The only way to camp, Galapagos Safari Camp is the perfect place to stay if you're looking to escape from it all and be in tune with nature. There are only about 10 tents total which are nicely spaced and offer wonderful views of the surrounding brush and the ocean off in the distance. The lodge - where all meals are served - is a short walk uphill, and there's a beautiful new sunset viewing meditation deck where you can relax with a cocktail or book and take it all in.
The tents are built on platforms about 5' above ground which helps reduce the impact on the land and at least gives you the impression that it separates you from the creepy crawlies. Each tent has a spacious deck off the entrance with a hammock, table & chairs. Inside the tents are sufficiently large with room for a small desk, coffee/tea station, queen bed and bureau (which was very musty therefore went unused). There's a privacy flap that separates the bathroom area from the bedroom, however it's just a nylon wall, so for any shy bathroom users, note that any noise made in the bathroom will easily carry over into the bedroom and the trail that connects to the other tents. There is electricity in the tents as well as a small space heater/cooler. Our only complaint regarding the tents is that the sheets were always damp which made it very difficult to sleep comfortably. We even tried leaving the the space heater on all night and that didn't help. I'm not sure if this can be avoided given the humidity in the air, but it's hard to rate the accommodations as '4-star luxurious' when you're sleeping on wet sheets.
The lodge is beautiful and offers a great variety of indoor & outdoor seating whether just lounging around or eating meals. The views from the lodge are fantastic and inside there's a beautiful stone fireplace with plenty of seating where you can read or enjoy a cocktail along with complimentary water, tea, coffee & snacks. Meals are typically served in a group setting, although if you prefer to be seated separately that can be arranged. The food was very good, but dinner was always a single set menu, which meant that picky eaters who didn't like what was served went hungry. Since there's nowhere nearby to grab food, we would have greatly appreciated having at least one other option to choose from at dinner (portions for the men could have been larger as well). Breakfast was always a great spread with plenty of variety.
Regarding activities, on the island of Santa Cruz we greatly enjoyed seeing the huge tortoises, visiting the Charles Darwin station and kayaking in Tortuga Bay. The marine life in Tortuga Bay is astounding - while kayaking we encountered dozens of sharks, sea turtles, manta rays of several varieties, marine iguanas and even a blue footed booby.
North Seymour Island is about a 1.5hr boat ride and is a nice nesting site for Frigates and Boobies. There are also land iguanas on the island. Sea lions and marine iguanas can be seen on the shore.
Bartolomé Island is about a 3hr boat ride and offers a nice short hike to the top of the old volcano where you'll be treated to stunning views. Most of the island looks like the surface of Mars, but there are some gorgeous beaches on both sides of the island. We were dropped off on a small strip of beach that was separated from another beach on the other side of the island by a small strip of green vegetation (it's the one you can see from the top of the volcano). There's a trail that cuts across which is well worth the short walk as we encountered several sharks and sea turtles (as well as turtle nests) on the other side. There was also a lone penguin that greeted us on the opposite beach.
Plazas Island is a 1hr boat ride where you'll find a large colony of sea lions and their pups. You might even see a large shark prowling the rocky shore for a meal. The landscape on this island is very different from the other 2, making it a nice stop. You'll also see plenty of marine iguanas.
If you're looking for penguins, we were told that Isabela Island is the place to be.
- Also Known As:
- Galapagos Safari Camp Hotel Santa Cruz
- Galapagos Safari Camp Hotel
- Galapagos Safari Camp Galapagos Islands/Santa Cruz, Ecuador
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- GSC provides an authentic inland experience by offering 9 luxury safari tents – all with oceanview balcony- in an exclusive natural environment, both as an alternative or in addition to a sea-based travel itinerary. Tents are spacious with private bathroom and hot water. Guests gather by the fireplace in the main room to view the sunsets, taste our chef´s creative dishes in the panoramic dining room or enjoy the tranquility of the infinity pool. ... more less
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