Behind the Green is all about giving you more insight into the places we feature. Our interviews reveal what happens behind the scenes, tells stories of the people on the ground, exposes the challenges they face, as well as the communities they impact; essentially the bits you don’t usually hear.
Meet Manany & Wilson, the owners of Chez Manany Galapagos Ecolodge, who came to the island 12 years ago, both passionate pioneers of conservation and eco-tourism on Isabella Island. This inspiring couple loves nothing more than to be at peace with nature, enjoying morning strolls. Manany has always been interested in tourism and after having her kids, she was determined to return to her passion.
Learn more about Chez Manany Galapagos Ecolodge here >
How would you best describe Chez Manany Galapagos Ecolodge to potential guests? Is there anything they don’t expect…“Guests tell us they feel part of the family when they stay here. People often don’t expect the level of service and hospitality we give. Sometimes we even share a glass of wine with guests that are happy to socialise and share stories with us”.
What is the most sustainable aspect of the lodge which you are most proud of to date?“Our buildings. The architecture, which my husband is responsible for, is what we are most proud of. The design is unique, it works with the natural surroundings. For example, shade is naturally created and winds are captured in the architecture to keep the rooms cool. No air conditioning is necessary because of this”.
What has been the biggest challenge so far for you in your green journey?“The biggest challenge for us is that we are based 1,000km away from mainland. We still have to source most of what we need from the mainland. We are continually working to solve this logistical challenge and build an established eco-supplier list. We look for biodegradable products and question what is necessary to bring to the island, as well as what we can source or grow here”.
What have you observed regarding the impact on the community, has it changed their awareness & attitudes towards sustainability?“Our environmentally conscious approach was noticed and turned heads particularly in the local authorities. 12 years ago in 2009 when the first house was built, we started to implement solar panels; to provide clean, renewable energy for our guests. The second house in 2013 saw the introduction of thermal solar energy. The authorities started to pay attention to us, even the Mayor turned up at Chez Manany Galapagos Ecolodge! He asked us about what we were doing and this went on to inspire a local project for solar lamps. We have since formed an association for other hotel or lodge owners who are conscious for the environment, it is still small, but we are increasingly bringing in new people to inspire them and others”.
What in your opinion is the most rewarding aspect of running an eco lodge?“It has to be seeing guests appreciate our approach during their stay. Not just the level of service and attention we provide, but also our green and sustainable approach. People are so happy to see this and it elevates them. It is not always communicated to us in words by guests, sometimes we just see it on their faces”.
Tell us about the latest green initiative you have implemented there?“We recently created an organic garden. We now plant medicinal plants, guests are encouraged to take cuttings and use them for things like making tea. We are currently building a greenhouse to grow sweet potatoes, tomatoes and other foods in which guests can enjoy. As the Island has volcanic soil it is not straight forward. We have to first increase the soil fertility”.
What wildlife can guests expect to see when staying with you?“The island is a paradise for bird lovers and for marine life. Guests can expect to see iguanas, sea lions, penguins and sharks. Guests can swim with sea lions as they often come out of the water and even snorkel with rays! We have the famous pink flamingo here which is also a must-see!”.
What’s next for Chez Manany Galapagos Ecolodge?“We have no plans to increase the number of rooms here, we don’t want to encourage lots of guests at one time and ruin the authentic, eco-approach we are so proud of at Chez Manany Galapagos Ecolodge. We are creating a new relaxing area for guests as we speak, where we have lots of plants, trees and a small pool to guests to enjoy a refreshing dip in the sunshine”.
Find out more about Chez Manany Galapagos Ecolodge & do your own green checks here