Staying in one of the Santa Cruz Galapagos hotels can be a great way to start exploring the Galapagos Islands. Not only is Santa Cruz’s main town of Puerto Ayora a base for cruises, yachts charters, and tour agencies, but it’s also an excellent place to relax for a few days, go to the beach, and hike around Santa Cruz's many attractions. As the largest settlement in the Galapagos Islands, Puerto Ayora hotels have the greatest variety and quality in the archipelago, allowing you to choose between cheap youth hostels and luxury hotels.
The premier establishment among Santa Cruz Galapagos hotels is undoubtedly the Red Mangrove Adventura Lodge (pictured). Location is one of the best features of this hotel—the Red Mangrove is so close to the waterfront, the beautiful wooden deck is right over shallow water, literally allowing you to go kayaking within a few feet of the hotel. A large number of friendly sea lions spend their days napping on the sunlit hotel patio, and are willing to be approached by guests. Rooms are both comfortable and stylish, with plenty of windows for you to take in that breathtaking view over the bay. You can also enjoy an excellent selection of local dishes at the hotel restaurant, with seating right on the wooden deck over the water.
The hotel is surrounded by lush greenery, giving you the impression you are at a secluded forest lodge, when in reality you are but a five-minute walk to the town center. Hotel staff can help you to arrange tour guides and excursions, or you can just relax on the deck and swim in the pool, if you like. Best of all, the Red Mangrove takes pains to be eco-friendly, providing natural soaps and other products, and reducing their use of plastic.
If you're looking for an experience where you can be truly immersed in nature, the Finch Bay Eco Hotel is one of the best Puerto Ayora hotels. So secluded that you must be dropped off by boat, the Finch Bay Hotel is truly in the midst of the natural beauty of the Galapagos, with marine iguanas and local finches playing within feet of your room. Beautifully decorated rooms combine comfort with unique charm, and all the amenities you can expect of a larger chain hotel, including hair dryers, safes, refrigerators, and more. In addition to this, there is a large pool, and guests consistently rate the restaurant food very highly. Staff can help you arrange boat trips to other islands, coming back to the hotel at night to sleep. This can be an excellent option for exploring the Galapagos if you don't wish to spend your entire vacation on a boat tour. Being within walking distance of Tortuga Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the islands, makes the Finch Bay one of the best located Santa Cruz Galapagos hotels for those who prefer to be out of town.
One of the best Puerto Ayora hotels located within convenient walking distance to the center of town is the well-known Hotel Silberstein. Right next to the Charles Darwin Research Station, Hotel Silberstein is well-located to see plenty of tortoises, marine iguanas, and local birds. The restaurant is excellent and is one of the highlights of staying at Hotel Silberstein, with excellent dishes expertly paired with wine. While in close proximity to the downtown area, the hotel itself is in a quiet area, perfect for relaxing in the garden or by the pool. Rooms are a little old, but comfortable and clean, much as you would expect at a good chain hotel. A large array of amenities makes the Hotel Silberstien worth a bit of a splurge, as it is one of the more expensive hotels in the Galapagos Islands; a hotel library provides reading material, and the hotel's scuba diving shop has a good safety record and English-speaking guides who can provide excellent service for those interested in exploring the waters.