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May 23, 2019 0
Reading Time: 5 minutes

This Day Tour is offered on Wednesdays* and Fridays.*

*Please note: This blog will examine the Wednesdays schedule of this Day Tour. Approximate travel times and schedules stay roughly the same for both days, the only difference being that Wednesday schedules return directly to Puerto Ayora (arrival time approx. 4:20 p.m.) while Friday schedules return to Itabaca Channel, followed by a bus transfer to Puerto Ayora (arrival time approx. 4:00 p.m.).  

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There are many different ways one can go about visiting the Galapagos Islands, and two of the biggest ways are aboard a Galapagos cruise that sails on designated itineraries or a land-based approach that allows you to stay a hotel on the islands and create your own agenda. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is one such example of the latter option, offering an excellent choice for those who prefer to stay on land for the majority their time in the Galapagos while still being able to craft their day as they see fit.

Our hotel is all about giving our guests access to adventurous and fulfilling activities that allow them to make the most of their time in this once-in-a-lifetime destination. Once such activity that we are proud to offer are the Daily Tours we offer aboard our Sea Lion Yacht, which take our guests on trips to exciting, nearby islands. In this blog, we invite you to along for one such journey aboard the Sea Lion Yacht, as we examine what a Day Tour of South Plaza Island is like.

South Plaza Island Sea Lion Yacht Experience in the Galapagos

 

South Plaza Awaits!

Rise and shine for an exciting day of exploration! Breakfast will be ready at 6:30 a.m., providing you with ample time to enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet before departing from the hotel. After you’ve eaten, grab all your essentials (camera, hat, sunscreen, etc.) and get ready to head out from the hotel at approximately 8:15 a.m.! It’s around that time we’ll begin heading to the town of Puerto Ayora, which is where we’ll hop aboard a transfer bus that will take us on a 45-minute journey up and over the island of Santa Cruz to the Itabaca Channel. Once at the Channel, we will board the Sea Lion Yacht.

From the Itabaca Channel we’ll begin heading to our first stop along the way (Punta Carrion), with a sailing time of approximately 15 minutes. Once we arrive at Punta Carrion at around 10:10 a.m., we’ll put on our snorkeling gear and jump in the water to begin our snorkeling activity that will last a little under an hour. Punta Carrion is a small bay that allows you to see a variety of fish, rays, and possibly even whitetip reef sharks!

Punta Carrion in the Galapagos

Following that, we’ll get back on board the Sea Lion Yacht and continue on our way to South Plaza, arriving at approximately 12:05 p.m. Once at South Plaza, we’ll disembark from the Sea Lion Yacht and take a small dinghy (panga) boat to the edge of South Plaza, where we’ll perform a Dry Landing to disembark from the panga. Once we’re on South Plaza Island, we’ll begin our walking excursion.

Trails at South Plaza Island in the Galapagos

South Plaza is the southern half of two small crescent-shaped islands, both of which lie just a few hundred meters off the eastern coast of Santa Cruz Island. The northern island (aptly named North Plaza) is used for scientific purposes only. South Plaza is one of the smallest islands in the archipelago, but don’t let size fool you – when it comes to flora and fauna, it is one of the richest islands in the archipelago. South Plaza is 426 feet (130 meters) long and is the result of an uplift of the oceanic floor, giving it a slanted tabletop quality.

Our walking excursion here makes for a colorful sight, too! The turquoise waters of the channel between both islands contrast brilliantly with the black lava rocks that frame their shorelines, these of which have been carpeted with green seaweed and are often peppered with fluorescent-orange Sally Lightfoot crabs. Further up the shore on South Plaza, a carpet of scarlet-colored sesuvium succulents serve as the groundcover for a grove of verdant, prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-gray land iguanas sit and crawl around under these cacti, waiting ever so patiently for their pears to drop and feast on them.

Cactus and succulents on South Plaza Island in the Galapagos

The trail we’ll take gradually heads up the slope of the island, leading us to the cliffs that overlook the ocean to the south, where swallow-tailed gulls nest. Red-billed tropicbirds, Nazca, and blue-footed boobies are also often found here, lazily gliding along the wind currents. This overlook also serves as a great place to occasionally spot large marine life, such as manta rays.

Cliffs at South Plaza Island in the Galapagos

As we walk along the trail that runs parallel to the edge of the cliffs, we’ll gradually begin to hear the sound of the surf as it rushes into and pounds an inlet over on the western corner of the island. It is at this inlet that we’ll come upon a colony of bachelor sea lions that have made this place their home. Fun fact: the unique, reflective sheen found on many of the rocks throughout South Plaza are the result of sea lions having rubbed against them over the course of time, polishing them with the oils of their fur.

Bachelor sea lion colony at South Plaza Island in the Galapagos

At South Plaza, you’ll most likely be able to check off up to 6 out of 15 of our BIG15 list of iconic species in the Galapagos.

Land iguana at South Plaza Island in the Galapagos

At the end of the walking excursion, we’ll head back to the Sea Lion Yacht at around 2:00 p.m., where we’ll get to enjoy lunch as we admire the island we just visited from afar. At 2:40 p.m., we’ll begin heading back to the Puerto Ayora docks, a journey that will take approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes and see us arriving there at around 4:20 p.m. Once there, we’ll head back to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel.

Hours spent at South Plaza: approx. 12:00 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this wonderful Day Tour!

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

Ready to stay at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel and experience everything it has to offer? Get in touch with one of our Destination Experts, today!

Schedule a call
 

Christopher Klassen

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May 23, 2019 0
Reading Time: 5 minutes

This tour is offered on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

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Visiting the Galapagos is, without a doubt, an experience that’s unlike anything else. Whether it’s aboard an Expedition Vessel or from a hotel on one of the inhabited islands, there’s a number of ways visitors can take advantage of all the exploration options that are available in the archipelago. If you hope to visit some of the most remote and faraway islands, then an Expedition Vessel is probably your best choice.

However, if you’re looking to manage your own time and schedule on the islands, then an Expedition Hotel is the best option for you! Tip: If you have more time in the archipelago, a combination of both an Expedition Vessel and Hotel is a great way to go! If you’re looking to stay on an island, then be sure to consider the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel on Santa Cruz Island and create your own experience in the Galapagos!

At our Expedition Hotel, you’ll be able to organize your time in the Galapagos as you see fit! Choose from ticking off the majority of the most iconic species that make up our BIG15 list, enjoying a fascinating journey aboard our Sea Lion Yacht, or simply opting for one of our bundled programs that we offer and let us take care of everything!

In the meantime, we invite you read on to find out what our Day Tour to Bartolome Island aboard our Sea Lion Yacht is like! Without a doubt, Bartolome is one of the most enigmatic and gorgeous islands to visit in the entire archipelago!

Bartolome Island Sea Lion Yacht Experience in the Galapagos

 

Bartolome Island: An out-of-this-world experience!

Time to experience a new adventure at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel! Rise and shine and start your day with a delicious buffet breakfast that will be served at 6:15 a.m. over at our restaurant. After that, we’ll head out from the hotel at around 7:00 a.m. to go to Puerto Ayora. Tip: Remember that, before departing from the hotel, you can ask for seasickness pills if need be.

After a short walk from the hotel, we’ll hop aboard the Finch Bay’s own water taxi to cross the small channel and disembark at the Puerto Ayora pier. In Puerto Ayora, at approximately 7:30 a.m., we’ll board the bus that will take us over to the Itabaca Channel, located on the northern end of Santa Cruz Island. The journey there lasts around 45 minutes, so relax and enjoy the ride and views as we zip past dense scalesia forests and rich farmlands that are found up in the highlands.

Highlands in Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos
Highlands of Santa Cruz island in Galapagos

Once we arrive at the Itabaca Channel, we’ll board a panga (dinghy) that will take us to the Sea Lion Yacht. At approximately 8:30 a.m. is when we’ll set sail to Bartolome Island! During the following two-hour journey to Bartolome, you’ll get to relax under the sun or admire the views and some of the marine life that swims along with us. Keep an eye out! Depending on the time of year, it’s possible that dolphins might swim alongside our yacht on the way there!

Bartolome is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive visitor sites in all of Galapagos. Its geography never fails to captivate the imagination of adventurers! This volcanic island has a length of approximately 4.6 square miles (1.2 square kilometers) and an elevation of 374 feet (114 meters). Walking along Bartolome Island will offer us an experience that’s simply out-of-this-world, thanks in large part to the wide gamut of colors that cover its terrain: vivid reds, oranges, greens, and blacks all blend together to create a mesmerizing landscape that’s fit for a postcard. The island’s name comes from Sir Bartholomew James Sullivan, a friend of Charles Darwin and Lieutenant aboard the HMS Beagle – the famous vessel that sailed through Galapagos waters back in 1835.

View from the highest point of Bartolome Island.
Enjoy a breathtaking view from the highest point of Bartolome Island!

Once we’ve arrived at the island, we’ll hop aboard the Sea Lion’s panga (dinghy) and head over to the shores of Bartolome to perform a Dry Landing at the base of a wooden walkway. It is here that we’ll begin our walk up the walkway and steps, passing along lookout points along the way that will allow us to soak in the surrounding scenery and vegetation that’s found on the island. Finally, once we reach the top of the stairs, we’ll reach the final viewpoint that offers one of the most jaw-dropping panoramic views in the entire archipelago.

After that, we’ll head back down the same walkway and steps to board our panga (dinghy) once again at approximately 12:15 p.m. This panga will take us on a nice and refreshing coastal exploration that will last around 30 minutes. Following this bit of coastal exploration, we’ll arrive at Sullivan Bay and disembark (Dry Landing) to explore this impressive lava field on foot.

Sullivan Bay at Santiago Island in Galapagos
Explore the dramatic geography of the archipelago!

After that, we’ll head back to the Sea Lion for a brief pit stop that will allow us to leave the majority of our belongings and change into our swimsuits. Once we’re ready, we’ll head out (approximately 1:20 p.m.) to explore one of the most iconic landmarks in all of Galapagos: the colossal Pinnacle Rock. It is here that we’ll have the chance to enjoy a close encounter with numerous different aquatic creatures in the archipelago as we go snorkeling. Colorful schools of fish, sea lions, and even whitetip reef sharks and Galapagos penguins can be occasionally spotted here!

At approximately 2:15 p.m. we’ll head back to the Sea Lion Yacht for lunch, at which point you’ll get to sit back, relax and enjoy the food and impressive views of Bartolome Island from the comfort of our lovely yacht. Following that, we’ll set sail back to Santa Cruz Island at approximately 3 p.m.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this wonderful Day Tour!

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

Ready to stay at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel and experience everything it has to offer? Get in touch with one of our Destination Experts, today!

Schedule a call

 

Isabel Espinoza

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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
Admiring the coastline of North Seymour Island.

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
Hiking at North Seymour Island guided by one of our Galapagos National Park Guide.

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.

Galapagos land iguana found at North Seymour Island
While exploring North Seymour, you’ll encounter this beautiful creature of the archipelago.

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
Ready to be surprised by the wonders of Las Bachas!

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
American flamingos are part of our BIG15 Group of iconic species.

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!

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

Ready to stay at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel and experience everything it has to offer? Get in touch with one of our Destination Experts, today!

Schedule a call

Christopher Klassen

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May 16, 2019 0
Reading Time: 2 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 Program / Finch Bay Land Program
  • Finch Bay Land & Sea Program / Finch Bay Complete Program
Finch Bay Your Way Program / Finch Bay Sea Program / Finch Bay Land 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 Land & Sea Program / Finch Bay Complete Program

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 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!

Sea Lion yacht's day tours are perfect for kids and families.
Our day tours are perfect for kids!

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!

Guests posing next to a sea lion on Santa Fe Island
Great shot with a playful sea lion!

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.

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

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

Schedule a call

 

Christopher Klassen

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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!

Finch Bay's guest jumping to the water at Las Grietas.
A not-be-missed place in Galapagos!

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 with green turtles in Galapagos.
Get a close encounter with the tame marine life of 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.

Playa de Los Alemanes on Santa Cruz Island.
Playa de Los Alemanes is located just a few steps away from our hotel.

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
Enjoy the company of Galapagos marine iguanas while walking on the white sands of Tortuga Bay or snorkeling in its pristine waters.

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 on Santa Cruz Islands.
One of the must-visit places of the archipelago.

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.

Galapagos night sky from Finch Bay Hotel
Starry night in Galapagos.

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 on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos.
Santa Cruz is one of the inhabited islands of Galapagos.

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.

Fish market of Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos
The fish market, where wildlife interacts with humans!

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.
Our guests have the chance to learn more about the preservation of this incredible archipelago.

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.


DISCOVER GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE THROUGH OUR ENRICHING EXPERIENCES  VIEW ALL

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!


DISCOVER GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE THROUGH OUR ENRICHING EXPERIENCES  VIEW ALL

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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