The idea of swimming amongst penguins and hiking through lava beds during the same itinerary sounds disbelieving, yet on the Galapagos islands, this illusive concept can become a reality. Located off of Ecuador’s coast, these unique islands have become a sought-after travel destination for many reasons, particularly for its extensive views of remote and abundant beauty. Comprised of a series of active volcanic islands, the Galapagos is the one place where the exotic animal population outweighs that of humans. From diving amongst hammerhead sharks to hiking the world’s second largest crater, the islands host a plethora of activities to let go and disconnect – truly allowing visitors to get in the vacation spirit.
No matter the time of year, it’s summer year-round in the Galapagos. Depending on what travelers are looking for during their trip, there is a time of the year to go. December through May hosts the warmest and clearest weather, yet the cooler and dryer season of June-November brings better sea life viewing. Regardless of the month, sunscreen should be a key staple when packing, as the UV rays are fierce with a location so close to the equator.
Although the Galapagos spans over 19 islands, many of these are uninhabited, therefore planning out the itinerary in advance is best. No matter the island of preference, the most popular method of transportation is to fly into the mainland Ecuador – particularly Guayaquil, as this city is closer to the islands. To get the full experience of the wonders of the Galapagos, visitors find themselves traveling to the Santa Cruz island for the duration of their trip. If walking through underground lava tubes isn’t incentive enough, travelers can also snorkel amongst sea turtles in Tortuga Bay, or simply just relax in the waters of Puerto Ayora. Whatever the activity of choice is, Santa Cruz has some of the most luxurious hotels to fully relax after a day’s worth of adventure.
Where to stay:
Royal Palm Hotel
With only 8 casitas and 13 villas sitting on 386 acres of lush greenery, the private estate fully embraces the notion of exclusivity. Surrounded by the Miconia forests and Santa Cruz Highlands, the nature that encompasses the scenery of the hotel immerses guests in the true experience of the islands. Even more so, because of this location, the wildlife of the island’s owls, Darwin Short Beak Finches, and Egrets are ever more present amongst the property!
The Royal Palm Hotel aims to give every guest the opportunity to make the most out of their Galapagos trip, and will curate specific itineraries based off of the interest of the guest. These fully-inclusive packages provide plenty of land and sea excursions to fit each visitor’s ideal trip. For more information on the experience of the Royal Palm Hotel, visit their website today: http://www.royalpalmgalapagos.com/royal-palm-hotel/
Looking to be even closer to nature? The Pikaia Lodge is a luxurious resort that is known for their eco-friendly environment, being named one of the most advanced green lodges in the world. Being so immersed amongst the natural wildlife, the accommodations are fully based on environmentally- sustainable tourism. Not only does the Lodge operate with alternative energy sources, but continues to operate in the least harmful manner to its surroundings, preserving the island as much as possible. In following with the strict law of the Galapagos that prevents over-development and over-production, the resort offers guided land and sea tours to up to only 16 guests at a time. On the property, the facilities will never feel over-crowded, as the resort only has 29 rooms to fully offer guests the boutique experience. Each room was built using steel, some of the most recyclable material, and decorated with lava stone and tile.
From the views of the Galapagos National Park while dining at the Evolution restaurant, to the relaxing environments of the outdoor firepit area and the infinity pool, guests can truly immerse themselves in the natural wonders that the Pikaia Lodge provides. Visit below for more information: http://www.pikaialodge.com
Looking to book your trip to the Galapagos today? Contact us for more information about these two luxurious accommodations!
Story by Christina Reynolds
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