Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands
In our constant quest to offer exclusive and distinctive immersions in nature, we are pleased to include this unique one-night camping excursion on all scheduled Galapagos adventures. Ascend from the sea into the highlands of Santa Cruz to reach Natural Habitat's exclusive Tortoise Camp, set on a gently rolling mountainside overlooking the distant Pacific Ocean. Here amid lush scalesia forest and subterranean lava caves, guests have an intimate encounter with nature found nowhere else in the Galapagos. The environs around our camp are native habitat for several dozen Galapagos giant tortoises, which we regularly see from camp from June through February. From March through June, the giant tortoises generally move to lower elevations, though a handful sometimes remain at the campsite. During these months, we make an excursion to a nearby tortoise reserve for close-up sightings.
Though Tortoise Camp is rustic, it holds surprising comforts. Accommodations are in 2-person permanent tents on raised platforms with large viewing windows, or in charming tree houses, which also have real beds, bedding, pillows and towels. The four treehouses have en suite flush toilets as well as a small sink. The six raised tents have a small sink plus private en suite showers and flush toilets, though the latter are located adjacent, just outside the sleeping tent, a few steps away. For those staying in treehouses, showers are available in a shared bathhouse located about 50 yards away. Our well-trained chef prepares a tasty, full dinner and breakfast served in the covered dining room, while the adjoining sheltered lounge space offers comfortable seating in front of a crackling log fire. A bar is also available for evening drinks and socializing.
In the morning, a bus picks us up for the return trip to sea level where we reboard our boat. If you choose to participate in this special camping option, you will not miss any activities on your daily itinerary.
Please Note: While beds and toilets are provided with all accommodations, there is an element of "roughing it" at Tortoise Camp. Some challenges may include walking over uneven terrain and spying a few critters (particularly the wonderful variety of insects and arachnids that inhabit the island). Also, should it be rainy, we'll have to walk through environs that may get muddy. It is our hope that the unique setting and remarkable proximity to wild tortoises will more than outweigh any discomfort. But our guests always have the choice to participate in this overnight stay or to remain on the ship. Camping on Santa Cruz is most certainly a special opportunity, though only you can determine if it is one that you will truly enjoy. The great majority of our guests do! A stay at Tortoise Camp camping is weather-dependent.