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Pikaia Lodge

A breathtakingly unique and luxurious experience in the Santa Cruz highlands...

Excellent Five stars from 22 votes
Pikaia Lodge - Exterior
Pikaia Lodge - Exterior

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The location, design and execution of Pikaia Lodge is nothing short of spectacular. Set atop an extinct volcano crater, carpeted in lush vegetation, the views over Santa Cruz island and across to Santa Fe Island really are captivating…especially from the comfort of the infinity pool! With two private yachts offering day excursions, the lodge is a haven to unwind after an action-packed day. Pikaia Lodge also sets the bar in terms of eco-credentials: The property is carbon neutral, uses rainwater purification and has, to date, replanted over 10,000 endemic trees. The hotel fully embraces Darwin’s evolutionary theme (hence being named after the organism that gave rise to modern day vertebrates), from the ‘Tree of Life’ in the lobby to the double-helix structure in the restaurant. Indeed, there is a copy of The Origin of Species in every guest room. All very Relais & Chateaux!


Pikaia Lodge is set in 76 acres of private land, purchased in 2006, that is now home to not just the hotel but also a giant tortoise nature reserve. Built on the crest of a 450-metre peak, the lodge gets a welcome combination of the savanna’s dry heat with the cool mist of the tropical highlands.

Having crossed from Baltra airport, the lodge is around 35-minutes by road. Turning off the main road and taking the dirt track through the main gates feels a little like something out of Jurassic Park!


Pikaia Lodge’s contemporary design is striking from the vast lobby area that epitomises the property – high ceilings with masses of natural light and simple but elegant scheme. Through the lobby is the ‘DNA’ bar and ‘Evolution’ restaurant, opening out to the terrace and infinity pool.

The gardens have comfy seating around a firepit. Also on the ground floor is the ‘Sumaq’ Spa. Across from the lobby is the ‘Homo Sapiens’ lounge, with houses the library and a 3D-TV screen (glasses and Attenborough in the Galapagos provided). Beyond the lounge are the rooms and suites (split between ground & 1st floor).


Pikaia Lodge has 12 rooms and two suites. The rooms are split as six, ground-floor Terrace rooms and six first floor Balcony rooms direct above. Aside from this the are the same – 61m2 and include a 11m2 private terrace/balcony with dramatic views. The rooms have full height windows and have both air-con and ceiling fan, although the natural cross ventilation and thermal insulation reduces the need for either. Rooms come with a King bed or two Queen beds, with 1 room modified for wheelchair access. The cavernous bathrooms include a walk-in closet, bathtub (with a view), shower cubicle, two vanity sinks and a separate toilet. The 74m2 Garden Suite comes with a King bed & sofabed and includes a 16m2 terrace with a private garden. The Pool Suite is identical to the garden suite, but includes a 36m2 garden terrace with a private plunge pool.


Full-board rates at Pikaia Lodge include excursions on their yacht, the Pikaia I as well as land-based activities; but B&B rates are also available. The property can assist with fishing trips on the Pikaia II (for example, Marlin and Tuna) and SCUBA dives. All guests have free access to the lodge’s mountain bikes and 3.5km private trails…or further afield! The spa features a treatment room, small gym and a whirlpool with 270-degree view of the island.

An idyllic sanctuary which showcases every element of these remarkable islands

Considering the eye-watering rates, the restaurant menu is a little limited

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