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“The Darwin Triangle Tour offered by Red Mangrove” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Red Mangrove Galapagos Camping

Red Mangrove Galapagos Camping
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Red Mangrove Galapagos Camping
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Santa Rosa, Ecuador   |  
Hotel amenities
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“The Darwin Triangle Tour offered by Red Mangrove”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2012

Six of us enjoyed the land-based Darwin Triangle Tour with Red Mangrove from June 30 - July 6, 2012. We booked a Travelzoo special directly with Red Mangrove in Ecuador.

Our tour was all-inclusive with overnight stays on three islands - Santa Cruz, Floreana, and Isabela. We were accompanied throughout by an experienced Galapagos National Park guide - Diego Escobar - and one or more representatives from Red Mangrove. Our guides were informative and helpful, the lodging clean and comfortable, the meals delicious, and the tours worthwhile. Prior to our trip, Red Mangrove provided us with a detailed itinerary describing what we encountered.

Because we traveled in July, our passage by Red Mangrove's boat between the islands was rough. A few sitting in the back of the boat were sprayed by the waves.

July is also a month where a heavy marine layer can cloud the sky and trigger rain. Pass on the Sierra Negra Volcano hike if it is foggy and rainy. Travel instead directly to Camp Duro.

The ocean is cooler in July than during most other months, but we coped by snorkeling in wetsuits. Red Mangrove provided our snorkeling gear. Snorkeling with the sea lions, marine iguanas, spotted eagle rays, turtles, and fish was a highlight of our trip.

Since returning, I have recommended this tour to family and friends.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
2 Thank vagabond07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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9 reviews from our community

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Hampton, Virginia
Level Contributor
73 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2012

If this is your first trip to the Galapagos (as it was for my daughter and I), Red Mangrove is a phenomenal choice for yDiv's Hotel which is two blocks from the waterfront and everything that is happening, but has a unique charm and tranquilityour accommodations and trip planning. We opted for their "Three Islands" tour (Santa Cruz, Floreana and Isabela islands) and then spent a week scubadiving with their divemaster, Raphael. We had hoped for an incredibly memorable trip and were NOT disappointed. I should say that, prior to booking, we were deluged with travel options and really weren't sure whether to choose a land package or go with a cruise ship. As fate would have it, we traveled during a period of steady high winds, a full moon and a 6.5 earthquake in nearby Peru which made the travel experience for everyone who had booked a cruise package anywhere from "hellish" for the smaller cruiseshippers to a period of "sustained seasickness" for those on the larger ships. Those of us who were land based had great outings and wonderful nights of rest punctuated with a couple of bumpy island crossings. It was not hard to distinguish the happy land travelers from the haggard, bloodshot-eyed ship groups.
Red Mangrove has two hotel facilities in Puerto Ayora. Their flagship location is the Aventura Lodge situated directly on the water at the far end of town. As such, you have a perfect blend of privacy with your room nestled among the mangroves coupled with immediate access to shopping nearby. RM has several good-quality bikes available for free use (with locks provided) so you can ride across the island or into town. I actually rode into town to the wine shop and purchased a case of goodies for much less than I would have paid at RM or at any of the local watering holes and had them deliver the order to RM for our weeklong stay. RM's other location in town is their Diver's Hotel which is two blocks from the waterfront and everything that is happening, but has a unique charm and tranquility. The Divers Hotel offers breakfast and the Ventura has a fully staffed kitchen for all the day's meals (and room service).
As for the food, both hotels did a good job preparing and presenting their meals. For travelers accustomed to sumptuous Latin American buffets, suffice it to say that it's both difficult and more than a bit inappropriate to replicate the typical offerings when you are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but we found everything that was provided to be exceedingly well-prepared, tasty and well beyond our expectations.
Red Mangrove's Three Island package is a great way for young and old to experience the rich biodiversity of the islands. Starting with Santa Cruz, the trips to Los Gemelos (The Twins) sinkholes and the lava caves offer a great look into how the Islands chain has formed. If time allows, make a trip to Tortuga Bay -- the walk there is fascinating and will delight with its rich display of flora and fauna.
Floreana Island excursions provide a chance to snorkel with sea lions and sea turtles -- an endless source of giggles, smiles and memories -- along with some great outings where you will learn about the intrigue and mystery surrounding the island's first inhabitants (soon to be featured on the big screen in a movie entitled "The Galapagos Affair). You will meet many giant tortoises and see more of the wondrous plant and animal life which makes this area so unique.
Finally, Isabella island offers an other-worldly experience in a side trip over to Las Tintoreras where you will literally feel as if you have been transported to another planet. Suffice it to say, we could have spent several daysbthere with the white-tipped sharks, sea turtles, penguin, lava iguanas ans sea lions. Absolutely unforgettable. As an aside, I would definitely opt out of the climb up to Sierra Negra if it is cloudy, overcast or foggy. If you go for it, ask for a boots and a walking stick as it is a nonstop slog uphill and then back down on the muddiest trail I've ever traversed (and I was a US Army ranger). It's a great workout if you want to get a closeup view of fog, but not much more than that -- and you will get covered in mud. Have them take you directly to the farm at Campo Duro instead, and spend your time exploring there. It is beautiful.
Diving with Raphael at RM is absolutely the best thing you can do in the Galapagos. We spent the first to days getting my daughter PADI certified and then did our open water dives. Giant rays, sea turtles, sea lions, billions (yes, with a "b"), hammerhead sharks, octopus, reef sharks . . . He is exceedingly professional in every regard and my daughter left the Galapagos with memories which will last her a lifetime.
Throughout our time with RM, we met so many fascinating and wonderful fellow travelers from the US Europe and Latin America. I am already planning a return to Red Mangrove next August with more of my family and hope to see you there.

Room Tip: The Suite Mayor at Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge is well worth the extra money.
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Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
1 Thank duffpilot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Mexico
Level Contributor
69 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2011

Red Mangrove is both a dive lodge in Santa Cruz and a Galapagos tour operation. The lodge was closed due to a tsunami in Japan--some distance away--and other things were explained away for the same and other reasons; usually none were given except that the owners were far away in the hills outside of Quito, or on an American vacation. The people who actually ran things (for less than minimum wage, no doubt), as opposed to the nonexistent management, were very nice, but it's problematic to be told that nobody is in charge of anything when you are a thousand miles from the mainland, 12 hours from an airport, and things go wrong. Red Mangrove seems to be in existence because of a Galapagos that used to exist that people want to cross off their bucket list of life events. If that's your itinerary, go for it. If you want something that doesn't give you the feeling you get after having eaten in a once-great restaurant that's gone to seed, probably less so.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
5 Thank GhengisWan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2009

We spent 2 weeks in the Galapagos. After our week on a boat we went to the Red Mangrove Inn. When we checked in we were really excited. You had to walk on boardwalks through the mangroves to get to your bungalow. We stayed at ground level deep in the mangroves. The room was decent size and clean, however despite being painted in vibrant colors it felt old. One really intesting thing about our room was the bathroom faced the mangroves and the back wall was solid glass floor to ceiling. At high tide the water was higher then the bottom of the glass by a foot or so. It was really neat to wake up in the morning and look into the batrom and see water.

My wifes parents slept in a unit above the mangroves. The view was nice however there was no a/c and the Galapagos is really hot. No sleeping in for sure it was to hot and sticky up there.

We had one breakfast and one dinner at the restaraunt. The breakfast was good the dinner was so-so. I would look for your meals outside of breakfast elsewhere. They have a sushi bar which we were excited about but it was not good so skip the sushi.

The location was at the far end of town away from the activity. Although next to the darwin center it was was a walk into town. Not far but but you will want a small camel pack to carry your day suppies while out on the town. There are bikes ro rent but no locks which made me nervous leaving th bike unattended in town.

All in all it was a decent place and novelty location. Next time we go back we will be staying at a new hotel that was just finished before we got there. I do not regret my stay at the Red Mangrove.

  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
4 Thank nullifier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Red Mangrove Galapagos Camping

Address: Santa Rosa, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Galapagos Islands > Santa Cruz
Hotel Style:
Ranked #24 of 57 Specialty Lodging in Santa Cruz
Price Range (Based on Average Rates):
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This is not camping as you’ve ever known it. This is culinary camping in the majestic green highlands perched above the blue sea. The iconic giant Galapagos tortoises graze alongside horses here much of the year and leave a wide trail in the high grass for relatively easy sightings and leisurely observation. Have a glass of wine in a whimsical cave, once part of a lava tube. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Red Mangrove Galapagos Camping Galapagos Islands/Santa Cruz, Ecuador

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