Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Pikaia Lodge


The most luxurious stay in the archipelago

Perched on the edge of an extinct volcanic crater on Santa Cruz Island in the heart of the Galapagos Islands, Pikaia Lodge is the archipelago’s most luxurious stay.

The ultra-contemporary ecolodge was designed to be as efficient and sustainable as possible, taking in incredible views out to the Pacific and surrounded by land restored into a private giant tortoise reserve. 29 rooms and suites drink in the vistas through floor-to-ceiling windows, some featuring their own balconies and plunge pools.

A spectacular infinity pool is a real highlight, as is the Relais & Châteaux cuisine crafted from fresh local produce. A spa, lounge, library and bar are also found in the main building. You’re perfectly based here to discover Santa Cruz’s highland interior and nearby beaches on guided tours or at your leisure, as well as for day trips to the surrounding islands on Pikaia’s very own yacht.


At a glance

  • 29 rooms

  • Relais & Châteaux dining

  • Infinity pool, spa and fitness centre

  • Own yachts for island hopping

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    Island hopping

    Pikaia has its own private yacht with private cabins, sundeck and hot tub for day trips to nearby islands. Join expert naturalist guides see the incredible wildlife and scenery on hikes and snorkelling excursions, with wonderful lunches and breakfasts served onboard.

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    Explore the Highlands

    Hike to see Santa Cruz’s volcanic craters and ancient lava tubes then explore the lush forests where giant tortoises roam.

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    Borrow the lodge’s mountain bikes and maps for days out visiting craters, small villages, organic coffee farms and cattle ranches. The nearby Garrapatero Beach (10km from the lodge) is a favorite biking destination, with a downhill road passing through different environments with stunning views.

Community & Culture

Pikaia Lodge believes that well-regulated land-based tourism is a positive model for the long-term preservation of the islands, combined with social stability and economical wellbeing for the settler communities. Pikaia Lodge has created more than 60 new jobs for Santa Cruz Island residents and contributes substantial resources to the island’s economy.

Pikaia Lodge also aims to be a good neighbour. Besides creating jobs for the community, they have a long-term social responsibility program. This includes employing an additional teacher for the local school, inviting local students are to lodge’s conference room for science presentations. They have also donated materials to replace the church roof and main road of the village.

The lodge supports local businesses by sourcing agricultural products such as organic coffee, vegetables and seasonal fruits from the El Cascajo community and includes activities owned and run by village residents, such as visits to lava tunnels, craters and wildlife refuges.


The land the lodge was built on was previously a private cattle ranch with all the native vegetation and trees cut down and replaced by pasture. Pikaia’s owners began an ambitious reforesting project. They have already replanted more than 10,000 endemic trees and the wildlife such as giant tortoises and native birdlife has returned to the landscape.


Pikaia Lodge has been designed and equipped according to the highest environmental specifications, enlisting experts to meet the challenge of offering guest five-star luxury while being as efficient as possible with energy, resources and water, while achieving operational carbon neutral status.

The lodge was built using the lowest possible quantity of concrete in order to minimize the use of locally mined aggregates and construction waste materials, by using imported pre-fabricated steel columns and beams. Natural Galapagos lava stone and tiles, cut locally by collecting stones by hand on selected sites with the approval of the National Park Service, are used on most floors and walls. Only sustainable, agro-cultivated teak and bamboo wood from the Ecuadorian mainland were used for most furniture, doors and décor.

The lodge was designed to use the sun efficiently, for natural interior illumination, an optimal placing of solar water heating collector panels and for solar photovoltaic energy production. The lodge is oriented east-west and all social areas and guest rooms face either north or south to prevent the intense Equatorial sun coming in through our large panoramic windows. Passive cooling with cross air ventilation in all rooms and buildings by optimizing convection and natural air flows with a clever windows design.

The lodge is carbon neutral, powered with a mix of conventional and alternative energy sources that do not pollute or emit greenhouse gases. Solar is used to generate most energy, with anything drawn from the grid compensated by excess power being fed back during the day. and "grid tied", which means that the Lodge is connected and feeding electricity to the islands' electricity grid. Any CO2 emissions are compensated and offset by Pikaia’s endemic trees reforestation program.

Roofs are designed to collect rainwater to be purified by reverse osmosis, UV or ozone treated in a steel reservoir, then used in the kitchen. This pure water passes again through other filters for cooking, making juices, drinking water and ice, avoiding the need for plastic bottles. Grey water is treated onsite while waste is all recycled.

What makes us different

Why Niarra

Niarra Travel is a forward-thinking travel company headquartered in London born out of a passion to do things differently.

In Swahili, a Bantu language spoken by millions in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, the name Niara means "with utmost purpose" and our team are united by a passion for exploration and a belief that the right kind of travel can make the world a better place.

Our Travel Researchers are here to create incredible trips with a positive impact for you.

  • Unforgettable experiences

    Creating your trip is entirely collaborative and our Travel Researchers are here for every step.

  • Positive impact

    Curated sustainable experiences and accommodation that maximize the benefits to local people and place.

  • Fairness and transparency

    An open, competitive pricing structure that ensures more money goes to where it's needed in the destination.

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