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Stays of Distinction

Finch Bay Eco Hotel (Mon-Fri)

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands

5 days

Summary

The Galapagos Islands rank among the world’s most extraordinary wildlife destinations. Although every inch of our world has something that makes it ‘unique’, the islands are that much more sui generis than other places due to the archipelago’s isolation over millennia, which have allowed species to evolve amid the stark volcanic landscapes into new and apparently strange life forms that exist nowhere else on the planet. And on top of that, the creatures one encounters are virtually fearless of humans. It’s a truly magical place.

The award-winning Finch Bay Eco Hotel lies just steps from the beach in a secluded location, across the bay from Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz. Guests cherish the hotel’s privacy, natural surroundings, swimming pool, fine dining and superb service.

Highlights

  • Relax and enjoy at one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World.
  • The hotel offers various packages combining day-trips to Galapagos sites. It also offers excellent scuba diving programs.
  • Delicious healthy international and Galapagos-inspired menus are prepared daily by Finch Bay’s famous chef, using the freshest ingredients
  • Just steps from the beach in a secluded location between mangroves.

Inclusions

  • 2 full-day island yacht explorations
  • 1 full-day guided exploration
  • Snorkel and kayak equipment
  • WiFi

ITINERARY

Day 1 Galapagos Islands/Santa Cruz Isl.

You will arrive at Baltra airport and be transferred towards the Highlands of Santa Cruz. From there a short drive across the farming area will lead you to El Manzanillo at the northern edge of the Giant Tortoise Reserve. El Manzanillo is located on the natural path tortoises take every year as they either migrate to higher moist locations during the garúa season (June-September), or when they descend to the warmer lowlands during the wet season. The Galapagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) is the largest living tortoise species, weighing up to 250 kg (550 lb). It plays an important biological role as the top grazer in its habitat. In the wild, these gentle giants slowly barrel their way through the plant cover. The shape of their carapaces varies from island to island. On Santa Cruz, year round, tortoises can be seen grazing on the surrounding vegetation, or wallowing in muddy banks or in a small red-coloured pond (impressively coloured by surface red pond-weeds).

The area is teeming with life: chirping vegetarian-, small-tree, large-tree and woodpecker mockingbirds and flycatchers, as well as ducks, herons and gallinules make this an exciting morning visit. On the return to Puerto Ayora, visit one of the island’s lava tunnels, significant geological formations that take us back in time and allow us to remember how lava flows formed the islands.

Day 2 Santa Cruz Isl.

This morning after breakfast enjoy a full day of exploration.

Explorations include yacht rides. Choose from a wide variety of activities:

Tortuga Bay and Charles Darwin Research Station with lunch (guided)
Tortuga Bay is located to the Southwest of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. Its name means “turtle”, and the island received this moniker because it is sea turtles favourite place to lay their eggs. The stunning white sand beach is considered by many the most beautiful in the Galapagos archipelago. The beach is reached via a marked and cobbled two kilometre-path that starts at the west end of Charles Binford Street; guests must sign in and out at the National Park control point at the beginning of the path– it is open from 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM daily. There is excellent bird-watching along the path, with plenty of Darwin’s finches and other sea birds. And for active visitors, it is a great place to kayak, snorkel and surf!

The headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service and The Charles Darwin Research Station are located side by side on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. There is an interpretation centre open to the public and also one may view the tortoise rearing program. Those guests who do not have the opportunity to explore the highlands of Santa Cruz and see tortoises in their natural habitat will have the chance to see tortoises here. And for those who have already seen them in the wild, a visit to the Centre will expand their knowledge of this unique, iconic Galapagos animal.

North Seymour Yacht Exploration
North Seymour was lifted from the ocean floor by a seismic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. Cliffs only a few meters high form the shoreline, where swallow-tailed gulls sit among the ledges and rocks. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for the rains to burst into bloom. This island is teaming with life!

Day 3 Santa Cruz Isl.

This morning after breakfast enjoy a full day of exploration.

Explorations include yacht rides. Choose from a wide variety of activities.

Bartolome Island Yacht Exploration
Bartolome is famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering spearheaded obelisk that rises from the ocean’s edge and is the best-known landmark in the islands. Galapagos penguins—the only species of penguin found north of the equator—walk precariously along narrow volcanic ledges at its base. Sea lions snooze on rocky platforms, ready to slide into the water to play with passing snorkelers.

Day 4 Santa Cruz Isl.

This morning after breakfast enjoy a full day of exploration.

Explorations include yacht rides. Choose from a wide variety of activities.

South Plaza Island Yacht Exploration
South Plaza is a small island full of fascinating wildlife, both along its shore and along its dramatic, wind-swept cliffs: sea lions, land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, Opuntia cacti and vegetation that changes colours according to the season. South Plaza is one of Galapagos’ most impressive visiting sites.

Santa Fe Island Yacht Exploration
Santa Fe offers one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the islands. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. The island lies to the Southeast of Santa Cruz within sight of Puerto Ayora. Like North Seymour, Santa Fe has been uplifted seismically, and you can see underwater lava formations.

Day 5 Santa Cruz Isl.

After breakfast, leave the Finch Bay Hotel. On the way to Baltra, stop at the Twin Pit Craters, great geological depressions of volcanic material, formed by a long process of slow sinking of the ground, where exceptional Scalesia trees, Ferns, Mosses, and Orchids can be seen in the surroundings. Then, overland transfer to the airport in Baltra to take the flight back to the continent.

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