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“Terrible all Inclusive Experience!”
Review of Red Mangrove

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Red Mangrove
Ranked #8 of 20 Hotels in Puerto Ayora
GreenLeadersSilver level
Toronto,Ontario,Canada
Level Contributor
82 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Terrible all Inclusive Experience!”
Reviewed March 10, 2013

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!

Room Tip: Save your money,bring your sleeping bag and stay at a $50 lodge...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank dennisk32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sucorodas, Manager at Red Mangrove, responded to this review, March 15, 2013
Dear traveler,

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.
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English first
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
34 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed March 8, 2013

The Lodge has an excellent location, at the outskirts of town. As it name implies, it is tucked into a mangrove. The puublic spaces are very nice. Rooms are spacious, simple and comfortable. The food is superb! And services are excellent.
Complaint: Ecuador is a country with superb ethnic art, particularly beautiful indigenous fabrics, blankets, rugs etc. And yet, the Red Mangrove Lodges had these cheap, generic looking items in their rooms, tacky metal wall decorations and nothing local what so ever.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Leotar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manassas, Virginia
Level Contributor
53 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2013

This is a terrific small lodge that's part of the Red Mangrove chain in the Galapagos. Wonderful location on a bay, rocky off the dock, but with a few sea lions and lots of iguanas. Buffet style food was great, nice spacious room. Loved it.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Cleveman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
30 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed March 2, 2013

We recently stayed at 3 of the Red Mangrove properties and greatly enjoyed all 3. The rooms were simple but comfortable and well appointed. The food was plentiful and very good. The highlight at Aventura were the sea lions, finches and marine iguanas which had no fear of humans and were all over the place. We had a baby sea lion sleeping on our front porch all day who was absolutely adorable. The marine iguanas and other sea lions basked in the sun on the decks and entertained us during our stay. I would definitely recommend land tours of the Galapagos rather than cruises. The towns and people are not to be missed and the variety of wildlife, topography, geology and flora is incredible. The proximity of all of the creatures is stunning and Red Mangrove provides excellent opportunities to fully experience the islands.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Susan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2013

We recently spent six days in the Galapagos Islands and I would highly recommend the Red Mangrove lodges on Santa Cruz, Floreana and Isabela Islands. The lodge on Santa Cruz was amazing due to the fact that sea lions and marine iguanas were everywhere and fearless as they should be because they clearly rule wherever they are. I could have spent all day every day watching them. Red Mangrove lodges provide every necessity - soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryers, etc. The rooms and bathrooms were immaculate, the showers hot with strong pressure. The food was delicious. The staff and guides were excellent. The Floreana lodge was the most basic although all of the above were provided. The cabin my daughter and I shared was uncomfortably hot since the small window air conditioner seemed to put out only warm air and the electric fan was so noisy we couldn't sleep with it on. It is the only one of the three without its own restaurant but the owner had a small restaurant within walking distance and the food was good although not on a par with the other two. Isabela had the most up to date lodge and a lovely beach. If you are looking for a Four Seasons this is not for you but if you love nature, wildlife, birds, excellent food and lovely surroundings definitely give Red Mangrove Lodges a try. You'll love it.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank ShirleyW582
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
67 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2013

The Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge is cute, located well, and is incredibly organized. There are some seals, crabs, pelicans and marine iguanas to watch from the waterfront patio. If you need to stay in Santa Cruz this is a good choice. The food is only ok, the juices great but that is typical in Ecuador. They did loose my mask and snorkel so keep your hands on your equipment and don't let them transport it as they take no responsibility. Its far better to stay at Isabella the whole time you are in Galapagos because that is where the things you came to see are. Also, you should definitely go for 7 not only 5 nights as the movement restrictions will compromise your visit. If you are diving that is a different story.

Room Tip: It doesn't matter, they're basically all the same. Only difference is if it's up stairs...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank peskykitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
33 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2013

We had a great time w/ Red Mangrove at their 3 lodges on Santa Cruz, Floreana, and Isabella.
The lodgings and experience are definitely on the rustic side, but most are not visiting the Galapagos to stay in the room. That said, both rooms we had at Red Mangrove had sweeping ocean views and private terraces - if you can stretch to this option, I would definitely recommend. It was fabulous sitting on our own deck watching the birds and the sealions play. We stayed in Azul and the Suite Majeur rooms.
As per some of the other commentary - though Floreana was much more primitive (more like camping cabins) it was clean, w/ AC, and the experience there was perhaps my favourite, w/ snorkeling across jet black lava, pirate caves, and a gorgeous walk w/ the giant tortoises.
Most people could stay in Isabella for a week. The lodge there was very clean - but be ready for things to be more casual - there is not always staff at the desk, made-up drinks but its nothing that if you are willing to go-with-the-flow that you would be bothered by (Warning - if you are not easy-going you absolutely will not like this trip in general). The iguana colony & bay tour in Isabella were a highlight & where we did the best snorkeling. It was slightly annoying that the some of the fixed activities w/ Red Mangrove in Isabella, frankly we could have done ourselves - walking on the main beach, and snorkeling in a mangrove - that was quite frustrating when there were much better things to see if we had a boat.
The guides were good - we had Raphael - one of the more experienced guides w/ Red Mangrove.
Food was ok - actually some of it delicious, but for all-inclusive it was definitely fine. Drinks are very limited (& actually ran out one night in Isabella!).
We chose the land option for Galapagos worrying about the potential for seasickness and being cooped up in a boat for a week- it was a good option for a first visit, but we did make a couple of errors - 5 nights is no where near enough to see enough w/out being disappointed - and the Red Mangrove short Darwin Triangle schedule didn't spend anywhere near enough time in the water for our taste (despite it implying that we would be in the water everyday). Now w/ this experience, we are planning to go back and possibly do a cruise (avoid May-July when oceans are the roughest) and a longer itinerary to see more islands. A week doesn't cut it!!

Room Tip: As mentioned - Room Azul and the Suite Majeur were both superb rooms at Red Mangrove on Santa Cruz...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Amysak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Red Mangrove

Property: Red Mangrove
Address: Avenida Charles Darwin, Puerto Ayora EC010110, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Galapagos Islands > Santa Cruz > Puerto Ayora
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Puerto Ayora
#3 Family Hotel in Puerto Ayora
#4 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Ayora
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Red Mangrove 3.5*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Red Mangrove is an oceanfront hotel with the best views of Academy Bay, located in Puerto Ayora. The hotel is the perfect place for Galapagos visitors to stay considering many activities like snorkeling, hiking, beaches, swimming, kayaking, and visiting the Charles Darwin Center are just minutes away. Why else is the Red Mangrove a good decision? For those who are prone to seasickness the hotel gives you a stay where you feel just like you're on the water with the option to choose different packages with the activities mentioned. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Red Mangrove Aventura Hotel Puerto Ayora
Hotel Red Mangrove Aventura
Red Mangrove Galapagos Islands/Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz

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