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“Wonderful and Relaxing”

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Galapagos Safari Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
52 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Wonderful and Relaxing”
Reviewed 6 January 2012

We just returned from a Christmas visit to the Galapagos and the Safari Camp. I would recommend staying either before or after a Galapagos cruise. We used the safari camp as our homebase for exploring the Galapagos and I felt the Safari Camp was a little too remote for this to convenient. However, we made it work and we explored the Galapagos with a wonderful guide and returned to the Safari Camp each afternoon/evening for relaxation.

The staff is amazing and will do whatever is possible to accomodate a need or request. The meals are good and served in a romantic setting either on their terrace, inside in a wonderful dining room or even at your tent. Just ask and they'l make it happen.

The tents are very nice - especially the shower and sink area (very stylish and well designed). The actual bedroom area was okay (nothing great but nothing bad) and our deck had a wonderful hammock and a great place to enjoy a drink while relaxing.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
3 Thank OgoCinco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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133 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (37)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 December 2011

We stayed at the Galapagos Safari Camp for only one night (our last night in Santacruz). It is quite up there in the highlands and when the conditions are good, the view of the ocean and the neigbouring islands are fantastic. The hotel manager Katerine was great and gave us good tips for things to do in Quito (which was our next stop).

The tents are spacious and well designed. Danielle and Linn (who were working there were good fun to talk to). Highly recommend anyone staying here to finish their trip in style!!!

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Madhurrao
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
54 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2011

i did loads of research on the galapagos prior to my trip and was overwhelmed by the choices ....not til i found the website for the galapagos safari camp though, did i think i had a trip that was right for everyone in my family of five ... and i was right, the galapagos safari camp was perfect for us ...

the gsc was gorgeous and upscale (great for me) but had and extra coolness to it because of the tents (great for the kids)
the gsc orgainzed all our day trips for us (great for me), gave us a driver (great for my husband who normally drives us on trips) and had fabulous naturalists to engage and teach (great for the kids)
we slept on dry land (i get seasick after too long on a boat)
the food was extraordinary (great for all of us)
we swam with penguins (mindblowing)
we had snacks by the jungle side infinity pool (gorgeous)
we were greeted at the end of each day by a smiling hostess or host who handled all our needs (snorkel gear, a drier for so many wet clothes, flashlights for night walking, snacks, drinks, hot water bottles)
we went to bed each night exhausted and happy ... and comfortable in our luxury tents ...

you know how you book a trip and then hope it meets expectations? the galapagos islands and the galapagos safari camp far exceeded my expectations (and my expectations were VERY high) ... it was truly the perfect trip, made easier by the owners and staff at the gsc ...

ask for dora the explorer to be your land guide, ask for alejandro and the yate narel for your boat trips, and ask for jaime to be your driver ... you will be well taken care of ....

i have a galapagos travel blog with photos at ebeckgalapagos.blogspot.com ...

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
9 Thank ebeckartist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cusco, Peru
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 July 2011

I'd been on a few weeklong cruise ships in the Galapagos before, and am a huge fan of the Galapagos in general, it's the sort fo place I go back to whenever I need to be reinspired and reinvigorated in life.

I admit I was somewhat dubious and hesitant about doing a land based trip this time as oposed to cruising on a vessel for a week, but I'm extremely glad I did. It actually was even more invigorating and inspiring than my previous trips.


It's a journey to get there, finishing with a long dirt road. Eventually, amongst all the profuse vegetation you get to this mass of Bamboo with a few broad stairs leading up to a blue door. I felt like I was in some sort of movie when a little trap door opened in the face of this blue door and a pleasent female face popped out and asked my name, like it was the most normal thing in the world that I would be here in the middle of nowhere.

After some clanking of iron locks, the door opened in a woosh and I felt like I had been dropped down a rabbits hole "a la" alice in wonderland as I walked inside. A gorgeous panorama of the coastline and outer islands was from wall to wall, soothing and slightly jazzed up Brazilan tunes were on the hi-fi, the architecture was stunning with a stepping stone floor surrounded by pools of water, well uniformed staff were there with a cool hand towel and a passion fruit cocktail on a silver tray... I was blown away. It's the last thing you expect after such a journey.

The main lodge building is open plan and encased in glass on the view side, enclosed on the other. There is an excellent siting area to socialize wiht a great open fireplce that was lit at night for atmosphere. The main dining table is at one end of the lodge building. And there is an enormous wrap around deck to boot. Just a very well thought out floorplan for the main lodge that oozed sophistication and understated elegance.

I was shown to my tent which was exactly as the host as described. The concept was "to be as close to nature as possible without sacrificing any comforts". It's not really fair to call these tents. It's like your own individual cabin just the walls hapen to be made of fabric. Well spaced apart that you don't hear other guests, elevated platforms, floors of rich dark teak, with a little desk, great lighting features, a heater and air conditiniong unit for seasonal use (I never used it for either), a wonderful bed with great bedding, a porch with it's own table and chairs and a white cotton hamock slung. Great views from all the tents. The bathroom was gorgous with the sink made out of a rounded granite boulder with a fancy faucet, huge shower head with on demand hot water, porcelian toilet. Just as they said, close to nature but not sacrificing any comforts. Compared to being on a ship - there was something so rejuvenating about going to sleep in a luxurious bed that didn't move, listening to the wind blow through the trees, crickets, and waking up to bird calls as opposed to going to sleep to the sound of a marine diesel engine and waking up to a PA tannoy from the Captain.

As for the food and beverage, it was phenomenal. Exactly what you would expect at a fine dining restaurnt and the waiters at the camp were excellent.

The most praise I can heap upon this place is the owners and staff, just brilliant people all around who are very proud of their place and take great pride in what they do. A refreshing thing to encounter nowadays. Michael and Stephaine, the owners, are a mega mix of nationalities and life experience. Michael is Spanish/Dutch and Stephanie is British/Ecuadorian - very warm people who feel like lifelong friends after you have been around them for only 5 minutes. It's apparent that this safari camp is their lifes love and passion, you are in their home, so they treat you as valued house guests as opposed to just tourists. Seeing them back from picking up their children at school and chasing after lizards outside the main lodge building while their dog wanders around happily soaking up attention from guest lends a very homey feel to the place that in my opinion is just washed away from most luxury hotel options in the world where the more sterile it can be, the better. Even down to details, such as the open honesty bar in the main lounge, set the tone and emit acceptance, honesty and openness towards guests which is clearly reciprocated by the other guests I came into contact with while there.

The main host of the Safari Camp while I was there, Cathrine, is one of the best in the business. Always there when you need something but melts into the background when you don't. In addition, all the waiters and housekeepng staff were a pleasure to come into contact with.

I did a lot that week. Went surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, out to some outer islands by day yacht for wildlife viewing, biking across the island, visited a coffe farm, stopped by the Charles Darwin Research Station, hiked around the craters - I had all of this organized in advance through my tour company but the Safari camp was excelent in altering my plans, pending what I felt like doing each day. The guide provided, Fausto, was excellent and better than any guide I had experineced on a cruise ship before. This was what made my trip here really special, I got to do all the normal Galapagos things, but I did them on my own schedule and wasn't having to adhere to a cruise ship schedule every day with loads of other people I was forced to be around. I opted to relax more and just read a book, drink a beer and soak up the views and hospitality of the Safari Camp when I felt liek it - then be active when I wanted to.

Obviously I'm fortunate that I've experienced all the islands by cruise ship before, which you can't do from a fixed location such as Safari Camp as thoroughly, but this sort of experience was more to my preferences than being on a ship overall. I just left feeling more relaxed, and like I had discovered a second home.

Thank you to Michael, Stephanie, Cathrine and all your staff (and your adorable little children!) I'll be back!

Room Tip: Seems that all tents were exactly the same and faced the same great view.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
9 Thank Cusco-ExPat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Centreville, Virginia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2011

Galapagos Safari Camp was perhaps the highlight of our Galapagos vacation, and is unrivaled in its unique approach to high end comfort in a rustic setting. We only stayed for one night but would return for an extended stay (honeymoon, perhaps?). The camp is a 20-30 minute drive from Puerto Ayora, halfway back towards the airport, so a great stop either at the beginning or end of your stay on Santa Cruz. We were also informed that your entire Galapagos adventure can be organized through the Safari Camp, with interisland transfer often achieved by plane rather than by ferry, which could be very appealing in terms of time and convenience (and sometimes those ferries on the open water can be rough for those of us prone to seasickness!). We drove up the highlands and up a dirt road- the camp is so secluded that you really can’t see it until you are upon it, at which time you are greeted into a tasteful, modern, curved glass-walled common area, decorated by the owners Michael and Steph with antiques from around the world, including the double front door from India and a large carved dining table weighing a couple tons! Ask Michael to see his scrapbook of the process it took to build this place from the ground up! The passion that he and his family had from the start really helps you appreciate the soul that went into this place.

There are about 9 individual tents further down the mountain side from the “lobby,” which are not regular camping tents by any stretch of the imagination, but rather hardwood floored tents, on stilts, with a large comfortable bed, screened windows, a fully appointed spa-like bathroom at the back with a hot shower and gorgeous stone sink, heating/cooling…much nicer than my bedroom at home!

Dinner was prepared by a personal chef…the best meal of our trip! Veggie soup, thick and warm and green, made from asparagus and peas, with homemade buttery garlicky wheat croutons. White fish with dill sauce of octopus, lobster, peas, tomato. Flan with a cakelike crust topped with pistachios and pumpkin seeds. Wine on the house! The entire bar is on an honor system, although we were too exhausted to partake. The grounds have a “swim anytime at your own risk” infinity pool, looking out into the highlands. Michael encouraged us to take a dip that night, but we tried it out in the morning. Beautiful!

I can’t say enough about the full experience that the Safari Camp provides- luxury and elegance in the middle of the Galapagos highlands. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, unless you’re lucky and can return, which we surely hope to do one day.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank kamikawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. Petersburg, Russia
Level Contributor
380 reviews
266 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 698 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 March 2011

Yes! This is the unique place, rwally unique! Must stay to try in-touch service, delicious meals, overnights in real tents! Luxury camp in the heart of SC island. You will be welcomed by Katrin - rare example of somebody who really love her job, this is her lifestyle! Perfect, biggest thanks, Katrin! You are - the gem for any hotel owners!!! The dinners are fantastic! The chief so nice guy!!! 5 days, a lit of emotions! Plus Galapagos - no words, just yelllls, you will love your life here!

  • Stayed March 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank alexzhdanov
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Laois, Ireland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 January 2011

My husband and I stayed at the Safari camp on our honeymoon and it proved to be one of the best decisions we had ever made. As we didn't fancy spending our time in Galapagos on a boat we divided our stay between here and the Royal Palm. The Safari Camp was the second place we stayed and was wonderful. You are so close to nature (We found an owl waiting for us on our balcony one night) and also staying in luxury. We felt as though we were honoured guests at a friends house, where we ate (organic) beef from their farm, lobster and fresh fish. If you want an unforgettable experience I would highly recommend this place.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank BernadettePhelan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Galapagos Safari Camp

Property: Galapagos Safari Camp
Address: Finca Palo Santo, 200350, Ecuador
Region: Ecuador > Galapagos Islands > Santa Cruz
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 55 Speciality Lodging in Santa Cruz
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Number of rooms: 9
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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Also Known As:
Galapagos Safari Camp Hotel Santa Cruz
Galapagos Safari Camp Galapagos Islands/Santa Cruz

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