#hosted by Pikaia Lodge; all opinions are my own
It’s hard to make one post on how wonderful our family trip to the Galápagos Islands were with Pikaia Lodge. We have stayed at and written for many hotels over the years yet Pikaia Lodge was, without doubt, one of our favorites of all-time. From the organized itineraries to the sweet staff to special accommodations for families with young kids to some of the most delicious food we have ever consumed, a traveler can simply not miss a trip to Pikaia Lodge in the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador.
It wouldn’t be right to acknowledge anything at Pikaia Lodge over their incredibly sweet and accommodating staff. From the waitresses to the bartenders, assistant manager to bell hops and cleaning crew, every single staff member was always happy to help our family with smiles on their faces. The staff also hires wonderful drivers and naturalist guides, all who become like family after a long day exploring together. We were so impressed with how well Pikaia Lodge kept our family on a schedule to see so much but also how we never felt rushed. The staff is top-notch!
Being a hotel girl, I’m always focused on the details of a hotel visit – the little things – that make a hotel stand-out. Pikaia Lodge offered amazing views, both of the ocean and of local wildlife and beautiful architecture, but the little things stood out the most. Pikaia Lodge was the first hotel we have visited that had children’s robes and slippers, making our kids feel so welcome and at home. They also had arranged a cot for Griffin to sleep on for additional comfort and spacing, which was the most ideal sleeping arrangement for our family. The Lodge offered s’mores in the evening for kids, a media room with a film playing on the Galapagos with a space to play board games and relax in-between exploring, and the meals provided for children were kid-friendly. It was a wonderful place to call home in the Galapagos.
The Adventure at Sea
One of the things that we loved the most about Pikaia Lodge was how all of our activities were pre-planned for our stay. Upon arrival in the airport, we took a dinghy boat to cross from Baltra Island to Santa Cruz, a first for our family. We were immediately smitten with the sights of the blue-green water. When our adventures began, we had a wonderful day out at sea on a yacht with a naturalist guide who helped us access additional islands in the Galapagos besides Santa Cruz where Pikaia Lodge is located: Bartolome Island & Chinese Hat Island. On Bartolome Island, we began to see incredible marine wildlife and captured incredible views of the islands. With over 100 islands in the Galapagos and only 4 being inhabited, there is so much nature to take in and enjoy.
On the yacht, Pikaia Lodge had arranged for a full-service staff to serve meals and food, also providing the comforts of cabin access with beds, showers and a place to store our items. The yacht was gorgeous and helped us get amazing views of the sea. Our second at sea adventure took us to Chinese Hat Island where wet suits were provided for a snorkeling expedition. While snorkeling, we encountered the most beautiful sea animals but also just made fantastic memories seeing some of the most beautiful sights available to tourists in the Galapagos.
The Ability to Adventure on Land (what a Perk with Kids!)
There is also a lot to see on land, too. When researching hotel options on the Galápagos Islands, we saw that many cruises or hotels at sea would limit our family to be restricted to space on a cruise ship only. With bros that like to run free, we were so pleased we the open spaces to run around on site at Pikaia Lodge. We spent one afternoon on a light hike, exploring the beautiful grounds. It was so nice to be out in nature and not restricted to a confined space for the duration of our stay.
We also had a wonderful day without our naturalist guide, Mario, exploring more of Santa Cruz Island. We spent time at Playa el Garrapatero, a local beach with beautiful lava stones and views. There we were able to spot a flamingo in the wild and it was quite an experience to see! We also explored a lava tunnel that had formed which was so incredibly interesting located in Bellavista. The bros loved spending time at the Highlands Tortoise Reserve, where we spent time with huge land tortoises and observed their unique ways! These tortoises are well-known in the Galapagos as being an important creature native to the islands, so we enjoyed learning more about them. We also had the chance to walk around in Puerto Ayora, the town of Santa Cruz, which offered lots of cute shops and restaurants as well as a fish market.
The Marine Animals
There is little our family loves more than viewing animals in the wild, so it was such a treat to have so many unique experiences with Pikaia Lodge! As you pull into the lodge, you will immediately see the giant tortoises that the islands are known for in the Highlands region where the resort lies. While at sea, we were able to see marine iguanas, penguins, sea lions (my favorite!), white-tipped sharks, blue-footed booby birds and gorgeous birds unique to the islands. On land, we were able to see a flamingo at the local beach (it was so beautiful!) along with giant tortoises at the Highlands Tortoise Reserve. It was so educational for our bros to experience the wildlife of the islands with the naturalist guides who were so knowledgable about them.
Although this should be somewhere near the top, the food at Pikaia Lodge was exquisite. The staff and cooking staff of the Lodge do so good at coordinating all meals for guests but delivering each delicious meal without flaw. There were too many favorites to point out a favorite, but our kids loved the red snapper, the hamburger (yum!) and any Ecuadorian chocolate dessert they could get their hands on. One night, Logan and I enjoyed a special native dinner narrated by the sous chef to learn more about the local flavors of Ecuador. This special meal consisted of a locally-sourced martini, ceviche, a white fish made with blue corn maize made to look like a lava rock (it was absolutely incredible) and more Ecuadorian chocolate. Our mouths are still watering.
Last but not least, Pikaia Lodge isn’t just a wonderful destination hotel. Pikaia Lodgeis doing so much good for so many in Ecuador, specifically at Julio Pueblas Castellano School, a local school in Santa Cruz that Pikaia Lodge supports. For the past five years, Pikaia Lodge has employed an additional teacher for the local El Cascajo school. The lodge has become a partner of the school, assisting by donating materials to replace their church roof and for repaving the main road of the village. Pikaia Lodge organizes and promotes activities within the village and local students are invited to the lodge for science presentations.
While there, our family was able to collect and bring supplies for these children at the school and it was the most special part of the trip. Thank you to everyone who donated to ensure that these children would receive new backpacks, supplies and treats – the children had huge smiles on their face and we all enjoyed our time of fellowship together.
If you are looking for a hotel in the Galápagos Islands, look no further than Pikaia Lodge for your family’s next trip. Thank you to our amazing guides for all of your great work!