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“Fantastic base from which to explore Galapagos”

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Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel
Ranked #1 of 21 Hotels in Puerto Ayora
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Zurich, Switzerland
Level 4 Contributor
17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Fantastic base from which to explore Galapagos”
Reviewed October 30, 2012

My boyfriend and I decided a bit last minute to do a trip to the Galapagos. We were a bit overwhelmed by the choices - island hopping cruise versus staying in one place, and if so, where - and in the end we decided to give Semilla Verde Lodge a try based on the good reviews here on TripAdvisor. I'm pleased to report we were not disappointed with our choice!
We stayed at Semilla Verde for seven nights - the duration of our time at Galapagos, and (despite our last minute booking) Robert, the owner, not only managed to organize fantastic activities for each day that left us feeling like we really had made the best of our time in this remote location, but he and his staff and family also made us feel tremendously welcome at the lodge.
Our evenings there were peaceful and comfortable, meaning that we had energy enough for our fun-filled days. From Santa Cruz it was easy to do day trips to locations such as North Seymour, Batolome, Islas Plazas and more.
Semilla Verde Lodge is a manageable taxi ride outside of Puerto Ayora. The Lodge pays for one taxi ride to or from town per day; it's easy and cheap to get a taxi yourself other times. The location is beautiful, with views down to the water on clear days. You are in the heart of the highlands, surrounded by green in all direction.
Robert is also a trained guide and his passion for his adopted home is clear and infectious. His staff is wonderfully friendly and kind, the food they cook up is outstanding. We've stayed in a lot of hotels and B&Bs in a lot of locations and breakfast at Semilla Verde is probably the best we've encountered. The coffee - grown and roasted on the Lodge grounds - is a nice bonus!
Our room was clean, spacious and comfortable. Depending on your schedule, you may end up sharing meals with other guests at the communal table - which was a great experience for us as the other guests were lovely company.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank jyogini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (123)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Bewdley, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed October 19, 2012

Semilla Verde is located in the highlands of Santa Cruz down a dirt track a few hundred metres from the main road. It is a very peaceful location, with wonderful views down to the coast, when there is no cloud cover. The house sits in a beautiful garden and next to it's own coffee plantation, which you will be pleased to hear is served freshly filtered for breakfast. Robert is helpful and informative and organised some great trips for us. His wife Daisy made an gourmet Ecuadorian meal one night, which I would highly recommend. The house and rooms are very clean, nicely designed and spacious. The main town Puerto Ayora is only 10-15 minutes away by taxi, he only speaks Spanish but Hugo is very friendly.

Room Tip: The room at the top, is more expensive, but worth it for the views and the hammock on the balcony!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Little_Beret
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2012

My husband and I travelled to Galapagos Islands in May 2012 and stayed at Semilla Verde for 11 days. We found this beautiful place through Trip Advisor and we knew this was going to be the best trip ever. Robert was extremely helpful in organizing our itinerary and was wealth of information. Semilla Verde is absolutely beautiful, peaceful and you can truly hear a pin drop in this place. It is a hidden gem! From our welcome drink to a morning breakfast to their wonderful staff, everything was just perfect! If we are ever again in Galapagos, we will only stay at Semilla Verde. Many thanks to Robert for his incredible work and dedication, we truly had a blast!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Rachel G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels, Belgium
1 review
Reviewed September 15, 2012

I travelled with a friend to LatAm in June 2012 visiting Peru, Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands. We decided to do a land based tour and found this wonderful lodge / B&B Semilla Verde at Baltra Island via TripAdvisor.

With hindsight, our choice couldn’t have been better: 1/ excellent basis to visit all the islands, 2/ the hosts are fantastic people, 3/ great scenery & very quiet, and yet only 15’ by cab to Puerto Ayora (with constant taxi service available at limited cost), 4/ affordable price and great value for money, 5/ from the moment we contacted Robert, we was extremely helpful, setting up our itinerary (at no additional or only a marginal cost from organizing everything ourselves), guiding us…there isn’t a thing you can’t ask him, I think I’ve never seen so much genuine hospitality anywhere in my life, 6/ delicious food… etc

In short: we had a fantastic stay at Galapagos, thanks to Semilla Verde! Look no further, just contact Robert and enjoy the outstanding experience.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Mick_VdH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed September 12, 2012

I stayed at Semilla Verde during the last part of a 2 week medical mission I was doing in Quito. Having never ventured into South America nor traveled solo, I was quite nervous about what I was getting myself into. I found Semilla Verde on a website for environmentally friendly lodgings on The Galapagos Islands as it was very important to me NOT to add to the carbon footprint in the area. Semilla Verde was ranked very well, so I was already excited about trying them out. Then after I contacted Robert via email to help answer what I thought were going to be only a few questions, I immediately became very comfortable in the knowledge that I wasn’t going to be taken for all the money I had and that these people, Daysi and Robert, were going to take care of me and that was super important given my nervous attitude about being so far away from home. Robert and I emailed back and forth over a couple of months putting together an individualized itinerary for me and guiding me towards the best touring options for my short stay in the Galapagos – a mere 4 days.

To say that staying at Semilla Verde was wonderful is putting it mildly. The place is a little slice of heaven, both cozy and sophisticated. The lunch and dinner meals are options but are well worth it. I do a lot of cooking and have eaten at a large number of haute cuisine restaurants. The staff at Semilla Verde offer gourmet meals on par with any 5 star restaurants both in quality and presentation. The meals are freshly prepared and tailored to the diner’s food requirements if there are any. The meals provided are typical Ecuadorian flair and have their own healthy twist on many items so you don’t come away feeling overfull, but very satisfied and looking forward to the next day’s preparations. Breakfasts are fresh delicious and very filling so that you don’t feel you need lunch until very late afternoon.

The accommodations are cozy and comfortable and clean. The fact that this guest house is located about 12 km from the main hub of Puerto Ayora is a major plus. The guesthouse sits on about 12 acres of what feels like untouched nature. The land around the guesthouse is wonderful for quiet walks where tortoises and other wildlife can be seen. It is quiet and relaxing but also still along the major road where you can easily grab a taxi and head into town for a few bucks. One of the surprise things I found out is that there is an organic coffee farm on the premises as well. I bought 2 large containers of roasted coffee beans to take back with me and consumed both containers with a few friends who are now hooked and now we are out of coffee! We would all desperately like for Robert to add this to his ever-growing list of jobs around Semilla Verde – exporting of his coffee to select previous guests!

I felt like a princess when I stayed at Semilla Verde, the staff treated me so well. Robert took me on an individual tour of the Charles Darwin Research Station, Los Gemelos, and the town of Puerto Ayora. He is a certified naturalist and well-versed in all aspects of the environment, flora/fauna, and wildlife that is special to the Galapagos Islands.

I cannot emphasize enough how much someone would enjoy spending their time in the Galapagos in the Semilla Verde guesthouse, either solo or with a large group. There are plans in the horizon (as Robert told me) of having retreats with various healthful living options, like yoga, massage, and meditation. I hope to return one day and enjoy more of Semilla Verde and the company of the wonderful staff there.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank lmais
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 5, 2012

My husband and I traveled to the Galapagos Islands with my brother and his fiancée (who, as a fluent Spanish speaker, made things very easy for us). It was my brother who found Semilla Verde on the Internet and we made sure to thank him because it turned out to be a lovely, very comfortable place and quite different from a sterile hotel room. We were also impressed with how well it was designed and built--ecologically sound, using locally-available, green products. The food was excellent too--coffee was made with beans grown and roasted on the estate and meals were local dishes made by staff members who were very friendly and efficient.
Robert the owner, was very attentive and super friendly. Although he was taking care of an infant son, sans his wife, and had to leave early for the baby’s christening, we never felt neglected or ignored. He was very helpful in planning our tours; suggesting the right number of islands and places to visit, and made arrangements for our arrival and departure with Hugo, a cab driver we took an immediate liking to. He also took us on a tour (lending us Wellies, as well) of the highlands, including a visit to a tortoise ranch and to the lava tunnels (wish he had packed a flash-light because the power was out). He is passionate about the islands and we came back well-informed on so many island facts and lore. The highlight of our stay was when, on the morning of our departure, a tortoise came up in the back, as if to bid us farewell.
Although Semilla Verde is located away from the town (taxis are easy to get and the fare is inexpensive), and may not fit into everyone's budget, we would highly recommend Semilla Verde for the peace and serenity it offers and for Robert and his staff’s excellent service.

Room Tip: The room on the top floor has an excellent view but is more expensive--the one below has an equally...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Preeti M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2012

My wife and I absolutely loved Semilla Verde. If you want to stay somewhere relaxing, convenient, and exciting then Semilla Verde is the perfect choice. We visited in late May and the weather was excellent in the highlands. The time of the year also made us lucky enough to see every single type of animal we had on our Galapagos checklist. (see list below)

There are many islands in the Galapagos and they are larger than people realize. What many don't know is that to truly see the Galapagos you do not need to visit every single island and stay on a boat. If you are smart and you speak to someone from the area they would tell you that there are many smaller islands you can visit on day trips from Santa Cruz that have extremely abundant wild life and save you tons of valuable time on your trip... And all the while you get to stay at a beautiful bed and breakfast in the highlands (think tropical rainforest with impressive views, coffee growing in the backyard, & tortoises occasionally roaming the property) And that's where Robert's Semilla Verde capitalizes. He will put together an itinerary for you that really allows you to see the Galapagos how a local would recommend. He will really do everything in his power to make sure you have a perfect stay, for every type of vacationer. The tours he gave in the highlands were excellent; informative and unique. He also took us to Garapatero beach which was one of the most scenic beaches I've ever seen in my life. It was straight off of a photoshopped desktop background. The tours he recommended for us were with on a boat called the 'Narel' to South Plazas, North Seymour, & Bartolome. The food was very good on the boat too. We saw all of the incredible animals listed below on just these three tours and on Santa Cruz. It was epic.

The food at the B&B is excellent. We loved the staff - super friendly, always smiling, and very good local cooking. The food in town is excellent too and there are so many restaurants to try, just ask Robert for Recommendations. Every night was relaxing and the B&B is a beautiful, cozy home, with superb views tucked away in the forest. It's a very short cab ride into town (Puerto Ayora) and we went into town almost every night during our stay.

The only so-so tour we went on was the one Robert didn't choose for us. We had a free day and chose a random tour in town at the many tour shops. We were supposed to take a glass bottomed boat to seal island, but ended up somewhere completely different. We still had lots of fun and saw sharks but that goes to show that Robert knows the best tours and makes sure you are taken care of.

Animals we saw on tours setup by Robert:
Galapagos Tortoises (15 in the highlands, 2 in our back yard), Blue footed boobies (North Seymour tour), Frigate Birds (North Seymour tour), Marine Iguanas (everywhere, Santa Cruz-Tortuga Beach), Land Iguanas (South Plazas & North Seymour), White Tip Reef Sharks (near Tortuga bay), Sea Lions (everywhere, South Plazas esp.), Galapagos Penguins (Bartolome), Galapagos Hawks (15-20 on Bartolome), Sea turtle (on route to Bartolome), Manta Rays (on route to Bartolome), Swallow tailed gulls (South Plazas), Sally Lightfoot crabs (everywhere), & 1 pink flamingo (After North Seymour tour)... and much more.

The B&B is cozy and a truly memorable experience. Easily the best place to stay in the Galapagos.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Stephen R
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

Property: Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel
Address: Km 12, via a Baltra | Isla Santa Cruz, Puerto Ayora 200350, Ecuador (Formerly Semilla Verde Galapagos Lodge)
Phone Number:
Location: Ecuador > Galapagos Islands > Santa Cruz > Puerto Ayora
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Fitness Center 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
#2 Best Value Hotel in Puerto Ayora
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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