What does it mean to be a member of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World?

When it comes to a place as enchanted as the Galapagos, it almost seems commonsensical to regard any form of accommodation on these barren and otherworldly freckles of earth – in the near middle of the Pacific Ocean, to say the least! – as nothing short of “unique.” But when it comes to a brand as prestigious as National Geographic, you immediately know that their standard/criteria for their definition of “unique” is a whole different level. For many of our guests, the question often remains: how do you even become a member of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World (ULW)?

unique lodges of the world national geographic

How are hotels given their Unique Lodge Status by NatGeo?

To ensure that NatGeo standards are met, Unique Lodges of the World are carefully handpicked after an extensive and thorough vetting process/site audit that goes from examining the macro to the micro. A NatGeo Sustainable Tourism Expert is in charge of spending time at each lodge, evaluating the operations and meeting with everyone on staff (from hotel manager to kitchen staff) to become fully acquainted and do a in-depth evaluation of the lodge.

What exactly is a Unique Lodge of the World, by National Geographic Standards?

The whole concept of ULW was created to invite guests and traveler’s to experience some of the planet’s most extraordinary places. ULW come with the NatGeo seal of approval that guarantees guests will get to have an intimate and exceptional experience, fostering a connection between guests and their destination in a highly meaningful way. Properties are handpicked based the following criteria:


From sourcing as much of our food locally to peacefully coexisting with endemic species, the “Finch Bay has set the standard for environmentally responsible hotels in Galapagos.” Find out more about how we do it with our blog on Sustainability at the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel.


We serve as a forum for collaboration and conservation between islanders and organizations. We host meetings between the Galapagos National Park Service and Charles Darwin Research Station, to name a few. Additionally, we’ve also run numerous, successful education-oriented initiatives with local schools and students.


We are immersed in one of the most pristine wildlife sanctuaries in the world, and we’re one of the only beachfront hotels on Santa Cruz Island.


Professionally-trained guides, world-class service and staff alongside a Le Cordon Bleu-trained gastronomic director. Did we miss anything?


The Galapagos are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with good reason. In honor of this and the sacred ground we exist on, we’ve created a complete set of inspiring activities to help our guests get acquainted with the islands.

finch bay reception unique lodge

The NatGeo Unique Lodge of the World Difference

Staying at a NatGeo Unique Lodge of the World is a guarantee that your trip will help protect our delicate and only planet. Staying at a Unique Lodge of the World means you’re both supporting local communities and the environment while experiencing a place in the world that is truly unlike anything else and where magic awaits right at your doorstep. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel invites you to become a part of it all!

Frigate bird hatchling
Frigate bird hatchling


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