Ecuador’s Tropic – Journeys in Nature now represents Galapagos’ new Pikaia Lodge that is opening this year on Santa Cruz Island.
Tropic’s owner Jascivan Carvalho said that the 14-room accommodation will be “the most luxurious and eco sustainable property to be built in the Galapagos Archipelago”, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It holds a LEED operational certification and is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
“Pikaia Lodge,” says Carvalho “represents a model for land-based tourism in this highly fragile ecosystem that is struggling with issues of guest management and the impact of visitors to the region.” According to advanced promotion, “Pikaia Lodge boasts the first carbon neutral accommodation in the Galapagos and will be one of the most advanced “green” lodges built in the world.”
Located in the highlands and nestled atop an extinct volcano crater, there are unobstructed ocean and island views in all directions. Pikaia enjoys a mountain-lodge ambiance with a micro-climate that often includes gentle rains and mists early mornings and at night that help create the right environment for Pikaia Lodge’s own private Tortoise Reserve on property.
As elsewhere in the Galapagos, those who wish to explore Galapagos’ wild nature are accompanied by park-certified guides who explain the wildlife miracles that abound here and who also help assure that the wildlife and flora/fauna remain unharmed. The Lodge offers three, four and seven-night programs that include a land exploration of Santa Cruz Island plus exploration by private yacht of selected islands for kayaking, snorkeling and hiking. The lodge also offers a 10-night “Land & Sea” exploration package on its live-aboard dive yacht for guests who want to scuba dive with whale sharks and rare Mola-Molas (sunfish) in the northern islands.
“An advantage of touring from this lodge,” adds Carvalho, “is that guests aren’t locked into the fixed schedules of a cruise ship and have more free time on land to explore on your own as well as get to know the people of the Galapagos.”
Current packages (all rates are per person, based on double occupancy) are:
- Pikaia Lodge + M/Y Galapagos Aggressor III Live-Aboard Dive Boat Package, an 11-day/10-night program from $8,750 and the perfect combination for exploring the Galapagos above and below the water.
- Pikaia Lodge 8 day/7 night Exploration Package from $7,500 for a week-long adventure that starts every Monday and ends the next Monday.
- Pikaia Lodge 5 day/4 night Exploration Package from $4,300 begins every Monday and ends on Friday.
- Pikaia Lodge 4 day/3 night Exploration Package from $3,230 begins on Friday and concludes on Monday year-round.
Located on 31 hectares the landscape here is arid and rocky before climbing to a tropical mist forest in the highlands where the lodge is sited. Most of the secluded suites have floor-to-ceiling windows affording spectacular water views throughout. A wellness center offers massage, a whirlpool and sauna and workout equipment. The property offers 3.5 km of private paths and trails for walking, jogging and biking.
Travelers may dine on premise at the Evolution Restaurant that sources products and culinary inspiration locally. American-style breakfasts are served here daily. A Wine Cellar offers some of South America’s finest vintages.
The M/V Pikaia I is the lodge’s private 100-foot oceangoing cruise yacht. It is the only such vessel in the Galapagos, offering a luxurious, safe and relaxing day-tour experiences (all part of the package). Due to its size, weight and stabilizers, guests cruise comfortably to nearby islands without the fear of seasickness which can happen on smaller, lighter day-tour boats. The yacht boasts large open sun decks, a shadow deck, hot tub and a spacious air conditioned living room, where guests can join presentations and discussions. The crew prepares breakfast and lunch buffets, and provides wholesome snacks and tropical fruits, while the yacht’s barman serves up a bevy of exotic drinks and cocktails, perfect for sipping while watching the sun set.
Access to the lodge is by taxi from Galapagos’ Baltra airport served daily by air from Quito or Guayaquil.
Tropic Journeys in Nature, www.destinationecuador.com