One could mention the hotel restaurant’s spectacular mural, painted by long-time Galápagos resident and artist Magno Bennett – a beautifully conceived school of hammerhead sharks meandering through a ‘bleeding’ abstract in blues, yellows and greens – which covers an entire wall…
One could evoke the outdoor pool, visited by the ever-so-dapper (and ever-so-rare) Galápagos Lava Gull (a sight not to be seen anywhere else in the world), while guests sip daiquiris and piña coladas on sun-baked loungers. Or I could describe the spectacular beach, witness to the romantic stories of adventure and discovery that marked the early history of one the last places on our planet to be colonized by humans.
The beach is a beautiful bay, edged by mangroves, populated by marine iguanas and White-cheeked pintails; its sand golden-yellow; its waters, the pure, crystalline Pacific Ocean. This is the restaurant’s gloriously emblematic setting, where the Galápagos comes to life.
One of our favorite corners of the Finch Bay is its small “Galápagos” backyard, a secret garden found along the restaurant’s northwestern corner. During the day, the French windows leading to the small grove are left wide open, allowing a gentle Galápagos breeze to drift over the dining tables. The story that emanates from this place illustrates the marvels of the vegetation that co-exists within it here in this quiet corner of Puerto Ayora.
A Galápagos mockingbird flits from one Scalesia tree branch to the next, staring us straight in the eye as only a Galápagos mockingbird would. Apart from the Scalesia tree, other spectacular endemics grow in this garden, including the unparalleled Opuntia cactus tree; a unique cotton tree (locally called ‘moyuyo’); and the aromatic Palo Santo, whose bright yellow flowers match the wings of numerous butterflies fluttering about. You can touch the Scalesia and smell your fingers. This deeply sweet-scented aromatic leaf is used in recipes. The chefs here have been the first to use Scalesia in cuisine.
This seems like paradise. Finch Bay will always be one of the worlds’ most special hidden gems, a place that will take you far and beyond your own imagination.
Finch Bay Eco Hotel
(reached by water-taxi from the Municipal Dock)
Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz
USA Toll Free: +1 (888) 229-3214
Reservations: +(593 2) 298-8311