Budget-friendly hotel within walking distance of downtown Puerto Ayora
Three room types ideal for couples, families, or solo travelers
Rooms have air conditioners, mini-fridges, and TVs
Mid-size pool and two outdoor patios
Free daily breakfast and free Wi-Fi
Some rooms are tight on space, and all bathrooms are small
Wi-Fi can be slow (typical for Galapagos)
Decor is basic
Hot water can be iffy
For budget travelers looking to avoid hostels, Hotel Pelican Bay is a solid option. A quick, one-minute walk from bustling Avenida Charles Darwin, the hotel offers easy access to all of Puerto Ayora’s shops and restaurants. Rooms are small and the decor is basic — think white walls, limp bedding, and tiny bathrooms — but the hotel has its own pool and offers free breakfast and Wi-Fi. It’s not exactly the most scenic property we’ve ever seen, but it’s sufficient for those just looking for a place to sleep. Hotel Fiesta has a nicer property and amenities for comparable nightly rates, but it’s farther from downtown.
A budget-friendly hotel with mostly Ecuadorian and American guests
Hotel Pelican Bay doesn’t exactly have a grand entryway. After passing through street-side gates, guests find themselves standing in the middle of the property — a concrete slab with a pool in the center. This courtyard of sorts is surrounded by the hotel’s white L-shaped building. Yellow bannisters add a pop of color, and rooftop “pillars of hope” (the Ecuadorian term for unfinished concrete support columns), show a possibility for expansion in the future. There’s a small lobby — if you can even call it that — to the left of the entry gates, with a simple outdoor furniture set and a front desk.
Ecuadorians and Americans comprise the majority of guests at Hotel Pelican Bay. The hotel’s three room types can accommodate families, couples, and solo travelers.
On a quiet side street, literally steps away from downtown Puerto Ayora
Hotel Pelican Bay is located on a quiet side street about a minute’s walk from Puerto Ayora’s main drag, Avenida Charles Darwin. It’s removed enough from town to be quiet in the evenings, but close enough to still be convenient. 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 town, 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 sites include the Charles Darwin Research Station, Tortuga Bay, Las Grietas, and the island’s many lava tunnels.
There are three room types at Hotel Pelican Bay — Matrimonial Rooms, Double Rooms, and Single Rooms. Matrimonial Rooms consist of one large double bed, Double Rooms consist of two smaller double beds, and Single Rooms consist of two twin-size beds. And if reading that didn’t confuse you beyond measure, it’s safe to say your reading comprehension is stellar.
No matter the room type, decor is fairly standard throughout. White walls and white tile floors are livened by bright bedspreads and the occasional floral wall decal. Wood furniture is simple and unadorned, though it’s newer in some rooms than others. Rooms with newer furniture also have wall-mounted flat-screen TVs, instead of the hospital-style hanging boxes found in the older rooms. In-room amenities include air conditioners, mini-fridges, and safety deposit boxes. Bathrooms throughout are tiny, with barely enough room to fit a pedestal sink, toilet, and shower stall — never mind the person using it. Hot water can be hard come by during popular shower times like early morning and late evening.
Hotel Pelican Bay is one of few budget hotels in Puerto Ayora to have its own pool. The mid-size, mosaic-tiled pool is surrounded by a few plastic lounge chairs, but it’s rarely crowded. The hotel serves free daily breakfast for all guests, which consists of eggs, bread and cheese, a small fruit plate, freshly squeezed juice, tea, and coffee. Each meal is individually prepared when guests arrive in the sunny breakfast room — so there’s no fear of cold buffet eggs or soggy toast. Wi-Fi is free for all guests and works throughout the hotel, including inside guest rooms. It can be pretty slow and spotty, but this is typical in the Galapagos.
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