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“Guide and room all in one”
Review of Hotel Sula Sula

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Hotel Sula Sula
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Guide and room all in one”
Reviewed 12 April 2013

Julio is amazing! When I asked about the room, Julio ended up helping us plan our whole trip! He bought a local flight for us, took us snorkeling, set up our boat to leave the island, pretty much organized our whole land based trip to the Galapagos (which is not an easy task). He went well beyond anyone I have worked with at a hotel. The room was safe and clean. We were there during carnival so we wanted a place a bit off the beach to get away from the noise. So happy we found this place!

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KOPhoto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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84 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Sooke, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 6 August 2012

Julio was our personal guide on a 7 day trip in the Galapagos March 2012. Julio travelled with us during our 3 Island tour with a very full itinerary. We hiked, biked, kayaked and snorkelled. We ate lunch on the rim of a volcano, snorkelled with sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas and sharks.
We visited tortoise reserves and the Charles Darwin Research Station. Julio was very knowledgeable about the history, flora and fauna of the islands. He taught us so much on every excursion (He can even talk to the penguins..we have a video to prove it!). We had very little to worry about as Julio arranged all the drivers, boats etc. for snorkelling trips, hikes etc. and our breakfast, lunch and dinners were all taken care of. Julio was very energetic and made every effort to ensure our trip was a memorable one. We felt like celebrities while on one of tour kayaking trips when we had 2 boats with lots of staff following along to ensure or safety.

On our last day of our trip we had a very nice surprise BBQ lunch arranged just for our family with a chef and staff making a wonderful meal of their traditional food under a canopy of trees close to the beach. We can't say enough about Julio and we would highly recommend him for a guide during your trip to the Galapagos.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lori A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 July 2012

Sula Sula is located at the farthest end of the town from sea, but the Villamil is so small that it does not really matter. The rooms are pretty basic with almost no furniture - hard to manage your clothes and stuff. Breakfast – standard continental, Elena (Julio´s wife) is baking the bread, so you can expect fresh bread every day for minimal price.
Julio is welcoming and friendly, the same about his family. Ask him where to eat-buy-rent anything you want – he always gives good advices. He can be easily approached for organizing any kind of trips or stuff. He is knowledgeable and experienced guide as well.
Internet connection is good, no problem with skype on video call mode.
We asked to be allowed to use ground floor kitchen for occasionally cooking stuff for kid - Julio agreed.
Overall – good choice for budget traveler.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank Aldas B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
gulf shores
Level 6 Contributor
254 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 320 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2012

My wife and I met Julio on a tour. We were looking for a place to stay away from the beach because it was so noisy during carnival. We toured his establishment, met his wife and children, and made our booking. The rooms are clean and are air conditioned. The rooms are attached to their house. We slept very good. Julio is a nice guy. He met us one night after work and took myself and my wife snorkeling. It was very nice and he is a great guide. It was a pleasure to meet Julio and his family and we enjoyed our stay there. Thank you.

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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank nohassle1956
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal
Level 6 Contributor
216 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 120 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 January 2012

We were recommended this hotel but did not share the same great experience as alot of reviewers. It is really a house with rooms for rent. There is an addition under construction so it may change when finished. We had a big room with private bath - never did have any hot water but we got used to refreshing showers so our basic needs were met. We stayed 4 days and the only service was getting the bed made - no fresh towels or cleaning. The location was a short walking distance to the centre of town and the port. We had to keep the airconditioning on at night since mosquitos got in through the screens. Noisy dogs and chickens in the neighbourhood too. Although this was an okay place to stay and the price was definitely reasonable I think there are better places to stay in Puerto Villamil.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MajaMontreal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tucson, AZ
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 January 2012

We took an amazing week-long vacation over Christmas break to the Galapagos with Julio serving as our intrepid guide for our entire stay. Together with two other families we visited San Cristobal, Floreana, Isabela and Santa Cruz. All the arrangements, transport, activities etc went off without a hitch. The pace was just right: not rushed or too slow either.

As a park guide I would put Julio up against anyone. His knowledge of the islands seemed endless. So much so we started a secret contest between the families to see who could stump him first with a Galapagos-related question. As fair play, he turned the tables on us after we let him in on our contest. Much to my shame I had forgotten when he quizzed me, but I expect I'll now remember for quite some time that there are 13 species of Darwin finches endemic on the Galapagos and a 14th on the Cocos Islands.

But perhaps more memorable than his extensive knowledge was Julio's easy-going personal manner that made it a real pleasure spending a full week with him. His English was excellent, he was always patient and approachable and I thought he found the right balance between helping us understand & experience the islands with his help and then letting our own interests influence our course.

If I ever get the chance to visit again I would start my preparations by contacting Julio.

Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank JimTucson_AZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 December 2011

We booked our summer 2011 reservations for Hotel Sula Sula before we left the US. We were so excited about the reviews here on TripAdvisor that we thought we made a great choice for Isabela. We landed in Santa Cruz just in time to catch our boat to Isabela that Julio had reserved for us. We approached the boat operator Julio told us to use. The English speaking operator told us we were not on the list and the boat trip to Isabela was full for the day (in fact all of the boats to Isabela were full). She even called Julio, had a "heated" conversation for about 3 minutes, and hung up on him. She then told us he forgot to make our reservation. We put our names down for the next day just in case we still wanted to go to Isabela...

Frustrated, we looked for lodging for that night since we could not get to Isabela . We did find a nice place in Santa Cruz... look for a review on that in the future. We called Julio asking what happened. He blamed it on us. He said we did not respond to an email he sent us. That is 100% incorrect. Each email Julio sent that required our response explicitly said "please respond". His last email confirming our details did not say "please respond" so we did not see a reason to respond. Julio, in an attempt to save face, said he would pay for our travel to Isabela for free (which was not part of the original deal). That was a savings of $50.00. We were considering not going to Isabela as a result of the mishap. We only had 6 nights in Galapagos and we wanted to maximize our time! Julio was putting his best foot forward with a free boat ride. We agreed.

Upon arrival Julio was there to greet us. He spoke English, was kind in our first interaction, and was helpful in arranging a trip to the volcano the next day (he did not forget this reservation). The room included a basic breakfast. One egg, some toast, fake butter, jam, juice. The staff which was his wife and another hotel employee did not speak English. After we saw Julio the 1st day we arrived, we did not see him for the rest of our stay at Sula Sula (two days). In fact we did not see him until we were preparing to leave Isabela for Santa Cruz… more on that later.

Our first night:
Don't remember our room number. I think it was unit 3? It was facing the street above the sign. The room did not have a balcony. It was spacious. AC, TV, two beds, clean. The bed sheets were too small for two people to share a bed. We were constantly fighting for covers! It was cold in the evenings when we were there. Dogs kept barking all night. It was like a barking contest at certain times during the night. Then, the wind would whip up and make the windows rattle loudly. Then loud vehicles would drive by. The windows were closed the entire night so it was not for lack of trying to keep out noise. I woke up trying to prevent the windows from rattling by shoving paper in the window tracks... helped a lil. The night was hard to sleep through. This happened again the second night... that is when we decided to look for "alternatives". The location of Sula Sula is 8-10 blocks or more from the central plaza. It is not near the beach and located in between the boat landing and the main plaza area.

We had reservations at Sula Sula the entire time in Isabela; however, we wanted to find out what else what out there. After speaking to a few other places we stumbled onto a location on the beach with a view of the ocean for the same price!! It was only 1 block from the main plaza. It was also across the street from an English speaking tour operator. Check our other reviews for this special place just added to TripAdvisor.com. We asked TripAdvisor.com to add the hotel we stayed at since it was not available to view online and no website.

My advice to anyone not happy with a reservation: Look and ask around for other accommodation. I am very glad we did versus sucking it up and living with our decision.

Because of the lack of Julio we were forced to ask the hotel worker to cancel our reservation for the remainder of the stay. She called Julio's wife who came and collected our payment for the room, beers and trip to the volcano. Both did not speak English so it was challenging to communicate our desires to leave early... but we stumbled through it. After an uncomfortable 30 minutes we finally were on our way to a MUCH BETTER HOTEL FOR THE SAME PRICE ON THE BEACH 1 BLOCK FROM MAIN PLAZA / RESTAURANTS / BARS / ETC.

This was not our last run in with Julio... you must read on for the two other encounters with Julio after we left for the other Hotel.

To be fair, the staff (sans Julio) was very friendly and caring. Julio's children were very cute and friendly. Julio's dog was even very lovable. The ground was clean, and there was a covered area to eat at. There was also a main refer to store food, beer, etc. They even sold beer / water at okay prices.

The night before our scheduled departure from Isablea (return trip back not reserved with Julio) we were walking in the dimly lit streets of Puerto Villamil looking for a place to eat dinner. Julio approached us. He said we "forgot" to pay his wife for our boat trip to Isabela when we paid for our room. We informed him of his statement to us 5 days earlier that he would pay for our boat trip to Isabela because of the "mixup". Julio said he told us he would "cover our payment" to Isabela but would want us to pay for it once we got to the island. That is not what was communicated to me over the phone. He was lying. After I told him no several times, he asked for half of the money saying it was half our fault and half his fault. He said we could split the boat cost 50/50. I laughed... and continued to say no. He gave up and left us alone. The conversation left us feeling uncomfortable and frustrated even more!!

Our last encounter with Julio was at the boat docks to leave Isabela. We were standing in the customs line with about 10 other tourists to get our bags searched. The line was moving at a slow pace. Ecuadorians and foreigners were patiently waiting in line with us for the search. Julio and his departing guests arrived via taxi while we were in line. Julio escorted his guests to the front of the line bypassing all of us who arrived before him. His guests cut in line and were searched before us. The cutting in line was useless since everyone needs to be checked in order for the boat to leave. The boats would never leave because someone was still being check at customs. It was a clear testament to Julio's character. I would never consider staying at Hotel Sula Sula again.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank danicwa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Sula Sula

Property: Hotel Sula Sula
Address: Cactus y Pinzon Artesano Streets, Puerto Villamil 593, Ecuador
Region: Ecuador > Galapagos Islands > Isabela > Puerto Villamil
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 27 B&Bs / Inns in Puerto Villamil
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Sula Sula (Home Inn). It is a place were you feel at home sharing your passion for the conservancy of the flora and fauna of the Galapagos. We are conmmited to use clean energy to heat the water(solar panels) and have implemented a good recycling sistem. Our 12 rooms are furnished to provide our guests with a pleasent stay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Sula Sula Galapagos Islands/Isabela - Puerto Villamil

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