Four of us paid a total of US$9212 for the Darwin's Long Triangle for 5 nights stay. We were not impressed right from the start! We were being shuffled into a stinky and cramp public bus upon arrival. Then we were transfer into a tiny public boat with our luggage thrown on top of the roof (Don't use your good bags!) The 3 workers from Red Mangrove who were sent to welcome us were enjoying their nice popsicles as soon as we landed on the harbor.Their popsicles were dripping all over our bag! We were told that we can buy them for 50cents each! Right the way, I know this is an over priced cheap operation!
They do use their own hotel van transferring us from the harbor to the Adventurer Lodge. The driver crank up the radio so loud, I end up with a headache after the 45 minutes ride. (Asking the driver to turn it down fell into deaf ear!)
The food is terrible. The first night, on their buffet table were some bitter taste vegetables, a big bowl of beans, some overcooked beef and chicken slices and tortilla and stale bread! I don't remember the last time ever that I went to bed hungry.The only time we have decent food was the breakfast the next morning after I complaint of their food. The buffet dinner was changed to a-la-carte for one dinner. The worst thing at their restaurant is their bread baskets. Hundreds of tiny bugs will come out every time you give it a shake. We have the waiter changed it for 3 times with the same result! Finally we skipped their bread as well .
I also wonder how clean their drinking water is. We insist drinking bottled water than filling up from their filtered water fountain into the canister they provide. The other 4 guests (the hotel arranged 4 other travelers with us as an excursion group) who did not drink bottled water end up with traveler's diarrhea at some point during our stay.
For the excursion part: The bus is so old that it probably can kill a few protected species at the Galapagos and the door keep popping open while it is moving. The guides are quite knowledgeable about their local flora and fauna but it stops there! During the bus rides, they were sleeping without talking to the guests, usually with their feet up on the dash board! Refreshment on the bus is grabbed by the guides (the leader would grab 3 or 4 snacks and couple soft drinks)leaving us with just water! One day we even have to leave 30 minutes to make a special trip to pick up the guide! What hospitality!
Safety is also a big concern.On one excursion,we were being transferred from one boat to another in the open sea. One of the lady in our group end up twisted her ankle in doing that. She was taken to the hospital and joining us on the next day with crutches.I almost got thrown into the water when arriving at Floreana because there was no proper docking facility there.
Our first outing was to Garrapatero Beach, it is suppose to be a tortoise habitat and also for flamingos sighting. upon arrival we were told due to the Japanese Tsunami the sand dune was destroyed there are no more flamingos nor tortoise. Hey the Tsunami happened more than a year ago! A few other sites during our stay were skipped as well without even being mentioned about it. When you questioned about why we did not visit certain site that was scheduled, the answer is usually "Oh ,it is closed" I wonder why it was not brief ahead of time and who know if that is the real reason.
I also don't like the tour guide double duty as the park ranger at the Galapagos(This is not the hotel's fault) During one of our excursion, our guide scold another company's guide that he is too close to the blue legged booby because he is passing the rope. The response of the other guide/ranger is he set up that rope as a boundary himself. These guides/rangers are just competing for the tourist's money!
The room is quite decent at Adventura Lodge, I would rated it a low 4 stars. On our last night they upgraded us to the best suite to compensate our terrible experience at their other 2 lodges, Florena & Isabela lodges(under separate reviews). The view from the suite is not amazing but quite beautiful. The room is spacious but run down, especially the bathroom.
In general, this Red Mangrove company is not worth what we paid for. You can pay much less for the same type of excursion, food and lodging at the Galapagos. I would not book with this company nor recommend it to anyone since I found them sub-standard (consider the amount of money they charge) sneaky and not trustworthy (It took them 4 months to pay me back the $600 they promised to refund me for the room type that they cannot provide. I finally got it back through VISA) Our Floreana and Isabela experience were even worst than this!
Save your money,bring your sleeping bag and stay at a $50 lodge...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Report response as inappropriate
Thank you very much for your review. Although it has been nearly a year since your visit, we would like to express our sincere apologize for the inconveniences you were through your stay, as we previously did . We would also like to remind you there were some aspects of your experience that were not under the control of Red Mangrove, such as the airport transportation. As you may remember the only transportation allowed to make the transfer from the airport to the canal were the ones from the airlines it selves. Nowadays there is the possibility to rent a private van from the airport to the canal and make this short portion of the transfer based on private service and avoid this crowded buses from the airline. However this aspect nor any of the others you listed are acceptable, and we have taken very seriously your report at the time. We have made many improvements in terms of quality control and of course the staff who was leading your trip during your visit is not longer working for us. Of course there are still things we cannot control such as nature conditions but we can guarantee we are taking care of all those little details that can make a big difference on any travel experience. We are still working on these details as we understand this activity is of a constant improvement, that is the nature of the travel industry. We are working hard every day to make sure our guests receive not only a value for their money but also a life learning experience of our culture and natural resources. If you need further details about all the procedures implemented in order to guarantee a better experience, please feel free to let us know and we will be more than happy to share them.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.