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Reviewed 12 July 2013

Overall I would recommend Red Mangrove for a trip to Galapagos. My family and I participated in the Darwin's Long 6 Day Tour (Santa Cruz, Floreana, and Isabela). As other guests have mentioned, there is some down time and guides will not always be on time. This is normal in most Latin American countries, and as the same guides are used on both boats and land tours, it is likely the same with boat tours. Red Mangrove cannot necessarily control this. One thing that I particularly appreciated about our Red Mangrove trip was the size of our group. Our group was limited to 9 people for the duration of our trip. We rarely ran into other tour groups. When we were hiking on Isabela Island we did run into some people from a boat, and they had one guide for approximately 20 people. Several of my friends have gone on boat tours, and they all had around 16 people per guide. 9 people per guide felt about right. The rooms were what I was expecting based on the pictures. The buffet food was okay. It was cold at times and although they knew I was vegetarian, at some meals they had a large number of options for me and sometimes there was hardly anything that was vegetarian friendly. If you don't want to be constrained to a small boat in the evening, this is a good alternative for you. For the most part, we saw the same things that my friends saw on boat trips only we had larger accommodation and more comfort.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank MaS1983
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 July 2013

Nice room and ok resaurant. The service was very good. Nice with the "wildlife" close. However I would't go on the Red Mangrove's land tour again, I expected more, to much time waiting.The guide was ok but it was hard to understand his english.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Catarina1973
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2013

Our room 'Naranja' is right next to the restaurant. Sea lions and marine iguanas are on the deck of restaurant. We walked out our room and we face to face sea lions. It is fun. The only thing is sea lions did make a lot of noises. But who could get the opportunity to be woke up by sea lions in the morning? We enjoyed every moment of our stay in this lodge.

Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
1  Thank leo88copper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 June 2013

I helped to organize a trip of 16 people that were all interested in going to the Galapagos. I worked with Juan Fernando with Red Mangrove - he is based at the headquarters. Dealing with so many different people for the trip, we had different requirements - some people flying through Quito, some through Guayaquil, some arriving early, some staying later, elderly people, etc. Through it all, Juan was cordial and a real gem to work with. The properties on Santa Cruz, Floreana and Isabela were excellent - good location, helpful staff, clean and up-to-date and very nice amenities. If I had to give one criticism, and this was very small, it would have to be that they were a little short on food at the buffets - but that was no big deal. They tried to keep up with the people that were coming through the line and would eventually bring more food out.
The tours and the guides through Red Mangrove were informative and very helpful. We will be going back again and I will use Red Mangrove - can't imagine why someone would want to go on a boat trip when Red Mangrove has it all.

Room Tip: Rooms on the ocean were lovely but were not always available. It didn't matter so much because we spent so little time in the rooms. We spent a lot of time in the small towns or out looking at the wildlife.
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank MayorMargaret
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 June 2013

Like most people we stayed here and at the Isabella Red Mangrove hotel and took one of Red Mangrove's land tours. We didn't go to Floreana. Other than feeling it was ultimately too short of a trip (because we were having a great time), we loved our trip.

Were there some hickups? Yep. Sometimes stuff like that happens. We stayed an extra night before the tour started and Red Mangrove didn't have us on the list to pickup. But, there was a Red Mangrove rep at the airport and it got sorted pretty easily. It wasn't a big deal at all. Also, on the last day we stayed the air conditioner broke. Again, no big deal. An air conditioner isn't even really needed here anyway. I was actually surprised to have one at all. Often there are fans and nothing more. I've seen some reviews where I'm not sure what people's expectations are, but you have to put some context around where you are and how things work and the actual challenges they face with running hotels and tours in any given location. Running a hotel in Galapagos faces a lot of challenges.

Anyway, the rooms were very nice. We were very happy with the cleanliness too. The food was average, but you didn't go hungry at all. Sometimes it was buffet, sometimes it was a la carte depending on how many guests the hotel had.

I loved the sea lions and marine iguanas that were always lounging on the decks during the day.... cheeky sea lions even lounged on the fancy lounge chairs.

The hotel had some free bikes you could use to get around the little town. We used them to go to Tortuga Bay on our free day... a really excellent beach nearby. Definitely worth it! You bike for 5 minutes. Leave the bikes and then do a 45 minute walk on a nice path to the beach. Locals surf at this beach. The beach itself is really pretty and a nice walk. If you walk another 15 minute down the beach there is a nice little swimming bay. This is a beach where sea turtles nest, so some times of the year you might see them. Not sure on that. But you do see lots of crabs, marine iguanas and sea birds.

Most of what makes a trip great is not the hotel though. It's the tours and the place you are. Red Mangrove does a fantastic job with their tours. For us, we had the same tour guide (Pablo Rivadeneira) the whole time and we thought he was great. Very knowledgable, good english, personable and easy to talk to, and kept things to schedule without being overly militaristic. He is from Galapagos as well, so it was nice to get a perspective on the people that live there and the challenges they face. I'm sure that Red Mangrove guides are all really good, but we would definitely recommend Pablo. He even took photos as well and shared them with us at the end of the trip. Not something I've had a tour guide ever do before. We've interacted with lots of tour guides from lots of travel now and Pablo is definitely one of my all time favorites.

As for the tour part itself it was loads of fun. The most in our group was 6 people and at one point there was only 4. So nice having a small group like that because you can really talk to the guide more and things just run so much more smoothly. You do need to have somewhat ok mobility to do this tour. You have to be able to get in and out of little boats... sometimes walking from one boat to another and there is hiking involved. Not to mention a big part of the tour is snorkelling off little boats too. And you kayak as well. You also need to love the outdoors and nature. This should go without saying, but sometimes I wonder when I see people on trips if they really knew what they were getting into.

I loved all of it! We got to snorkel with white tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, and sea lions. And these were not off in the distance at all. They were right there within touching distance. And Los Tunneles was so beautiful. Isabela island in particular is very beautiful. The Sierra Negra volcano hike was really interesting too. We got some great views and a really good feel of the landscape. I wish there had been more hikes. We were lucky that almost everyone in our group did the whole 18KM hike. We saw pretty much all that you'd expect to see in Galapagos... blue footed boobies, penguins, flamingos, iguanas, tortoises, etc. We didn't get to see the albatross on this tour because they aren't really on Santa Cruz or Isabella. But, that's not a big deal for us.

I really enjoyed the Galapagos. It's a unique environment for sure. Both beautiful and stark. I have a tendency to really enjoy starch environments and landscapes. The wildlife is very unique as well. I'd love to see more of it and we may return someday. We'd definitely be going with Red Mangrove again if we do.

The Isabela Lodge is very nice too and we didn't find the service or accommodation much different between the two lodges. It is smaller, so it's different that way. Internet access (which it is nice that they even have), was located in the restaurant and not private, but they also had wireless that you could use as long as you were close to the restaurant. There is indeed a rooster next door and some fairly ugly chickens (apparently they are just a particular breed). While someone complained about this aspect in one of the reviews, we loved it. We live in a city and rarely get to experience things like roosters crowing. You get up early for the tours anyway, so the fact that a rooster might be crowing in the morning shouldn't be a problem. I much prefer it to the dogs barking that I often have to listen to on a daily basis. The Isabela Lodge is on a nice walkable beach located right in the small town. Make sure to check out the iguana crossing down the road. Iguanas cross there end of day. It's fun to watch them.

Room Tip: We got an upgrade on our first couple of nights there to a room overlooking the water. This was a very nice room and it was great for hearing the sea lions come in to lounge in the morning. It was very private. But our other room was fine too.
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank shannonleasmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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