aeropuerto Seymour en la Isla Baltra

At the channel, we take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. The ferry ride lasts approximately 15 minutes and is shared with other passengers. Sometimes, if the ferry is full, we may experience a slight delay as we wait for the ferry to be available. Our driver will pay for the ferry.

Ferry atravesando el Canal de Itabaca

Once you have reached the Santa Cruz side of the channel, wait here with your luggage until your chartered transport vehicle arrives. You will travel 26 miles (42 km) across Santa Cruz Island through Palo Santo groves, a Scalesia forest, and lush farmlands, enjoying beautiful views the whole trip before arriving at Puerto Ayora’s public pier.

Tierras altas de la Isla Santa Cruz

At the pier, we will embark on the hotel’s very own water taxi and take a very short, 5-minute trip, to cross over from the Municipal Dock to the Hotel Dock.

Muelle Municipal de Puerto Ayora

Once there, we’ll disembark from the water taxi at the Hotel Dock, where you will leave your luggage with the hotel staff (they will take care of transferring it to your room). Enjoy the short walk (2,000 ft/600 m) along a pedestrian-only pathway that will take you through mangrove-areas and small, brackish lagoons before reaching the beachfront area and entering the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel grounds.

Finch Bay Sea

Note: Our driver will meet you at the airport outside of baggage claim and will accompany you and assist you with your luggage until you reach the Puerto Ayora public pier.

Follow your driver’s indications and get on the public bus just outside the airport with signs saying “Canal Itabaca.” This bus will take you across Baltra’s arid landscape to the Itabaca Channel. The transfer bus is a basic official airport shuttle which you may need to share with other passengers. Sometimes, this means we must wait a couple of minutes for the next available bus. The ride generally lasts no more than 10 minutes.

Aeropuerto Seymour en la Isla Baltra

At the channel, we take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. The ferry ride lasts approximately 15 minutes and is shared with other passengers. Sometimes, if the ferry is full, we may experience a slight delay as we wait for the ferry to be available. Our driver will pay for the ferry.

Ferry atravesando el Canal de Itabaca

Once you have reached the Santa Cruz side of the channel, wait here with your luggage until your chartered transport vehicle arrives. You will travel 26 miles (42 km) across Santa Cruz Island through Palo Santo groves, a Scalesia forest, and lush farmlands, enjoying beautiful views the whole trip before arriving at Puerto Ayora’s public pier.

Tierras altas de la Isla Santa Cruz

At the pier, we will embark on the hotel’s very own water taxi and take a very short, 5-minute trip, to cross over from the Municipal Dock to the Hotel Dock.

Muelle Municipal de Puerto Ayora

Once there, we’ll disembark from the water taxi at the Hotel Dock, where you will leave your luggage with the hotel staff (they will take care of transferring it to your room). Enjoy the short walk (2,000 ft/600 m) along a pedestrian-only pathway that will take you through mangrove-areas and small, brackish lagoons before reaching the beachfront area and entering the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel grounds.

Finch Bay Land

Note: Our driver will meet you at the airport outside of baggage claim and will accompany you and assist you with your luggage until you reach the Puerto Ayora public pier.

Follow your driver’s indications and get on the public bus just outside the airport with signs saying “Canal Itabaca.” This bus will take you across Baltra’s arid landscape to the Itabaca Channel. The transfer bus is a basic official airport shuttle which you may need to share with other passengers. Sometimes, this means we must wait a couple of minutes for the next available bus. The ride generally lasts no more than 10 minutes.

Aeropuerto Seymour en la Isla Baltra

At the channel, we take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. The ferry ride lasts approximately 15 minutes and is shared with other passengers. Sometimes, if the ferry is full, we may experience a slight delay as we wait for the ferry to be available. Our driver will pay for the ferry.

Ferry atravesando el Canal de Itabaca

Once you have reached the Santa Cruz side of the channel, wait here with your luggage until your chartered transport vehicle arrives. You will travel 26 miles (42 km) across Santa Cruz Island through Palo Santo groves, a Scalesia forest, and lush farmlands, enjoying beautiful views the whole trip before arriving at Puerto Ayora’s public pier.

Tierras altas de la Isla Santa Cruz

At the pier, we will embark on the hotel’s very own water taxi and take a very short, 5-minute trip, to cross over from the Municipal Dock to the Hotel Dock.

Muelle Municipal de Puerto Ayora

Once there, we’ll disembark from the water taxi at the Hotel Dock, where you will leave your luggage with the hotel staff (they will take care of transferring it to your room). Enjoy the short walk (2,000 ft/600 m) along a pedestrian-only pathway that will take you through mangrove-areas and small, brackish lagoons before reaching the beachfront area and entering the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel grounds.

Finch Bay Land & Sea

Once you’ve gone through airport controls and exited the baggage claim area, a hotel staff member will greet you, provide you with a basic overview of your day ahead, and assist you with your checked luggage. Our staff member will direct you from here on out and will make sure that your large luggage is delivered directly to the hotel. Please note that if your hand luggage was taken by the airline staff (either in Quito or Guayaquil, because it was too big), you should let us know upon arriving. At this time, please make sure you keep all papers given to you by the local Galapagos authorities. You will need these papers later when departing Galapagos.

Explorando la Isla Santa Cruz

Please note that this is the last time you will be in contact with your large baggage (until you reach the hotel). It is important that you make sure you carry the following with you for the day in a small daypack: comfortable, closed-toe shoes, long socks, and the essentials (wallet, passport, identification cards, any important medicine you might need, etc.). Also, be sure to bring some cash for souvenirs, extras, and other items not included in your program. Please follow our staff’s instructions regarding transportation and feel free to ask them for any additional information.

The next step is to board a shuttle bus that will take you down to the public dock. The shuttle bus is a basic, official airport bus which you may need to share with other passengers. Sometimes, this means we must wait a couple of minutes for the next available bus. The ride generally lasts no more than 10 minutes.

Aeropuerto Seymour en la Isla Baltra

Once you arrive at the dock on the south side of Baltra Island, you will walk a short distance from the bus to the passenger ferry that will take you across the Itabaca Channel, dropping you off on the northern shores of Santa Cruz Island. The ferry ride lasts approximately 15 minutes and is shared with other passengers. Sometimes, if the ferry is full, we may experience a slight delay as we wait for the next ferry to arrive. Our staff member will pay for the ferry.

Once you have reached the Santa Cruz side of the channel, wait here with your luggage until your chartered transport vehicle arrives. You will travel up and over the lush highlands as you make your way to the south side of the island where the hotel is located.

Ferry atravesando el Canal de Itabaca

The ride over the highlands affords views of up to five vegetation zones, with a brief stop at Los Gemelos Craters – two pit craters that make for an excellent introduction to the Galapagos’ volcanic origin. After that, we’ll continue onwards, descending down the south side of the island to visit one of its most remote regions, where the famous giant tortoises roam in their natural habitat!

Before arriving to Puerto Ayora, will have the chance to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the highlands. One soft drink is included in the lunch. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase. You can leave your backpack in the transfer vehicle if you wish.

Reserva de tortugas gigantes en las tierras altas de la Isla Santa Cruz

After your lunch and a quick tour of the restaurant’s surrounding area, hop back into the transfer vehicle for the rest of the ride to the largest port in the archipelago, Puerto Ayora. At the pier, we will embark on the hotel’s very own water taxi and take a very short, 5-minute trip, to cross over from the Municipal Dock to the Hotel Dock.

Muelle Municipal de Puerto Ayora

Once there, we’ll disembark from the water taxi at the Hotel Dock, where you will leave your luggage with the hotel staff (they will take care of transferring it to your room). Enjoy the short walk (2,000 ft/600 m) along a pedestrian-only pathway that will take you through mangrove-areas and small, brackish lagoons before reaching the beachfront area and entering the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel grounds.

Finch Bay Complete

Once you’ve gone through airport controls and exited the baggage claim area, a hotel staff member will greet you, provide you with a basic overview of your day ahead, and assist you with your checked luggage. Our staff member will direct you from here on out and will make sure that your large luggage is delivered directly to the hotel. Please note that if your hand luggage was taken by the airline staff (either in Quito or Guayaquil, because it was too big), you should let us know upon arriving. At this time, please make sure you keep all papers given to you by the local Galapagos authorities. You will need these papers later when departing Galapagos.

Explorando la Isla Santa Cruz

Please note that this is the last time you will be in contact with your large baggage (until you reach the hotel). It is important that you make sure you carry the following with you for the day in a small daypack: comfortable, closed-toe shoes, long socks, and the essentials (wallet, passport, identification cards, any important medicine you might need, etc.). Also, be sure to bring some cash for souvenirs, extras, and other items not included in your program. Please follow our staff’s instructions regarding transportation and feel free to ask them for any additional information.

The next step is to board a shuttle bus that will take you down to the public dock. The shuttle bus is a basic, official airport bus which you may need to share with other passengers. Sometimes, this means we must wait a couple of minutes for the next available bus. The ride generally lasts no more than 10 minutes.

Aeropuerto Seymour en la Isla Baltra

Once you arrive at the dock on the south side of Baltra Island, you will walk a short distance from the bus to the passenger ferry that will take you across the Itabaca Channel, dropping you off on the northern shores of Santa Cruz Island. The ferry ride lasts approximately 15 minutes and is shared with other passengers. Sometimes, if the ferry is full, we may experience a slight delay as we wait for the next ferry to arrive. Our staff member will pay for the ferry.

Once you have reached the Santa Cruz side of the channel, wait here with your luggage until your chartered transport vehicle arrives. You will travel up and over the lush highlands as you make your way to the south side of the island where the hotel is located.

Ferry atravesando el Canal de Itabaca

The ride over the highlands affords views of up to five vegetation zones, with a brief stop at Los Gemelos Craters – two pit craters that make for an excellent introduction to the Galapagos’ volcanic origin. After that, we’ll continue onwards, descending down the south side of the island to visit one of its most remote regions, where the famous giant tortoises roam in their natural habitat!

Before arriving to Puerto Ayora, will have the chance to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the highlands. One soft drink is included in the lunch. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase. You can leave your backpack in the transfer vehicle if you wish.

Reserva de tortugas gigantes en las tierras altas de la Isla Santa Cruz

After your lunch and a quick tour of the restaurant’s surrounding area, hop back into the transfer vehicle for the rest of the ride to the largest port in the archipelago, Puerto Ayora. At the pier, we will embark on the hotel’s very own water taxi and take a very short, 5-minute trip, to cross over from the Municipal Dock to the Hotel Dock.

Muelle Municipal de Puerto Ayora

Once there, we’ll disembark from the water taxi at the Hotel Dock, where you will leave your luggage with the hotel staff (they will take care of transferring it to your room). Enjoy the short walk (2,000 ft/600 m) along a pedestrian-only pathway that will take you through mangrove-areas and small, brackish lagoons before reaching the beachfront area and entering the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel grounds.


If you require immediate assistance, please reach us at the following numbers:

Finch Bay Front Desk (Galapagos): Celular de operaciones (Quito):
(+593-5) 252-6298
(+593-9) 9-133-0796
(+593) 99-133-0281
(+593) 99-133-0796

Christopher Klassen

sea-lion-yacht.jpg

April 23, 2019 0

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This Day Tour is offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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Santa Cruz Island is the perfect home base for exploring some of the most beautiful and unique islands in the Galapagos. Whether it’s aboard an Expedition vessel or from a hotel, the island of Santa Fe is a precious gem that lovers of flora and fauna will absolutely love. If you opt for a land-based option and plan on staying at a hotel in the Galapagos, you’ll have the added benefit of being able to soak in the relaxed island life while creating your own, personal agenda for what you want to see and do. Staying at a place like the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel – one of the only hotels on Santa Cruz Island with direct access to the beach – is definitely an excellent option.

At the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, there are options for each and every taste, offering packages that will make any stay in the Galapagos a unique experience. Looking for relaxation? Adventure? Exploration? Exquisite food? Intimacy? Or simply enjoyment of the island life? The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel caters to all of these interests! If your schedule allows for it and if you’re looking to experience new and fantastic things that go beyond the island of Santa Cruz, you can hop aboard the Sea Lion Yacht without ever having to go too far from your home base!

In this blog, we invite you to find out what an experience of Santa Fe Island is like aboard our Sea Lion Yacht!

Sea Lion Yacht's Itinerary: Santa Fe Island

Santa Fe Island awaits!

Open your eyes and admire everything that sits right outside your window as a new day begins in the Galapagos! A delicious breakfast will be served and ready for you to enjoy at 6:30 a.m.

After breakfast, the adventure begins! At 7:45 a.m., we’ll depart from the hotel and head over to the Puerto Ayora docks, from which we’ll board the Sea Lion Yacht. Don’t forget that, before heading out from the hotel, you can ask for seasickness pills and walking sticks for the journey ahead, both of these free of charge.

Once we’ve boarded the yacht, we’ll sail for two hours until we reach the beautiful island of Santa Fe. During this majestic journey, you’ll get to soak in the views and the gentle breeze from the ocean from the second floor of the yacht or soak in the sun from the comfort of the loungers we have on the bow. You can enjoy this journey as you see fit!

Familia relajándose en el Yate Sea Lion

Studies suggest that the island of Santa Fe is, in fact, one of the oldest in the entire archipelago. Given the island is the result of uplift from the ocean floor, you can actually see lava formations (that were previously underwater) sitting on its surface. These rock formations have been dated to be around 4 million years old! It’s relatively flat surface (9.3 mi2 / 24 km2) is home to two endemic species: the Santa Fe land iguana and the Santa Fe rice rat.

Additionally, you’ll also get to admire the largest species of opuntia cactus as well as Galapagos hawks (the largest predator in the archipelago), blue-footed boobies, Galapagos sea lions, frigatebirds (great and magnificent) and the marine iguana.

After performing a Wet Landing and disembarking on the beautiful, white sand beach of Sante Fe, we’ll immediately come upon numerous sea lion harems, which invite us to head out on an exciting walk throughout the island in search of the other residents that live here. Once we’ve taken our walk, you’ll enjoy a refreshing dip over at La Encañada a wonderful visitor site on Santa Fe Island. You’ll also get the chance to go snorkeling using the equipment we provide aboard the Sea Lion Yacht!

Turistas posan con lobo marino en la Isla Santa Fe

Afterwards, a delicious lunch will be waiting for you aboard the Yacht. Following a brief period of relaxation, we’ll set sail back to Santa Cruz Island.

Are you ready to stay at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel and experience everything we have to offer? Speak with one of our Destination Experts today!

Schedule a call

Please Note: Galapagos Day Tours are subject to change due to weather conditions, logistical reasons, guests’ safety and/or Galapagos National Park Regulations.

Christopher Klassen

the-way-to-las-grietas-santa-cruz-galapagos.jpg

March 15, 2019 0

Reading Time: 7 minutesWith so much to see and do on Santa Cruz Island, it’s no wonder the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotels offers a grand variety of Galapagos programs and guided tours. However, our guests often find themselves wondering what they can do on their own around the hotel. In this blog, we list the top activities we recommend doing on your own from the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, ordered by their proximity (closest – furthest) to the hotel itself!

Visit Las Grietas

Step outside the beachfront gate of the Finch Bay and head down the path that leads to the right, and you’ll soon stumble upon Las Grietas (“The Crevasses”) after a short 15-20 minute hike. To call Las Grietas a simple swimming hole would be a disservice to its natural beauty, as it consists of three rectangular pools glimmering with emerald waters that are flanked by towering lava cliffs. A plunge in its cool waters on a hot day is a fun and refreshing activity to partake in, and it’s practically right around the corner from the Finch Bay, too! So don’t miss out on checking it out!

Las Grietas in the Galapagos Islands

Go snorkeling!

A trip to the Galapagos Islands is a step into one of the world’s richest aquatic realms. From impressive schools of colorful fish to docile white-tip reef sharks, the waters of this paradise – which happen to form a part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site – are the perfect place to interact with a wide gamut of species without having to witness them through cages or glass walls. This is why snorkeling is, quite simply, an absolute must in the Galapagos Islands! And one of the best things about a land-based option is you don’t need to go far to enjoy this natural, underwater spectacle. In fact, there are beautiful beaches right on Santa Cruz Island that allow you to partake in this activity! Don’t forget to request your snorkeling gear at the front desk of Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel before heading out! This gear is provided completely free of charge! Wetsuits are available for rent.

Snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands

Visit the nearby, must-visit Santa Cruz Beaches

Playa de Los Alemanes (German Beach)

Just a few steps away from the Finch bay Galapagos Hotel (in fact, the only hotel with direct access to a beach in all of Puerto Ayora), you’ll find the crystalline waters that sit alongside Playa de los Alemanes (German Beach). This gorgeous bit of beach, protected from the strong currents and waves thanks to mangroves and reefs, is ideal for enjoying the richness of the ocean while relaxing in a peaceful and calm environment. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the chance to swim with white-tip reef sharks, sea turtles, and a ton of colorful fish.

Los Alemanes beach in Santa Cruz Island

Tortuga Bay

Tortuga Bay has consistently ranked among the world’s top beaches over the course of recent years, and it’s no wonder why: this wide stretch of open, immaculate beach (that conveniently sits right on the edge of Puerto Ayora) is, simply put, spectacular. Guests that choose to head here will get to enjoy a pleasant stroll through a giant cacti forest before being rewarded with a magnificent view of this jaw-dropping slice of coast. If you opt to head down the entire stretch of Tortuga Bay, you’ll be treated to a second and smaller secluded beach at the end that’s surrounded by mangroves and, occasionally, curious marine iguanas. Snorkeling here is highly recommended!

Marine Iguanas at Tortuga Bay in the Galapagos Islands

Garrapatero Beach

The warm sand and turquoise waters at Garrapatero Beach welcome you to one of the best places to relax on Santa Cruz Island. Once you arrive at the entrance to the beach (which is located some 30 minutes away by car) you’ll enjoy a short, 15-minute walk that will reveal all of the mesmerizing, natural beauty of Garrapatero. If you get there early in the morning, you’ll get to enjoy the first rays of sunshine and admire marine iguanas soaking in the warmth on top of volcanic rock before they slide in for a refreshing dip in the crystalline waters of this fantastic place. Feel free to follow suit! Just always remember to wear sunscreen before doing so!

Garrapatero beach in Santa Cruz Island

Playa La Estacion (The Station Beach)

If you pass the Charles Darwin Research Station (more on that below), it won’t be long before you come upon Playa La Estacion – a quaint yet relaxing piece of coastline that has nice and soft sand. Be aware, however, that it also has its fair share of rocky patches, especially along the shoreline and in the water, so be sure to wear proper footwear! A nice little feature of this the shore here is that it’s sheltered from the waves thanks to a line of lava rocks that stretch out into the ocean. This natural geological formation provides calm waters for snorkeling and swimming alongside the occasional marine iguana, sea turtle, and/or baby sea lion, if you’re extra lucky!

Stargaze

One of the biggest attractions of escaping from the big cities is, without a doubt, getting the chance to enjoy clear skies and a starry night. The Galapagos Islands, of which only 3% is inhabited, barely presents any light pollution at all for those people looking to enjoy the night sky and its family of stars. When you stay at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, you’ll have first-row tickets to enjoy this magical festival of lights that shines overhead. All you have to do is walk right out front to Playa de los Alemanes (German Beach), put a towel down of the sand, and look up and let your eyes marvel at everything they see.

Stargazing at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel

Stroll down the malecon (boardwalk)

Feeling the urge to get a taste of the island life? Puerto Ayora’s boardwalk (referred to as the malecon in Spanish) offers our guests a pleasant way to stroll through town and admire: a.) the laidback restaurants, bars, and stores on one side, and b.) the serene Galapagos waters on the other side. To get to the boardwalk from the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, all you need to do is take the hotel’s own water taxi back to the municipal dock and start walking down Charles Darwin Avenue. As you head down the boardwalk, you’ll often encounter several of the native residents (read: sea lions) taking a snooze or ambling around along the docks, shores, or over at the…

Puerto Ayora's dock

Check out the Fish Market of Santa Cruz

If you want to observe a little bit of the local culture more closely, there’s no better place to do it than at the Santa Cruz Fish Market. Following a stroll down the boardwalk, and right before hitting the Charles Darwin Research Station, you’ll come upon this eclectic spectacle. The Santa Cruz Fish Market is a great window into the way human inhabitants of Galapagos coexist with their animal neighbors and allows you to watch as sea lions and pelicans prop themselves up against the stalls of the fish vendors, eagerly awaiting a delicious meal between the naps they take.

Sea lion pup in Santa Cruz Island

Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station

In addition to the inhabitants of the archipelago and the Galapagos National Park Service, the Charles Darwin Research Station is one of the biggest stakeholders when it comes to the protection and conservation of the islands. The Station is also involved in ongoing research project throughout the archipelago, these of which usually consists of monitoring species populations and visitor impact at several visitor sites. Their headquarters sit right at the far edge of town, which you’ll arrive at after walking along the entire length of the boardwalk. Once at the Station, you are free to walk around the different paths and trails that will let you admire much of the endemic fauna in Galapagos, as well as the numerous baby and adult Galapagos Giant Tortoises that are currently being raised in captivity.

Entrance to the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos

Visit Laguna Las Ninfas (Nymphs Lagoon)

Another marvelous aspect of the Galapagos Islands is the sheer amount of distinct natural environments you can find throughout the archipelago! Within a matter of minutes, the scenery before your eyes can turn from arid and desert-like into an impressive and lush green. On the way to Tortuga Bay, and incredibly close to Puerto Ayora, you’ll get to find this peaceful patch of water that’s home to one of the richest ecosystems in all Galapagos: mangroves. The Nymphs Lagoon allows you to enjoy a relaxing, approximately 60-minute walk along the mesmerizing clusters of mangroves that surround this perfect mirror lagoon of turquoise water. It’s important to keep in mind that this lagoon is not for swimming in; however, you’ll easily get to enjoy the refreshing breeze.

Visit the local museums and galleries

While Puerto Ayora isn’t particularly renowned for being a museum and artistic hotspot, it does manage to offer some pleasant surprises in the form of the MAPRAE Museum and a handful of art galleries. The former offers visitors the chance to get to know a little bit more about the indigenous cultures and history over on the Ecuadorian mainland. The latter may catch your eye with their artisanal wares and amusing art pieces — none of which are made from Galapagos elements, as per the Galapagos National Park Rules!

Christopher Klassen

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August 2, 2018
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STROLL THE STREETS


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STROLL THE STREETS

Experiences

Explore the town of Puerto Ayora. With its small cafes, boutiques and nightclubs, there is a little something to entertain everyone. Check out everyday life for locals at the farmer’s market on Saturdays or visit the fisherman’s wharf any day of the week.


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Juan Tanaka

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August 2, 2018
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RELAX


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RELAX

Experiences

Take it easy, rest on a pool lounger or a hammock, dig your bare toes into the sand just steps away from your room. Sip a cocktail at the bar, savour fine dining at our renowned restaurant, end the day with a massage and then watch as the stars illuminate the night sky with its Equatorial constellations.


DISCOVER GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE THROUGH OUR ENRICHING EXPERIENCES  VIEW ALL

Christopher Klassen

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August 1, 2018
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WALK THROUGH LAVA TUNNELS


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WALK THROUGH LAVA TUNNELS

Experiences

Visit one of the island’s lava tunnels, significant geological formations that take us back in time and act as a stark reminder of the islands’ volcanic origins!


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Juan Tanaka

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August 1, 2018
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VISIT CHARLES DARWIN STATION

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VISIT CHARLES DARWIN STATION

Experiences

To deepen and broaden your knowledge, make your way to the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service and the recently renovated Charles Darwin Research Station, located in Puerto Ayora. You’ll find a fascinating interpretation centre and can wander through the tortoise rearing program facilities.


DISCOVER GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE THROUGH OUR ENRICHING EXPERIENCES  VIEW ALL

Christopher Klassen

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August 1, 2018
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GALAPAGOS

YACHT TOURS

ABOARD OUR SEA LION YACHT


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SEA LION YACHT

GALAPAGOS DAY CRUISING AT ITS BEST

Join our highly-qualified, bilingual naturalist staff for day-trips to nearby islands aboard our yacht. You’ll be part of a small group of only 20 guests, with fully personalized service aboard with 4 crew members, a delicious buffet lunch, air-conditioned interiors, and ample viewing decks.

We operate set departures aboard our yacht to different official visitor sites within the National Park. Be aware that there are only half-a-dozen yachts with these National Park permits!

Visitor sites include the wildlife-rich North Seymour, iconic Bartolome, the wild and rugged South Plaza, and the beautiful Santa Fe.

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. Please note: A modest fee of $15 per person applies for wet suit usage for the duration of your stay. Snorkel equipment is included for free.

SAFETY

OUR MAIN PRIORITY ON BOARD OUR YACHT

Safety is our main priority and we kindly ask guests for their cooperation. On board the yacht, we have life jackets for our guests and they are required to use them when on board the panga (dinghy) to and from the visitor site. A boat drill exercise takes place on board the yacht.

YACHT DETAILS

  • Built in 1987 by Van der Hoeven Yachts of Holland
  • Remodelled: 2009 in Guayaquil, Ecuador
  • Capacity: 20 guests
  • Tonnage: 57 tonnes
  • Length: 74 feet / 22.5 meters
  • Width: 17 feet / 5.2 meters
  • Motors: 2 x 275 HP Caterpillar, Model C-7
  • Crew: 4 plus 2 naturalist guides

DISCOVER GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE THROUGH OUR ENRICHING EXPERIENCES  VIEW ALL

Juan Tanaka

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August 1, 2018
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OBSERVE WILDLIFE


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OBSERVE WILDLIFE

Experiences

Wildlife observation is the prime reason why so many people choose to visit the archipelago. Nowhere else in the world can we observe animals so closely, so calmly. And from your base at the hotel, you can encounter many of the Galapagos’ BIG15


DISCOVER GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE THROUGH OUR ENRICHING EXPERIENCES  VIEW ALL

Juan Tanaka

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