Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.
Due to a continued strong response from readers, we have been running another batch of ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews over the past few weeks. This time we wanted to hear about your ‘unique’ experiences and we’ve once again received a great amount of suggestions. As always you can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews by clicking here.
Today’s hotel is the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel in Puerto Ayora, a member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. Here is reader YC’s review:
Getting there & location
Few people understand how large the Galapagos Archipelago is, with the islands covering over 138,000 square kilometres.
The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is certainly not the easiest hotel to get to from the UK. Travel includes a minimum of two stopovers as Quito and Guayaquil are the only two entry ports to the Galapagos Islands.
Once you get to the airport the journey doesn’t end. We had to take a ferry, bus, land taxi and water taxi – a pretty complex journey that was luckily simplified with a Finch Bay representative guiding us. Nonetheless, once we arrived at the small bay in Puerto Ayora, we were in paradise and the tiresome journey to get there was all forgotten.
The remote location across the bay was no issue as the hotel had a water taxi that would take us across the water to get to the nearest town where we had dinner almost every night. The ride took only three minutes and there was never a long wait for the water taxi whenever we needed it. We were well entertained by reef sharks and sea lions whenever we were waiting for the boat.
On one occasion we were even met by a sea lion on our walkway at the jetty – who knows how it got up there!
Designated as one of the unique lodges of the world by National Geographic (which they certainly are very proud of!), the hotel had a resort like feel that was surrounded by nature. The eco-friendly and nautical theme blended well with the destination. Its remote location also had its advantages with various areas to relax and explore. On top of that it’s the only beach front hotel on Puerto Ayora which meant we had access to the beach before anyone else did!
The rooms were slightly on the smaller side but they were clean and comfortable. Most guests will probably spend a minimal amount of time in the room whilst in the Galapagos anyway.
It is worth mentioning that this is one of the best hotels on the island. Pikaia Lodge is another great one but was well out of budget and its location quite remote.
Service throughout the hotel was excellent. The staff were very knowledgable about the animals and the islands and showed interest in ensuring we had a good day.
The hotel had a swimming pool, spa and jacuzzi which was great for relaxing after a long day.
The hotel owns a private yacht called the ‘Sea Lion’ which we took on a day trip to South Plaza Island. It was the highlight of my trip! Both the land and sea guides were both very informative and we were able to get inches close to sea turtles and sea lions. Not to mention the 5 star service boat service and excellent food onboard by the yacht chef.
Although pricey, I would highly recommend it. The following day, we went with a third party guide from the island and were very disappointed.
The hotel is also just a 20 minute easy hike from Las Grietas, which is on the same side of the bay. It is a fascinating rock formation of two cliffs separated by ocean water. It was absolutely beautiful with the water being crystal clear and a great place to snorkel.
It is very popular and I would recommend going early in the morning to get the whole place to yourself (and I’m not a morning person).
Wetsuits were included although flippers and snorkelling gear were not. A thing to note about the wetsuits was that they did not provide full length suits and I personally felt cold whilst in the sea.
All in all, this was an unforgettable holiday and we were extremely lucky to have visited Galapagos. My biggest regret is not spending more time on the islands as we missed the opportunity to see certain wildlife.
Nonetheless, we made the most of our stay and Finch Bay really helped to enhance the trip through its genuine care, unique location and amenities. I highly recommend the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel for anyone considering a land base trip of the archipelago. We will be back!
The hotel’s website is here if you want to find out more. Pricing is $500 to $700 per night over Summer 2021.
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