Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges is offering an extensive dive program for novices to experts with 45 dive sites and multi-island dive packages for varying length vacations and interests. The range of diving options is available at Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges five island-based accommodations including two specifically dedicated to divers, with a total of 48 rooms.
Heretofore diving options were for the most part restricted to intermediate to experienced divers based from a live-aboard dive boat or a single land-based location. “Galapagos has always been known as a place with amazing -- but challenging -- deep water dives, traditionally available only to those with a lot of experience and usually accommodated by one of the many live-aboard dive vessels plying Galapagos waters. But now, with the development of high quality, land-based and instructional dive programs this has all changed. At Red Mangrove Lodges we have access to dive sites off multiple islands that offer ideal conditions for all skill levels,” said Caleb Hayes, Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges’ dive manager.
The PADI Discover Scuba Diving Experience for ages 10 and up targets beginners. Guests will watch a 45-minute video followed by time in a pool with an instructor. When comfortable, participants then head out to a specially chosen spot with an instructor for an open-water dive. A PADI instructor leads the course that is $220 per person including introduction, equipment and in-water instruction. The two-day Referral Open Water PADI Certification Course is for divers who can document preliminary course work and training and want to do their required open-water certification in tropical waters. The cost is $350 for four checkout dives.
Vacation dive packages inclusive of double occupancy accommodations begin at $1,319 per person. Included are on-island accommodations, all meals and soft drinks mentioned on the programs, excursions with English-speaking naturalists, free use of bikes in certain locations, snorkeling gear, all diving equipment (except dive computers, rented separately), and a 10 percent service charge as per Ecuadorian law. PADI professionals assist guests in selecting dive sites appropriate to their abilities. For example, for the novice, Academy Bay, Loberia, Los Tunnels, Santa Fe, Seymour Channel and Isla Tortuga are shallow, free of strong currents and offer an array of tropical fish, sea lions, rays and sea turtles.
Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges in 2007 introduced a land-based alternative to exploring the Galapagos that heretofore was a cruise-only destination. While it may be best known for its upscale lodging and dive operations in the Galapagos, recent expansion has made it a leader in mainland Ecuador hospitality as well. With upscale waterfront lodges strategically situated on Santa Cruz, Isabela and Floreana, it is the only company offering high quality, branded accommodations and services on multiple islands in the Galapagos and across mainland Ecuador. Because it is land-based, Red Mangrove can offer a more extensive roster of activities and more flexibility than traditional cruise options.
The customary way to experience Red Mangrove’s Galapagos hospitality is to spend a number of nights on each island accessed by small boat and/or aircraft. With 14 guest rooms, Aventura Lodge on Santa Cruz is distinguished by its architectural design which blends its mangrove forest and seafront environments tastefully and responsibly. Separated from the ocean by a white sand, palm-lined beach, Isabela Lodge offers eight rooms outside the fisherman’s village of Puerto Villamil on one of the most volcanically active islands on Earth. Red Mangrove Floreana Lodge is a gathering of 10 private pine cottages just a five-minute walk from the village of Puerto Velasco Ibarra (population 150). Red Mangrove Divers Lodge Santa Cruz has 11 rooms near the Red Mangrove Dive Academy. Red Mangrove Isabela Divers Lodge features five rooms adjacent to scenic Puerto Villamil. On the mainland coast of Ecuador Samai Lodge with 11 rooms is an inn and spa suited for recollection, relaxation and wellness surrounded by the sounds of the jungle and crashing surf. For information, call 888-254-3190 or visit www.redmangrove.com.