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Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos Islands, EcuadorSally lightfoot crab, Fernandina, Galapagos Islands, EcuadorHacienda Zuleta, Otavalo region, EcuadorGalapagos sea lion and frigate bird, Rabida, Galapagos Islands, EcuadorBlue-footed boobies, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, EcuadorNHA's Wild Tortoise Camp, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, EcuadorGiant Galapagos tortoise, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, EcuadorBottle-nosed dolphins, Galapagos Islands, EcuadorGreat frigatebird, North Seymour, Galapagos Islands, EcuadorBlue-footed booby, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, EcuadorM/C Athala, Galapagos Islands, EcuadorRed-footed booby, Genovesa, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Eric Rock: Sally lightfoot crab
Roberto Plaza: Sea lion sunset, NHA's Wild Tortoise Camp
Holly Glessner:  Giant tortoise
Patricia Potter: Frigate bird
Matt Goddard: Sea lion
Jennifer Bravo: Athala
Greg Courter: Otavalo Market

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10 Days / From $6295 (800) 543-8917 for Availability
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Home Galapagos Islands Cruises & Tours Classic Galapagos: The Natural Habitat Experience Accommodations

Classic Galapagos: The Natural Habitat Experience

Our Exclusive Small-Group Nature Immersion Led by the Islands' Best Guides

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Hacienda Zuleta

Hacienda Zuleta is a colonial-era working farm in the Andean Highlands founded in 1691. Located two hours north of Quito at an altitude of 9,600 feet, the historic property...

Hacienda Zuleta

Location
Imbabura Province, Ecuador

Hacienda Zuleta is a colonial-era working farm in the Andean Highlands founded in 1691. Located two hours north of Quito at an altitude of 9,600 feet, the historic property was chosen as one of the world’s “Top Ten Finds” by Outside magazine and named one of the best hotels in Ecuador by National Geographic Traveler.

The hacienda has 17 beautifully appointed bedrooms, all with heavy stucco walls, glossy hardwood floors, fine wooden furniture and a wood-burning fireplace. Guest rooms are located in the original main building, and each has a different shape and character. All are individually decorated with antiques, authentic family photographs and hand-embroidered linens, lending the feel of a gracious private home. While guests are enjoying dinner, the hotel staff lights the fireplace in each room and places hot water bottles inside intricately embroidered cases in every bed. Guest rooms have mountain and garden views, and some provide access to the hacienda's private gardens, terraces or courtyard where hummingbirds feed.

The hacienda's cozy living and reading rooms have entertained an entourage of famous visitors over the years including past presidents and dignitaries.  Today, guests may enjoy satellite television, movies and games, as well as coffee, soft drinks and bar service, in the living rooms. The reading rooms still offer a quiet setting to curl up with a book. Phone calls can be made from the public areas and offices. Wi-Fi is available in some parts of the main farmhouse, and a computer with 24/7 Internet access is also available for guests' use. Fresh Ecuadorian cuisine is prepared daily, incorporating organic vegetables, trout, and dairy products produced at the hacienda. A highlight of a stay at Zuleta is a visit to the cheese factory to learn about the semi-aged handmade cheeses, yogurt and cream produced from the farm’s 300 Holstein-Friesian dairy cows.

Preserving the native flora and fauna surrounding the hacienda has been a priority for its owners, the Plaza family, who operate a foundation to support local conservation efforts. Zuleta has become a preferred sanctuary for spectacled bears, pumas, Andean condors, various owls and other at-risk species. On excursions into the surrounding páramo, a high-elevation tropical tundra ecosystem above the estate, guests may be fortunate to glimpse the rare spectacled bear. The only bear species in South America, this diminutive, shaggy bear—named for the pale rings that encircle its eyes—lives mostly in the lush, isolated cloud forests on the slopes of the Andes. Shy and largely nocturnal, they are sometimes spotted in this more open area overlooking the valley below. At the Condor Huasi project, located near the hacienda in a native forest valley, guests can see rescued Andean condors being rehabilitated in the aviary and learn about the foundation’s conservation efforts—and perhaps spy a wild condor soaring overhead on the thermals. 

Hacienda Cusin

Situated on a lushly landscaped 5-acre estate, the restored colonial hacienda is just over an hour's drive from Quito's new international airport and a short distance from the market town of Otavalo...

Hacienda Cusin

Location
Otavalo, Ecuador

In the heart of Ecuador's Sierra at 8,500 feet, Hacienda Cusin welcomes guests seeking a gracious experience of a historic era, amid some of the country's most dramatic Andean scenery. Situated on a lushly landscaped 5-acre estate, the restored colonial hacienda is just over an hour's drive from Quito's new international airport and a short distance from the market town of Otavalo. Built in 1602, Hacienda Cusin was purchased at auction from Philip III, King of Spain, by the prominent Luna family. The estate, which was a sheep farm at the time, comprised 100,000 acres until it was divided during land reforms in the mid-20th century.  

Today the hacienda offers 25 guest rooms in a variety of settings, from garden cottages to suites and salons in the main house. All have mountain or garden views. Most have log-burning fireplaces and beamed ceilings, and each is individually furnished with antiques and regional Andean arts and crafts. All rooms have armchairs, writing desks and en suite bathrooms. The hacienda's dining room features fine international and Ecuadorian cuisine, while drinks are offered at the adjacent coffee bar in front of a roaring fire. 

As warm and inviting as the interiors are, the grounds are an even bigger draw. Perennial gardens, ponds, tropical plants, several hundred stately trees and more than 60 different kinds of flowers beckon guests onto the cobblestone paths that wind among the verdant grounds. A multitude of birds including peacocks, and even llamas on occasion, are found in the gardens. Guided horseback rides from the hacienda stables, mountain biking and nearby hiking are among the available options for guests who choose to arrive early.

Sacha Ji

Located in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes near the famous market town of Otavalo, Sacha Ji is a 100-percent sustainable luxury wellness sanctuary. The resort's unique combination of...

Sacha Ji

Location
Otavalo, Ecuador

Located in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes near the famous market town of Otavalo, Sacha Ji is a 100-percent sustainable luxury wellness sanctuary. The resort's unique combination of distinctive contemporary architecture, magnificent vistas, personalized service, fresh and healthy organic gastronomy, along with an array of wellness amenities, creates an experience that supersedes more typical accommodations. Sacha Ji's 11 private rooms are scattered throughout the property, each offering stunning views of Imbabura Volcano and Lake San Pablo. Each room incorporates an energy-efficient heating system, duvets, thermal windows and thick blackout curtains to keep guests cozy in the crisp mountain air. Ponchos are also provided to wear when walking the grounds when the air is chilly. All rooms have a private bathroom and have been individually decorated with Andean rugs, hand-embroidered shower curtains made by local community members, contemporary Ecuadorian photography (some of which is for sale), and 18th-century Spanish wooden windows, all providing each room its own distinctive character.

Dining is a special experience at Sacha Ji, focused on mainly organic dishes made from local ingredients, many of which come from the property's own organic fruit and vegetable orchard directly accessible from the dining area. Menus are designed by Sacha Ji's prestigious Ecuadorian chef, Henry Richardson, who has more than 25 years' experience re-creating a great variety of traditional dishes originating in the highlands, coasts and jungles of Ecuador. 

In addition to the dining room, other shared spaces include the bar where wine, natural juices and tea are served; a reading room with big screen TV for evening movies (Wi-Fi is also available in the reading room); yoga room; accessible green roofs with hammocks; an exterior meditation area in the orchard; and a gift shop where guests can purchase Sacha Ji products, including hand-embroidered lavender pillows and shower curtains made by local indigenous women. Use of the hot tub with sweeping views of Lake San Pablo is complimentary to all guests, and massage therapy is also offered for an additional cost.

El Monasterio de Cusin

El Monasterio de Cusin is a sister property to Hacienda Cusin located within the larger hacienda's landscaped gardens. High white buttressed walls, parapets with Andean landscape...
 

El Monasterio de Cusin

Location
Otavalo, Ecuador

El Monasterio de Cusin is a sister property to Hacienda Cusin located within the larger hacienda's landscaped gardens. High white buttressed walls, parapets with Andean landscape views, cobblestone patios with fountains and terracotta roofs overlook the often snowcapped Imbabura and Cotacachi volcanos. Individually decorated guest rooms are warm and colorful, with heavy plaster walls, beamed ceilings, carved wooden furniture in colonial style, local textiles, writing desks and many have wood-burning fireplaces. Public spaces include the spacious yet cozy candlelit dining room where fresh organic fare is served, a large living room and bar warmed by a log fireplace, Wi-Fi areas, a cable TV room, game room and basketball court. Extensive landscaped gardens feature shady palms and abundant blooming flowers, and pastures where llamas graze. 

 

M/C Athala II

The sleek, contemporary M/C Athala II is a luxury motor catamaran specifically designed for cruising the Galapagos Islands in style and stable comfort. With an intimate, small-yacht atmosphere...

M/C Athala II

Location
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The sleek, contemporary M/C Athala II is a luxury motor catamaran specifically designed for cruising the Galapagos Islands in style and stable comfort. Offering an intimate, small-yacht atmosphere, the 98-foot Athala II accommodates a maximum of just 16 guests in eight spacious, air-conditioned double staterooms appointed with elegant polished wood decor. The four main-deck staterooms (Category 2) have private balconies, and four additional staterooms without balconies are located on the upper deck (Category 1). All have large picture windows, en-suite bathrooms and offer either queen or two twin bed configurations. The upper deck features a bar and shaded area for relaxation and al fresco dining. The expansive space allows plenty of room for whale and dolphin watching, sunbathing, or relaxing in the Jacuzzi. At night, there’s no better place for stargazing. The dining area is located on the main deck, along with a comfortable lounge. All meals are served buffet-style with all non-alcoholic beverages included.

M/Y Letty

Our private chartered expedition yacht M/Y Letty accommodates a total of 20 guests and was designed and built exclusively for Galapagos exploration The  Letty is 83 feet long with a 24-foot beam. The small ship...

M/Y Letty

Location
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The optimal way to travel the Galapagos is aboard our first-class, 20-passenger private chartered expedition yacht designed and built exclusively for Galapagos exploration. The M/Y Letty, built in 1990, is 83 feet long with a 24-foot beam. The small ship has just 10 cabins, ensuring the intimacy of small-group discovery—a Natural Habitat Adventures trademark. As we explore the islands, we have the added advantage of venturing out in even smaller groups: our team of two NHA Galapagos-certified naturalist guides leads sub-groups of no more than 10 travelers as we snorkel and explore island trails. In our estimation, this is the only way to truly immerse yourself in the Galapagos and observe wildlife at close range. 

The interior of our ship is furnished in polished teak wood. Picture windows surround the top two decks, offering panoramic views of sea, sky and islands. Enjoy ocean breezes from the topside sun deck lounge chairs, strategically positioned for observation. Snorkeling equipment, wet suits, sea kayaks (two double and one single) and beach towels are provided at no additional charge. Accommodations are located on three decks, each cabin featuring a large private bathroom and hot-and-cold freshwater showers. Cabins have either two twin lower beds or one double bed, a roomy closet, drawers, overhead storage, separate climate controls, intercom system, bottled water, hair dryer, toiletries and fresh towels. The Letty is also one of the few ships in the islands that can accommodate triples for families who wish to stay together.

Accommodations

7 cabins with twin beds (two cabins can accommodate triples)
3 cabins with double beds
* All cabins have private facilities

Crew
Nine, plus two naturalist guides (NHA Expedition Leaders on scheduled departures)

Navigation Equipment
24-mile Furuno radar, Furuno Satellite Navigator, electric compass, magnetic compass, clock, barometer

Safety Equipment
VIKING 25-person inflatable capsule lifeboat (SOLAS certified), 40 life vests with whistles and fluorescent marker, 10 circular buoys with emergency lights, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, automatic radio buoy via satellite EPIRB (emergency position indicator radio beacon)

Comfort Equipment
Fully air-conditioned cabins, public spaces, dining room, well-stocked bar, conference area with television, VCR, stereo cassette/CD equipment, and book and video library

Communication Equipment
VHF and HF-SSB radios

Electricity

Specifications
Type: Motor Yacht
L.O.A.: 83 feet
BEAM: 24 feet
DRAFT: 6 feet
CRUISING SPEED: 10-12 knots
ENGINES: (2) 402 HP Caterpillar, 8-cylinder turbo diesel
GENERATORS: (2) Perkins 90 KW generators

Cabin Categories
Category 1 (Iguana Deck): # 7, 8, 9, 10
Category 2 (Booby Deck): # 5, 6
Category 3 (Dolphin Deck):  #1, 2, 3, 4

M/V Origin

The M/V Origin, debuting in the Galapagos in February 2016, will be the newest luxury yacht operating in the islands. Reflecting cutting-edge standards in environmental awareness...

M/V Origin

The M/V Origin, debuting in the Galapagos in February 2016, will be the newest luxury yacht operating in the islands. Reflecting cutting-edge standards in environmental awareness, the Origin combines sophisticated contemporary design with superlative comfort and service. The Origin accommodates 20 guests in 10 en suite cabins, all located on the same deck. Panoramic windows offer uninterrupted views of the passing scenery and marine life. Each cabin has two twin beds that can be converted to one king bed, two cabins have interconnecting doors, and four cabins can accommodate triples. Cabins have seating areas, nightstands, an ample closet, neutral-toned contemporary decor, fine linens and towels, climate control, satellite TV/DVD, iPod docking station and safe deposit box. Bathroom amenities include shower, toilet, sink, hair dryer, bathrobes, biodegradable soap and shampoo.

In addition to a highly experienced captain and crew, a concierge is also aboard to attend to your every need. Meals are a highlight aboard the Origin, with gourmet fare served in the casual yet elegant indoor dining room or al fresco, complemented by an open-bar policy. On deck you'll find spacious lounge areas with table seating areas, hammocks, settees, cushioned bed-sized chaises for reclining in the sun or shade, a Jacuzzi, wet bar and barbecue. Inside, spend some leisure time in the fitness center on the cardio equipment or browse the collection in the cozy library. The Origin carries multiple kayaks, snorkeling gear and wetsuits. Laundry service is available.

All 10 cabins are the same category.
Cabins 3, 4, 5 and 6 can be triples.
Cabins 1 and 3 interconnect as well as Cabins 2 and 4.

M/C Petrel

Newly built in late 2015, the 115-foot Petrel is named after a seabird common to Galapagos. Like its namesake, the Petrel is elegant, swift and silent at sea...

M/C Petrel

Location
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Newly built in late 2015, the 115-foot Petrel is named after a seabird common to Galapagos. Like its namesake, the Petrel is elegant, swift and silent at sea. The Petrel is a motorized luxury catamaran designed for comfort and stability while transporting guests in style between the islands of the Galapagos. Up to 16 guests are accommodated in eight spacious staterooms, including two suites, which offer varied configurations with either two full beds or a single king. Each cabin has a private balcony, ample closet storage, writing desk and en suite bathroom. An additional ninth cabin offers cozy single accommodations.  Interior decor is as clean and contemporary as the ship's exterior profile, featuring a palette of black and white accented with scarlet and gold. Chrome, leather and glossy teak floors accentuate the modern design. An open top deck offers 360-degree views, while a spacious lounge provides room to relax in the air-conditioned interior. Fine meals are enjoyed in the dining or al fresco on the aft deck. Two bars offer outdoor refreshments, while a Jacuzzi, small fitness center and library round out the ship's shared spaces.
 

Natural Habitat's Tortoise Camp

In our constant quest to offer exclusive immersions in nature, we are pleased to include a unique one-night deluxe camping excursion on all scheduled Galapagos adventures. Ascending...

Natural Habitat's Tortoise Camp

Location
Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands

In our constant quest to offer exclusive immersions in nature, we are pleased to include a unique one-night deluxe camping excursion on all scheduled Galapagos adventures. Ascending from the sea into the highlands of Santa Cruz, we reach Natural Habitat's exclusive Tortoise Camp, perched high on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Here amid lush mountains, scalesia forest and volcanic caves—native habitat for wild tortoises—guests enjoy an intimate encounter with nature found nowhere else in the Galapagos. The environs around our campsite are home to several dozen giant tortoises, seen at the campsite from June through February. During the months of March, April and May the giant tortoises generally move to lower elevations, though a handful sometimes stay at the campsite.

In this secluded natural setting, we'll enjoy a night of first-class "camping" high atop Santa Cruz Island, where the sounds of nature and the starry skies overhead are the backdrop for a savory dinner served in the camp's covered, open-air lounge and dining area. A fire crackles in the grate for added ambiance. Our unique accommodations are in either individual tree houses or semi-permanent, raised walk-in tents reminiscent of an African safari camp—but with tortoises! Guests share two bathhouses that have flush toilets and hot showers.

In the morning, after a light breakfast, we drive back to the dock to meet our private ship once more and continue on our marine-based journey through the Galapagos.

IMPORTANT — Please Note: A stay at Nat Hab's Tortoise Camp is part of our Galapagos Hiking and Kayaking expedition trips. An optional stay is also included at no additional cost with all Classic, Photo and Family Galapagos trips. Keep in mind that while accommodations at our Tortoise Camp include real beds and shared showers and bathrooms, this is still very much like a camping situation with a "roughing it" element. Also, should the weather be rainy, as in all camping situations, the experience can become more challenging. At times, the camp may be closed due to poor weather conditions.

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