Bucket List Destination: Pikaia Lodge in Galapagos

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I visited Pikaia Lodge in Galapagos back in January. Pikaia Lodge is a magnificent environmentally-friendly eco luxury lodge. Located in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, in the center of the Galapagos Archipelago, the lodge's panoramic views are breathtaking and spectacular. Pikaia offers a new way to experience the bucket list destination of the Galapagos.

The Pikaia Lodge is beautifully designed with comfortably large rooms and suites. All creature comforts from excellent air conditioning, to comfortable beds with high thread count sheets, to direct TV and beautiful bathrooms, are available. The staff is superb and will cater to your every need.

I felt the pace of the activities outlined in the program were well-planned and executed. The lodge has four-day and seven-day programs with a varied schedule of small group, private-guided daily land and yacht excursions. In the evenings they offer informative 3D David Attenborough Documentaries. Following dinner, which is influenced by Peruvian cuisine, it¹s time for sleep as the days are long with so much to explore.

The four-day program offers two days of yacht tours to some of the best Islands aboard the MV I Pikaia. You can hike the North Seymour islands to see mating frigate birds, blue footed Booby¹s, iguanas, sea lions and more. The day includes a visit to a secluded snorkeling spot with the opportunity to see beautifully colored schools of fish and baby sea lions that are close enough to touch. On another yacht tour, you can sail to Bartolomé to go underwater snorkeling and see lava fields, sea lions, and penguins. On the land tour day, the guides take you to see giant tortoises up close at a tortoise reserve, hike to a deep lava cave, and visit the Craters and microclimate of the endemic forests with an expert guide and naturalist. 

The lodge offers quality mountain bike­ rides to volcanic craters, lava tunnels, small villages with organic coffee farms, cattle ranches, and secluded beaches. You can hike, kayak, snorkel, or relax at the beautiful pool with panoramic views of the Pacific ocean. Alternatively, enjoy a treatment in the spa, enjoy a rejuvenating shamanic rainmaker stick massage with therapists Jonathan or Rosita.

While the lodge offers everything you could need and more, there are many activities outside the lodge too. You can go to Puerto Ayora - the local town 15 minutes from the lodge -  for lunch or dinner. Restaurant Il Giardino serves a mouthwatering fish and lobster Encocado, a local specialty of fresh fish and lobster in a coconut sauce. For a shopping fix, stop by Galeria Aymara. Another fun activity is to visit the coffee plantations nearby, which can be arranged on a private basis. 

I was fascinated to learn that the name Pikaia - an extinct animal that was similar to an eel - was chosen because it represents the philosophy that the creators of Pikaia Lodge have. The theme of the lodge is evolution, since Galapagos inspired Charles Darwin to develop his theory of evolution. The first animal to evolve into vertebrate was the Pikaia, so the Pikaia lodge represents evolution, change, and sustenance of local culture. The installation art in the lodge is reflective of the Darwin Evolutionary concept, including a life-sized Tree of Life in the entry way.

Additionally, I was impressed with how well the hotel operates in regards to energy efficiency and product sourcing, as the Island is so remote. You can tell immediately upon arrival that the eco-friendly concept was a major factor in the overall development.

Pikaia Lodge is perfect for guests who are not interested in a cruise ship or yacht experience. You can experience luxury while being active, adventuring, observing wildlife, hiking, swimming, biking, sea kayaking, and snorkeling. This 14-room land-based hotel is a bucket list destination. The Lodge is like a cruise minus the crowds. Although it is definitely intimate, it's also well designed, comfortable, and has exceptional service.