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“Unique way to visit the Galapagos - in a great guest house!”

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Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel
Ranked #1 of 21 Hotels in Puerto Ayora
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 23 February 2014

I just returned from a week staying at Semilla Verde on Santa Cruz. This was my second visit to the Galapagos. The first time was on a ship, this time I decided to try a land based stay. We booked over the internet with Robert the owner, who was more than happy to answer a million questions that we (3) bombarded him with. Finally we arranged an entire week long tour through him. We had two rooms at the lodge, both were gorgeously appointed with tv/dvd players, wifi (a little slow but due to the island not the lodge) private patios, pretty decor. The property is located near the town of Puerto Ayora on a coffee plantation. It is lush and tropical, set on a hilltop offering a nice breeze at times from the sweltering heat. You are welcomed to roam the property that has many interesting plantings and huge Tortoises roaming the property. Robert made us feel welcome as soon as we arrived. He arranged transport to and from the airport which was flawless. He pays for all taxi rides to and from town, which is just a short ride and only $6 each way. He also arranged all of our tours which were really great, including scrambling to get us on a last minute tour we decided we really wanted to take. One of the other great things about staying here are the meals and staff. He arranges family style sit down dinners with all of the guests, so you get to meet fellow travelers. The food is outstanding. Robert's wife and a couple of other ladies prepared really gorgeous dinners and breakfasts. Breakfast consisted of fresh fruits, granola, yogurt, homemade fresh juices, then the ladies ask you if you want eggs and bacon and will prepare it to your liking. Dinner is also a treat with interesting and tasty meals beautifully prepared and presented. I would highly recommend this place if you are interested in a land based stay on the Galapagos. Thanks Robert and Daisy!

Room Tip: Swimming pool is a kids pool but I used it anyway! There is also a yoga room on the property which...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank JMCINNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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173 - 179 of 440 reviews

Reviewed 19 February 2014

No doubt about it. When visiting Puerto Ayora on Baltra there's one quiet haven... Semilla Verde set in the highlands above the madding crowd is a getaway after a busy day around the island or under the sea. Robert Grimstone and family are wonderful hosts who'll personally take an interest in you making sure you get the best out of your stay. Set on an organic coffee plantation populated with tortoises with a view over the verdant landscape with the sea beyond, it's hard to beat. Wifi works fine (it's slow all over the islands). The location is a blessing, but be aware it is a 15 min drive (about $7 by taxi) out of town, At circa $200 a night it's pricey for the Galapagos, but all things considered you'll sleep better here with windows open and birds singing in the mornings than almost anywhere else. Take a walk on the trails winding through the large property and visit giant tortoises. Food is excellent, made to order fresh with a nice local variety. Comfortable firm beds, TV and so on are standard, although frankly, a TV is almost the last thing you'll think about watching here. Those looking for lots of distractions resort-style will be disappointed. Ask for a room on the upper floor if available. Thanks to everyone for a memorable stay... we'll be back.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank andy_skydives
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2014

To stay at Semilla Verde Lodge is to have an experience of a very different sort at Galapagos: you are in the wooden higlands (about 500 meters), with another climate and vegetation than on the coast (rainforest: humid, but not so hot). The people that attend you are extremely nice, the owners helpful and buisy to get you everything you dare for, the rooms and surroundings are comfortable and nicely decorated. Breakfast is enormous, with lots of varieties of fruits, bread, marmelades, and of course the home grown organic coffee. All in all, very recommended to stay a couple of days, relax and live another authentic Galapagos feeling.

Room Tip: there are suites that are very nice, with marvellous views down to the coast
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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Thank wolfbongers
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Reviewed 11 February 2014

It is possible to spend the whole week just walking the path around the 13 hectares! But there is so much more! great food, beautiful accommodations! Personal attention to the many levels of needs,. Great guides and excursions. Booking here for a whole week with several generations represented would be a great gift to the lucky (smart) family!

Room Tip: Corner suites have a view of the water, the Southern Cross is there but was obscured by clouds!
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Linda T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2014

We stayed for a week at Semilla Verde in January with our three young children. Robert and Daisy and their lovely team made us feel so at home and it was like a real home from home. We had rooms 4 and 5 and the lounge at the bottom which were perfect for the family and very private. They loved looking out onto the coffee plantation as well as having space to roam both inside and out which really worked for us.

The grounds were also lovely, we regularly went tortoise spotting and found plenty along the way the children loved searching for banana trees, they also enjoyed the pool.

Robert had arranged our week for us so we ate at the lodge for 4 days, the food was delicious always home cooked, fresh and really flavoursome, he also arranged the trips for us which we all really enjoyed. Our highlights were to South Plaza and North Seymour the teams on the boat were so nice and helpful great with the kids, amazing snorkelling and great food.

Overall thank you so very much for an amazing week which we will all remember for life.

Room Tip: 4 and 5 together so work for a family with young kids, room one at the top good for a couple with a...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Annabelle B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2014

This octogenarian travelled to the Galapagos with a fifteen-year-old grandchild, also with some trepidation. But any worry was for naught. Our host at Semilla Verde, Robert Grimstone filled every day with an opportunity to explore the Galapagos islands with as much leisure and adventure as we chose. While the young went off swimming with the sharks I counted Blue-footed Boobies, sea lions and iguanas on the rocky shoreline. Every day we awoke to a chorus of yellow warblers in the tree tops surrounding the lodge, and every afternoon, after a day of exploration we returned to the lodge in time for a stroll through the coffee and banana trees to check on the number of tortoises still catching a late day meal. One day I saw eight. The equatorial day ends abruptly and with simple elegance and candle light we enjoyed a lovely, nutritious meal. With the lodge located at an elevation to enjoy the vegetation of the highlands it offers the best of any possible experience on the equator.

Room Tip: If you are 80 or more you might prefer one of the rooms with a walk-in shower
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank marjorie c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 2014

We booked a week here and a week in town so that we could get the most of both experiences, but in the end were sad to leave and regretted not having booked the whole trip here.

The grounds are amazing. The walking paths in the trees are full of giant tortoises and are incredibly serene, as is the vista from the various balconies throughout the building. Robert is a wealth of information and very helpful, and the staff are cheerful, meticulous and all around lovely!

The breakfast is fantastic - the best we had anywhere! I ate most of my other meals in town, but my mother said the other meals were equally good. They brew their own fantastic, shade-grown, tortoise-friendly coffee (which they also sent down to town for me after I left without mine, along with my phone... though the absence of the coffee was more of an initial concern!!).

We stayed in a significantly more expensive place in town afterward, and found it didn't compare at all. If you are looking for a place where you can have quiet respite, or peace and quiet while you plan your other adventures, this is it. You can do all of this while sitting on a beautiful terrace overlooking the forest and coffee plantation, and watching tortoises amble about. In town, planning our activities in quiet generally meant sitting in our hotel room away from the beauty of the island.

The grounds are a short (maybe 20 minute (?) cab ride to town, which gives you an opportunity to see much more of the island. It did generally mean that we were inclined to take everything that we would need for the day with us, but it was entirely worth it (and, in a pinch, if you forgot something, the cab ride was only 5-6 dollars, and Semilla Verde covers one of these trips a day).

The yoga studio is also fantastic! There were no yoga groups there when we were there so we were free to use the studio when we pleased. It over looks a little pond where tortoises sometimes come to drink!

Robert will organize an itinerary of days trips if you wish. We did the Santa Fe trip and it remains one of the highlights of our whole stay. I was traveling with my mother who's mobility is compromised because of arthritic knees, but the guides bent over backwards to help her into and out of the boats and to make sure she got the most out of the excursion.

The locale also offers a reprieve from the coastal heat (or at least it did when we were there at the end of January), and had plenty of hot water for our showers.
We booked an extra night for our last night on the island, and are really looking forward to going back!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank Elizabeth B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel

Address: Km 12, via a Baltra | Isla Santa Cruz, Puerto Ayora 200350, Ecuador (Formerly Semilla Verde Galapagos Lodge)
Phone Number:
Region: Ecuador > Galapagos Islands > Santa Cruz > Puerto Ayora
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Puerto Ayora
Price Range: £156 - £178 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
"Semilla Verde is an exceptional hotel with the customs and personality of a traditional guesthouse." We believe your experience in the Galapagos Islands should be as unique and natural as you are. So, here at Semilla Verde we offer you the chance to stay somewhere far removed from your busy life and the standard hotel offering you may be used to. We invite you to step into another world, the original Galapagos, the true and enchanting islands. And, to experience the wonders of a rural forest dwelling and life alongside the unique wildlife you came so far to see. Your stay will be based in an original and idyllic rural retreat where peace, privacy and Galapagos wildlife abounds. You will enjoy one-to-one personal service, traditional home cooking, panoramic views from private terraces and exclusive access to nature trails through twelve acres of private forest where giant tortoises lumber freely and native birds thrive. At night, gaze up into the unspoilt majesty of the milky way. Nine comfortable en-suite bedrooms with AC, WiFi and DVD just 15 minutes taxi ride from Puerto Ayora town, costing just $7 e/w. All in all, an authentic and genuinely friendly and authentic land-base for your Galapagos adventure and an all encompassing alternative or add-on to a traditional cruise ship experience. Semilla Verde works with a local tour agency to offer complete hotel & tour package options too. You will visit outlying islands and local sites with qualified naturalist guides and experience first hand the beauty of Galapagos and it's unique flora and fauna - from giant tortoises and lava lizards to marine iguanas and playful sea lions, from volcanic landscapes to cloud forest. Return to the hotel at the end of an incomparable day and share your travel stories around the main dining table with other guests, whilst enjoying dinner freshly prepared in our kitchen. Indeed we don't work from a fixed menu rather we generally prepare one recipe for the group, but each guest receives a serving according to their individual preferences. The location is secluded but convenient and very safe. There is not another residence within hundreds of meters of this oasis. Semilla Verde remains true to the philosophy on which it originally built for good friends and family, ensuring a level of intimacy, small number of employees offering very personal service and home cooking your will only find in a traditional guesthouse. Semilla Verde comprises two hotel builidings some 100ft apart - the Semilla Verde Lodge (Rooms 1-6) and the Finch Wing (Rooms 7-9). They can work in unison or as separate entities for separate parties. betwen the two there is a fully equipped yoga studio where you can enjoy individual or group practice. Galapagos is famous for it's volcanic landscapes and unique wildlife, but it can also be somewhere for you to rediscover your true and unique nature, somewhere you can feel yourself again. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Semilla Verde Galapagos Hotel Puerto Ayora
Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel Galapagos Islands/Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz

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