From the hotel, you can drive 20 minutes south to the Puerto Ayora downtown. This is the most active part of the island, and a popular destination for dining out and shopping. You should also make time to drive north to Las Bachas beach. Sea turtles use this beach as a nesting location. You’ll also find some interesting lagoons near the beach, a good place to check out the local flamingo population. Travelers come to the Santa Cruz highlands mostly to see the lava tunnels, formed by past volcanic activity. Hardened lava has formed smooth, high-ceilinged passageways underground. Royal Palm Hotel has its own lava tunnel on the property. Make sure to borrow one of the hotel’s mountain bikes to explore the trails near the hotel.
Even though it is a short distance from the coast, the highlands experience much different (and often foggier) weather conditions than the coast. But weather conditions change very quickly, and you can expect to take frequent advantage of the many active pursuits available to guests. Visit the hotel tennis courts, surrounded by dense foliage, or take a walk through the hotel gardens. There’s also a sunlight-filled fitness center if you want a traditional workout. If you work up a thirst, don’t worry about bottled water – the hotel provides guests with purified water.
Visit the spa for some personal attention, or take a dip in one of the Jacuzzis dotted throughout the hotel property. Next to the bar and outdoor patio, you can take a dip in the pool. It is nearly the same shade of blue as the ocean it overlooks. This is the ideal location for a happy hour at sunset.
If you have any business to take care of, visit the hotel’s meeting room. You’ll find pencils, paper, and a photocopier. There’s also air conditioning and meeting table, creating a comfortable space for conducting business.
In the dining room, you’ll find simple decorations, with wood floors and white walls. Your attention is drawn to the large windows that let in the bright Galápagos sunlight, looking out over the sea and the gardens. The hotel's Three Finches Restaurant serves upscale Ecuadorian cuisine, much of which is sourced from the nearby fishermen or the hotel gardens. Guests can have a drink at the piano bar, and wind down with live music.
You have the choice of a villa, or a room in one of the casitas. The villas each have their own piece of the Royal Palm Estate, while the casitas are situated closer together, on the estate’s main development. Both habitations come with their own dining areas. Rooms in any of the buildings offer clean, spacious accommodation. They have the same simple aesthetic as the rest of the estate, with custom wood furniture and simple decorations.
In a villa, your guesthouse will come with its own private Jacuzzi. All of the rooms offer private bathrooms and hair dryers. You’ll also find coffee and tea stations, minibars, and air conditioning. Turn on the LCD flat screen TV and flick through the 15 satellite channels, or access the hotel’s free Wi-Fi. Use the iron and ironing board to keep your dining-out attire looking neat. When you leave your room, you can leave your valuables in the safety deposit box.