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“Just...great!”

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Red Mangrove Ecoluxury Hotel
Ranked #8 of 21 Hotels in Puerto Ayora
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed August 30, 2014

Was unfortunately here only for one night at the end of a cruise - would have loved to have stayed longer. Lovely large room and bathroom, a huge comfortable bed was a nice change to a boat bunk bed! Best of all - the sea lion nesting lounge at the end of the deck was just meters from my front door...loved listening to them and the waves as I lay in bed. Loved also the fact it really truly was overgrown and covered by the mangrove - seriously unique.

Room Tip: The sea lions are great but if you have a problem with how they smell, you do not want one of these...
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  • Stayed: August 2014, traveled solo
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Thank Cazza74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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210 - 216 of 673 reviews

Reviewed August 21, 2014

I'm not sure I understand the bad reviews. We just got back from a 6 day trip with Red Mangrove. We stayed on Santa Cruz and Isabela. Both hotels were lovely - nice clean rooms, lots of hot water, friendly staff and great drinks! The tour was wonderful. We ended up with a couple of tour guides as one got ill while we were there and the transition was quite smooth. The logistics were quite smooth especially given that they were managing a group of 14, each of us with a slightly different itinerary. The guides were very knowledgable and did a great job of moving things around to deal with the changing weather. We had a great time and I would recommend Red Mangrove.

  • Stayed: August 2014, traveled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank ubt1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2014

This is a great location and has great ammenities considering where you are. Food was good, not super fancy, but enough to fill your stomach after an adventure filled day. The day trips were great, lots of traveling to get there, but worth the drive.

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank snowmo23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2014

We just finished the 8-day/7-night Charles Darwin tour (although Charles himself gets scant attention!). The Red Mangrove people are nice and helpful. Property here and on Isabela both clean and nicely done. Be sure to go for the room upgrade or you could end up at a secondary property in each place (happened to a couple of our fellow tourists). With the upgrade you have a shot at an ocean view room such as Verde, Suite Mayor or Suite Menor Food is island food; somewhat repetitive, occasionally really good. Food at the Isabela location which is more remote was actually better than at the Aventura Lodge. Tour includes all features as billed. You do have to double-check each day; speak up if something on your agenda doesn't happen. Do the same with dinner the first and last night. Booking confirmation may say "included" but the agenda on site says not. They do honor if you ask. The tour itself isn't that arduous. We are 59 and 70 and kept up quite well with the rest of our group who tended to be 26-50. Definitely get a good feel for the flora and fauna that is the Galapagos. The guides were knowledgable and very safety conscious. Note the boat trips to the various islands are not exactly restful sails. Think more like two hours in a semi-open power boat. Noisy and lots of wind! Do not book extra-day trips through random vendors as that can be a very mixed bag. Red Mangrove excursions always include water bottles, snacks and lunch. We have never done an all-inclusive tour such as this; tend to wander on our own. All in all, a very good experience with a nice group of people and a few bumps here and there.

Room Tip: Go for the upgrade.
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  • Stayed: August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
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Thank Almon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2014

We stayed 2 nights here as part of a set tour. Our rooms were a decent size with decent beds, great a/c (which is needed in the "cool & dry" season that is 26C plus bad humidity!). Excellent bathroom, they provide hair dryer, shower towel, hand towel, soap, shower gel, & shampoo/conditioner. No face cloth at any hotel anywhere (even in Quito) so bring your own! We had plenty of hot water, as did everyone on our tour. We had a big shower, no tub. FYI, in the Galápagos Islands you do not flush your toilet paper but put it in a garbage container (with a lid), as the low flush toilets canNOT handle that (as one in our group kept forgetting!). Also in the room is a tv, phone, safe, and clock radio that will hold an iTouch with the older/bigger charging end. We also had a dehumidifier in our room but it wasn't turned on. Our room was for 3-4 people (double bed & 2 twins) and we also had a private courtyard, I don't know if all the rooms have this.
Excellent location just in between the tourist shops & the Darwin research centre. No noise, unless you hear rowdy tourists.
Food is yummy, quality, plentiful, and local! They do cater to your needs, as there is both vegetarian & meat selections at all meals, as well as raw/cooked veggies, starch sides, fruit, dessert. Our last night was a Japanese theme, so I think the chefs like to get creative.
The staff are simply wonderful! They really want you to have a good time, and are super nice & helpful (thank you to Elizabeth who got our lost luggage delivered ASAP!). Our first night, a wonderful staff member ran out to the shops to get us the basic toiletries that the hotel couldn't provide, like deodorant--the hotel gave us toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, and razors. Most staff speak enough English to do their jobs. All staff are smiling and pleasant. I think the tips are hoped for but the staff doesn't act like they are expected. Our tour was through Adventure Life, and locally contracted out to the Red Mangrove. Our naturalist guide Juan was extremely knowledgeable and nice, and our tour operator Eddie Spaghetti was efficient and funny. It felt really odd to just leave our bags (once we got them from the airline, HAH) and have them magically appear at the next location, but it always worked out. Well, except for some of our snorkelling equipment, it never got from Santa Cruz to the other islands, so we borrowed others.
The hotel is built literally around a clump of mangroves (hence the name) and is quite beautiful & different especially when you are standing in the middle of the common courtyard. The restaurant has a lovely ambience, you can eat inside or on the deck. There is a covered lounge area off to the side, but hilariously it has been taken over by sea lions...if you go to the Galápagos Islands, you know how sea lions just go wherever they want! There are also marine iguanas and tiny cute lizards right there on the deck, so the Aventura is a perfect slice of the Galapagos! We found one tiny tiny lizard in our room, but we weren't the strictest at perfectly closing our sliding door. We did not have ants at all.
Very close (walking distance) to the port. FYI, if you are doing a land-based tour, you will take a water taxi from the boat, then do a boat-to-boat transfer to the power boat that will take you between islands. TAKE GRAVOL, even if you don't normally get motion-sickness. The boat trips are 90 mins to 3 hours depending on the waves or current, and are miserable if you are sick. Life jackets are given out on the power boats, but not always on the water taxis.
There is lots to do on Santa Cruz, and Aventura staff can help you plan this if you are not with a tour. Though really, I recommend going with a tour. This is not like showing up on a Caribbean Island where you can go anywhere & do anything...rather, on the Galápagos Islands you can't get into any of the attractions/activities without a licensed guide, since the Galapagos is 95% government parkland--they are not trying to rob you, but rather keep Galapagos healthy. Also, I recommend choosing a land-based tour, not a cruise, because more of your money goes to local people and the Galapagos economy.

Room Tip: Don't take a room next to the sea lion lounge area, you will be woken up by them barking (it sou...
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  • Stayed: August 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank Janelle A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2014

We booked the Darwin Experience package. Had a great time, but a lot of that was due to the people we met on the trip. The lodge was very nice and clean. Beds are a little hard, but not unbareable. The food (buffet) was at the best average. I would suggest not getting the meal plan for the dinners and going into Puerto Ayora for dinner. Many nice restaurants there.

Room Tip: upgrade to ocean view.
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  • Stayed: August 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Thank 762SueS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2014

Our tour was 'Darwin's Footsteps.' Judging from other reviews my comments are not unusual, but perhaps a little more thorough.
Nice hotel in Puerto Ayora, OK hotel on Isabella, but generally an unhappy experience as a tour operator.
First the tour part: because that’s why everyone goes to the Galapagos Islands – to see the wildlife and immerse in the culture. We arranged our tour with Red Mangrove before we left home. The gentleman who took my call and made (or directed) our arrangements knew our incoming flight schedule, and said he could work with it. His intent was to put us on a later flight with another carrier rather than their usual carrier. We had several phone calls back and forth. We prodded him for information about how to get to the hotel after we got to the island and finally received an email – take the bus to the ferry, then a $30 cab to the hotel. Not exactly full service, but manageable after we got the information. But it wasn't forthcoming. We eventually felt comfortable that we were in good hands. Our mistake!
Our flight into Quito and his scheduled departure from Quito to Guayaguil and onto Galapagos was actually an illegal booking in that it was only 35 minutes between flights. It did not leave enough time in Quito to claim luggage, purchase the $10 forms, get luggage x-rayed and rechecked, get boarding passes and get to the gate. Some one whose business is arranging tours should have known this! The result was an unanswered call to the Red Mangrove, but a successful call to the airline ticket provider who changed our flights (both to and from Galapagos) and shifted our stay on the islands by a day. We overnighted in Quito and flew out the next morning. Their only concession to us: someone did meet our flight in the Galapagos and handled our baggage and ushered us from airport to ferry, to cab, to hotel. Probably an hour process in total.
When we arrived at the Red Mangrove, we were given lunch and quickly scooted out to join our original tour. We were not given a chance to change out of travel clothes. A shorter ride to the pier for a 3+ hours speedboat ride to Isabella Island. The boat was OK, but poorly equipped in that the seat cushions did not fit the benches and was generally uncomfortable. Our tour guide #1 joined us on this boat trip and was engaging and nicely chatty. On Isabella Island the group (12 of us, all Americans) was ushered to awaiting cars and the luggage handled for us. We were taken to the next Red Mangrove facility where the entire group was housed and fed for the next two days – except us because our room was in the next hotel four doors down. Manageable, but lacking on their part. Day One is over, but it was spent entirely in transiting — Quito to Baltra, to Puerto Ayora, transferring to a boat and to Isabella.
Day Two was wonderful. Our guide met us at breakfast and we had a wonderful day. He got our snorkeling gear organized and transferred, waded into the water with us, discussed all the things you expect from a tour guide, snorkeled with us and we had a wonderful day. Wall of Tears was OK, but not a prime stop. The guide even played soccer after lunch with the younger set.
Day Three was much less satisfying. The group split because we had different itineraries and different lengths of tours. Here I found out that other members in our group were given individual daily itineraries – we were not. I could have asked for one at the Red Mangrove, but I didn’t know. Our tour guide #2 was far less engaging. He didn’t even ask our names. We were responsible for finding and transporting our own snorkeling gear. He took us on a boat to see marine birdlife and a walk to see marine iguana, then to a lava rock 'beach' where he gave us a total of 30 minutes to get into wetsuits and snorkel. Several in the group were unwilling comply with his timeframe. His only comment: ‘I have a schedule to keep.’ The afternoon was spent transferring back to Puerto Ayora in the same uncomfortable speedboat. This time a 4+ hour trip, but our guide chose to spend it with the captain up top, rather than engaging with his charges. Very unsatisfying.
Day Four was a short morning visit with tour guide #2 to the Darwin Center – a very specialized zoo/research center and quite interesting. Then the hour long trek back to Baltra for the flights out.

The hotel part: Red Mangrove Lodge in Puerto Ayora has a beautiful setting, on the water, with iguana and sea lions sharing the patios, sidewalks and benches with us. It was an easy walk to the commercial area, including some great art galleries mixed in with the souvenir shops and other restaurants/nightspots. Our room was delightful — large, nicely appointed, air conditioned and most important, clean. The bed was firm and comfortable. The bath was large and had double sinks. Many rooms had outdoor seating. Our particular room had an outdoor lounge area and a small table with chairs. BIG negative: No hot water. Cold showers are terrible! Not acceptable!!!!
Staff was friendly, some with good English skills, some more limited, but not an issue. Elizabeth certainly tried to make us comfortable, but we were in a hurry to put the experience behind us. Food was always buffet style, but varied and generally tasty.

Red Mangrove Lodge on Isabella Island had a more beach-y setting. Again, staff was friendly, more limited English skills. Food was always buffet style and again varied and tasty. Our lodging down the road was small, clean, sparse, air conditioned and adequate with a small bath (shower, no tub) and a pedestal sink with no place but the floor to put your toiletries. We asked for, and were given, a flashlight so we could walk between properties in the dark.

As a lodge, Red Mangrove does an OK job, if you overlook the lack of hot water. As a tour operator, Red Mangrove fell way short in our experience. Luckily we had the flexibility in our schedule to shift our Galapagos excursion by one day. But I don’t think the people at Red Mangrove understood the mix-up in our flights was actually caused by their staff/travel agent. Our final bill included a fee for rescheduling the flights, which we declined to pay. Better organization, better guides and some communication would be significant improvements!

My next Galapagos experience will be on a cruise so I don’t spend 7 hours in an uncomfortable speedboat. I’ll choose one of those I saw in the airports – chaperoning their charges through the airport lines and mess! And I’ll spend the time cruising between islands while I eat or sleep or chat with my travel mates!

Tip 1: Quito airport is not very well organized for Galapagos passengers. First go to the Galapagos passenger window and purchase your $10 coupon (CASH REQUIRED!). Then get your luggage x-rayed and then go to the airline ticket counter. Lines are long. Staff is not very helpful. You’re expected to know what to do. So follow your nose and other passengers. And plan for a full two hours to accomplish this!

Tip 2: Arriving in Galapagos (Baltra) is another opportunity to stand in line! Here you purchase your required $100 entry for the islands. (Again CASH REQUIRED!) Then you retrieve your luggage and join the masses for the buses to the ferry. Bus ride is very crowded, very uncomfortable and don't let anyone tell you it's only 5 minutes!

Tip 3: Forget about trying to check your luggage from home (or even another Ecuadorian city) all the way through to Galapagos. These airlines do NOT have reciprocal agreements. And your luggage must be x-rayed to assure that you are not introducing banned items to the island. Plan extra time.

Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
7  Thank SHVA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sucorodas, Owner at Red Mangrove Ecoluxury Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded August 12, 2014

Dear Guest
We are really sorry you did not enjoy our country and the beauty of the Galápagos Islands. Thank you for your comments, we really appreciate them and we are working day by day to provide the passenger the greatest experience. We have had checked all the information with our sales department, and we are also applying new policies with the national park guides to offer only the best. You have to understand that in order to keep the balance in the fragile Galápagos ecosystem, many of the normal things we use or have in mainland are restricted to the islands and that is because some strict baggage control is required. Red Mangrove is not responsable for the service provided by the airports or any airline in the country

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Red Mangrove Ecoluxury Hotel

Address: Avenida Charles Darwin, Puerto Ayora 010110, 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
#4 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Ayora
Price Range: $309 - $506 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Red Mangrove Ecoluxury Hotel 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 Ecoluxury Hotel Galapagos Islands/Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz

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