14 Best Award-Winning Hotels on the Galápagos Islands

 

Famous for unique and abundant wildlife, these islands can be reached on a 2-hour flight from mainland Ecuador. The special thing about Galapagos is that all the islands are located within a protected nature reserve. It is forbidden to approach the animals closer than two meters, to touch them, feed them, hunt them or otherwise interact with them in any way. As a result, the animals have become accustomed to the presence of visitors but generally, pay little attention!

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Sea lions, iguanas, colorful birds, and many other animals are utterly fascinating to observe. Underwater you can see seahorses, sharks (e.g hammerheads), whales, etc. It is regarded as a paradise for divers.

A Local’s Guide to “DIY” Galapagos Visits

A do-it-yourself trip to Galapagos is easier than ever thanks to the ease of booking transport and hotels/accommodation online. It is possible to visit the Galapagos and spend most of your trip on just one island, using that as a basecamp for multiple day trips. However, ideally, I’d suggest spending a few nights each on Isabela, Santa Cruz, and San Cristobal. Around 10 days is a good length for a stay. Of course, you can book a shorter stay and have a wonderful time too.

A Word on Cruises

A cruise around Galapagos is a very common means of getting around the islands. Cruises have many critics and I’m inclined to agree that it isn’t the most adventurous or independent means of touring the area. However, there are a few advantages.

Firstly, you can avoid uncomfortable and time-consuming speedboat rides between the islands, and secondly, some people simply enjoy the experience of living on a boat for a few days — having the ocean around them (there’s a chance to see whales and dolphins) while enjoying the conveniences of the ship. Thirdly, some places in the Galapagos are just easier to visit via a cruise (for example, the back of Isabela and the famous Darwin and Wolf dive sites).

If you do choose to book a cruise, it needn’t necessarily take up your whole stay in the Galapagos. 5-day tours are typically more than enough. In general, cruises booked well ahead of time offer the peace of mind that your dates and route are secure. Last-minute cruises are available (sometimes at a sizeable discount), however, but there’s no guarantee your first choice will be available.

Most cruise ships depart from Baltra off the coast of Santa Cruz. It is worth comparing prices if you choose to book last-minute once you reach the Galapagos. Agencia GalapSurfIslands and Bridmartours S.A. are two of the best-known agencies but your hotel may also have recommendations to offer.

If you have a specific route in mind, you can research online when boats depart for those routes and get to Santa Cruz a day or two in advance. However, most boats depart on Friday and Saturday. The cheapest boats (e.g. Golondrina) with tiny cabins can sometimes be found for less than $1,500 for an 8-day trip.

A mid-range boat costs $1200 to $1500 for a 5-day trip. A boat with a jacuzzi can easily cost $1800. Cruise highlights include Fernandina Island on the back of Isabela due to excellent snorkeling and good opportunities for wildlife viewing. You can take in the sights of whales, turtles, and more while marvelling at white sand beaches, blue waters, and more.

One recommended itinerary is to combine DIY island hopping with a short cruise. For instance, tour Isabela on a cruise and take in much of the rest of the Galapagos on your own. This can be done via the speedboats, which are best to book the day before rather than the day of.

14 Best Accommodation Options For the Galápagos Islands

Below we present a curated list of the best hotels on the Galapagos, presented by an experienced Ecuadorian tour guide.

Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel (Most Luxurious)

Address: Barrio Punta Estrada, Puerto Ayora, Ecuador (Santa Cruz)

Finch Bay Hotel offers direct access to the beach, a luxurious swimming pool, and outdoor jacuzzi. It is a boutique-size establishment with 21 rooms — 17 rooms on the first floor and 4 on the second. The capacity is just 48 guests, giving the hotel a “homey” vibe.

Each room offers all the comforts you’d expect from an international resort. The spacious bathrooms are excellent and, of course, air conditioning makes your sleep as pleasant as possible. Finch Bay staff are extremely courteous and helpful. They’re also useful when it comes to assisting guests in choosing and booking activities for their trip.

Highlights include shallow and deep diving, horseback riding, bird watching, mountain biking, hiking to Tortuga Bay, visits to the upper part of the island, visits to the Giant Tortoise Reserve as well as the Charles Darwin Galapagos Station.

Pros

Direct beach access & incredible swimming pool. Far enough from Puerto Ayora to be secluded but close enough for easy access. Excellent rooms. Great staff.

Cons

There are few (if any) drawbacks to a stay at Finch Bay other than the fact it is pricey!

Rates

Rooms start at $450 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: couples on a honeymoon, special occasions.

Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel

Address: Av. Antonio Gil s/n vía Malecón, Puerto Villamil 200250, Ecuador (Isabela)

Iguana Crossing is a friendly hotel with a jacuzzi on the roof, pool, and bar. They offer a wide variety of rooms to suit different types of traveler, equipped with TV, phone, fridge, safe, and air conditioning.

Pros

Great facilities including swimming pool and jacuzzi. Consistently excellent customer service. Nice breakfast.

Cons

Located in Puerto Villamil on Isabela, this hotel takes a little longer to reach than those on Santa Cruz.

Rates

Rooms start at $150 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: adventurous people looking to branch out from Santa Cruz and go further into the islands.

Hotel Solymar Galapagos

Address: Av. Charles Darwin y Tomas De Berlanga, Puerto Ayora 200350, Ecuador (Santa Cruz)

Solymar is an excellent hotel offering rooms with modern amenities. Private bathroom, desk, safe, cable TV, adjoining restaurant, 24-hour reception, terrace, and luggage storage are all available. Hotel Solymar also happens to be located in one of the best sectors of Puerto Ayora — the waterfront views are amazing. The atmosphere is laid back and the location puts you in vicinity of restaurants, boutiques and craft shops

Pros

Great rooms and private bathrooms. Modern amenities. Helpful staff. Very close to all the best spots in Puerto Ayora.

Cons

The pool is quite small. Town center location isn’t ideal for those seeking seclusion. Prices are moderate to high.

Rates

Rooms start at $240 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: fun-loving couples and families.

Albemarle

Address: S/N El Malecón, Isla Isabela, Gálapagos, Puerto Villamil 200250, Ecuador (Isabela)

Albemarle is an iconic hotel with a fascinating history. Don’t be fooled by the quaint exterior though! The rooms are maintained to a high standard. En-suite bathrooms with double marble sinks, electric shower with hot water, air conditioning, private balconies, TV, telephone, internet, gourmet restaurant, and bar. The hotel organizes excursions to sites such as the Sierra Negra Volcano and dive trips.

Pros

Great location by the beach in Puerto Villamil. Excellent staff. Good food. Pretty building with well-maintained rooms.

Cons

Internet and cable service isn’t always 100% reliable.

Rates

Rooms start at $130 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: couples or individuals seeking an awesome seaview and immediate beach access.

The Wooden House Lodge

Address: Av. Conocarpus, Sn, Puerto Villamil 200250, Ecuador (Isabela)

Wooden House Lodge is one of the best all-round accommodation options on the Galapagos Islands. Rooms come with air conditioning, ceiling fan, private bathroom, TV, wifi, swimming pool, plus surface diving equipment and deep diving equipment available to rent. They also offer guided and private diving, camping, bike rental, tracking trips, sport fishing in fully equipped boats, and horseback riding.

Pros

Relatively inexpensive. Lots of amenities. Outdoor activities can be arranged for you by the hotel staff.

Cons

This is a quaint boutique hotel on the fringes of Puerto Villamil. The vibe is more laid back than what you’d find at bigger hotels. Some people, however, see this as a positive.

Rates

Rooms start at $95 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: adventurous people looking to take advantage of the hotel staff’s expertise in outdoor activities.

Royal Palm Galapagos

Address: Km. 18 Via Puerto Ayora Isla Santa Cruz, 200106, Ecuador (Santa Cruz)

Royal Palm offers modern conveniences including TV, wifi, telephone, and fridge in each room. They also have an excellent adjoining spa offering a range of treatments. This can be particularly relaxing after a long day spent exploring. The pool is beautiful and the fitness center on-site means you needn’t even have to miss a workout!

Pros

Some of the best amenities of any hotel on Isla Santa Cruz. The staff are helpful and courteous.

Cons

The hotel is in a secluded location a considerable distance away from Puerto Ayora. This means you’re a little closer to the airport at the north of the island but further away (25 minute drive) from the action at Puerto Ayora.

Rates

Rooms start at $220 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: honeymoons, couples seeking a hotel away from the hustle and bustle of Puerto Ayora.

Casa Opuntia

Address: AV CHARLES DARWIN E ISABELA SN, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno 200150, Ecuador (San Cristobal)

This hotel is all the amenities you’d expect: private bathroom, restaurant, outdoor pool, wifi, air conditioning, 24-hour front desk, bilingual service staff, full service bar, and laundry. It also has one of the best locations of any hotel in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno — stunning coastal views.

Pros

Amazing location and views. Very helpful bilingual staff. Affordable.

Cons

The rooms and furnishings are relatively basic. This shouldn’t be an issue if you intend to spend most of your time exploring.

Rates

Rooms start at $130 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: people seeking great views and convenience (suitable for families with children or couples).

Angermeyer Waterfront Inn

Address: Barrio Punta Estrada, Puerto Ayora 200350, Ecuador (Santa Cruz)

Rooms at this inn have offer TV, ceiling fans, air conditioning, private bathroom, mini-bar, wifi, laundry service, bar and cafeteria. The restaurant offers good quality food and the rooms offer stunning views over the water. The bathrooms and bedrooms are furnished to an exceptional standard.

Pros

Brilliant bedrooms and private bathrooms. Stunning views. Great staff.

Cons

More expensive than neighboring hotels.

Rates

Rooms start at $300 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: people seeking luxury and splendid waterfront views.

Hotel Boutique La Casa de Marita

Address: Av. Conocarpus, Puerto Villamil 200250, Ecuador (Isabela)

This hotel strives to make guests feel at home. Services include air conditioning, hot water, private bathroom, bar, fridge, ceiling fans, telephone, sofas, beach chairs, and restaurant.

Pros

Excellent beachfront location and helpful staff. The breakfast is great.

Cons

Rooms are clean and pleasant but furnished to a relatively basic standard.

Rates

Rooms start at $140 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: beach lovers seeking a hotel with easy access to the sand and the ocean!

Galapagos Habitat

Address: Ave Charles Darwin, Puerto Ayora 200350, Ecuador (Santa Cruz)

This pleasant hotel was formerly known as the Red Mangrove. Rooms here offer air conditioning, TV, private bathroom, hot water, safe, wifi, hairdryer, mirror, bathtub with temperature control, personal hygiene products, towels, and restaurant service. Guests can choose between three categories of rooms including standard, superior, and suite.

Pros

The restaurant is excellent. Rooms are beautiful thanks to wooden floors and ceilings with exposed beams. Views over the water are stunning.

Cons

More expensive than neighboring hotels but arguably well worth it.

Rates

Rooms start at $220 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: people who love ocean views and quaint bedrooms with wooden floors and ceilings.

Casa Natura Galapagos Lodge

Address: Ave Charles Darwin, Puerto Ayora 200350, Ecuador (Santa Cruz)

Rooms offer air conditioning, private bathroom, wifi, ceiling fans, and telephone. There is a bar, restaurant, and swimming pool on-site for your convenience.

Pros

Affordable rates. Decent breakfast and useful shuttle service.

Cons

Rooms are furnished to a good but basic standard. The location is somewhat remote (9km from Puerto Ayora’s center).

Rates

Rooms start at $99 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: families or couples looking for a basic and affordable stay.

Maytenus Galapgos (Most Affordable)

Address: Calle Petrel y Scalesia, Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz – Islas Galapagos 200350, Ecuador (Santa Cruz)

Standard amenities offered include wifi, TV, air conditioning, kitchenette, and living area. Breakfast is available to all guests. They offer a convenient bike rental service making it much easier to get close to Puerto Ayora’s town center.

Pros

Very affordable. Lots of services on offer considering the price. Rooms are basic but pleasant.

Cons

Location is somewhat on the fringes of Puerto Ayora’s center. Bikes are a good option to get around the town more quickly.

Rates

Rooms start at $60 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: young people or families who intend to spend a lot of time outdoors and don’t want to break the bank on accommdation.

Pikaia Lodge

Address: Sector El Camote a 100 m del Cerro Mesa, Santa Cruz, Galapagos, Ecuador 200105, Ecuador (Santa Cruz)

This ecolodge has a stunning, modern design. The onsite spa is a delight and the infinity pool is also breathtaking. All modern amenities one would expect are on offer (fitness center, free breakfast, room service, restaurant, hot tub, etc.).

Pros

Stunning design and beautiful views over lush greenery. Bookings include exploration activities on land and water.

Cons

Relatively remote location (shuttle service provided) and expensive rates.

Rates

Pikaia Lodge has an unconventional pricing model: 3-night minimum stay, which includes exploration time — some of it on land and the rest onboard a yacht. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: people seeking a luxurious and interesting stay on the Galapagos.

La Isla Galapagos Hotel

Address: Indefatigable 072 and Charles Darwin, Ave Santa Cruz, 200350, Ecuador (Santa Cruz)

This hotel is located right in the heart of Puerto Ayora. It offers all basic amenities including wifi, air conditioning, room service, hot tub, and bar. It is located a stone’s throw away from the waterfront and has a fantastic deck with views.

Pros

Super downtown location. Nice free breakfast.

Cons

With rooms starting at $150, this hotel is relatively affordable but still somewhat more expensive than hotels on the fringes of the town.

Rates

Rooms start at $150 per night. Find the best possible rate on TripAdvisor.

Best For: families and couples looking for a good value for money stay with a great location.

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