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Finch Bay Hotel
  Galapagos Travel News ( Press Release )

Metropolitan Touring of Ecuador Celebrates its Jubilee Year by Launching Innovative Finch Bay Hotel Project in Galapagos
Quito, Ecuador: August 29, 2003: Metropolitan Touring kicked off its year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary in 2003 by launching an innovative hotel project in the Galapagos Islands. The 21-room Finch Bay Hotel, the only beachfront hotel on Santa Cruz Island, is designed to bring nature lovers and soft-adventure travelers into close contact with Galapagos National Park through a wide variety of activities that provide an in-depth ecotourism experience on its own or combined with expedition cruises. The former Delfin, renovated and upgraded to a first-class hotel, opened February 15, 2003, and is a five-minute boat ride from Puerto Ayora in a secluded area with abundant wildlife and no cars or paved roads.
The flexible activities program introduces the unique natural world of two World Heritage Sites, Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve, to visitors at their own pace and offers a choice of sea kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, birdwatching, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding and stargazing as well as exploring Santa Cruz, with visits to the Charles Darwin Research Station and a giant tortoise reserve, and relaxing at the beach, pool or in the Jacuzzi. The second largest island in the archipelago, Santa Cruz has a great variety of ecosystems, wildlife species and natural attractions.
Finch Bay takes its name from the finches Charles Darwin identified on his historic 1835 Galapagos visit and the variety of endemic finch species on the hotel grounds. The hotel renovations added air-conditioning, a private terrace and fully renovated bathroom to the twin-bedded rooms; international direct-dial telephone, fax, Internet, e-mail access and in-room safe; an outdoor Jacuzzi; landscaping of the natural surroundings and a boardwalk. The cuisine features international, Ecuadorian and Galapagos specialties. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, lounge, large pool and deck, secluded beach surrounded by mangroves, and a desalinization plant. Tidal lagoons, ponds, lava flows, cactus forests and cliffs are nearby.
Activities focusing on the rich Galapagos Marine Reserve, one of the world's top diving and snorkeling destinations, include sea kayaking at Devine Bay to see rays, fish, sea tortoises and marine birds; swimming and snorkeling at Las Grietas and other sites; a boat ride around Academy Bay; and scuba, for certified divers, to view underwater sea lions, rays, fish turtles and harmless sharks at Academy Bay and other sites.
On land guests can birdwatch for more than 30 of the Galapagos' 140 species in the hotel gardens and nearby mangroves; hike to the white sand beach at Tortuga Bay, a peaceful spot that attracts pelicans, Darwin's finches and marine iguanas; mountain bike in the Highlands to El Chato Tortoise Reserve to find giant tortoises; bike to El Garrapatero, a new visitor site with a beach for recreational use; horseback ride in the Highlands; explore the Lava Tubes of Bellavista; observe and photograph wildlife; and stargaze at southern and northern constellations with state-of-the-art laser pointers. Relaxing by the pool or beach and strolling or cafe sitting in Puerto Ayora are other options.
Some activities are free like snorkeling, birdwatching, hiking and stargazing; others cost extra such as mountain biking, sea kayaking, a boat ride and scuba diving. Naturalist guides lead activities at Galapagos National Park sites. Free shuttle service is provided between the hotel and Puerto Ayora.
Hotel Rates
Rates are $182 per room per night, single or double occupancy, including buffet breakfast, round-trip shuttle transfers from Baltra Airport, luggage handling, taxes and service through December 31, 2004. Children under 12 receive a 50% discount. Rates do not include beverages, gratuities, the Galapagos National Park entrance fee or flights between Baltra and mainland Ecuador.
Booking Information
Metropolitan Touring, which pioneered ecotourism in the Galapagos Islands in 1969, is the largest tour operator in Ecuador. Additional information, brochures and reservations are available from Adventure Associates, 13150 Coit Road, Suite 110, Dallas, TX 75240; tel. (800) 527-2500 and (972) 907-0414; fax (972) 783-1286; Web site www.metropolitan-touring.com

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