As much as I love the water and despite how many years I have spent as a swimmer, I still don’t have my sea legs. The sad truth, my friends, is that each time I go snorkeling or ride a boat on the open sea, I am overwhelmed with seasickness. But that doesn’t stop me – I have just learned to deal with the waves of nausea. 😛
Most of my friends who have visited the Galapagos Islands have stayed overnight on boats. It sounded wonderful – sailing around the blue waters and jumping in anytime of day to be one with the sea life. One of my friends often recounts the time in the Galapagos when she jumped into the water one afternoon and was immediately surrounded by jellyfish. Knowing myself, though, I knew that that floating around for days to a week on the ocean sea was not going to be an option. So, I chose the land option on my trip to the Galapagos. I had gone with Gate 1 Travel (https://www.gate1travel.com/) and my tour group at the Finch Bay Hotel off Puerta Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. http://www.finchbayhotel.com/
Puerta Ayora is located on the southern tip of Santa Cruz island, where many come to visit, stay or dock for the day:
Along the coast are shops and small hotels, while further back is where the locals live. There is also no shortage of souvenirs to buy!
At the fish market, pelicans wait for leftovers,
while sea lions take a nap:
From Puerto Ayora, there are water taxis that can take you where you need to go. There is even a special water shuttle to take you over to the Finch Bay hotel!
As you ride over, you can see a sea lion taking a nap,
or a lizard going for a swim:
Named after the finches that are endemic to these islands, one greeted us as we headed toward the Finch Bay hotel from the dock:
And so did these guys:
The resort is a short walk from where the shuttle drops you off:
and the path takes you directly to a small stretch of beach and an animal (or two) as you arrive:
Don’t be fooled by the tranquility of this beach – it’s actually a public one and quite crowded by the mid afternoon.
But the grounds of the hotel are gorgeous:
And the inside of the lobby is gorgeous:
The rooms each have their own deck:
and chocolate with imprints of Galapagos animals are placed on your pillow each night:
But my favorite part of the hotel was the FOOD! Breakfast was always buffet style with fruit, empanadas, rolls, coconut shrimp, stir-fries. They have a different flavor fresh fruit juice daily and delicious ecuadorian coffee:
There was a 2 for 1 cocktail deal at happy hour each night:
And a great wine selection from all over the world to choose from to enjoy with your meals:
For lunch AND dinner, they serve a 2-3 meal course. With soups and saladsthey’ve got amazing appetizers and entrees:
With Asian flavor inspired spring rolls and fish appetizers:
Entrees were a good portion, like this fish:
And desserts were wimsicle and creative:
I was so impressed with everything here. The staff were friendly and helpful. Tours to all of the islands are easily arranged and done wonderfully. The food was delicious. The water was safe to drink because they had their own filter system and we each got a souvenir water bottle to fill up each time. I loved it here and would totally come back here to explore the islands again!