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“Fantastic Place, Amazing Staff, Incredible Location”

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Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel
Ranked #1 of 21 Hotels in Puerto Ayora
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 28 March 2010

We stayed at Semilla Verde for only a couple of days in March and had an incredible time. The rooms are beautiful, clean and comfortable, but the best part are Robert and Daysi - the owners. They are not only extremely friendly and enthusiastic hosts, Robert is also a very knowledgeable guide to the island. Our favorite tours were the ones with Robert - one of the Darwin Station and the other of the Highlands. They are the perfect way to start your trip, since they give you the insight to the history and inner-workings of the Galapagos. Aside from telling you a ton about the islands, Robert is also taking an active part in preserving them. He has been working on replanting a forest of endemic Galapagos trees on his property, as well as growing organic shade grown coffee. It feels great to know that in staying at Semilla Verde you're not only supporting Robert and his family, but also the preservation of a small part of the Galapagos Islands. Semilla Verde feels like a one-of-a-kind getaway from the very touristy Puerto Ayora, and a great alternative to the all-inclusive cruise ships.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank jenny_matt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 March 2010

We would cettainly recommend Semilla Verde as an ideal base to explore the Galapagos islands.
Robert and Daysi have built a fine property in superb grounds with complete sensitivity to the environment. We felt totally at home there. The welcome was extremely warm and enthusiastic . The rooms are superbly appointed and comfortable and there is a very high standard of cleanliness. Tasty and varied meals are served in the main living room which has magnificent views over the grounds and down to the coast. Robert's knowledge about the Galapagos, its origins, its wildlife and its geography is encyclopaedic. He conveys a clear love of the islands which is extremely infectious. Although it is a short trip to Puerto Ayora there are no problems with the transport and taxis are cheap. Indeed, it is often a relief to get away into the fresher environment of Semilla Verde in the highlands rather than the heat and humidity of the coast. The trips to the various other islands were well organised and showed us the diversity of the Galapagos archipelago.
All in all this was a terrific holiday, in a superb location, with excellent hosts

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank LindaandPeter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2010

This review is long over due. We stayed here back in Sept. '09 at the beginning of a 3 month adventure throughout S. America. It set the bar high for the rest of our trip and was one of the best places we stayed during our entire trip.

We stayed on the top floor room but saw the other 2 rooms and they all were lovely. The Top room was a little larger and had a bigger bathroom. The place is pretty new and was super clean. We were the only guests there for the majority of the time we were there b/c we went during low season so we had the whole house pretty much to ourselves. It was lilke staying in a luxury home for the price of a standard hotel room. Robert even let us use the kitched for cooking which was very convenient and saved us some money since going into town after a long day trip can be tiring and eating in town can get costly.

Robert spent a lot of time with us before we arrived helping us with our itinerary and was very flexible in working with our budget. He responded to emails very quickly. The trips he selected for us for perfect for our taste and budget. He personally guided us on the highlands tour and he was hands down the best guide we had during our trip. He is really knowledgeable, enthusiastic and environmentally conscious about the islands. Based on what we observed from the other guides, I don't think there is a better guide than Robert on the islands.

The place is very peaceful and surrounded by beautiful trees. You can see the ocean on clear days. This is not the place for you if you need to be walking distance to nightlife and restaurants. They do provide cab fare for 1 daily rountrip into town so you can still get into town when you need to but you have to plan a little b/c it can take up to 30 min for a cab to get there.

I think this place is perfect if you want a relaxing get away, personal attention and very nice accommodations at a reasonable price.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank JenandAlSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2010

I am not even going to comment on the service or the location offered by Robert and Daysi, as how can one praise people more than has already been said? Robert IS the epitomy of customer service and he literally bends himself every which way to make sure everyone is comfortable. I agree with all that has been said before this review.

There are two issues that one needs to be aware of and this is very much based on personal choice and is no reflection of the "brilliance" of the Semilla Verde experience.

1) You need to be aware that SV is about a 15-20 drive from the main drag od Santa Cruz, which is a very quaint and quiet town . Whilst at SV. It is not a simple step out of your front door to get something from the store, be it food or other. However, if a respite from the heat (it is relatively cool at SV) and blissful peace and quiet is what you're after, then SV is the spot for you!

2) Robert can organise an itinerary for you if you are after a land based holiday. Be warned, the islands are not really close to each other and do require very early morning departures, varying between 21/2 to 31/2 hour, often VERY rocky, boat trips, It is necessary, however to have the Santa Cruz portion of your tour arranged, as the boats do not leave for the islands everyday and if you have limited time, it is good to have your itinerary pre-arranged by Robert and his travel agent.
Isabela and the other islands can be an "arrange it after your arrive thing"!

In closing, I would not hesitate to highly recommend staying at Robert and Daysi's home whilst in Santa Cruz.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Deb M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RobertandDaysi, Owner at Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 1 April 2010

Dear Guest,

We are so glad that you enjoyed your stay with us. It is for those same levels of comfort and personal service that you spoke of, that our guests on Trip Advisor rate us amongst the very best accommodations both in Galapagos and mainland Ecuador.

Thank you for making these important issues known as they offer me the opportunity to address your concerns and enlighten other readers. I hope you will find the following comments helpful:

As you have observed, the guesthouse is based slightly outside of Puerto Ayora town itself. And it is for this same reason, that Semilla Verde is 15-20 minutes closer to many of the principal day tour destinations, a fact that most our guests truly appreciate, especially when there are early starts!

This is because naturalist/snorkel focused trips to many of the most interesting outlying islands such as Bartolome Island (6am bus pick-up at SV), North Seymour Island (8.20am bus pick-up at SV), South Plazas Island (8.20am bus pick-up at SV) and indeed the airport on Baltra Island, start at Itabaca Canal, on the far north of Santa Cruz Island itself (25-30 mins from SV). Puerto Ayora town itself is on the far south side of the island (45-50 mins). This also applies to some of the scuba dive destinations too, including Gordon Rocks (this trip can leave from town too), North Seymour, Mosquera, Cousins Rock, Beagle, and the Daphne Islands.

It is for our very location, that our guests are picked up last and dropped off first by the day tour bus, saving up to one hour of extra travelling time that might well be spent relaxing on the terrace with a cup of freshly brewed coffee or an extra ½ hour in bed in the mornings!

The FAQs section of our website explains the issues one should be aware of if considering staying in town versus the countryside. Typically, our guests tend to be interested in the nature of these isolated and unique islands, rather than the ‘action’ in town. However, there are many interesting things to see and do in Puerto Ayora. For that reason we do include in the price of the room a shuttle/taxi to and from town daily, so that people can enjoy the best of both worlds.

With regards to travel time to each island, this very much depends on the choice (or availability) of day tour boat and the wind and sea currents. Obviously the sea conditions can help or hinder the boat on it’s way, as the standard of the individual boat will affect levels of comfort. Depending on the destination, the travel time on the boat typically varies between 1 hour (North Seymour) and 2.5 hours (Bartolome). However, these journeys often include surprise encounters with dolphins, manta rays, marine birds such as frigates, boobies and storm petrels, and occasionally even whales and orcas! As such, one should look forward to these journeys with as much gusto as the final destination itself.

Galapagos is a land that has stood still in time and one that offers a myriad of sensory delights and close encounters with some of the most amazing creatures on earth. For most, it is a once in a lifetime experience and certainly one that should not be rushed…

I sincerely hope that my comments have cleared up any potential misunderstandings. Once again, I would like to thank you for your positive comments regarding our service and accommodations. If you would like to discuss any of the issues further, then please feel free to contact me personally.

As always, very best regards,

Robert Grimstone
Owner & Naturalist Guide
Semilla Verde Guest House

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2010

We enjoyed our 2009 visit to Galapagos so much that we decided to return this year. Once again we chose to stay at Semilla Verde having been delighted with the service and surroundings last year. We were not disappointed and once again Robert and Daysi were perfect hosts.
A number of improvements have been made, particularly with regard to the trails which have now been laid with volcanic gravel, making walking round the extensive grounds much easier and dryer when it rains. The first wild orchids were spotted in the trees while we were there and one particular tortoise seems to have made the place it's own.
Following the Chilean earthquake and the tsunami alert, we were grateful to be up in the highlands well out of harms way if anything serious had happened.
We were glad that Robert had organised day trips to a number of islands including a two day stay on Isabela. Whilst the cost might have been a little less if we had booked locally, the convenience and certainty of advance booking far outweighed this.
Overall the standards at Semilla Verde remain very high indeed. The welcome, cleanliness and catering all contribute to a wonderful relaxing holiday: and the sunset on our last night was fantastic, (see photo)

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Semper65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2010

We had a great stay. Robert and Dayse were great. Really enjoyed being in the highlands and seeing the tortoise and the mocking bird that came knocking. Also walking the grounds. Transportation to the beadh also arranged very well, Transportation to and from Puerto Ayora was a snap. Puerto Ayora wakes up after dark. Nice to be out of town. Air conditioner somewhat noisy if not used to it.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank CanadaTraveller2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2010

My partner Marcy and I were lucky enough to find Semilla Verde on trip advisor and were amazed by all the excellent reviews that we read. Sounded like it was too good to be true. We were surely mistaken. Robert and Daysi were both great in caring to all of our needs. Including the fact that my partner is vegan and I am vegetarian. All the meals they had prepared for us were unique and tasty. Robert's attention to detail was amazing in planning day trips that were best suited for our needs, as well as leaving some time that we could spend on our own exploring the island, whether it was a nice day to walk to the bay or just a relaxing evening in the town.

The guesthouse was also a great place to just relax and sit on our balcony and look out over the island. We were able to take strolls through the backyard and walk around with about 10 giant tortoises. They were huge!

Anyone who would choose to say at Semilla would not be disappointed and it is great for singles, couples and even your whole family.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank sparkles1605
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 - £188 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel 3.5*
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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