Rating in Ecuador
$ 4250

Galapagos Finch Bay Eco Hotel

Rafting / kayaking / sailing
Rafting / kayaking / sailing
min $ 4250
Per person
Tour details
Destinations: Santa Cruz Island
Guide language: English
Price: min $ 4250
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  • At a Glance
  • Detailed Itinerary
  • Price

At a Glance

Enjoy a fantastic combination of land and sea exploration in the Galapagos Islands. Stay at the lovely ecologically-orientated Finch Bay Eco Hotel with visits aboard its yacht to North Seymour, Plaza, Santa Fe and Bartolomé Islands, as well as excursions to Tortuga Bay beach, Devine Bay, and the Charles Darwin Research Station. Finch Bay Eco Hotel ; 3-Time Winner as World’s Leading ‘Green Hotel’!  And now a Proud Member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World Starting price US$ 4,250 per person sharing

Encounter with Galapagos flora and marine wildlife
Exploration with local naturalists
Daily Yacht excursion
Walking, snorkeling
Visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station
Gourmet Restaurant

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1 Finch Bay Eco Hotel

    Upon arrival, guests are met by the hotel naturalist guides and accompanied directly to the yacht. Welcomed by captain and staff, guests are briefed about safety issues as well as the National Park regulations. Lunch is served on board, while the yacht sails to North Seymour Island.

    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 stand just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for the rains to burst into bloom.

    This island is teaming with life! You might have to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana; blue-footed booby nests sit beside the trail where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. Further along, the rocky shore is interspersed with white sand, while large flocks of pelicans mass for a dive-bomb feeding-frenzy, painting a tableau from ages long past for us. The trail turns inland to reveal the largest nesting site in the Galapagos of the “magnificent frigate bird.” These huge, dark acrobats have two-meter (6-foot) wingspans, and males, with puffed up scarlet throat sacks sit precariously perched in low bushes to watch over their equally large chicks. This is a walking excursion and involves uneven rocky terrain. Dry landing. After the visit, the yacht sails to Itabaca channel, from where we cross by bus faster over Santa Cruz Island to reach Finch Bay Hotel on the south shore.
    Overnight at Finch Bay Eco Hotel (Garden Room) BLD

  • Day 2 Santa Cruz

    After a relaxed breakfast, our guests will leave Academy Bay by bus 15 km up to the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island. From there a short drive across the farming area will lead us to El Manzanillo, a site recently opened to visitors at the northern edge of the Giant Tortoise Reserve. Manzanillo is 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. Year round, tortoises can be seen grazing on the surrounding vegetation, or wallowing in muddy banks or in a small red-coloured pond (impressively colored by surface red pond-weeds). The area is teeming with life: chirping vegetarian-, small-tree, large-tree and woodpecker finches, mockingbirds and flycatchers, as well as ducks, herons and gallinules make this an exciting morning visit. Lunch is served in the cooler highlands, with the stunning views of Santa Cruz Island. After lunch, we visit a small farm, where coffee, sugar cane and cocoa beans are grown, harvested and prepared – all organic and sustainable. We have the chance to taste the products while learning about the artisanal way to burn island spirits! We then return to the hotel to enjoy its pool, beach, or ask for suggestions for activities.
    Overnight at Finch Bay Eco Hotel BLD

  • Day 3 Santa Fe Island

    Santa Fe offers one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the archipelago. 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, and you can see where underwater lava once cooled off (pillow lava).

    A wet landing on a sandy white beach brings us into contact with one of the many sea lion harems. Bulls vie for the right to be Beach Master, while smaller males masquerade as females and make stealthy mating moves. Galápagos hawks are often easily approached, perched atop salt bushes. The giant prickly pear cactus found here live up to their name, with tree-sized trunks! Our goal is to spot one of the large species of land iguana, native to Santa Fe. Beige to chocolate brown in color with dragon-like spines, these huge iguanas truly resemble dinosaurs. An indigenous species of rice rat also inhabits the thickets, and lucky hikers can spot harmless Galápagos snakes. After the hike, there is nothing more inviting than a swim in the calm waters of the bay, a great snorkeling opportunity with diverse marine life. This is a walking excursion and involves uneven rocky terrain.
    Overnight at Finch Bay Eco Hotel BLD

  • Day 4 Divine Bay

    This is the magic of Galápagos: a short distance away from Academy Bay and the bustle of Puerto Ayora, lies the quiet and wildlife-rich Divine Bay. Named after one of the islands first settlers, this cove is protected from the swells by natural volcanic reefs on one side, by a gallery of mangrove trees on the other and cliffs created eons ago by the uplift of the lava plateau. The whole provides a wonderful natural shelter for wildlife.

    Every morning, hundreds of herons cross Divine Bay on their daily foraging trips, to return before sunset to perch amid the trees. Noddy terns use the natural burrows in the cliffs for nesting, while Galápagos brown pelicans prefer the evergreen mangroves, under the watchful eye of non-breeding blue footed boobies perched along the cliffs. Beneath the sea, sea turtles graze on sea weed, hundreds of reef fish species swim about the lava crevices, and young reef sharks and rays employ the brackish streams as havens from large predators while they mature. We can explore this lovely cove by boat while more adventurous guests could take the tandem, sit-on-top kayaks straight from the hotel’s beachfront. The morning’s visit includes snorkeling on a calm, but active, sector of the cove. This is next to a wooden dock we use to explore Punta Estrada. A dry landing and a short walk (0.5 km) will lead us to the south shore of the island, to a small beach called “Playa de los Perros” (Dog Beach). This is a great place to see intertidal organisms and learn about marine iguanas in their nesting sites. Also, there’s a nearby natural terrace from where young white tipped reef sharks can be observed from above as they swim about the lava crevices. Return to the Finch Bay Hotel for lunch. Afternoon visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise breeding programme, with time to enjoy the town, or the hotel’s facilities.
    Overnight at Finch Bay Eco Hotel BLD

  • Day 5 South Plaza Island

    Today, we include two visitor sites: South Plaza and Punta Carrión. Together they are a perfect combination of stunning wildlife colonies (Plaza), and a site with excellent snorkelling (Carrión). Tuesdays, we visit Carrión then Plaza, and on Fridays we visit Plaza then Carrión. In both cases, we must complete the loop by bus (either driving up or down the 42 km to the Itabaca Channel. This will allow us to spend more time within the National Park area.

    Punta Carrión, at the north-eastern tip of Santa Cruz Island, boasts shallow reefs, mangroves, and exposure to rich upwellings to the east. As a result, it’s an ideal snorkelling site with plenty of reef fish as well as occasional sea lions and sharks.

    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. The island is one of a pair of crescent-shaped islands. While the northern twin remains accessible only for scientists, South Plaza is one of the Galápagos’ most impressive visiting sites.

    Only 130 meters wide (426 feet), the island was formed from uplifted seabed, giving it a tilted table top aspect. Our landing is in the channel between North and South Plaza, where the island slopes down toward the water. The approach makes for a lavishly colourful sight! The turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. The rocks have grown thick with green seaweed in places, speckled with bright orange “Sally light foot” crabs. Further up the shore, a carpet of scarlet Sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop. The trail gradually follows the tilt of the island to the cliffs that overlook the ocean to the south, where swallow-tailed gulls nest. Red-billed tropic birds, masked and blue-footed boobies ride the gusty currents. The overlook is a great place for spotting large marine life, including manta rays. Surf pounds an inlet at the western corner of the island, where a colony of bachelor sea lions make their home, accounting for the surprising surface of the rocks, polished by the oils of their fur. This is a walking excursion and involves uneven rocky terrain. Dry landing. Snorkelling at Punta Carrión.
    Overnight at Finch Bay Eco Hotel BLD

  • Day 6 Bartolome Island

    After an invigorating breakfast we leave the hotel, cross Academy Bay by boat, and board our bus in Puerto Ayora. In order to shorten travel distance and save considerable time (Bartolomé is the furthest island the hotel’s yacht visits), we will cross 42 km to the Itabaca Channel on the north shore, where the Sea Lion Yacht awaits us. This way, all that is left to sail is 21 Nautical miles (39Km/24miles) to Bartolomé Island. Bartolomé 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.

    Galápagos penguins —the only species of penguin found north of the equator — waddle 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. Just below the surface, shoals of tropical fish dodge in and out of the rocks past urchins, sea stars and anemones. A perfectly- crescent-shaped, pink-and-white sandy beach lies just to the east of the pinnacle. Sea turtles use the beach as a nesting site and can sometimes be found wading in the shallow water near the shore, or resting in the sand to recover from the arduous task of digging nests, laying eggs and covering them over. We snorkel from this beach following a wet landing. Penguins dot the nearby rocks of the other landing site, less than a kilometer along the eastern shore. Here the submerged walls of a tiny volcanic crater give the impression of a fountain pool. A dry landing here leads to a 600-metre (2,000-foot) pathway complete with stairs and boardwalks leading to Bartolomé’s summit. The route is not difficult and presents a museum of volcanology: a site left untouched after its last eruption, where cones stand in various stages of erosion and lava tubes form bobsled-like runs from the summit. At the top you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Santiago Island and James Bay to the west, and far below, Pinnacle Rock and our beach, where the crystal blue waters of the bay cradle our yacht. We return to the Itabaca Channel, board our bus, and travel over the island back to the hotel.
    Overnight at Finch Bay Eco Hotel BLD

  • Day 7 Tortuga Bay

    Tortuga Bay is a combination of ecosystems, landscapes, wildlife, sports and a lot of fun! We start after a (surely) much appreciated relaxed morning’s breakfast at the hotel, and a stroll along the neighbouring brackish lagoons. Our “panga” launch will take us to Puerto Ayora and a short distance further we reach the starting point of the trail to Tortuga Bay. The walking distance is 2 km (1.3 miles) along a fairly flat and straight path, where we explore and understand the arid, deciduous forest and its inhabitants. This is a great birding trail, if you take a little time to wander about and listen to the chirps and songs. You don’t have to worry too much about your day-pack, as you only need to carry the very immediate essentials: hat, sunscreen (to add more if rubbed-off), binoculars, camera and your water bottle. Anything else you could need for the rest of the day will be sent to the end of the trail by boat.

    When you reach Tortuga Bay, you will understand why this is often referred to as Ecuador’s most beautiful beach. Over one kilometre of snow-white sand and turquoise waters with the never-ending sound of swells caressing the island. Some guests can opt for an unusual treat: surf instructors of the Santa Cruz Surf Club (CSSC) give surfing lessons here. If this something you have always wanted to try, this is your chance! Other activities include exploring the shore birds of “Playa Brava”, Tortuga Bay’s first beach, the nesting grounds of the green Sea Turtles, foraging marine iguanas, and the impressive change in sand, water, coastal vegetation and landscape, when you reach “Playa Mansa”. Protected by a natural lava barrier, this large, calm bay is surrounded by a gallery of mangroves. This habitat is the home of different species of marine and terrestrial birds, as well as young sharks and rays spending their youth in the protective, mildly brackish conditions. Kayaking in tandem sit-on top craft is a great way to experience nature up-close. In “Playa Mansa” we meet our day-boat. Logistically, our day boat meets up with the rest of the group on Playa Mansa, with anyone who prefers not to walk the 3 Km, carries all day-bags not needed for the walk, as well as cold beverages, towels, has restroom facilities, and brings us our freshly packed box-lunch from the hotel (during breakfast, all guests can choose from a wide menu of options). Generally we end our Tortuga Bay experience with a soothing dip in the calm and clear waters of Playa Mansa, before the day-boat leaves the bay to bring all guests back to the hotel’s dock in Academy Bay. The ride takes less than half hour. For the rest of the afternoon, guests can enjoy the hotel’s facilities (swimming pool, beach, sea kayaks, etc.) or continue exploring the island’s vast list of sites including the Charles Darwin Research Station.
    Overnight at Finch Bay Eco Hotel BLD

  • Day 8 Departure Day

    After breakfast we leave the Finch Bay Hotel and 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 Quito.

  • Departure Dates

    Flexible departures (any day)

  • Included

    Accommodation and meal plan as indicated
    All transfers

  • For More Information

    Please contact: jen@heritagesafaris.com

Price

From US$ 4,250 per person (Based on 2 Guests Sharing Finch Bay Room)
From US$ 4,775 per person (Based on 2 Guests Sharing Finch Bay Suite)

All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of The Heritage Safari Company
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