If you’re making a trip to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, you’re going to want to treat yourself. It’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and in order to experience it properly, an equally beautiful accommodation is in order. That’s why, on a trip to the island of Santa Cruz, I booked a stay at the luxurious yet affordable Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge.
I was met at the docks and brought in a taxi to the lodge. At the desk, a smiling receptionist took my information, as I was brought a refreshing welcome drink and given a reusable water bottle and water holder.
This is because Aventura Lodge provides its guests with clean drinking water, helping them save money and not have to worry about always running to the shops to purchase more.
All I can say is, “Wow!” Walking into the room, I immediately felt like a queen as I took in the enormous bed, plush white couch, perfect white walls, and enormous adobe balcony. And, this isn’t one of those balconies that looks beautiful but has a view of concrete.
As you can see above, the view is of the glistening ocean, black rock shoreline and colorful city. There were threaded lounge chairs on the balcony, so I was able to listen to water lapping up against the shore as sea lions barked and lizards scampered around the patio.
I also have to mention the bathroom, which was immaculately clean and had a shower that was like a spa experience in itself.
There is so much to do within walking distance of the property- art galleries, shopping, delicious yet affordable restaurants, travel agencies, a supermarket, and, best of all, tons of piers to witness the famous wildlife of Galapagos. You can also walk to the beach, and the famous Charles Darwin Research Station.
One of my favorite moments in Santa Cruz was standing on a nearby dock and having a marine lizard sit on my foot while I watched fisherman feed sea lions and pelicans (shown above). It always feels like all the wildlife are living harmoniously in this beautiful place.
One of the best things about Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge is that all food and non-alcohol drinks are included. The meals you’ll eat are delicious, with a mix of menu and buffet services. There are also rotating cuisine-styles, like Japanese (pictured above), Mexican, seafood, international, and more. I also loved the buffet breakfast, which included fresh fruit, cereals, yogurt, eggs, meats, various cheeses, breads, pancakes, hash browns, juices, and more.
Of course, the fact that you’re looking out onto the water, watching boats and endemic birds go by with the sea breeze in your hair makes it that much more perfect. And, if you’re in the mood for cocktails, the property offers a 2-for-1 happy hour each night.
The service at Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge was impeccable. When I had a problem with the water temperature in my room, the staff had it fixed in minutes. Moreover, when I couldn’t figure out how to use the air conditioner or safety box (duh!), they didn’t act like I was annoying them, but came up to the room and politely guided me. On my last night, because I hadn’t told the staff when my ferry was leaving the next day, they called to ask if I needed a ride to the port. Time after time, the staff showed they genuinely cared about the guest’s experience.
I would highly recommend this property for anyone visiting Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands. Everything, from the location to the view to the service to the food, was absolutely perfect. Not only that, but all the tours I booked through the property were timely, organized, and worthwhile.