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May 10, 2018 0
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sustainable Galapagos Food and a Cooking Class with Friends

When you live and work in a natural paradise such as the Galapagos Islands, there are many things to consider. But when you work at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel – one of the world’s leading GREEN hotels – you know things are done differently. We strive to be a leading example of sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices not only for the people of the Galapagos, but for our guests as well. This month, we went deeper into what sustainable Galapagos food ought to be like and even welcomed the visit of a very interesting guest. Read on to learn more about what’s cooking at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel!

Finch Bay
Finch Bay’s Chef Emilio Dalmau at the “Chakrita

Investigation & Sustainable Galapagos Food

Our team at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel dedicates itself to numerous different projects in order to protect the amazing environment of the islands. One of these is our sustainable Galapagos food project, which sees us continuously investigating the diversity of local produce and ways of encouraging farmers to grow more sustainably. At the Finch Bay, we try to buy local as much as possible in order to lower our environmental footprint. We also send our teams out to investigate the fruits and vegetables that are grown on the inhabited islands. We even talk to fishermen and learn about their fishing techniques, along with the species of fish, crustaceans and/or mollusks that they catch. Once we’ve gathered all this knowledge, we bring it back to our kitchen and put it all into our creative efforts that help develop our menu that represents the best of Galapagos food and Ecuadorian cuisine. We know that we can only grow as a restaurant and a company so long as our community grows with us.

As part of our ongoing efforts to leave less of a carbon footprint, we have even created our own organic vegetable garden. The “Chakrita,” as we call it, is home to a varied selection of flowers and herbs that we use in all our recipes, either as garnish or the main ingredients.  To have all these amazing and fresh greens at our disposal allows us to develop our creativity, which is a crucial component in allowing our “crazy” chef minds to continuously grow.

During my time here, I have seen a growing interest and curiosity from our guests, cooks and chefs, about all things organic and local, especially when they come directly from the islands. It’s something we look forward to working on constantly!

A Visit From a Gastronomic Icon

Chef Emilio Dalmau at Finch Bay
Chef Emilio Dalmau at Finch Bay’s kitchen

Last month we were fortunate enough to receive a visit from famous chef Juan Luis Fernandez and his girlfriend Dolce Nida, owners of the restaurant “LÚ Cocina y Alma” in Jerez, Spain. They stayed at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, during which time they cooked with us, experimenting with our ingredients and updating our understanding of cooking techniques. Juan Luis, also known as JuanLu, spent several years working at the famous “Aponiente” restaurant (3 Michelin stars), where he himself learned the latest gastronomical techniques for preparing seafood in the best way possible.

After spending a day looking for the best ingredients and sharing our expertise with JuanLu and Dolce, we were delighted to share our kitchen with them. They couldn’t have been more generous! They taught us about the techniques they use at their restaurant, and we even got to learn about new cooking methods that we can apply to our own recipes and products here at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel!

We Are All Cooks

I love how the world of food and cooking has no frontiers or barriers. In life, we are all cooks! However, when you are a chef, and so long as you cook with passion, it doesn’t matter where you are – you always have to give it your best! At the Finch Bay, we give each meal and plate our best, every single day, so that our friends and guests learn and fall in love with our products, our country, our people and our cuisine.

My team and I, we never get bored: We are always improving and looking forward to coming up with new and magnificent flavors, using all the wonderful natural ingredients that the Galapagos Islands has to offer us.

Join us on our journey! We love to cook, we live to cook and we cook to live!

One of Finch Bay
One of Finch Bay’s dishes, prepared and decorated with herbs from the “Chakrita”

Nathalie Moeller

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April 12, 2018 1
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Which hotel in Galapagos offers solar-powered services?

The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is excited to announce that we have something new and incredibly sustainable on the horizon! In addition to our highly sustainable practices here at the World’s Leading Green Hotel, we are proud to announce the upcoming introduction of our brand-new, shiny and completely solar-powered Solar Ray (transfer boat)!

First things first: Why does the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel even have a transfer boat?

Our transfer boat is the second to last step in getting our guests from Baltra Airport to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. You’ll find the transfer boat waiting for you at the docks of Puerto Ayora, not far from where your airport transfer vehicle drops you off. The distance from the Puerto Ayora docks to Muelle de los Alemanes (German Dock) is around 400 meters (1,300 feet), a crossing which is done in under 5 minutes.

What’s up with this new transfer boat? What makes the Solar Ray so sustainable?

This sustainable project in Galapagos was carried out in tandem with Kara Solar – a highly reputable group known for bringing solar-powered transport to the Achuar communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon! Up until now, Kara Solar has helped over 1,000 people that form a part of these Amazonian communities, which themselves are spread out along 67 km (42 mi) of river. The solar-powered boats are managed and operated by an Achuar team.

It’s thanks to Kara Solar’s help that our Finch Bay Solar Panga (formerly known as the Finch Bay I) has now been retrofitted to work with a fully electric motor.

Not one but four solar panels are now situated on the boat’s rooftop, which provide provisional power to the boat’s electric engine. The boat itself will receive the rest, if not most of its charge, directly from the grid over at Metropolitan Touring’s offices in Puerto Ayora. Nevertheless, these lightweight solar panels that are firmly attached to the stainless steel rooftop will be responsible for transforming sunlight into electricity, which will then be stored in the boat’s batteries. Have a look at this prototype below:

sustainable service galapagos solar transfer boat

In summary, the Solar Ray has now been installed with:

  • Four 370 W solar panels (1,480 W or 1.48 kWh, in total)
  • Four 2.7 kWh batteries (10.8 kWh, in total)
  • Four 1.7 kWh chargers (6.8 kWh, in total) to allow the boat to charge with a 220V plug.
  • A charge controller
  • A console with a steering wheel and speed throttle
  • Hydraulic steering

What benefits do solar-powered services in Galapagos have, exactly?

Virtually silent and with zero-emissions, the Solar Ray diminishes noise pollution throughout the fragile Galapagos environment while also cutting down tremendously on our dependence on gasoline. Both of these factors help us take better care of the surrounding wildlife that often peacefully glides around and under our transfer boat.

With this new project, the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel and Metropolitan Touring hope to demonstrate just how viable ecological and “green” transportation can actually be in Galapagos, rather than just see it as just a gimmick or a concept that sounds nice but never really works that great in practice. We’re here to tell all those naysayers otherwise: solar-powered services, such as our Solar Ray transfer boat, are absolutely feasible in Galapagos. And, in the case of our new Solar Ray, they’re here to stay.

Every day is an opportunity for change, and little by little, we’re hoping to let go of our dependency on fossil fuels here in the Galapagos Islands – a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

So which hotel in Galapagos offers solar-powered services?

Now you know! The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel does!

Once we have her in service, we can’t wait to have you take a ride with her when you come stay with us at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel!

walk to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel

Christopher Klassen

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March 9, 2018 0
Reading Time: 3 minutes

When it comes to a place as enchanted as the Galapagos, it almost seems commonsensical to regard any form of accommodation on these barren and otherworldly freckles of earth – in the near middle of the Pacific Ocean, to say the least! – as nothing short of “unique.” But when it comes to a brand as prestigious as National Geographic, you immediately know that their standard/criteria for their definition of “unique” is a whole different level. For many of our guests, the question often remains: how do you even become a member of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World (ULW)?

unique lodges of the world national geographic

How are hotels given their Unique Lodge Status by NatGeo?

To ensure that NatGeo standards are met, Unique Lodges of the World are carefully handpicked after an extensive and thorough vetting process/site audit that goes from examining the macro to the micro. A NatGeo Sustainable Tourism Expert is in charge of spending time at each lodge, evaluating the operations and meeting with everyone on staff (from hotel manager to kitchen staff) to become fully acquainted and do a in-depth evaluation of the lodge.

What exactly is a Unique Lodge of the World, by National Geographic Standards?

The whole concept of ULW was created to invite guests and traveler’s to experience some of the planet’s most extraordinary places. ULW come with the NatGeo seal of approval that guarantees guests will get to have an intimate and exceptional experience, fostering a connection between guests and their destination in a highly meaningful way. Properties are handpicked based the following criteria:

SUSTAINABILITY

From sourcing as much of our food locally to peacefully coexisting with endemic species, the “Finch Bay has set the standard for environmentally responsible hotels in Galapagos.” Find out more about how we do it with our blog on Sustainability at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel.

ENGAGEMENT

We serve as a forum for collaboration and conservation between islanders and organizations. We host meetings between the Galapagos National Park Service and Charles Darwin Research Station, to name a few. Additionally, we’ve also run numerous, successful education-oriented initiatives with local schools and students.

AUTHENTICITY

We are immersed in one of the most pristine wildlife sanctuaries in the world, and we’re one of the only beachfront hotels on Santa Cruz Island.

EXCELLENCE

Professionally-trained guides, world-class service and staff alongside a Le Cordon Bleu-trained gastronomic director. Did we miss anything?

INSPIRATION

The Galapagos are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with good reason. In honor of this and the sacred ground we exist on, we’ve created a complete set of inspiring activities to help our guests get acquainted with the islands.

finch bay reception unique lodge

The NatGeo Unique Lodge of the World Difference

Staying at a NatGeo Unique Lodge of the World is a guarantee that your trip will help protect our delicate and only planet. Staying at a Unique Lodge of the World means you’re both supporting local communities and the environment while experiencing a place in the world that is truly unlike anything else and where magic awaits right at your doorstep. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel invites you to become a part of it all!

Frigate bird hatchling
Frigate bird hatchling

 

Christopher Klassen

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