Just Back From Pikaia Lodge in The Galápagos Islands
May 22, 2023 by Hidden Doorways
Pikaia Lodge in the Galápagos Islands is a true gem for wildlife enthusiasts seeking an extraordinary, immersive, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Nestled in a pristine natural setting with panoramic views across the lush landscape and azure ocean, this eco-friendly retreat offers an exceptional blend of luxury, conservation, and exploration. Below, see Hidden Doorways’ insider intel from Ruddy Harootian’s latest stay at this unique Relais & Chateaux property!
What to Know About:
With only 14 rooms, exceptional personalized service and true attention to detail, Pikaia Lodge definitely feels intimate. The accommodations have lots of natural light, panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows, and private shaded terraces. The Pool Suite also has a private plunge pool, yet you’ll find that all the rooms are equally lovely and comfortable—choose one on the second floor for even more dramatic views. Elsewhere on property, the crater-side infinity pool is strategically placed to bask in maximum sunlight all day. Set in Peruvian travertine marble and surrounded by comfortable day beds, the pool offers views over the forested hills of the island.
Beyond the obvious draw of its wildlife and adventure activities, one of the standout features of Pikaia Lodge is its culinary offerings. The talented chefs combine local flavors with creative international influences, creating a unique gastronomic journey that showcases the region’s bountiful seafood and fresh organic produce on a menu that changes every two days. From truly delectable ceviches (a must-order) to innovative fusion dishes, every meal is a delightful celebration of Ecuadorian culinary delights. Guests can choose to eat at the gorgeous restaurant, or, for a more casual dining experience, beside the stunning infinity pool.
The Galápagos Islands are one of the top wildlife-viewing destinations on the planet, and for good reason. Guests of Pikaia Lodge will see ghost crabs, monarch butterflies, marine and land iguanas, the blue footed booby, snowy egrets, spotted eagle rays (jumping out of the water), Galápagos sea lions, penguins, pacific green turtles, blue chin parrot fish, and so much more, though the highlight of Pikaia Lodge is undoubtedly its exclusive access to a private giant tortoise reserve. Guests have the incredible opportunity to witness these animals up close and learn about their conservation efforts. Expert naturalist guides will also lead informative and engaging tours, sharing their knowledge about the endemic species and the fragile ecosystem that makes the Galápagos Islands so unique. Every room comes equipped with a Guide to Common Animals pamphlet that you can take with you and use to keep track of all the animals you see.
A stay at Pikaia Lodge is all about the experiences. When they arrive, guests will receive a detailed personally curated itinerary that plans out each day. The array of activities on offer allows visitors to explore the archipelago’s diverse landscapes, whether it’s snorkeling alongside playful sea lions, kayaking through crystal-clear waters, or hiking to volcanic craters. Each adventure is carefully designed to provide a deeper understanding of the Galápagos’ rich biodiversity and Pikaia’s surrounding ecosystem. After a full day of wildlife exploring, guests will love unwinding at the lodge’s superb infinity pool and indulge in truly breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
Pikaia Lodge’s eastern-facing Sumaq spa has 270-degree views of the Pacific, which you can enjoy from the comfort of the mosaic-tiled Jacuzzi or loungers. There’s also a treatment room for facials, deep tissue massages and body wraps enhanced by local ingredients like Galápagos volcanic ash.
Expect a truly international crowd of honeymooners, wildlife-loving couples, and adventurous families.
The Surrounding Area:
Santa Cruz has two great beaches: Tortuga Bay is a vast stretch of white sand with plenty of space for swimming, and El Garrapatero is smaller, surrounded by mangroves and with pristine turquoise waters. The island has a lot else to offer, too. There are volcanic craters, lava tunnels, forests, and tiny villages with organic coffee farms. There is a nearby town called Bellavista, but the more interesting town is a bit further in Puerto Ayora. This is where the best local shopping for souvenirs can be done. There are also a few cute chocolate shops and casual restaurants. This area attracts more of a crowd than Bellavista (which is mostly locals) and is a great place for a half-day trip when coupled with the Charles Darwin Research Station.
The M/Y Vision Yacht:
Pikaia Lodge’s M/Y Vision yacht truly elevates the concept of luxury island exploration—there is simply nothing else like it in the Galápagos. Designed to provide guests with an exclusive and immersive water-based experience, this yacht seamlessly combines opulence, comfort, and unrivaled access to the Galápagos’ captivating natural wonders. M/Y Vision has stylish and comfortable cabins that provide guests with a haven of relaxation and tranquility—especially the incredible Honeymoon Cabin, which is the perfect choice for newly-married couples who want both adventure and privacy
With a limited capacity of only 20 passengers, the M/Y Vision ensures guests an intimate and personalized journey. Even with others onboard, you’ll feel like this is somehow your very own private yacht. You’ll also find that the highly trained and attentive crew members cater to every need, and their expertise and passion for the Galápagos are evident as they accompany guests on once-in-a-lifetime excursions. Each of the itineraries are designed to showcase the Galápagos’ remarkable biodiversity, from encounters with giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island to snorkeling alongside sea lions.
For those who just want to unwind, the sun deck has comfortable loungers, inviting you to relax and soak up the sun while enjoying panoramic views of the archipelago. The yacht’s al fresco dining area offers amazing cuisine that showcases the best local flavors and ingredients, and the bar serves a variety of fresh cocktails. There is truly nothing like toasting to the gorgeous equatorial sunset on the high seas while sipping on a delicious aperitivo.
“In keeping with Pikaia Lodge’s commitment to sustainability, the M/Y Vision operates under stringent eco-friendly practices. The yacht minimizes its environmental impact through responsible waste management and energy conservation, ensuring the preservation of the Galápagos’ fragile ecosystem for future generations.”