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La Casa de Marita 3.0

Puerto Villamil, Isabela, Galapagos Islands

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Charming beachfront hotel with loads of personality 
  • 20 individually decorated rooms
  • Multiple room types that can accommodate families, couples, or solo travelers 
  • Beautiful beachfront deck with hammocks and lounge chairs 
  • Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner 
  • Great location, a five-minute walk from downtown 
  • Free breakfast and Wi-Fi 

Cons

  • Some rooms are located across the street from the main hotel and the beach 
  • Wi-Fi is slow (common in the Galapagos) 
  • Room decor and amenities vary 

Bottom Line

La Casa de Marita is a charming mid-range hotel with 20 individually decorated rooms and a beautiful beachfront. The hotel has multiple room types and is a five-minute walk from downtown Puerto Villamil, which makes it an attractive option for all kinds of travelers. Plus, free daily breakfast and free Wi-Fi are definite perks. On-site amenities include a popular restaurant and an awesome beach deck with hammocks and lounge chairs. It’s not the most upscale lodging option on Isabela, but La Casa de Marita has a charming authenticity that can’t be replicated. Travelers looking for something a bit fancier might prefer Iguana Crossing, which has a pool and more luxurious amenities, but it feels out of place on the low-key island of Isabela, and tends to be pricey. 

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Scene

A laid-back hotel on the beach 

Travelers in search of beach house-like accommodations with a laid-back atmosphere will love La Casa de Marita. The hotel itself looks like a treehouse, tucked away amongst towering palm trees and leafy greenery. Guests enter the property through a front courtyard that gives way to a small, simple lobby. Flooded with natural light, the lobby feels bright and airy. White walls and white floors give the room a crisp, clean look, while colorful local artwork adds some vibrancy. The reception office is tucked into a private alcove, and there’s a communal computer in another corner. There’s also a kitchenette area where guests can get purified water.  

La Casa de Marita attracts a diverse clientele. It has a longstanding reputation among locals as the best hotel in town, so many tour groups and travelers partaking in locally guided excursions stay here. It also attracts families with children, couples, solo travelers, and retirees. There’s also a fairly equal representation of Americans, Europeans, and Ecuadorians.  

Location

On the beach in Puerto Villamil, about a five-minute walk from downtown 

La Casa de Marita is a beachfront property located on the eastern edge of Puerto Villamil, the tiny port town on the island of Isabela. The hotel is about a five-minute walk from “downtown” — a dusty intersection surrounded by a church, a park, and about a dozen tourist-oriented restaurants. Geographically, Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos, but with only 2,200 residents, it has the second-smallest population of the four inhabited islands (tiny Floreana has a population of around 100). 

Isabela is a can’t-miss destination for Galapagos travelers. The volcanic island is a geologic wonder and has some of the world’s most diverse flora and fauna. Some must-see sights include La Concha de Perla, Urbina Bay, and Volcan Alcedo. But perhaps one of the most charming aspects of visiting Isabela is Puerto Villamil itself. The tiny town, with its sandy streets, humble restaurants, and friendly locals has a utopian sort of feel. It’s the kind of place where couples dance outside, kids run through town with abandon, and old men nap on park benches in the afternoon sunlight. It’s a place where Friday night excitement consists of watching a pick-up game at the local soccer field and Monday morning traffic means getting off your bicycle to let an iguana cross the road. It’s simple. It’s relaxed. And it feels like taking a step back in time. 

It should be noted that there are no banks, ATMs, or money conversion services anywhere on Isabela. While most hotels accept major credit cards, many restaurants and local shops only accept cash. Ecuador’s currency is the U.S. Dollar. 

Rooms

Multiple room types featuring an eclectic mix of styles and colors

All 20 rooms at La Casa de Marita are individually decorated — and boy do they have personality to spare. It’s clear that Marita isn’t afraid of color, as rooms are painted in bright hues of tangerine, cobalt, and gold. Decor throughout also features an eclectic mix of beach bungalow rattan, 1970s wood paneling, and some straight-from-the-Italian-Renaissance bedding. You never really know what you’re going to get at Casa de Marita, but the hotel’s kitschiness is part of its appeal. Its haphazard decor gives it a homey air of nonchalance, adding to the casual, relaxed atmosphere. 

There are multiple room types at La Casa de Marita, and since each room differs a bit from the next, they’re hard to group in distinct categories. The garden-view rooms are the entry-level category, and the most sought-after rooms are the ocean-view rooms and suites. These rooms have large oceanfront balconies and awesome views of the beach. Ocean-view rooms have one king-size bed, but suites can accommodate three or four people thanks to additional beds. Suites also have separate living spaces. All rooms are equipped with mini-fridges and air conditioners, but TVs are noticeably absent. Some rooms, like the casitas located across the street from the main hotel, are equipped with large kitchenettes and living rooms. 

Like the rooms themselves, bathrooms vary greatly throughout the hotel. Some are sleek and modern, with mosaic tile mirrors and glass-enclosed showers, while others have wood-paneled walls and vinyl floors. It’s not advisable to drink the tap water anywhere in the Galapagos, so the hotel provides pitchers of purified water in each guest room. Guests should use this water for drinking and teeth brushing. Pitchers are replenished daily, but guests can also refill them in the lobby.  

Features

A beautiful beachfront deck and an on-site restaurant, plus free breakfast and Wi-Fi 

La Casa de Marita doesn’t have any big-ticket amenities like a pool, spa, or fitness center, but it does have an awesome beachfront deck and an on-site restaurant. Just off the lobby, there’s a stunning covered patio that overlooks the beach. It’s equipped with cushioned lounge chairs, hammocks, and umbrella-covered tables. It’s an ideal spot for reading, relaxing, or just taking in the ocean views. Beyond the deck, the beach stretches out in a large crescent shape. The water can be rough at times, so swim at your own risk.  

The hotel’s on-site restaurant, which also goes by the name La Casa de Marita, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and uses local ingredients. Breakfast is free for all guests, and is served buffet style each morning. The buffet typically consists of a few cold items like cereals, yogurts, and fruit, along with a few hot items like eggs and pancakes. For dinner, the a la carte menu features lots of local seafood. The restaurant is located on the third floor of the main hotel building and even has an outdoor patio. It’s a popular spot for families and large groups. 

Wi-Fi is free for all guests, and works throughout the entire hotel. It’s a bit slow and spotty, but this is common throughout the Galapagos. 

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Address

Conocarpus S/N, Puerto Villamil 200250, Ecuador

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