Galápagos by cruise or land? The trend of eco-travelers to choose land-based accommodations is on the rise as noted in our prior article on Galápagos travel. But what constitutes a model ecolodge? The lodge should be harmonious with nature, follow best practices in conservation, have minimal impact yet high comfort, and allow guests to easily explore the surroundings. Opened in 2015, Scalesia Lodge on Isabela Island exemplifies these best practices, and the recent reviews from Holbrook travelers are a testimony to its success.
Scalesia Lodge is a new concept of lodging in the Galápagos Islands. The lodge offers luxurious safari-style tents set in the middle of cloud forest with spectacular views of the coast of Isabela Island and the Pacific Ocean. These are not ordinary “tents.” They are spacious with attractive décor and expansive decks with panoramic forest views.
Holbrook recently sat down with the co-founder of Scalesia Lodge, Felipe de la Torre. For de la Torre, Scalesia Lodge fulfills a lifelong dream and represents decades of planning and meticulous construction.
Holbrook: Since you opened your doors in 2015 have you been pleased with the public’s reception for Scalesia?
Felipe: We just finished our second year of operation and I am extremely happy about the results of the project. It’s a place people fully love as shown in our comment cards.
Holbrook: What makes Scalesia different from other lodges?
Felipe: For guests, their stay is magical because of where the lodge is set. Many people don’t realize this can be Galápagos; they think of lava, not a cloud forest rich with flora and fauna in the middle of Galápagos. Isabela is one of the last remote places on the earth so it’s just amazing to spend time snorkeling with the unique species and walk the trails.”
Holbrook: What steps have you taken to follow best practices in conservation?
Felipe: From the very start we wanted it to be different and authentic. By using our luxury tents as our footprint, we have much less ecological impact. In addition to our rainwater recollection system and waste-water treatment facility, we will soon be adopting solar energy.
Holbrook: Do you work with the local community to support sustainable practices?
Felipe: Yes, this is a key part of our philosophy. Not only do we train and employ island residents, but we are actively engaged with the community. We also grow our own vegetables and fruits.
The location on Isabela Island is one of Scalesia’s main attractions. Isabela is the most pristine of the inhabited islands. It is geologically rich, home to six large volcanoes, and contains abundant wildlife with nearly all the species found in the Galápagos. Species include Blue-footed Boobies, pelicans, sea turtles, sea lions, marine iguanas, penguins, flamingos, finches, tropical birds, manta rays, sharks, and tropical fish. Galápagos tortoises as well as land iguanas roam free in Sierra Negra Volcano.
Land-based programs allow visitors more time to explore the rich wildlife. As Holbrook’s VP of Program Development Pelin Karaca notes, “On a land-based program, you have an opportunity to get out of your hotel, interact more with the locals, and learn about daily life on the islands.”
Photos courtesy of Scalesia Lodge