Table of Contents

Exploration Activities


Beginning and experienced snorkelers alike will quickly fall in love with snorkelling in Galapagos. The Marine Reserve offers opportunities that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, showcasing numerous unusual coloured fish species, enormous sea turtles, and harmless sharks. And sharing the water with playful sea lions is, of course, an unforgettable experience. Some of the best spots: right outside the hotel, las Grietas, Bartolome, North Seymour, Santa Fe.

Giant Tortoises

Depart the hotel towards the Highlands of Santa Cruz. From there a short drive across the farming area will lead us 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 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. Lunch at El Manzanillo.

Tortuga Bay

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 the sea turtles’ favorite place to lay their eggs.

The stunning white sand beach is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the Galapagos archipelago.

The beach is reached via a marked and cobblestone two kilometer-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!

Visits to North Seymour, Bartolome, South Plaza, Santa Fe and Santiago Island

North Seymour

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!

Bartolome Island

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.

South Plaza Island

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

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.

Las Grietas

Our walk to Las Grietas takes us through a mangrove and opuntia cactus-filled landscape as we pass through old salt mines before reaching a series of volcanic crevices that have become a popular swimming and snorkeling destination for visitors to Santa Cruz. Jump off the rocks into the crystalline waters, a mix of fresh water from the highlands and Pacific Ocean waters that attracts numerous marine species and offers a great place to cool off on a hot day.

El Garrapatero

Garrapatero Cove and beach are considered to have the finest sand in all Galapagos! We enjoy a soothing dip in the waters; take a small trip on a tandem, sit-on-top kayak; lie on the beach; or walk a short distance to a brackish lagoon, home of stilts, plovers, pintails and flamingos.

Wildlife Observation

Wildlife observation is the prime reason why so many people choose to visit the archipelago. Nowhere else in the world can we observe animals so closely, so calmly. Galapagos’ iconic wildlife shows no fear of humans, providing us with an amazing opportunity to see their daily lives – mating rituals, the birth and feeding of their young, competition for scarce resources – from no more than 2 meters (6 feet) away. As we journey through the islands’ haunting volcanic landscapes, much like Charles Darwin before us, we find inspiration in the unique endemic species that have evolved in ways unexpected and we leave with another perspective on the greater patterns that govern life on Earth.

Charles Darwin Station

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 center 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 Center will expand their knowledge of this unique, iconic Galapagos animal.

Island Hopping

Metropolitan Touring’s innovative island hopping concept allows you to discover the best of the two most beautiful islands in the Galapagos: Santa Cruz and Isabela. On each island, stay at the best hotels with the most comfortable accommodations and wake up well rested to brand new inspiring views.

Explore the town of Puerto Ayora

With its small cafes, boutiques and nightclubs, there is a little something to entertain everyone. Check out everyday life for locals at the farmer’s market on Saturdays or visit the fisherman’s wharf any day of the week and watch out for sea lions who want to taste the day’s catch. You will also find banks, pharmacies and – for our SCUBA diving guests – it’s a relief to know there is a 24/7 hyperbaric chamber in town.

Relaxing Activites

Sometimes we want an active vacation. Other times, the best vacation is one in which we just lie back and enjoy the best of what our surroundings have to offer us.

Or we can choose to combine both, just as we do on our best Galapagos tours. At the Finch Bay, the hotel itself offers many opportunities to take it easy, be it resting on a pool lounge or a hammock, or digging our bare toes into the sand just steps away from our room. Sip a cocktail at the bar or indulge with fine dining at our renowned restaurant and end the day with a massage or watch as the stars illuminate the night sky with constellations from both the northern and southern hemispheres.

Puerto Ayora and other short walks

The hotel’s central location means you can enjoy a short stroll to Las Grietas or a walk on the beach, and of course, explore the town of Puerto Ayora. With its small cafes, boutiques and nightclubs, there is a little something to entertain everyone. Check out everyday life for locals at the farmer’s market on Saturdays or visit the fisherman’s wharf any day of the week and watch out for sea lions who want to taste the day’s catch. You will also find banks, pharmacies and – for our SCUBA diving guests – it’s a relief to know there is a 24/7 hyperbaric chamber in town.

  • Relax at the Pool
  • Beach at your Doorstep
  • Short Walks
  • Massages
  • Stargazing
  • Balcony and Hammock
  • Fine Dining

Adventure Activities

You haven’t experienced the Galapagos until you see what’s below the water! The diving is truly world class and often rumored by pro divers to be completely unique. Finch Bay Hotel offers PADI designed programs to allow guests to experience the thrill of SCUBA diving in a safe and fun environment. This diving package was designed by pro divers to highlight the best the Galapagos has to offer. A comprehensive underwater experience for adventurous divers that want to take home unforgettable memories. Most dive sites within the central islands are included, making this package a complete winner. Highlights: North Seymour, Daphne Minor, Cousins Rock, and the always amazing Gordon Rocks. Right on Santa Cruz. Dive sites (number of dives per site): Santa Fe (2), North Seymour (2), Daphne Minor (2), Mosquera Islet (2), Gordon Rocks (2), Cousins Rock(2), Floreana (2). Species which can be observed: Among other marine life that can be found in the Galapagos Marine Reserve we find: large Galapagos garden eel colonies, sea turtles, rays, yellowtail grunts, bigeye jacks, and schools of snappers. We also have frequent sightings of shark, snake eels, sea turtles, mantas, amberjacks, barracudas. And often, we get to play with the many sea lions which reside on the beach and observe tropical fish, multicolored sponges, moray eel, octopus, and more.
  • Rays: Eagle and Manta Rays, Stingrays
  • Sharks: Hammerheads, White-Tipped Reef Sharks, Galapagos Shark,
  • Eels: Tiger Snake Eels, Moray Eels, Garden Eels,
  • Galapagos Giant Sea Turtles
  • Barracuda, tropical fish, the pelagic big fish, octopus, etc.
  • Crabs, oysters and starfish
  • Endemic Fish: Scorpionfish, Heiroglyphic Hawkfish, Cardinalfish, and much more..!


  • Marine life encounters cannot be guaranteed
  • Dive sites may be changed due to sea conditions, availability, National Park restrictions or safety requirements. Make the most of your journey by knowing the best time to visit the Galapagos for optimal wildlife encounters.


Paddling around the waters of the Marine Reserve is a great way both to get some exercise and spot unique endemic wildlife. Birds rest on the cliffs that form the edges of the islands. Sea lions and their pups lie meters away on the beaches. Some of our favourite kayaking spots: Tortuga Bay, Garrapatero Beach, Divine Bay and Playa de los Alemanes (right outside the Finch Bay Hotel gate).


Tortuga Bay offers a great opportunity to work on your surfing technique – or learn it for the first time. An internationally recognized surf magnet, it features a spectacular white, sandy beach and surf from groundswells with breaks that offer both lefts and rights. It is rarely crowded, but of course, watch out for rocks, protected marine life, turtles, sharks and rays. And the walk to and from the beach is quite special in and of itself.


Explore the otherworldly landscapes formed by volcanic activity, some as recent as 100 years ago. Hikes in Galapagos vary from island to island and give visitors the chance to learn first-hand about geology and, of course, to get selfie distance away from fearless iconic island wildlife.


What better place to enjoy your pastime of biking than on Santa Cruz Island: Beautiful views, no traffic and unique animals on either side of the path. Easy downhill paths lead to easy walks to the beach accompanied by birdwatching opportunities. A great family activity!


Let’s plan together your next Galapagos Tours. Have a chat with our Destination Experts that have enjoyed our Galapagos itineraries!

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