GALAPAGOS ISLANDS—The pioneering Finch Bay Eco Hotel in the Galapagos Islands recently won a travel industry “Oscar,” a World Travel Award, for its commitment to the environment of the Ecuadorian archipelago. The hotel has implemented many measures to make it more eco-friendly.
On the isolated Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, creating a green hotel is a challenge for everyone involved: it’s about taking an integral approach to crafting an establishment that is sustainable for the future while generating secure jobs and a healthy working environment for the present.
With this concept in mind, the Finch Bay Eco Hotel has led the way in sustainable practices in Puerto Ayora, the main town on the island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos. It’s been huge effort, drawing on the company’s strengths in logistics, training, service ethos and expedition experience.
“All the staff at the hotel is honored to have won this award,” says Xavier Burbano de Lara, general manager of the hotel. “It’s a reflection of the dedication and love which our team shows every day of the year and of our commitment to the people and unique ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands.
Sustainability at Heart of Operations
“Finch Bay has always placed the environment and sustainability at the very heart of our operations, which, in the context of our location, is not just best practice, but our duty,” Burbano de Lara adds. “Over the years, the hotel has made an ever-firmer commitment to the islands by including a number of measures to lessen our environmental footprint and increase our positive contributions.”
• Making the Finch Bay the only hotel in the archipelago with a biological sewage treatment plant;
• Introducing energy-saving measures such as solar panels, movement sensors, better room insulation and more efficient electrical appliances;
• Classifying its solid waste and sending all recycling to the port’s recycling center (which, in turn, is part-financed by the Fundación Galápagos); and
• Using organic waste for composting to enrich the hotel’s organic vegetable, fruit and herb garden (less food is brought in to the hotel, reducing its carbon footprint).
“Our guests are conscious of their impact here in the islands,” explains Burbano de Lara. “That’s why they’re more than happy to use the water bottles we provide them, not use disposable plates, not change towels every day, turn lights off, and generally be part of the hotel’s green spirit. This spirit also extends to the hotel’s staff, who are trained in sustainable issues, keep the beach and surroundings clean, and apply best practices every day. They then take these practices home with them, creating a virtuous circle for the community.”
The Finch Bay recently embarked on redesigning its garden spaces, having planted more than 500 button mangroves over the last years, creating an environment of peace and shade, for people and wildlife alike. This effort helps to maintain the area’s ecosystem while also restoring and safe-guarding nearby water sources.
The Finch Bay enjoys a privileged position by a small sandy cove in Puerto Ayora. With its 21 Garden View rooms and six Ocean View suites, swimming pool, restaurant, day-tours to visitor sites operated by its pair of yachts, activities on Santa Cruz and all-inclusive packages, guests experience these remarkable islands at their own pace, mixing exploration with relaxation.
The Finch Bay is owned and managed by Metropolitan Touring, one of South America’s leading tour operators.
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