Pikaia Lodge combines luxury, nature and sustainability
The building rises from a landscape of dense trees, with the mountains looming in the background. It’s the Pikaia Lodge, and this vacation escape is like nothing else. Located in the Galápagos Islands, Pikaia Lodge lets nature take charge.
The Galápagos National Park Service and Ecuadorian environmental authorities participated in Pikaia Lodge’s creation. Strict laws protect this precious area from over-development and harmful tourism practices. Pikaia Lodge has developed a model for land-based tourism that focuses on long-term island preservation. In addition to preserving the natural landscape, the lodge also created over 60 new jobs for Santa Cruz Island residents.
Pikaia Lodge offers a five-star experience while maintaining carbon neutral status. Leading Ecuadorian architect Humberto “Coro” Plaza worked with his team to create this unique building. The design used very little concrete. Pre-fabricated steel columns and beams make up the frame.
Local, hand-cut lava stone forms many of the floors and walls. The tiles are cleaned with high water pressure and no chemicals or paints. Meanwhile, bathroom tiles, counters, pool decks and some wall coverings use Peruvian Travertine and polished fossil marbles. Sustainable, agro-cultivated teak and bamboo harvested from the mainland were used for the furniture, doors and decorations.
The lodge design aimed to fill the space with natural light. Solar water heating collector panels and photovoltaic energy panels harness the power of the sun. Cross-air ventilation also provides passive cooling. Shades prevent solar gain inside the building, and the light-colored roofs prevent a “heat island” effect. The guest rooms and offices have ceiling ventilators and split air conditioners that use energy-saving technology.
While connected to the island’s power grid, the lodge seeks to produce its own power. Fresh water arrives from local wells, and the roofs collect rainwater. This water is treated in a stainless steel reservoir and used in the kitchen.
All cleaning products, detergents and soaps used at the lodge are biodegradable. Organic waste is composted for the greenhouse or collected by local farmers, who use it for pig food. Plastics, glass and paper are recycled at the recycling center.
Further supporting Pikaia Lodge’s sustainable goals, not one endemic tree was cut down during construction. As part of the lodge’s reforestation program, more than 10,000 trees have also been replanted.
Images via Pikaia Lodge
Written by KC Morgan