In addition to the Pikaia Lodge, the original upscale land base in the Galápagos archipelago is found on the island of Santa Cruz. I continue to recommend the Galapagos Safari Camp, which is situated in the “transition zone” between the cultivated land and the national park.
A stylish central lodge, with one wall made entirely of glass, is set at an elevation of 1,575 feet and affords an inspiring panorama of the Pacific and several adjacent islands. The interior features a large fireplace, well-stocked bookshelves, comfortable sofas and a 15-foot Balinese teak dining table. The accommodations are in nine comfortable, safari-style tented suites set on wooden decks, which come with small but well-appointed baths equipped with effective showers; a three-bedroom family suite is also available.
The feeling of being “on safari”; the inspiring view; the excellent cuisine; the well-organized activities.
The tents are comfortable but not especially spacious compared with those at equivalent properties in Africa.
A land base cannot provide the same sense of remoteness that you experience on a boat. On Santa Cruz Island, civilization seems relatively close by. The town of Puerto Ayora (pop. 12,000) lies 13 miles to the southwest.