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!
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
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!
Stargazing in the Galapagos! Think about this for a second. Few things make us marvel at our own existence more than staring into the night sky. The vastness that surrounds us reminds us of just how small we are, helping us appreciate the planet we live in a little more. However, when we live in the city, the night sky tends to go unnoticed. More often than not, our hectic lifestyles keep us from remembering to look up. We jump from one activity to the other, from one meeting to the next, and by the time we get home, we are too tired to even consider admiring the beauty of the stars that linger overhead. Should we ever actually manage to look up and discover a few twinkling lights trying to catch our attention, we’ll soon realize that in the city at least, they are hard to perceive. The artificial lights coming from urban areas are often too strong and too many to truly appreciate the stars.
Stargazing in the Galapagos! Observe the Stars of Two Hemispheres in One Place!
When we finally leave the city, one of the first things that catch our attention is the brightness of an unpolluted night sky! Where we choose to admire the night sky from greatly affects our experience: the clearer the starscape, the more engaged our senses are, the more relaxed we are, the less we think about time, and the better we even feel sometimes. Did you know that, when you observe the sky from the equator, you have the rare opportunity of discovering the stars that are seen in both hemispheres? You might recognize the Big Dipper, but have you ever admired the Southern Cross? Better yet: have you ever seen them both at the same exact time? It’s something that can only happen in Ecuador! And where can we reconnect with the greatness of the universe again, one star at a time? In the Galapagos Islands, of course! Where life, time and space remain virtually untouched! Visit Santa Cruz island’s only beach-front hotel and discover it for yourself!
Fall in love with the night sky at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel
The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is located in front of Playa de Los Alemanes, one of the only beaches in the town of Puerto Ayora, and is accessible via a very short panga ride and a 10-minute walk. Even though the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is located in the archipelago’s most populated town, it has the advantage of being situated in its least populated neighborhood across the bay – Punta Estrada. Surrounded by mangroves, marshes, frankincense trees and a few houses mostly owned by European families, light pollution in this area is almost non-existent, and the night sky is seen from the Finch Bay practically a stand-alone top feature of the hotel itself. If you are into stargazing, or you simply like to admire the beauty of an immaculate starry night, then the Finch Bay is the place for you.
If you want to make sure you locate the sky’s most important stars, planets, and constellations, then we also recommend that you download some apps to help you with this task. We recommend Star Chart, SkyView Free or Night Sky Lite (they are all free!). At the Finch Bay, there’s all Wi-Fi so you will have absolutely no problem using them! Talk to our Expedition Leader before sundown so that he can set up Finch Bay’s telescope – it’s very easy to use and you will be able to observe some amazing things! If it’s a moonlit night and the stars are less visible, then you should definitely take a peek at the moon’s craters and soak in its beautiful light! Because you are on the equator, on certain nights when the moon is at its zenith, you will find it casts no shadow!
The night sky is seen from Finch Bay So sit back, order one of Finch’s signature cocktails and be blown away by the beauty and greatness of a starry Galapagos night!
Top reasons for why the Galapagos are a kid’s Paradise
When you are a kid, very few things can beat a trip to the beach. Spending days lying under the sun, swimming in the ocean and making sandcastles is enough to make any kid (young or old) happy for a very long time. Add to that the amazingly tame and unafraid wildlife (which range from trees, animals, and craters of huge proportions), the numerous activities from which they can learn and have fun, and emphasis on the importance of caring and preserving our natural environments, and you have an experience of a lifetime.
– Blue-footed boobies courting –
If you are considering a Galapagos vacation with your family, staying at Santa Cruz’s only beach-front hotel – the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel – is the best way to go, especially if there are kids involved. Fill your days with exploration and adventure, and give yourself some moments of well-deserved relaxation while your kids have the time of their lives in Galapagos. Imagine an out-of-this-world family Galapagos experience and read on to learn about our top reasons for why the Galapagos is a kid’s paradise.
The Galapagos are home to some of Ecuador’s and even the entire world’s most beautiful beaches. Tortuga Bay, located at a walking distance from Puerto, was selected as one of the world’s best beaches. After a 45-minute walk down a paved trail you will first arrive to Playa Brava, a beautiful long beach that is known for its strong currents, but don’t stop here quite yet. Keep on walking down the beach and follow the shoreline over to Tortuga Bay: it’s calm, protected waters and the shade of the Poison Apple tree make for the perfect spot to spend the morning or afternoon with the family. And if you wish to explore a little further, visit El Garrapatero beach (30-minute bus ride away) or Las Bachas. Or simply stay at Finch’s very own secluded beach – Playa de Los Alemanes! All of these are gorgeous, white-sand beaches, teeming with life that will make for some unforgettable memories.
Aquatic Fun Awaits
Ah, yes… and then there are cerulean blues of the waters that lap up against the beautiful and aforementioned beaches. The aquatic hues beckon each and every guest to take a dip in their vivid colors to cool off. The best part? They’re teeming with a near overabundance of life below. So strap on this fins and try on that snorkel and mask: you’re about to experience a vast and vivid underwater aquarium. Bonus points for if the kids manage to swim with playful Galapagos sea lions pups!
Everything is Bigger
We all remember how much bigger things were when we were kids. The Galapagos offers adults and children the chance to experience that together. With an abundance of vast, mind-bending terrains and giant underground lava tunnels that look like they’re from another world all the way to the Galapagos giant tortoises that amble around like something out of Jurassic Park, the Enchanted Isles are a place that humbles and mesmerizes by the sheer size of the things it hosts. Oh, and did we mention that Galapagos is home to one of the largest species of daisy in the world?
Galapagos is a Cageless Zoo
Animals, animals… everywhere. For kids, the Galapagos is like walking around in a cageless zoo, where animals peacefully coexist and show absolutely zero signs of fear in the presence of humans. Land and marine iguanas amble by the trails and beaches while Galapagos sea lions waddle ashore and hunker down right next to where you’re lying on the beach.
– There is no sense of “personal space” for these native species, and it’s a great experiential tool to, because…. –
The Galapagos Inspires Young Ones to Care for Nature
Adults will gawk at just how well these animals manage to coexist with our presence.
For the kids, it might even seem trivial that they’re able to living alongside the animal so peacefully, especially because it harkens back to just how natural this way of life is. If this can happen on the scale of the Galapagos islands, the kids will definitely feel encouraged to take the memory of the islands back with them and continue to respect nature the way they saw it was possible here.