Some guests may find location inconvenient (requires a short water taxi to reach)
Rooms’ balconies are not private
Wi-Fi can be slow (this is common in The Galapagos)
One of Santa Cruz’s nicest properties, the 16-room Angermeyer Waterfront Inn is a mid-range hotel that punches above its weight. The rooms are airy and spacious, and many offer stunning views of the harbor. The on-site restaurant, La Cueva de Gus, is perhaps one of the best restaurants in Santa Cruz, and serves delicious regionally inspired cuisine in a relaxed, open-air setting. There aren’t any big-ticket amenities here, like a pool or beachfront, but the hotel’s tranquil vibe attracts travelers looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Puerto Ayora. Free breakfast and free Wi-Fi are nice perks, but travelers seeking more on-site amenities should check out the nearby Finch Bay Eco Hotel, though it tends to be slightly pricier.
One of Puerto Ayora's nicest hotels, with an interesting history
Arriving at Angermeyer Waterfront Inn can be a bit of a hassle. After an hourlong trip from the airport, guests must then board a public water taxi in Puerto Ayora and take it across the harbor to the hotel. The boat ride takes two minutes at most (and costs a mere 80 cents), but the chaotic hassle of loading luggage onto a tiny dingy boat and sputtering across the choppy waters can be overwhelming, and perhaps disorienting for a tired traveler. But, once at the hotel’s dock, staff members are quick to grab luggage and welcome guests with tropical drinks. If it’s nice out, which it always seems to be, the staff conducts a quick check-in outside at the hotel’s restaurant, which eventually segues into the lobby.
Housed within an old cave, the lobby is a tiny domed room with decor that capitalizes on its waterfront location. Navy and white ship-helm pillows top the cushioned sofa, model ships decorate the wooden hutch, and nautical rope is wound in circles to create small area rugs. The original, though whitewashed, walls of the cave give the lobby a unique look while creating a cozy atmosphere for guests. All sorts of travelers stay at Angermeyer, from families and couples, to solo travelers, to tour groups. During our visit we saw all age ranges represented, from young children to retirees. The clientele is largely American, with a smattering of Europeans.
For anyone wondering about the hotel’s very non-Spanish sounding name, we have a bit of a history lesson for you. In 1937, four German brothers — Karl, Gus, Hans, and Fritz Angermeyer — arrived on Santa Cruz island after sailing from a tumultuous Germany. They eventually settled on what is today known as Angermeyer Point, a rocky outcropping across the harbor from Puerto Ayora, and the current location of the hotel. The brothers dabbled in nearly every trade on the island, but eventually became skilled boatsmen and fishermen. By the 1950s, the brothers began chartering their boats to visiting scientists and tourists — a movement that is largely considered the birth of widespread tourism in the Galapagos. Until 2003, the property that is now the Angermeyer Waterfront Inn was the private home of Gus Angermeyer. The property’s original cave, now the lobby, was once his treasured reading room.
On a rocky peninsula that's only accessible by boat
As we mentioned, Angermeyer Waterfront Inn is located on Angermeyer Point, a rocky peninsula that extends from the island of Santa Cruz into the Puerto Ayora harbor. The hotel is not accessible by land, so guests will have to take one of the widely available taxi boats from the dock in town across the harbor to the hotel. The ride takes a mere two minutes, but the water can be choppy and staying dry isn’t guaranteed. Many travelers like Angermeyer’s location for its tranquility. Removed from the bustling town of Puerto Ayora, Angermeyer feels secluded and completely peaceful. The only downside of this location is that guests will have to take the water taxi any time they need to go in to town, whether to shop, dine, or sightsee.
The small town of Puerto Ayora is the main city on the island of Santa Cruz — the most populous island in the Galapagos with about 12,000 residents. Puerto Ayora is a busy place, with tons of lodging options, restaurants, and tourist-oriented services, but some travelers may find its gift-shop laden streets a bit inauthentic.
Santa Cruz is one of the Galapagos’ most accessible destinations. Daily flights from mainland Ecuador land on Baltra Island (GPS), a small land mass across the channel from Santa Cruz. From the airport, Puerto Ayora is about an hour -- first, a five-minute free airport bus ride to the ferry, a 10-minute ferry ride, and then a 45-minute drive (via bus or taxi). Many travelers choose to start or end their trips on Santa Cruz, due to the island’s accessibility. Some can’t-miss sights include the Charles Darwin Research Station, Tortuga Bay, Las Grietas, and the island’s many lava tunnels.
Spacious, mostly white rooms with locally inspired names
Generally speaking, the Galapagos isn’t known for its hotels. There aren’t many luxury or high-design options here, and most hotels have basic accommodations with simple decor. And while rooms at Angermeyer aren’t luxurious, they were clearly designed with aesthetics in mind. White-washed lava rock walls and ceilings create bright, textured spaces that feel light and airy thanks to massive arched windows that overlook the harbor. Simple white bedding and drapery keep up with rooms’ clean, monochromatic look — but light wood furniture, lamps, and ceiling beams add earthy color. Local canvas artwork hangs on the walls and rooms are given Galapagos-inspired names, like “Southern Cross,” “Tortoise,” and “Sea Lion.”
In-room amenities include flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges with bottled water and soda (available for purchase), and electronic safes. Bathrooms are spacious, with showers and plenty of counter space; a couple have jetted tubs (Southern Cross, Ocean Breeze). It’s not advisable to drink the water anywhere in the Galapagos, so Angermeyer provides a daily pitcher of purified water for guests to use to brush their teeth. All rooms have outdoor patios or balconies, but they’re not very private. Neighboring rooms often share one large balcony that’s only separated by a potted plant.
There are multiple room types at Angermeyer, including Standard Rooms with a queen-size, king-size, or two twin beds, Standard Plus Rooms with a double and a king-size bed, and Superior Rooms, usually with a king-size bed and an extra single bed. The Boobie is a two-bedroom Superior Room with a Jack and Jill bathroom. No matter the type, all rooms are laid out well and most are spacious. Many rooms have incredible views of the harbor and surrounding Puerto Ayora. There is no elevator here, but ground-floor rooms are available.
A delicious on-site restaurant plus free breakfast and Wi-Fi
Most hotels in the Galapagos do not have big-ticket amenities, like pools, spas, fitness centers, or beachfronts — and Angermeyer Waterfront Inn is no exception. However, it does have an on-site restaurant and offers free daily breakfast and free Wi-Fi for all guests.
Angermeyer’s restaurant, La Cueva de Gus (Gus’s Cave in English), serves lunch and dinner on the hotel’s gorgeous waterfront deck. The menu is international, with lots of local flair, and the food is exceptionally tasty. We sampled delicious local pork and creatively prepared shrimp, but we did notice the service to be quite slow — something many guests also complain about.
Breakfast is served buffet-style every morning in the lobby. The hotel puts out a beautiful spread of hot and cold items, as well as coffee, tea, and fresh juice. The buffet is a mix of Ecuadorian and American options, all of which are tasty. As far as free breakfasts go, it’s one of the nicest (and most delicious) in Santa Cruz.
Wi-Fi is free for all guests, but it can be slow and spotty — though you’ll be hard-pressed to find fast Wi-Fi anywhere on Santa Cruz.
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