Galapagos specialist Metropolitan Touring has resumed operations in the Galapagos archipelago, one of the first major tour operators to return to the region off Ecuador’s coast following a five-month pause triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Metropolitan Touring’s beachfront Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel on Santa Cruz Island began accepting guests on August 3, while La Pinta, one of the company’s three expedition vessels, re-launched a series of four- and six-night voyages.
The Galapagos and Ecuador specialist has established “extensive biosecurity protocols” at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel and onboard La Pinta, said company officials, and Metropolitan Touring has earned World Travel & Tourism Council “Safe Travels” stamp certification on the company’s properties in the Galapagos and mainland Ecuador.
In addition, the company is “working closely with government authorities and the operators of airports in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito and the port city of Guayaquil to “continuously improve” health and hygiene protocols, said officials.
Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is located on Santa Cruz Island’s only public beach, in Puerto Ayora. The property features cuisine from a Cordon Bleu-certified gastronomy director and a swimming pool on property. Excursions are offered aboard the hotel’s Sea Lion yacht and kayak, scuba, bike and hiking tours are also offered.
La Pinta accommodates 48 guests and provides one naturalist guide per eight travelers. The yacht features some of the largest cabins of any expedition vessel in the Galapagos, say company officials, including floor-to-ceiling windows in all cabins and panoramic windows in all public areas.
The vessel features sustainable cruise technology designed to minimize its environmental footprint, officials said, including a wastewater treatment plant and “efficient engines to reduce emissions.”
Ecuador resumed international flights with limited capacity in June. Arriving travelers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 10 days of arrival. Travelers who arrive without proof are required to sign a declaration form agreeing to undergo testing in Ecuador.
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