Pikaia Lodge, Galápagos Islands

Now here's somewhere to indulge your inner explorer… The newest (and most luxurious) hotel on the Galápagos archipelago, Pikaia Lodge is a 14-room former cattle ranch perched on a plateau between two extinct volcano craters.

Not only does it offer the best land and ocean exploration of the islands, but the eco-hotel's concept of sustainable luxury - solar-powered, carbon neutral, with a reforestation programme and a giant-tortoise reserve - is getting everyone excited.


Too often, the only way to explore the Galápagos is by boat, but Pikaia offers three-, four-or seven-night packages that include hiking, jogging, cycling, sea-kayaking, poking around in volcanic craters, losing yourselves in lava tunnels, stepping around basking sea lions, and visiting organic coffee farms in the highlands to see how settlers live. And that's just on land.

Pikaia's very own yacht will take you to some of the most remote locations on the planet, and your guides are among the most knowledgeable in their field. This is like being dropped into the set of Jurassic Park. Awesome is just about the right word.


WOW FACTOR: Some of the most challenging scuba diving around. Climb aboard the Galápagos archipelago Aggressor III and you'll find yourself among schools of hammerhead sharks, tuna, manta rays, marine iguanas and many exotic species found nowhere else in the world.

GO: Scott Dunn (www.scottdunn.com) offers 12 nights in South America including four nights at Pikaia Lodge from £6,990 per person, full board.

FLIGHT TIME: 15 hours, via Madrid