Our stay at this tortoise sanctuary was wonderful. Our host Reyna was very helpful and accommodating. Lodging was unique and well appointed.
I had the pleasure of staying at MonteMar in December for a yoga retreat. It was a quiet, peaceful, welcoming refuge at the end of each full day of exploring the Galapagos archipelago. Our hostess was gracious and fun, the food local, fresh and delicious, and the decor modern and elegant. The Galapagos tortoises and wild horses roaming the property made it all the more spectacular. Highly recommend.
MonteMar is a beautiful property outside of the main town on Santa Cruz (about a 20 min drive). It consists of two villas (small bungalows) and the owner's house, plus lots of green space where wild giant tortoises roam among native plants / trees. The owners have an organic coffee plantation and an area where horses (not for riding) graze, plus chickens and numerous fruit trees (bananas, guavas, etc.). We stayed there for 3 nights in June with our family, including our 3 kids (ages 4-10). Rayna gave us boots so the family could wander the property and explore without worrying about fire ants biting, which was very helpful. She also gave us eggs and bananas from their property.
Our villa had two bedrooms (queen beds in each), a living room with a sofa futon that doubles as a bed, plus a small kitchen and eating area and bathroom. The kitchen was well equipped with everything from wine glasses, cork screw, thermo beverage glasses (that go in the freezer), drinking water (one large jug for the stay), etc. to all the basics for cooking, which was most everything we needed. The villa also had umbrellas, beach towels, reusable water bottles, etc for guest usage. Rayna sold us some of her organic coffee, which was absolutely delicious.
The villa also included daily house keeping, which was very thorough. The housekeeper was helpful in hanging our towels and some hand washed laundry on the owner's cloth line to dry as the villa didn't have an outdoor space to hang laundry. The house was very well cleaned and organized each day when we returned.
All aspects were eco friendly - recycling / composting, solar energy, rules to respect wild life, etc.
Each night stay includes one round trip taxi ride to the town, which was a nice touch as the villas are not walking distance to anything.
Upside: All the features I mentioned above, especially sleeping near the giant tortoises and having unlimited access to watch them in the wild.
Downside: Location is far from town but as I mentioned a round trip taxi ride is included each day and it wasn't a big deal going in and out of town in taxis to get groceries and sight-see. Since we cooked dinners in the villa (given we have young kids), being out of the town wasn't an issue for us - just took a bit of organizing around groceries.
Rayna was very helpful with suggestions on activities for our stay on Santa Cruz. Everything we did was self guided and focused on unique aspects of the island, knowing that we were moving onto Isabela afterwards.
I would definitely recommend MonteMar to families, couples and small groups looking for a unique experience on Santa Cruz.
I cannot say enough great things about this incredible house, location and owners. We stayed 3 nights and did not want to leave. We loved the location so much, we opted out of a day trip to enjoy the property for an entire, relaxing day. I cannot count the number of tortoises we watched each day, our favorite had her home right outside the front door where we saw her each morning and evening. The wild horses came by each afternoon which was a beautiful site. Reyna and Roberto were amazing hosts and made you feel very welcomed on their amazing property - thank you!
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Our stay at MonteMar exceeded our expectations in every way and made our Christmas holiday on the Galapagos one we will will always remember. Driving onto the property is magical seeing the friendly giant tortoises throughout the grounds and then looking out at the view we knew it was going to be a special week. The house is beautifully designed and was perfect for our family of four. We spent our days on the beach or on day tours and we loved coming back to the relaxation of Montemar.
Reyna and Roberto are tremendous hosts who helped us throughout our stay at MonteMar. From picking us up at the airport to dropping us off at the marina at the end of our stay they made sure we were set for all our excursions throughout the week. Montemar is a special place and we would highly recommend it for a special Galapagos experience.
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