How can one criticise a hotel where the predominant early morning sound is of sea lions grunting gently at each other just outside our room, where the same sea lions stretch themselves on every available surface, deck chairs included, and where you have to watch where you walk for fear of treading on a small iguana as your gaze concentrates on the full size version lying beneath the table you are about to sit down at for breakfast. The view across the bay is a delight, frigate birds swooping across the sky, pelicans diving for fish or sitting in the mangrove trees, bright orange crabs crawling slowly up the lava rocks beneath the deck and a mixture of tour boats and small freighters anchored out in deeper water. Add to that clean spacious rooms, friendly helpful staff, reasonable food, Darwin's finches flitting around looking for leftovers inside the restaurant, a five minute walk into the center of Puerto Ayora and one can't but help imagining one might like to live there for the rest of your life!
This was the first of three Red Mangrove Lodges we stayed at during our six day stay on the islands and rather than trying to review each one individually I will now summarise our experiences of the other two locations. The well appointed little wooden huts on the beach on Isla Santa Maria (aka Floreana), just outside the small community of Puerto Velasco Ibarra, were so close to nature that one clean forgot about the supposed joys of "civilisation"; and the food at Chez Lelia Cruz where we had both dinner and breakfast was among the best we had during our three weeks in Ecuador. The lodge at Puerto Villamil on Isla Isabela was along much the same lines as on Santa Cruz, the food was marginally better, the rooms equally clean, spacious and comfortable and being able to walk straight out of the room onto the beach and swim with a couple of friendly sea lions was an added delight.
These three locations were our bases for Red Mangrove's 6-day Darwin's Triangle tour which included transfers between the islands on large speed boats which were actually the downside of the tour. Being sailors we rather appreciate travelling across water at speeds that enable one to enjoy all that nature can offer and going so fast that all you can do is hang on to your hat and watch the spray flying up from behind three massive outboard motors isn't our idea of fun. Speed is of course of the essence when time is limited but two hours of bouncing from the crest of one wave to another does not add to the beauty that the Galapagos presents the tourist. Having said that I do think we made the right decision to island hop rather than sleep on a large tourist boat, as we had much more opportunity to see the islands and their people as well as the most amazing fauna and flora. Our guide Yazmany was extremely knowledgeable and made sure we saw absolutely everything that our pre-arranged tour could include, plus making a few minor changes to the itinerary to maximise our experience of these extraordinary islands. All in all a very good choice especially considering how little time we gave ourselves to research our holiday.
- 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 Aventura Lodge Galapagos Islands/Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz