Galapagos, San Cristobal Island
Known as "Las Islas Encantadas" (The Enchanted Isles), the Galapagos islands are located on the equator approximately 800 km west of the Ecuador mainland. More than half of the islands is national parkland under the protection of the nation of Ecuador, a stable Latin American democracy recently dollarized. The Galapagos Islands are the pride of Ecuador and are internationally renowned as the place where Charles Darwin witnessed unique animal species cut off from the natural evolutionary processes of the continents and advanced his theories of Evolution. The Galapagos is mostly famous for its many indigenous species including marine iguanas, huge land tortoises, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, albatross, manta-rays, and finches.
The Galapagos also has world class surf. Wavehunters' focus is the island of San Cristobal where there are more than a half-dozen outstanding waves, at least 4 of them world class, 2 of which are square tubes with Hawaiian power. San Cristobal island is unique because it picks up BOTH North and South Pacific swells equally well. (Note, there are other waves on other islands in the Galapagos but most of them are closed off due to park regulations and access is difficult to impossible).
The waves on San Cristobal occur on the southwest and northwest facing sides of the island where they are exposed to ground swells from both the North and South Pacific. Though the Galapagos has waves year-round, the optimal "surf season" is from December until May. The reason is that the cold Humboldt current which travels northward up the coast of Chile and Peru during the Austral winter months of May-November creates prevailing onshore wind conditions during this period, with the wind and swell coming from the same direction.
The hot season from Dec-May sees the diminishing influence of this current, with hotter, sunnier offshore conditions ideal for surfing. The North swells occur most commonly from December until March. The south swell, despite pulses from December until February, is strongest during March, April and May. These months are particularly good for SouthWest swells which the island tracks far better than the more southerly swells which tend to be more dominant from June until November.
San Cristobal island is located 960 Km west of Ecuador. The best surfing season is from December-April. This is the period when wind and swell conditions conspire to offer world class perfection. The waves average 3-6 ft, but can get up to 15 ft on the biggest swells. Long period ground swells arrive from a NW or SW direction and last between 3 and 4 days at a time. There is rideable surf everyday in the Galapagos at least chest-head high so getting skunked is a very remote possibility. For surfboards, recommended quiver would be a shortboard, a 6-6 to 6-9 rounded pin or mini gun, and one gun in the 7-foot range for the bigger days. Bring all equipment as there are no surf shops on the island.
The Galapagos lies in an ideal geographical location to pick up the brunt of North Pacific ground swells which pound Hawaii and California but largely miss Mexico and Central America due to their south-facing orientation. As such, the Galapagos islands are on a short list of locations which really amplify and harvest the power of North Pacific ground swells and enjoy ideal weather and wind conditions at the same time. La Carola (hollow Sunset-like righthander), El Canon (peak lefthander similar to Popoyo), and Manglecito (hidden bay w/peaky A-frames) are at their best on NW swells.
While the North swells have received a lot of attention, the South Swells are actually bigger and more consistent most of the year (especially from March onwards). Loberia (an A-frame reef break reminiscent of Pipe/Backdoor) is the go-to option for serious chargers, while Tongo Reef provides a more classic line (lefthander) with rides up to 300 yards. El Canon and Outer Reef will also pickup strong SW swells and provide some additional surfing venues.
Consistency, Size, Variety - Galapagos has it!
Because of the combination of northerly and southerly swells the Galapagos has a high degree of consistency over 70% during the season, although some of the breaks are deepwater volcanic rock reef waves which take a moderate to strong swell to go off. If it is breaking it is rarely under 4-5 feet. When major swells hit it can sometimes be huge at spots such as La Carola and Loberia hitting a legitimate 8-10 ft Hawaiian scale though 4-7 ft is more common, and fortunately there are some softer options like El Canon, Tongo Reef and Manglecito to find shelter.
Accommodations : Golden Bay Hotel
The 21-Room Golden Bay Hotel & Spa was designed and conceived to offer its guests an unparalleled level of comfort and world-class service in the strikingly beautiful and unique Galapagos Islands. The Hotel fuses its luxury status with the environmental demands of the “Enchanted Archipelago”. The architectonic design combines modernity with the natural surroundings. The Golden Bay Hotel was also designed to integrate its hometown’s emblematic “Playa de Oro” to the architectonic complex and to enhance the natural beauty of the bay, the port, the town and the dramatic backdrop of San Cristobal Island’s green hillsides. Our Hotel seeks to provide much more than a superior lodging option: our mission is to deliver to our guests an unforgettable and outstanding Hotel Experience created to enhance the already fabulous experience of visiting Galapagos.
The Golden Bay Hotel & Spa offers 4 types of rooms, all generously ample, international-level comfortable, elegantly appointed, decorated and modernly equipped. Architects and interior designers have come up with a fresh and creative proposal, internal and externally, to charm the guests. All four types of rooms feature private bathroom facilities, including quality amenities. Natural light plays an important role in the overall architectonic design of the Hotel and all of the rooms have their share of magnificent natural illumination and sights through their floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall panoramic windows.
Rooms are equipped with King-sized and Full-size beds arranged as one Matrimonial single large bed or Twins with two Full-sized beds. We will be glad to accommodate to our guests needs and requirements. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for specific details or requests regarding room’s layout.
The bedding is complemented by the finest quality mattresses, pillows, sheets, covers, duvets and all complementing amenities. All rooms feature 40’ LED Smart TV sets; Cable TV, telephones, in-room safe deposit boxes; a Minibar and Free WiFi Internet. The equally ample bathrooms feature spacious showers, fine tap and faucet materials, hair dryer, fine amenities, best quality towel sets and a daily supply of complementary bottled water.
All rooms are serviced by our professional Housekeeping department in the morning and afternoon, actually whenever our guests may need it. Rooms also receive a night turn-down service as our guests deserve. A Laundry service is also available for our guests, including the supply of environmentally friendly laundry bags. In addition to the articles available at the Mini-bar, Room Service is available for drinks, refreshments, snacks and designated menu articles.
The Hotel features two ground-floor rooms especially fitted to accommodate guests with physical limitations or disabilities.
The Golden Bay Hotel & Spa offers the following types of rooms:
- 3 Ocean View Suites with balconies, in-room bathtub and a surface of approximately 75 square meters (807 square feet).
- 5 Balcony Ocean View Rooms with balconies and a surface of approximately 45 square meters (484 square feet)
- 7 Deluxe Waterfront View Rooms with balconies and a surface of approximately 40 square meters (430 square feet).
- 6 Deluxe Garden View Rooms included 2 rooms for persons with disabilities on the Ground floor, all with a surface of approximately 25 square meters (269 square feet).
The GOLDEN BAY HOTEL & SPA is shown in 2016 as the hotel with the best quality and optimal customer service of the city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. It aims to get to the end of the seventh operating year an occupation of 70% of its installed hotel capacity, contributing to the development of tourism in San Cristobal, its shareholders and employees.
Offer top quality hotel services, seeking the satisfaction and long-term loyalty of its customers, Ecuadorians and foreigners.
- Promoting sustainable tourism development
- Respect the environment of the receiving areas
- Promote respect for other cultures and ourselves
- Growing up in a strict scheme of corporate social responsibility
- Promote the continuous teamwork
- Innovate and create insatiably
- Maintain high standards of quality and detail in our services
Golden Bay Hotel & Spa is situated beachside at a privileged location overlooking the spectacular bay that frames Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the administrative and political capital city of the Galapagos Islands at the northwestern tip of San Cristobal Island. The Hotel stands at the eastern end of the picturesque city’s Waterfront, a five minute walk to the town center with its many souvenir shops and cafes, the busy tourists dock and less than ten minutes away from the Airport. One of the Hotel’s main attractions is the direct access to Playa de Oro, a beach frequented by Galapagos sea-lions, marine iguanas and some seabirds. The Golden Bay Hotel brings to you the magic and uniqueness of the Galapagos Archipelago almost to your doorsteps. The beach also harbors intriguing legends of pirate treasures, mermaids and stories that make it even more fascinating and special. San Cristobal is one of the five largest islands of the Galapagos Archipelago; one of the oldest of the group geologically speaking; the one with the most amount of natural fresh water (just on Floreana and San Cristobal) and also one of the oldest human settlements in the islands with a stable population since the second half of the 19th Century.
San Cristobal teems with amazing Galapagos wildlife, stunning sceneries, rich history and hospitable people. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is a lovely island port that maintains much of its original charm with its antique wooden houses and quaint life pace.
The Golden Bay Hotel & Spa is the ideal getaway, especially for discerning travelers who seek to explore some of the amazing natural wonders that San Cristobal Island and other islands offer from the comfort of a top-quality international-class retreat or to enjoy relaxation at its best. You will enjoy every minute, no matter the length of time you spend with us. Several vessels that operate different types and lengths of cruises around the Islands begin or terminate their voyages in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. With daily flights between mainland Ecuador and San Cristobal Airport, many combination possibilities are open to provide you with an excellent Hotel Experience during your stay with us and also before or after an Island cruise.
The Golden Bay Hotel & Spa complies with strict parameters of Environmental Care and has been conceived as an Eco-friendly and Sustainable Project that utilizes best practices to protect the natural environment. The project seeks also to contribute to the social and economic wellness of the local community and the preservation of the local culture and traditions. From the construction materials, structure and architectonic design to the energy-saving systems, the use of solar panels, LED lights; advanced-technology treatment plant for waste waters; recycling and reusing of materials and a set of internationally recognized good practices, the Golden Bay Hotel & Spa intends to set forth a Sustainable Model to follow which will benefit the guests, the environment and the local community.
Through an Alliance with the local Municipality of San Cristobal, the Hotel is the strategic partner for the maintenance of Playa de Oro to upkeep the iconic beach as one of the city’s main attractions.
Sustainability will also be practiced by using as much as possible locally grown products, the freshest and best quality ingredients and of course boasting a professionally trained staff made predominantly of local people who deliver a superior service with the traditional Ecuadorian hospitality.
Facilities and Services
The Golden Bay Hotel & Spa offers ample and charming indoor and outdoor public spaces and Social Areas for our guests’ enjoyment. These include:
- Reception Area and Lobby
- Business Center with two computer terminals
- Main Restaurant in the Ground Floor (please see more in the “Gastronomy” Section)
- Snack-Bar with special oven for baking fresh-pizzas in the Panoramic Terrace (Please see more in the “Gastronomy” Section)
- Swimming pool located on the Ground Floor at the interior garden that features endemic and ornamental plants. There is an adjoining Children’s pool.
- Panoramic Terrace with partially covered and open-air seating plus two Whirlpool bathtubs on volcanic rock which make them unique and innovative.
- Spa Services offering special relaxation and wellness body and facial treatments provided by previous appointment by a professional Therapist. A complete Menu of treatments can be found in your room.
- Reception Services staffed by bilingual (Spanish/English) Receptionists
- Children’s playroom supervised for their security
- Private, public transport or shared Airport-Hotel-Airport transfers
- Private or shared Tours and Activities are available. Please see the “Tours and Activities Section” on our navigation menu.
Food is an important element in travel and at the Golden Bay Hotel & Spa we take special care and attention at providing our guests with a top-class dining experience.
Our Main Restaurant located on the Ground Floor is the venue to enjoy delightful food, carefully crafted and prepared by our expert Head Chef and his team. From the bountiful breakfasts which include fresh fruit juices, our homemade breads and a variety of local and international specialties, to our full Lunch and Dinner Menus, our aim is to offer you a real special Gastronomic Experience, an original fusion of flavors that include Galapagos and Ecuadorian traditional cuisine like the unequalled Galapagos “ceviches” as well as international fare, served with the freshest ingredients and mouth-watering presentations.
Our cuisine options also include children’s menus, sandwiches, hamburgers, pasta platters, deserts, cakes, ice-cream, etc.
The Main Restaurant has an adjoining fully-stocked Bar with an assortment of liquors, cocktails, wines, beers, refreshments, coffee tea and natural herbal infusions.
Our Panoramic Terrace’s Snack-Bar is the ideal place to enjoy our delicious and freshly oven-baked pizzas and other snacks while you sunbathe, read a book, relax or enjoy the spectacular vistas of the bay, the town and the surrounding hillsides in the background.
The Snack-Bar at the Panoramic Terrace also offers a selection of refreshments, drinks, liquors and tempting cocktails, ideal to accompany the observation of the Islands’ beautiful sunsets from the Terrace.
We will be happy to cater for special food requirements (vegetarian, vegan, etc.) as well as for allergies and food intolerances. Please advise us in advance about any food restrictions in order to be prepared to properly cater for such requests.
Located 600 miles (1000 kilometers) from the coast of mainland of Ecuador, the country to whom they belong, the Galapagos Islands are one of the most fantastic and famous natural areas in the world, considered by many as a “living laboratory” where natural processes can be observed live by residents and visitors alike. The Islands are known also as the cradle of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution that marked a turning point for biology, natural history and science since the mid 1800’s. The Galapagos were converted in 1959 as Ecuador’s first National Park. In 1978, UNESCO declared Galapagos as the first World Natural Heritage Site in the planet and shortly after the Islands also were named as a World Biosphere Reserve and a Whales and Cartilaginous Fishes (mainly sharks) Sanctuary. Some years later, the Galapagos Marine Reserve, the second largest in surface of the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, also joined the official list of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites.
Being at a unique crossroads of three tectonic plates and also the junction point of at least three major and diverse marine currents, both the geological origin, characteristics and morphology plus the climatic patterns, dictated by the influx of the marine currents, created an unequaled natural space, completely isolated in the middle of the ocean, that became the cradle and home for some of the most astonishing animal and plant species, unique in the whole world and only found in the Archipelago. The lack of fear of the human presence that most of the Galapagos animals display is one of the main attractions that pleasantly surprise visitors. There are 14 major islands plus more than 80 smaller islands, islets and rocks with names, scattered over a large portion of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator Line. 97% of the land surface is National Park and only 3% inhabited areas, situated only on four of the islands.
A role-model of responsible, sustainable and nature-oriented tourism destination since the early 1970’s, Galapagos today is one of the preferred destinations for nature-loving voyagers from all around the world.
Eco Tours / Activities
Anytime. No charge. Guests must bring their own masks and fins.
León Dormido (sleeping lion)
A 20 minute boat ride. This is a 90 m tall rock in the middle of the ocean (submerged volcano) with great snorkeling possibilities and the place to spot some Galapagos sharks and perhaps some Hammerheads as well (harmless).
Included in Wavehunters package
La Laguna (the lagoon)
A lagoon in the highlands (It use to be also a volcano). This is the main supply of fresh water for the island. Lots of birds and other species.
A 20 minutes ride by boat to this islet. Lots of birds and other species.
Prices on request.
2 dives at Kicker Rock, equipment, divemaster and boat provided. Prices on request.