Galapagos Safari Camp offers understated luxury travel

Set in 55 remote hectares and perched in the highland of Santa Cruz, Galapagos Safari Camp was inspired by the African safari experiences.

High level and personalised service is added to the incredible natural environment and astounding views.

It is a place to come to contemplate, re-energise and relax.

Ideal for honeymooners, families and couples, Galapagos Safari Camp is a gorgeous retreat, away from the crowds of Puerto Ayora, with fine food and dining as the norm.

More about Galapagos Safari Camp

Wake up to birds chirping and the wind rustling the trees above your tent watching a beautiful sunrise – wonderful way to greet each day.

Or sunsets from the infinity pool, chilled drink in hand, a perfect way to end the day.

During the day the Galapagos Safari Camp offers tours with its hand-picked and excellent guides. You can bike the highlands, explore lava tubes and visit giant tortoise reserves.

You can hike the forests around the Gemelos craters, visit the Charles Darwin research station in Puerto Ayora or snorkel with with sea lions and penguins.

Read more about the Safari camp in Tom’s blog about his visit there.

Trip Highlights

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  • Unique location and discreet luxury run through the safari-themed camp, with some of the best sunsets in the world.

  • Best guides for tours around Santa Cruz, helping you get the most out of your stay in Galapagos.

  • Infinity pool, breathtaking views and unique safari style accommodation all situated on a 55-hectare farm in the Santa Cruz Highlands.

  • Beautiful main lodge with fireplaces, well-stocked bar, library and panoramic windows.

  • Completely flexible - go all inclusive or accommodation only - with tour tailored for families, honeymooners or groups.

  • Farm to table food.....Galapagos Safari Camp food is of the very highest quality and cooked to perfection by the chef.

Incredible location, food and sunsets.

Very much away from it all, the staff are incredibly attentive and kind. If you want to see stunning Galapagos in superb style, then there's nowhere better than the Safari Camp.

I loved swimming in the pool with swooping birds flying down to keep me company.

T. Shearman, Galapagos Safari Camp

Full Itinerary

Day 1: Fly to Galapagos – transfer to Safari Camp via Highlands (L,D)

Note: This is an example, outline itinerary. There are set group departures where you enjoy trips with a shared guide or you can design a private tour to suit you. Extensions to Isabela or other neighbouring islands also available.

An English-speaking naturalist guide meets you at the VIP lounge at Baltra Airport to escort you on your excursion of the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.

Enjoy a delicious, locally sourced lunch at a farm in the western hills. Take in the area’s natural beauty, pit craters, lava tunnels, and learn more about the Scalesia and Guayabillo forests.

At the Tortoise Reserve, share some time in the giant tortoises’ natural habitat, surrounded by the abundant bird life of the area.

End this day at Galapagos Safari Camp with a sunset cocktail followed by dinner.

Day 2: North Seymour Islet (B,L,D)

Travel with your group to the Itabaca Channel for the 1-hour boat trip to North Seymour, a low island consisting of submarine lava. The dry landing is rich in wildlife: sea lions, Swallow-tailed Gulls, Lava Gulls, Tropicbirds, Brown Noddy Terns, and Pelicans.

Along the shore, you will traverse a wide expanse of sand, which is a nesting area for marine iguanas. Just off the trail, frigate birds guard their nests in the saltbush clumps, and another trail leads to a flat area—a nesting site for blue-footed boobies.

The lovely Palo Santo forest, which is very arid during the dry season, turns green almost overnight once the rains begin.

Other endemic plants include the Opuntia cactus, Croton, Castela, and Sesuvium.

In the afternoon you may visit Las Bachas Beach, ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Its soft, white sand is derived from decomposed coral, a favourite nesting site for sea turtles.

Day 3: Charles Darwin Centre – Tortuga Bay (B,L,D)

Tour the Charles Darwin Research Station in the morning, followed by lunch in one of Puerto Ayora’s vibrant restaurants.

Spend the rest of the day relaxing at Tortuga Bay with its long white sandy beach.

There is a good trail to get there, with some very impressive cacti along the way.

At the far end of the bay is a large, mangrove lagoon, rich in wildlife and ideal for swimming.

Day 4: Santa Fe – snorkel and hike (B,L,D)

Drive with your group to Puerto Ayora, then hop aboard a speed boat for the two-hour boat trip to Santa Fe.

We anchor at a beautiful, sheltered bay and snorkel with sea lions, surgeonfish, damsels, parrotfish, stingrays, and white-tip reef sharks.

This rugged island is composed of uplifted basaltic lava, and much of it is a faulted-plateau covered with Opuntia cacti.

The trail, where Santa Fe land iguanas and Galapagos hawks are seen, takes you around to a beach inhabited by sea lions and blue-footed boobies.

Day 5: Transfer out – fly to Ecuador, tour ends (B)

Today you could leave the Safari Camp and fly back to Ecuador, stay longer, join up with a cruise or head to another island.

Prices From $3,680 / £3,121 per person

Enquire about booking

What's Included?

Accommodation, meals as listed, transfers, boat trips & ground transportation on a shared basis, wetsuits and snorkelling equipment, shared English-speaking naturalist guide, activities and visits detailed in the itinerary

What's Not Included?

International flights, Ecuador-Galapagos return flights, Galapagos National Park entrance fee, Galapagos Ingala transit card, drinks, laundry, insurance, personal items, tips, Quito services,



Located below the main lodge, the nine-safari style tents are raised on wooden platforms and supported by three layers: one to protect against the sun, another against the rain and an inner canvas shell.

They have airy and comfortable interiors, custom-made furniture, including cupboards and a writing desks, en-suite bathrooms with good water pressure, hot showers and flush toilets.

The tents also have private balconies with ocean views and furniture.

There is also a three-bedroom suite as an alternative, located next to the main lodge. This is an ideal solution for families with younger children. It houses six guests, features a master bedroom and two twin rooms as well as a playroom.

Our open space Main lodge is built on a hill with panoramic views from its expansive veranda. It features a lounge, library, cosy fireplace and a bar. It hosts the dining room, serving local and international farm-to-table dishes inspired by the chef.

There is also an infinity pool and a viewing terrace.

Tour Staff

Michael and Stephanie Mesdag stumbled on the property while visiting the islands. They gave up life in Europe to build a dream conceived while up a tree admiring the mesmerising views where the lodge now sits.

Every detail at the camp has a personal touch and every element has a history and the energetic team is the soul of the operation.

Guides are “Galapagueños”, most of the guides and staff members were born and raised in the Galapagos Islands.

They know the area well and are prepared to show you the islands only like a native can do it.

Naturalist, English-speaking guides have studied and been trained at Charles Darwin Scientific Station, and have long years of experience guiding at the  Galapagos Islands.


We can cater for many special dietary requirements on this tour. Please let us know at the time of booking.

Many of the meals are included in this tour at the hotel.

Delicious, healthy international and Galapagos-inspired dishes are prepared daily by the chef, using the freshest ingredients – including many from the farm.

Eating at the Safari Camp means dining at one of the most exclusive restaurants in the archipelago.

Activity Level

This is can be as active or relaxing as you like – there are all inclusive packages as well as room only.

On all inclusive packages, there are full-day island yacht and/or land trips, that include lunch.

Or simply relax by the pool or in hammocks.

Snorkelling last 1-2 hours usually, depending on water temperatures.

All activities are within the scope of people that like to be active. No previous experience is necessary for any of the activities, however, as none are designed to be overly strenuous.

Enquire about booking

Practical Information

Introduction to Galapagos

These magical islands comprise of 50 volcanic islands of varying shapes and sizes, which lie 1,000 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador.

Here, unlike anywhere else on Earth, you can enjoy a thousand close encounters with a weird and wonderful variety of ‘friendly locals’, including giant tortoises, fur seals, sea iguanas, frigate birds and blue-footed boobies.

Read our Galapagos Islands Guide and more about diving.

In 1535, Tomás de Berlanga, Bishop of Panama, floated into this archipelago and named it Galapagos after the giant tortoises he encountered. Pirates used the islands for refuge and to bury their stolen treasure after that.

The islands’ most celebrated visitor was Charles Darwin, who arrived aboard the HMS Beagle in 1835. The rare life forms he encountered helped him formulate his theory of evolution, which he published in The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

It wasn’t until 1959 when it became part of Ecuador’s national park system that this fragile ecosystem with its rare and endemic species came under protection.

In 1979 the Galapagos archipelago was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Weather in Galapagos


When to visit Galapagos Islands: weather and wildlife

There is no real ‘best’ time to visit Galapagos on holiday as there is always wonderful wildlife and weather to enjoy. Read our blog for more.

Most animals – tortoises, sharks, sea lions and boobies – are found year round and many of the species here are non-migratory.

The Galapagos Islands are located right on the equator so air and water temperatures do not vary by much.

Having said that, there are two recognised seasons, and each months brings natural marvels for the visitor to enjoy.

Below is our quick guide to the weather and wildlife you can find on the Galapagos Islands.


General weather information


The warm season (Jan-Jun)

  • Calm, clear warm waters, great for snorkelling, often without a wetsuit.
  • Great weather, with February and March being the hottest and sunniest months with blue skies and sunshine.
  • Occasional heavy bursts of rain in the afternoons.

Sea temperatures:  22-25°C / 72-77°F

Land temperatures:  21-32°C / 72-90°F


The dry ‘garua’ season (Jun-Dec)

  • It’s a great time for marine life in the cooler seas. Snorkellers may want a wetsuit.
  • August and September the coolest when you may need a jacket in the evenings and the sea can be choppy.
  • There can be mist on the islands in the mornings (garua) which usually burns off by midday leaving overcast skies or a sunny afternoon.

Sea temperatures:  15-22°C / 60-72°F

Land temperatures:  18-24°C / 65-75°F


Galapagos sea and air temperatures and rainfall month by month

Air and sea temperatures in Galapagos, month-by-month

Galapagos park fees

Before you fly from Quito or Guayaquil airport, you need to pay USD 20pp for a transit control card. Some cruises pre-pay this and include it in your trip cost.

On arrival in the Galapagos, you will be asked by a representative of the Galapagos National Park to pay the Park fee in cash (currently US$ 100 per person, USD 50 per person for under 12s).

The dock tax is US$5 on Isabela Island, and the airport tax is US$15 for flights between islands.

All National Park fees subject to change without prior notice.

Fitness and experience

The Galapagos Islands are a suitable destination for most ages and fitness levels. Walks are generally short, although some volcano hikes are more challenging and may involve 2-3 hours of walking. Snorkelling is a real highlight on the Galapagos, so the ability to swim and snorkel is recommended. Snorkelling is suitable for those that have never tried before.

You need to be able to make some wet landings i.e. stepping out of a panga onto a sandy shore, and you may need to ascend or desend small ladders when getting on or off boats at docks or to snorkel.

The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy the Islands, but they really are accessible to all. You can choose to skip any activities you do not wish to partake in.

Read more in our blog about a typical day on Galapagos.

Galapagos kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

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Galapagos – general advice

Galapagos is warm and humid, and you will need t-shirts (moisture wick-away or breathable t-shirts can be very useful, it can get very hot in the day), shorts, lightweight skirt or trousers and bathing suits.

One or two cotton shirts can be used to protect you from sunburn, especially when snorkelling (not very elegant worn in the water over a swimsuit, but practical – and Galapagos is NOT an elegant place!).

You may want to change into different clothes for the evening, but don’t take anything dressy or smart – there really is a very relaxed atmosphere in island hotels.

Pack something warm and windproof for being the inter-island speedboats – and a waterproof for the Highlands.

Strong sandals, trainers, or light hiking boots are ideal footwear – you may like to have something suitable for easy walks and another for tougher terrain – your guide will advise you daily what the walking will be like.

Do take a hat!

Seasickness tablets if you think you will have problems – i.e. Sturgeon, or Mareol if you buy them in Quito. The sea can be choppy, so it is recommended to take them as a precaution.


Galapagos – detailed kit list

  • First aid kit – aspirin, imodium, sun tan lotion (facter 50 recommended), sunburn cream, lip salve, throat lozenges, insect repellent, etc.
  • Earplugs, if you sleep lightly.
  • Sun glasses and sun hat.
  • Snorkelling equipment is provided on every tour, but it may suit you better to take equipment in your size that you know will fit you. Even if you have not snorkelled before, DO have a go – under water Galapagos is a very special experience. Try it first of all from the beach, to get the hang of breathing through gritted teeth, then take the plunge!
  • Towel, for the beach.
  • Money belt.
  • Passport, with at least 6 months remaining from date of return from Ecuador.
  • US Dollars cash and mixed denomination notes, undamaged and unmarked.
  • Visa/MasterCard, Cash card.
  • Personal & Medical insurance.
  • Camera and film / memory cards (take at least twice the amount you think you will need!). You may want to take an underwater camera for snorkelling.
  • Camera charger
  • Binoculars
  • Small backpack – to keep your sun cream, water, shirt etc in when you are on shore/activity.
  • Small plastic water bottle, 1-2 litres, depending on how much you drink.
  • Biodegradable (v. high factor, 50+ recommended) and lip salve.
  • Toiletries (featuring biodegradable soap).
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand wash cream
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Sewing kit.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Book, e-book, mp3 player/ipod or other for free time.

The Galapagos Islands are a very fragile environment and the arrival of more and more inhabitants to the islands, as well as tourist have an impact.

Please try to minimise your impact by:

  • Bringing a water bottle to refill, rather than using a new bottle each time.
  • Recycling your rubbish where possible, not leaving any rubbish behind.
  • Taking batteries back home with you – they cannot be recycled properly in Ecuador.
  • Saving water where possible.
  • Leave toiletries that contain microbeads at home
  • Saving energy by switching your lights off when you leave the room. Electricity on the islands comes from a generator, fuelled by petrol. For this same reason, please think about whether you really need to use your air conditioning.



Pleasantly warm during the day, but can be quite chilly during the morning or at night when you might want a jacket or a fleece, plus a waterproof.

You may want to dress up a little more in the evening here, depending on where you are staying, and what sort of restaurant you like.



Conditions here are similar to Galapagos – hot and humid. T-shirts and shorts in the day, and like Quito, something smarter for eating out in restaurants at night.

Floreana, Galapagos

Floreana is the least populated Galapagos island and yet home to its most scandalous tales!

Gossip aside, it is home to Post Office Bay, where a post barrel was erected in the late 18th century by English whalers. Passing sailors took the messages onwards – and it still functions today.

The nearby Devil’s Crown is one of Galapagos’ most special snorkels.

A (at times strong) current pushes you past the remains of a submerged volcano with its crater ‘horns’ still exposed, and you’ll see a brilliant array of colourful fish and corals.

Great viewpoints at Asilo de La Paz and Baroness view, too.

Isabela, Galapagos

Isabela is the largest and one of the youngest Galapagos islands, and its small human but enormous wildlife population make it perfect for cruises and hotel-based visits.

It also has a mile-long, pristine white-sand beach, with some small and cool bars to hang out in with some sundowners.

Must-do’s include Sierra Negra volcano and its active caldera, head to Los Tuneles to snorkel face-to-face with sharks and turtles and spend some time looking for penguins at Las Tintoreras.

Isabela is great for adventure and families alike.

For cruises only, Punta Vicente Roca is a lovely snorkel, and Urbina Bay is a top spot for wild giant tortoises and colourful land iguanas.

Kicker Rock, Galapagos

A truly impressive sight, Kicker Rock is the remains of an underwater volcano rising vertically 150m/492ft out of the sea.

The exposed cone has fractured in two, leaving a wildlife rich sea channel for us to enjoy, snorkelling or diving.

Jump in the water and drift with the gentle current through the cleft, keeping an eye out below for sea turtles, manta rays and maybe the odd harmless Galapagos shark, just to name a few.

Hammerheads are occasionally seen here too.

On the cliffs, we can spot Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies and magnificent Frigate birds. A memorable snorkel.

Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Almost everyone will visit Santa Cruz during a Galapagos stay.

It’s popular because of the incredible variety of habitat and animals go alongside its strategic location.

The famous Charles Darwin Centre is a must, as is a visit to see Giant Tortoises and a kayak in the turquoise waters at Garrapatero beach.

There are a plethora of great dive and snorkel sites nearby, lively bars and some good beaches for relaxing, like Tortuga Bay.

Most cruises start or end here, and the majority of flights come to Santa Cruz, plus there are many accommodation options, from basic to luxury.

Santiago (James), Galapagos

Curious, dark sand greets the visitor to this centrally-located island.

Marine iguanas may join you for a snorkel after warming up in the sun, along with white-tipped reef sharks, rays, surgeon and parrotfish and turtles.

Crabs, sea lions and spectacular blowholes line the shore.

On the other side of the island, red sand cliffs are home to many seabirds, and Bucaneer cove tells its own whaling and pirate history.

A group of nearby small rocky islands called Bainbridge Rocks feature a stunning, turquoise saltwater lagoon that is home to flamingos.

The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos is an ideal year-round destination, with its volcanic landscapes and tame wildlife.

Whether you cruise or stay in a hotel, you are guaranteed to see giant tortoises, sea lions, iguanas and blue-footed boobies to name a few, plus amazing volcanic formations and stunning beaches.

No trip here is complete without diving or snorkelling – turtles, rays, schools of fish, and for the lucky, hammerhead and whale sharks.

Divers can enjoy some of the best underwater diving in the world on liveaboard cruises to remote and spectacular dive sites.

Tower (Genovesa), Galapagos

Flung way out to the north of the archipelago, this spectacular island is a Galapagos in miniature.

Its remote location meaning very few people make it this far.

Sea lions, sharks and Flightless Cormorants will no doubt accompany you on snorkels in deep waters as well as close to the beautiful, white-sand bay.

A multitude of birds nest at Tower, and it’s the only place you’re sure to see the Red-Footed Booby, as well as the chance to spot petrels, owls, gulls and more.

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