Many people dream of a holiday to the Galapagos Islands, a magical collection of islands rich in wildlife and out-of-this-world landscapes. However, for some, the thought of spending days at sea on a yacht is not appealing for a number of reasons. Perhaps you suffer from sea sickness, or don’t like the thought of sleeping on the open ocean. Perhaps you prefer a little more freedom or want the odd day to laze around a pool between activities. If you can relate to these points and feel confused about how to tackle the booking of a Galapagos trip, worry no more as there are now some seriously impressive alternatives. Take a look at the best:
Located in the highlands of Isabela Island, just 20 minutes from Puerto Villamil, the modern and luxurious Scalesia Lodge can be found. Based on a safari style camp so favoured in Africa, but with a modern twist, this is a fabulous land based option. Surrounded by 40 acres of magical forest, with stunning views over the coastline and distant islands, Scalesia Lodge blends into the landscape.
The minimalist design includes a restaurant, lounge area, huge windows and a wrap around deck. There are 16 luxury tents which boast panoramic views, plus amenities such as full bathrooms and huge wooden private terraces. Each day different activities are arranged, visiting other islands and observing wildlife. Other options include mountain biking, kayaking, scuba diving and surfing.
Finch Bay Hotel
This award winning boutique eco lodge is in the heart of the Galapagos Islands on Santa Cruz Island. For the last 3 years, it has been awarded the ‘Leading Green Hotel’ award in South America, a huge achievement for such a remote property. Finch Bay has been designed to capture the essence of the wild islands, and yet provide first class service and optimum comfort. As the only beachfront property on the island, guests can be sure to enjoy the views and ocean.
Each day, ingredients from the hotels own organic garden are used to serve delicious cuisine at the onsite restaurant. All of the rooms are styled in neutral colours with contemporary features. Every day the hotel’s own private yacht departs on expeditions of the surrounding islands to allow everyone to observe wildlife, alternatively bike trails, hiking, snorkelling and diving excursions are on offer.
Pikaia Lodge is ideally located in the middle of Santa Cruz island, among 31 hectares of land, which includes a private giant tortoise reserve. This new luxury land-based adventure option offers high levels of comfort, alongside outstanding activities and modern amenities. Built under strict sustainability rules and run under environmental management, the lodge aims for a high LEED certification. From the main building, guests can enjoy extensive panoramic views of the Galapagos National Park, extinct volcanoes, vast savannah and distant ocean.
The rooms at Pikaia are spacious, chic and yet cosy. All feature balconies, walk in closets, marble bathrooms, bathtub and floor to ceiling windows. During the day, guests can partake in scheduled half and full day land explorations with full day marine explorations visiting nearby islands on the private yacht M/Y Pikaia I.
Galapagos Safari Camp
If you are looking for an authentic holiday in the Galapagos Islands, the fabulous Galapagos Safari Camp should be at the top of your list. This family owned property was inspired by the African safari experience, and now provides discreet luxury and memorable encounters for all guests. Located in the highlands of Santa Cruz island, this tented camp has been integrated into the environment perfectly.
The accommodation is spacious, comfortable and elegant, whilst combining practicality and privacy. Children are welcome, and along with the infinity pool and farm-to-table restaurant, you can be sure that the whole family will love staying here. As with all land based options, there are a myriad of activities on offer to take you around the local area or across the sea to other islands.
Simon Williams is Director of Bespoke Latin America. Bespoke Latin America is a luxury travel company specialising in tailor made holidays to Latin America.
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