This is a guest post by Magali Ipina, a Canadian expat living in Quito, Ecuador. She started her own Advertising Agency in Quito 3 years ago, Reversal Studio. Check out their webpage and follow them on Facebook.
Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel in the Galapagos
Two years ago, I had the great privilege to travel to Galapagos, a destination on top of many nature lovers’ bucket list (and definitely on mine!). My parents were visiting from Canada and planned on including Galapagos to their trip, and I just couldn’t miss out on this opportunity.
The enchanted islands left a great impression on me and I knew I HAD to come back sooner or later with my daughter in order to experience with her the countless amazing natural encounters that she would enjoy so much.
Flight tickets went on sale, my daughter went on school vacation, and my husband (that teaches at university) was between two semesters: we seized the perfect timing and packed our bags!
More reading: Buyers Guide to the Best Sun Protection Hats – specifically for travelers to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
Galapagos Spa, Giant Tortoises, & Coffee Plantation on Santa Cruz Island
Landing on the beautiful island of Santa Cruz, our first contact with nature happened right at our hotel. Semilla Verde is the only yoga retreat center in the Galapagos archipelago, and it is nested in the highlands of the island which offers a beautiful contrast with other extremely dry parts of the island.
Read more about the 3 airports of the Galapagos
Most hotel options in Santa Cruz are in Puerto Ayora, the busiest part of the island. I am glad we chose a hotel a little apart from the action (11km away/ 15 minute drive /cab fare: $7).
Every night we returned to the hotel exhausted after spending all day discovering the natural wonders of Santa Cruz Island we were delighted by the spectacular view from our private balcony and the peace and quiet that insured great nights of untroubled sleep.
What did we love the most about Semilla Verde Hotel?
The giant tortoises slowly wandering freely around the property! It is great to be able to walk out of your room and come across the largest living species of tortoise in the world, with lifespans of over 100 years and some weighing up to 417 kg!
The hotel is surrounded by 12 acres of lush scalesia forest, flower gardens and trails. Our daughter and I enjoyed thoroughly the trails nearby we could explore on the lookout for more tortoises.
Our host, Cattya, was extremely attentive to all our needs and made us feel like we were at a friend’s home rather than in a hotel.
She was always smiling and very efficient, always making sure we had a taxi ready when needed, that our homemade breakfast was served at the accorded time, and she even gave me a bottle of aloe gel upon our departure when she noticed my sunburns (the result of a wonderful day spent snorkeling with baby sharks in Tortuga Bay)!
Galapagos Coffee Plantation at Semilla Verde
As I am a HUGE coffee lover, there is a detail I should not leave out about Semilla Verde: they have their own tortoise-friendly coffee trees planted in the shade of reforested endemic and endangered giant daisy (scalesia) trees.
How can a coffee be tortoise friendly you ask? The Lodge is leading a reforestation project approved by the Galapagos National Park, the Charles Darwin Foundation and Conservation International, and it’s done in a way that does not disturb the tortoise’s traditional migration route.
Semilla Verde selects and harvests the beans by hand and sun dries and roasts them in small batches, ensuring its guests unlimited refills of the richest, freshest flavor of pure organic Galapagos grown Arabica coffee.
We are now back in Quito, and I am already thinking about our next Galapagos escape. I can’t thank enough Roberto, the owner of this wonderful piece of paradise, and Cattya, our wonderful host, for their warm welcome and service.
Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel
Km 12 via a Baltra, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos, Ecuador
Are you planning on visiting Semilla Verde? What are you looking forward to? Have you been here? What did you love most?