Santa Cruz Island Galapagos, Ecuador
At a Glance
Eco-travel at its finest
Offering a range of land-based activities as well as seabound adventures
A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and a part of the Relais & Chateaux portfolio
Enjoy spectacular views of the mountains, the coastline, the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding islands
A totally new concept in the Galapagos Islands
Explore the Galapagos by boat during the day but return to the stylish and spacious comforts of the lodge to sleep in a full size bed on dry land
Located on a private wild giant tortoise reserve
They have an exclusive private yacht, the 100 foot Pikaia I
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
There's never a bad time to visit the Galapagos in terms of wildlife. The peak season lasts from mid-June through early September and from mid-December through mid-January. The national park limits the number of visitors to each island and coordinates each ship's itinerary, so the Galapagos will never feel like Disney World. But if you visit in the summer, you are less likely to feel a sense of solitude and isolation. From December through to May the water and the air are warmer, but this is the rainy season. It drizzles almost daily for a short period of time. Ironically, this is also the sunniest time of year.
June through November, the Humboldt Current makes it way up to the Galapagos from the southern end of South America. The current brings cold water and cold weather, but it also brings water rich in nutrients and plankton, which attracts fish and birds. During this season there always seem to be clouds in the air, but it rarely rains. It's also quite windy, and the seas tend to be rougher.
Call us on to start planning your holiday to Pikaia Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to Ecuador
Pikaia Lodge is a luxury eco-lodge set in a secluded giant tortoise reserve, nestled on top of an extinct volcano crater on the island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos. Pikaia Lodge is a superb alternative to a traditional cruise and is carbon neutral.
The eco-friendly Pikaia Lodge provides guests with the unique opportunity to explore the fascinating natural heritage of the Galapagos Islands while staying on dry land and with all the creature comforts.
Pikaia Lodge is named after the archipelago's Pikaia Gracilens, an extinct species which evolved more than 500million years ago and was a precursor of modern vertebrates, including humans. The lodge is located at 1,300 feet above sea level in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island in the heart of the archipelago and is close to some of the best land and sea visitor sites of the Galapagos National Park. The lodge affords 14 spacious and comfortable guest rooms with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows and private shaded terraces with breathtaking views.
Pikaia Lodge operates a varied schedule of daily land and boat excursions in small groups on their private yacht, M/Y Pikaia I. There is so much to see, do and explore in the Galapagos - observe wildlife, go hiking, swimming, sea kayaking and snorkelling. Scuba diving, fishing and mountain biking can also be arranged. The lodge also hosts fascinating scientific talks on the local flora and fauna.
Pikaia Lodge has implemented a comprehensive social responsibility program with the local community and every aspect of the lodge's construction and operation minimises environmental impact.
Pikaia Lodge has 14 spacious rooms and suites with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows, private shaded terraces or balconies with breathtaking views of Santa Cruz and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Designed with a modern but cosy contemporary style, the rooms are naturally well-lit and ventilated.
All rooms have large bathrooms decorated with marble, walk-in closet, wall mirrors for each guest, a closed toilet room, and a shower area with views of the ocean or separate bathtub, plush cotton linens, hypoallergenic pillows, a desk with chair, two comfortable lounge chairs, flat screen TV and DVD player, iPod audio deck, IDD telephone, in-room safe, bathrobes and slippers, beach bag, signatures toiletries collection, hairdryer, minibar, daily fruit basket, in-room tea/coffee making facilities and drinking water.
Pikaia Lodge's spacious Pool Suite features floor to ceiling windows with breathtaking views of Santa Cruz Island and the Pacific Ocean. The comfortable and modern Pool Suite has a private terrace with plunge pool, premium bedding, a flat screen television and DVD player, iPod docking station, telephone, in room safe and mini bar. The en suite restroom is decorated in marble, and features a separate bathtub and shower as well as bathrobes, slippers and hairdryer.
Children are welcome at Pikaia Lodge, however they recommend children 8 years and older. At present, they do not offer interconnecting rooms, however a child can be accommodated on a rollaway bed if they are 18 years of age and under. There is a maximum of two adults and one child sharing per room. Children should be accompanied by an adult during all explorations and activities.
The "Evolution" Restaurant is situated in the main building and offers an unrivalled view of the National Park and the infinity edge pool. The lodge can arrange romantic candle lit dinners and barbecues “alfresco” under the stars.
Pikaia’s DNA Bar is strategically placed between the restaurant, the lobby-lounge, and the shaded terraces and pool area and offers famous cocktails as well as popular local drinks prepared with top quality imported liquors, tropical juices, Champagnes, exotic spirits, wines, beers and soft drinks.
The "Homo Sapiens" Explorers Lounge is located in the main building with a 24-person seating capacity where programmed nature talks take place. It is equipped with a large 3D HD-TV screen with a special selection of DVDs, 3D goggles, wireless microphones and audio amplification system. The library is dedicated to science, evolution and the Galapagos. Temporary art and photography will also be exhibited here to promote local artists and scientific knowledge. On cooler nights they have a fireplace.
There is also a wellness centre, “Sumaq” Spa and gym equipped with state of the art equipment. The lodge also boasts almost 3.5 km. of private trials for walking, jogging or biking. These scenic paths pass through reforested endemic forests, where guests will most likely encounter wild giant tortoises grazing while listening to exotic singing birds. Detailed maps are available at reception.
The Galapagos Islands are a truly unique destination, home to a wealth of endemic flora and fauna. Many activities are on offer to guests staying at the Pikaia Lodge such as guided excursions on the hotel's yachts to the nearby islands, mountain biking, scuba diving, snorkelling, bird watching and sea kayaking. The lodge offers comprehensive 3, 4 and 7 night Exploration Packages.
Visits to the islands are strictly regulated to ensure minimal impact on the wildlife, so it is important for us to know if there are any particularly animals that you would like to see because they are not on all of the islands.
Pikaia Lodge explorations are guided half-day and full-day adventures that cover the distinct landscapes and marine wildlife of the islands, under fixed three, four or seven-nights programs. Each morning your experienced guides will plan explorations based on satellite weather imagery and tides charts. Programs incorporate hiking, kayaking, snorkelling, visiting beaches, volcanic craters or lava tunnels; looking for giant tortoises and endemic wildlife; visiting the Charles Darwin Scientific Research Centre or visiting organic coffee farms in the highlands to see how settlers live.
Jack Guth (Staff)
Pikaia is the most luxurious accommodation on-land in the Galapagos. With breathtaking panoramic views of Santa Cruz and its surrounding islands, you will truly feel like you are top of the world staying here. Take a hike around the propertys 5km of trails. Keep an eye out in the long grass for the resident giant tortoises that you will see walking around. If luxury is our priority, this is the place to stay!
Katie Aston (Staff)
Pikaia lodge has bagged one of the most extraordinary settings in the Galapagos, perched on a hill with views of ancient volcanoes and the forest, plains and ocean far below. The lodge has been designed to offer the ultimate in comfort and luxury alongside an eco-conscience. Rooms are enormous with floor to ceiling windows making the most of the views and they are big enough to add a couple of beds for smaller children. There is an infinity pool, spa and bikes, jogging trails and great food, however the real USP is that Pikaia has it's own luxury motor yacht used to explore the incredible nearby wildlife-filled islands, something nowhere else can offer. There are 8 cabins so guests have space and privacy during sailings and catering can be done onboard to maintain the same high standards as at the hotel. Pikaia offers 3, 4 and 7 night packages which alternate land-based explorations with sailings so guests can experience the best of Santa Cruz (its giant tortoises and beaches) and the islands within 2.5 hours boat ride with their diverse and enigmatic wildlife.
Cerro Puntudo hike
Pass through beautiful scenery and Miconia forest as you hike up to the top of Cerro el Puntudo to take in glorious views of the island of Santa Cruz, and on a clear day views of the neighbouring islands.
Full day Scuba Diving from Santa Cruz Island
Scuba diving in the Galapagos is world-class, thanks to the abundance of tame marine life. You will typically come up lose with large rays, green turtles, sea lions and schools of sharks. The diving is suitable for intermediate and experienced divers.
Mountain biking Santa Cruz
Enjoy a full-day mountain biking adventure and explore the volcanic landscape of the Galapagos Islands, encountering wildlife and speeding down rugged paths for a fun-filled alternative to the sea-based activities.
Colombia & Ecuador in Style
Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, Quito & Galapagos
from £11100 pp inc flights & transfers for 12 nights
- A fantastic year-round itinerary which combines the highlights of Colombia with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Galapagos Islands
- Experience the charm of colonial Cartagena, with its colourful houses and vibrant Caribbean culture
- Explore the unique Galapagos Islands and encounter its fascinating endemic wildlife, from sea lions to marine iguanas and giant tortoises
Quito & Galapagos
from £11400 pp inc flights & transfers for 12 nights
- Explore the absolute highlights of Ecuador, staying in luxurious accommodation throughout
- Cruise aboard the luxurious Origin & Theory, snorkelling in the Galapagos for up-close encounters with sea lions, marine iguanas, penguins & sea turtles.
- Combining a cruise with a land based stay in the Galapagos allows you to explore the islands in depth, as well as having some time to relax
Location & directions
Santa Cruz Island Galapagos, Ecuador
The Galapagos consist of 19 volcanic islands and 40 islets, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. The Galapagos and its surrounding marine reserve are Natural World Heritage sites of UNESCO. The marine reserve is one of the Seven Underwater Wonders of the world and the second largest protected marine reserve, after the great Australian Barrier Reef. Pikaia Lodge is located on Santa Cruz Island in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago.
How to get there
3-hour domestic flight to the Galapagos Islands from Quito or 1.5-hour domestic flight from Guayaquil and a 40 -minute short boat and road transfer from Baltra airport.
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