Landlubbers rejoice: Galapagos without cruising

The Galapagos Islands can be a bit of a whirlwind. This rocky island archipelago, a remote volcanic outpost 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador, is unrivalled in terms of endemic species, biodiversity and seeing birds with blue feet. However, it can be too regimented for some, out in the open from dusk ’til dawn for days on end: eat-sleep-hike-snorkel-repeat. Sometimes it’s nice to step off the merry-go-round and take a breather.

Enter the Finch Bay Eco Hotel: the first and only beachfront hotel on Santa Cruz Island.

Galapagos

This little eco-hideaway is the ultimate Galapagos sanctuary. Set in lush verdant grounds on the island of Santa Cruz – the second-largest in the Archipelago – and on one of the region’s finest beaches, the Finch Bay offers a welcome respite for non-cruisers – with no compromise on wildlife encounters.

Galapagos

Galapagos

Entirely renovated at the end of last year, this 27-room boutique hotel now boasts an ‘expedition-chic’ décor, inspired by the surrounding wilderness. The bright and airy rooms have quirky Galapageno touches, like pillows emblazoned with turtles and puffer fish. The open living areas are the perfect spot to decompress after a day of adventures, with happy hour at the pool bar particularly popular! We can’t think why…

Galapagos

Casting out from the hotel, the liveliest town in the Galapagos Islands is just a short taxi boat ride away with its many local restaurants and shops. The epicentre of Puerto Ayora is the bustling fish market, which acts as both an active marketplace and the social hub of the town. Women chatter and barter for fish, landed fresh off the boat that morning by the island’s fishermen. Keep an eye out for the entrepreneurial Galapagos Sea Lion, which has learnt to ward off the many circling pelicans in return for a tasty fish or two.

Galapagos

Galapagos

If sea legs return, never fear: the Finch Bay has a yacht – the Sea Lion (of course) – ready to whisk guests out on day trips to local dive sites, nature hotspots and conservation centres. Just don’t stray too far afield – happy hour is calling and there’s a pisco sour to drink.

A three-night package at the Finch Bay Eco Hotel (www.finchbayhotel.com) starts at USD 1,831 per adult in a double room including all meals based on two sharing. 

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