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Pikaia Galapagos Exploration

Explore Santa Cruz and nearby islands with a mix of land and yacht excursions while staying at one of the most stylish properties in the archipelago

Pikaia Galapagos Exploration

Prices from: £9,320 pp for 6 nights

Enjoy 6 action packed days combining land and water-based adventures during a stay at stunning Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz. This holiday is ideal for those who prefer not to spend nights at sea, but still wish to visit a selection of islands to experience the diversity of the Galapagos Islands.

During your time on Santa Cruz you are offered a wide range of guided tours to see different geological features such as lava tunnels, sinkholes, forests, mangroves, lakes and beaches. You can also spend time at the Charles Darwin Research Station where you can see the iconic giant tortoises up close, at all stages of growth, as they are nurtured before being released into the wild to boost the population, take a tour of an organic coffee farm, and visit Puerto Ayora with its shops, restaurants, fish market and harbour.

Other days are spent on the lodge’s yacht sailing to neighbouring islands. These days start early, making the most of your time, and in the different destinations you have chances to go walking, swimming and snorkelling, observe a wide range of animal and bird life, take in superb views and learn about the islands from your guide. Breakfast and lunch are served on board, and you are allocated your own cabin so you can enjoy a refreshing shower on your cruise back to Pikaia Lodge, arriving in time for dinner.

The itinerary below is an example, based on a Wednesday arrival, but you can arrive on any day of the week. The activities vary from day to day, and are shown as guide.

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Summary

  • Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz 6 nights
  • Different activities each day
  • Sail to nearby islands on Pikaia I yacht
frigatebird
DAY 1: WEDNESDAY

You arrive at Baltra airport on a flight from the mainland, to be met by a representative from Pikaia Lodge. Your journey continues with a ferry crossing of the Itabaca Channel and a 50 minute drive to Pikaia Lodge, your home for the next 6 nights. Take time to get to know the layout and facilities, which include a pool, spa, gym and cycling trails, and have lunch in the restaurant or on the pool terrace. During the afternoon you have a briefing about the activities to come over the next few days. After dinner there’s a screening of a Galapagos documentary by Sir David Attenborough, which you are welcome to attend. Lunch, dinner

Giant Tortoise
DAY 2: THURSDAY

You rise early today take to the water on Pikaia I, the lodge’s yacht. The first destination is Bartolome, site of one of the archipelago’s best known vistas. Breakfast is served on board, and on arrival you can go hiking to the highest point to take in views back down to the coast, bays and shard-like Pinnacle Rock, with the ocean and dark mass of Santiago in the distance. Alternatively you can go swimming and snorkelling. Lunch is a tasty buffet served on board, while you sail to Sullivan Bay on Santiago. Here you accompany your guide on a walk to see swirling pahoehoe lava formations, lava cones and marine iguanas. Return to Pikaia I for the cruise back to the Itabaca Channel, during which time you can have a shower in your allocated cabin, and should arrive back at the lodge just before 7pm. Breakfast, lunch, dinner  

sea lions on the beach
DAY 3: FRIDAY

Enjoy a more leisurely start to the day, with a breakfast at the lodge, and morning activities started to begin from 9am. You can choose between various land excursions on Santa Cruz, all led by a resident guide, with groups of up to 16 guests. Options include a tour of a giant tortoise farm, exploring lava tunnels, a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, a trip to Los Gemelos sinkholes and scalesia forest, a coffee farm tour, and beach trips. Your chosen tour ends by lunchtime, and you have the afternoon free to relax at the lodge, soaking up some sun by the pool or treating yourself to a massage at the spa. Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Blue footed boobies
DAY 4: SATURDAY

Another day aboard Pikaia I, this time sailing to North Seymour Island. Breakfast is eaten on the yacht and you can then enjoy a guided walk as you seek out the various bird species including frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies, sea lions and both land and marine iguanas or snorkelling where you may spot turtles. After lunch on the yacht you arrive at Mosquera Islet, to walk along the beach past sea lions, while watching for lava gulls and yellow crowned herons. During the return cruise there’s time for a shower and you should arrive back at Pikaia Lodge around 4:30pm, in time for a swim or a walk in the gardens, before dinner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner

land iguanas
DAY 5: SUNDAY

Today’s cruise takes you to South Plaza, where there is usually a reception committee of sea lions. This small island is a showcase of flora and fauna. Opuntia cacti, also known as prickly pears, make striking silhouettes, and the ground is carpeted in sesuvium, which changes colour from bright green to orange according to the season. As well as sea lions, you are likely to spot land iguanas, often beneath the cacti waiting for the fruits to fall, swallow-tailed gulls, red-billed tropicbirds and blue-footed boobies. After a buffet lunch you explore nearby Santa Fe for further walking and snorkelling opportunities. Freshen up on the voyage back, and you should arrive at Pikaia Lodge at around 6:30pm. Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Bartolome
DAY 6: MONDAY

Breakfast at the lodge is followed by a choice of guided activities on Santa Cruz to various places of interest. If you prefer, you can explore independently, using the lodge’s mountain bikes or snorkelling equipment, available free of charge. Optional activities available at additional cost include kayaking, fishing and scuba diving, offered subject to availability. Lunch is served between 1pm and 3:30pm, and you have a free afternoon to explore further or simply take things easy by the infinity pool, chatting with fellow guests in the bar or enjoying the panoramic views from the terrace. Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Tortuga Bay
DAY 7: TUESDAY

Following breakfast you have free time at the lodge until you leave for Baltra airport for the flight back to the mainland. Breakfast

Price from (pp sharing): £9,320 (ex. international flights)

Includes: ​Return flights from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands, 6 nights’ accommodation on twin share basis at Pikaia Lodge, meet and greet on arrival, activities on each full day at the lodge either on Santa Cruz or sailing to other islands on Pikaia I yacht, meals as shown, services of an English-speaking naturalist guide during included activities

Excludes: International flights, departure taxes, visas (not currently required by British passport holders), travel insurance, Galapagos National Park Fee currently US$100 payable locally in US$, tourist transit card (currently US$20), optional excursions, meals not shown as included, drinks, items of a personal nature, tips.

Getting there: ​This holiday starts and ends in Quito on mainland Ecuador. Return flights from the UK to Quito cost from about £675, depending on season and availability. We are happy to book these for you.

Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday that can begin on the day of your choice, subject to availability.

Pikaia Lodge

From its location atop 2 extinct volcanic craters on Santa Cruz, there are superb views over the island to the ocean. Rooms and suites are spacious and light, with floor-to-ceiling windows and terraces where you can in the views in seclusion. All have a large private bathroom with beautiful  marble tiles. Facilities include a restaurant with a glazed front wall, a bar, lounge, video and lecture lounge, expansive terraces with sunny and shaded areas, and a firepit. For recreation there’s an infinity pool, spa, gym, walking, jogging and cycling trails and 31 hectares of grounds complete with wild giant tortoises.

walking across lava flow rock

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We know and love the Galapagos Islands, and would delighted to help you plan your perfect Galapagos holiday. Call 01473 599082 and speak to one of our Galapagos travel specialists today.