For a lot of good reasons, most visitors who come to the Galapagos Islands spend five to ten nights on a ship. Pikaia Lodge, opened in late 2014, is the first property luxurious enough to give visitors a reason to have a land base instead. It’s a good option for those who have problems sleeping on a boat, or for people who want to tack on more time at the end of their trip to relax.
The main objection to hotel projects on the islands here has been that they use up valuable resources in a very fragile ecosystem. The government and environmental organizations have long favored ship travel that can be controlled and is impermanent over structures that require more staffers and more water on land. Thankfully Pikaia has tackled all that head-on, using wind power and 124 solar panels to generate half the energy it consumes. There’s also a water reclamation system and the developers have reforested much of the former pasture land.
There’s no need to rough if or make sacrifices here though as this is the first true luxury hotel in the region that’s sure to make picky, well-traveled international tourists happy. The design is innovative inside and out and all the expected comforts are in place. Expansive baths come with high-end toiletries make exclusively for the hotel and spa. “There’s a walk in closet, an ample patio with chairs, and gorgeous bedding including runners, and other custom textiles. The mini fridge is stocked with complimentary soft drinks and Ecuadorean Guitig sparkling water.”
There are just 14 units here, 12 identical standards and 2 suites. The latter come with more space and furniture, plus either a private plunge pool or a small private garden.
The plans are all-inclusive, with the food getting high marks, but no alcohol is included in this country where the president has assigned 100% sin taxes.
There’s an impressive swimming pool on site taking in the views and a full spa. Staffers arrange excursions to see the animals this archipelago is known for. You can only see so much on day trips from Santa Cruz, of course, but you’ll still tick off a few boxes for well-known Galapagos images.
This is a lodge in its own class, far superior to the “best we could find” other two options we’ve covered in this area. This is the first place to spend the night that matches the service and pampering you find on the best luxury Galapagos cruises.
See our full detailed review of Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz Island.