What is(are) your name(s)?
For how long have you been running a B&B?
The Semilla Verde opens officially in 2009, although we have accommodated guests since 2007.
Please share something about the history of your present bed and breakfast.
This is our first B&B. It has been a dream of mine to escape the rat race in Britain and open a B&B for more than ten years. I once worked in London and Hong Kong, but having traveled a year in India in 1996 had decided to change the course of my life. In fact, I originally planned to open an adventure based B&B in Andalusia in southern Spain. I came to Central-South America at the end of the 90's to learn the Spanish language and become a Scuba diving guide so that I could do just that... and ended up staying in the Galapagos Islands. I had always dreamed of a guest house in the hills, close to the coast surrounded by countryside. In 2002, the opportunity presented itself to realize this dream. A landowner in Galapagos had separated from his wife and his thirty hectare estate had been divided into six lots of five hectares to be sold off. Several prominent figures including the British and American representatives in Galapagos bought, as did I, very fortunately. What was originally virgin 'Scalesia' forest had been converted into grazing land for cattle land had subsequently been abandoned to invasive introduced plants. I subsequently took it upon myself to embark on a long self-financed program of reforestation and have as best I can, restored the land to it's former glory. The guest house itself was part-completed in 2004 and in 2008 the entire construction finalized and the finished. The finishing touches have just recently been added and new touches are added on a continual basis.
What are the unique characteristics of your B&B?
This guest house is absolutely unique in Galapagos and offers a very distinct, very authentic Galapagos experience. It is the only guest house in the uplands of Santa Cruz Island, and is the only tourist accommodation in all of Galapagos that allows you to experience living amongst the nature you have come to see - the native and endemic animals, birds and plants - Galapagos giant tortoises roam the property, unique bird species thrive in the canopy and the endemic Scalesia trees, which are home varieties of mosses and ferns, provide shade from the sometime fierce equatorial sun. I am a naturalist guide and am able to offer private guide services and evening lectures. We can help in all aspects of planning your trip. Myself, my wife, Daysi, and our baby daughter, Iona, will be your hosts. We are locals, have local knowledge and will advise you, without prejudice as to make the most of your Galapagos trip.
Based on your guests' opinions, what feature of your B&B has made their stay special?
Our previous guests have commented on a wide range of points, principally: Peace and tranquility - no crowds of tourists. Spectacular sea and highland views. Very comfortable accommodation. Giant tortoises & other Galapagos wildlife in abundance. Experienced, knowledgeable naturalist guide. Friendly and accommodating family.
Please describe in short your bed and breakfast and its general services and amenities.
We offer 'Unique Trip Designs' whereby we can organize every aspect of your Galapagos adventure, including transfers, accommodation, evening meals, day tours, cruises etc. The property itself is a modern-rustic style country house, completed over three floors. The second, the very top floor, comprises the largest room with ensuite bathroom and large sliding doors onto a private balcony. The first floor comprises two good sized ensuite bedrooms with large sliding doors onto private terraces. There is also a large open planned lounge (with lava-rock fireplace), dining and kitchen area. And, an expansive terrace on the southern side with views over our Scalesia forest, surrounding farmland, national park and marine reserve, to Floreana Island. Downstairs there are three further rooms all leading off the main, open-plan lounge and dining areas. Each room has either sea views or flower garden views and direct access onto one of three private terraces. The rooms in the first and second floors each feature a TV and DVD player, ceiling fans and air conditioning. There are board games and a variety of reference and fictional books and large collection of BBC documentaries and movies on DVD. There are three grass gardens, 1.5 km of nature trails, and a swimming pool. The atmosphere is one of absolute tranquility. The property offers plenty of private space to enjoy peace and quite and quality, fun time with family and friends.
How many rooms are offered at your B&B and what is its maximum capacity?
There are six double rooms. Three double rooms have queen sized beds, and three double rooms feature twin beds. These can be moved around as desired, according to your personal requirements. There is capacity for twelve adults.
What kinds of rooms do you offer?
FARMHOUSE: Room 1 - second floor: A rustic wooden staircase leads to this extra spacious south-facing bedroom with a queen-size bed, wooden flooring, wall-to-wall sliding glass doors to the south, private balcony, en-suite bath / shower room and walk-through wardrobe. Windows offer views to the north, south, east and west. Extras: TV & multi-region DVD (with USB & memory card inputs). Air conditioning and ceiling ventilation fans. Room 2 - first floor: This south-facing room has access to a private terrace via sliding, glass doors to the south, queen-sized bed, en-suite bath / shower room. Windows offer views the the south, east and west. Extras: TV & multi-region DVD (with USB & memory card inputs). Air conditioning and ceiling ventilation fans. This bathroom can also be used as a communal bathroom if required by family or groups, without compromising the privacy of the bedroom. Room 3 - first floor: This west-facing room has access to a private terrace via wall-to-wall sliding glass doors to the west, queen-sized bed, en-suite shower room. Windows offer views the the north, east and west. Extras: TV & multi-region DVD (with game consol). Air conditioning and ceiling ventilation fans. GARDEN ANNEX: The main farmhouse building includes an apartment at garden level for larger family or tour groups. It features three en-suite bedrooms with beautiful views to the flower gardens and Scalesia forest. Bedrooms all lead off the main lounge. An open plan lounge, with dining and kitchen areas lead onto a large, private terrace and grass lawn that has a small water fountain and views to the sunset in the west and direct access to the nature trails. The lounge features a TV & multi-region DVD (with USB & memory card inputs or game consoles).
Please describe the in-room facilities for each type of room in your B&B.
Room facilities are described above. Hot water is provided by a system of pressure tanks and gas heaters. Each accommodation has a tap offering purified drinking water via the process of 'reverse osmosis'. Bottled water is also available. We have a laundry service that is available for a small charge. There are hair dryers and ironing facilities available on request, free of charge. There are two fully functional kitchens each with tea and coffee making facilities. Fridges are available for use.
Which room is your personal favorite?
Room 1 is simply majestic in every sense. Room 2 is quaint and becoming, and has spectacular 'wake-up views'. Room 3 is many peoples favourite, having views to the sea and to the highlands and our 'tortoise pond'. Room 4 is big and beautiful garden views. Room 5 is a good size and has views to the sea and coffee plantation. Room 6 is more cosy, but too offers vies the sea and coffee plantation.
What do the room rates include?
Prices are quoted on an individual basis and vary according the type of services required. The basis product is bed and breakfast. The complete product is transfers and tours on the mainland, flights to Galapagos, transfers, tours, full board, private guide services etc. All quoted prices will include tax. Private travel insurance must be obtained. All bookings are subject to terms and conditions.
Do you offer any special packages?
We offer our 'Unique Trip Design' service that can tailor packages for honeymooners, family or tour groups. Or, just individuals and couples.
What may guests expect from a typical breakfast at your property?
Breakfast usually comprises a continental style breakfast, including eggs cooked to your liking. We may also offer full cooked breakfasts or traditional Ecuadoran cuisine on request.
When and where is breakfast served?
Breakfast in the Farmhouse and in the Garden Annex is served at the respective main dining table. For larger groups who would like to dine together, the two dining tables may be joined in the main Farmhouse.
Are dietary needs accommodated?
We accommodate all special dietary requirements on request, given notice.
Do you serve other meals?
We are able to provide lunch and dinner services. For these we will employ professional, local chefs. We need advanced warning of at least 24 hours in such cases. These can be requested at the time of booking and included in the tour package.
Are there cooking facilities, which guests may use?
We do offer self-catering accommodation should you require, but only when there is exclusive rental of either the Farmhouse or the Garden Annex. There is a fully functional kitchen in each property.
Is your bed and breakfast suitable for children?
We would advise parents that in order to appreciate Galapagos to its full, that their children be of a minimum age of 6-8 years. We have done everything possible to make this guest house safe for children, including our own child! Normal safety precautions should be followed and parents are responsible for the safety of their children at all times, both inside the property and around the grounds and especially in the swimming pool. We will provide a safety briefing on your arrival.
Do you accept pets?
No, Galapagos National Park does not allow animals to be brought to the islands.
What is your smoking policy?
We prefer that smokers use the terraces or Guests may smoke on the terraces or outside in the gardens. We kindly ask that guests do not smoke inside the building especially when there are other guests present. If you have exclusive use of either property, then you may smoke in the communal areas including the dining and lounge areas. Smoking is not allowed in the bedrooms. Guests are kindly requested to dispose of their cigarette butts in a responsible manner.
Is there a parking facility on premises or nearby?
Yes, there is plenty of parking space should you decide to rent a private taxi or van. These will always include the driver.
Is your B&B suitable for disabled guests?
Please contact us to discuss your special requirements.
What safety precautions are provided at your B&B?
Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are featured in the kitchen and communal areas of each accommodation. As is emergency lighting.
What is your check-in/check-out policy?
Check in and out normally coincides with the flights to and from the mainland. Check in - between 11am and 2pm. Check out - between 7am and 9pm
Are there a minimum number of nights for staying at your B&B?
How can guests check availability and make a reservation?
Please contact us for availability and reservations.
What is you cancellation policy?
Full terms and conditions are available on request.
What types of payment do you accept?
We accept wire transfers to our bank account here in Galapagos. We prefer that any additional payments be made in cash.
Is there a special etiquette that guests should know about and comply with?
In an effort to make the Semilla Verde experience as private and intimate as possible, we offer those individual guests with rooms in the Garden Annex exclusive access to their respective terraces at garden level, whilst those in the main Farmhouse have exclusive access to their respective balconies and terraces in the upper levels. Obviously, in the case that both homes are rented by one family or group, guests may occupy those terraces they wish. Out of respect for other guests and the wildlife that lives in and around the estate, we kindly ask that noise be kept to a minimum after 10pm.
Please tell us what things guests might enjoy visiting, seeing, doing, etc. in your area.
Whilst at the Semilla Verde you may hunt for giant tortoises, bird watch, play in the swimming pool, read, listen to music, watch an informative documentary about Galapagos or the world, ask me for an educational lecture about the natural or human history of the islands... or just relax in a hammock. Please refer to the 'Unique Trip Design' section on our website for all available half-day and full-day tour options.
Where is your B&B located and how it may be reached?
We are located just off the main road between Baltra Island (where the airport is located), and the town of Puerto Ayora. In brief, take the free bus from the airport on Baltra Island to Canal Itabaca (10 mins)... cross the channel (5 mins, 80 cents) to Santa Cruz Island... take a taxi to 'Semilla Verde' (25 mins, $15). It is very simple. We can come and meet you if you so wish.
What would you say to people who have never stayed in a bed and breakfast?
If you like something out of the norm, away from the tourist crowds, but truly authentic and special... then try the Semilla Verde Guest House. We are introducing a new concept in eco-tourism to the Galapagos Islands - one that is sustainable for the local economy and very beneficial, directly, to the local flora and fauna.
Is there something more that you want to share about your property?
If you need any more information about our B&B/Guest House, then please refer to our website. There is much more general information available on the 'Travel FAQs' section. Please feel free to contact us directly, via email, if you would like to make a reservation, or indeed, if you have any questions that we have not managed to answer here. Thank you for considering a stay at the Semilla Verde. We look forward to welcoming you to Galapagos very soon! Robert Grimstone.