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Why Choose a Land-Based Program Instead of a Cruise?


176 years ago, Charles Darwin had no choice but to tour the Galapagos by boat. Today you do! Before Red Mangrove Galapagos Lodges, the only way to see multiple islands in the Galapagos without a cruise was approaching impossible to organize from afar and certainly questionable in terms of what to expect once you departed Santa Cruz, the main island in the Galapagos. That, too, has evolved in the Galapagos.

Because Red Mangrove is the only brand in the Galapagos with multiple lodges on multiple islands, we are able to offer you the epitome of land-based programs with more activities and more flexibility than cruises. When weighing all the factors, we think you’ll agree that land-based is the preferable alternative to cruises.

Besides crowded conditions, lack of privacy and, of course, seasickness, there are still a myriad of reasons land-based programs offer more flexibility:

  • You can dive AND go on island excursions. With a cruise, you can either dive or go ashore, but not both. Cruises have a fixed itinerary and you must comply.
  • Not everyone can handle wet landings (or even a dinghy) in order to go ashore.
  • Ease parental anxiety by eliminating the worry of child overboard.
  • Shopping in town is not limited to a single, dedicated excursion.
  • Ability to get to know local people and businesses as well as absorb some of the individual islands’ culture.
  • We will never assign you to a group called ‘boobies’ on excursions.
  • We promise you won’t bump your head in the shower through no fault of your own.
  • Meals can be much more enjoyable without rolls and bumps. You never have to share a table with strangers unless you want to.
  • We will do your laundry on the same day with zero pollution in the sea.
  • Internet is not only available, but free.
  • Privacy is not confined to a tight space and peace and quiet is a given.


We believe our land-based programs have a greatly reduced ecological footprint (relative to a cruise) and better support the local communities for the following reasons:

  • Less fuel used in short trips compared to constant idling and motoring of cruise ships.
  • Smaller tour groups, therefore less impact than the hundreds cruises may host.
  • Larger boats cannot even send groups to, for example, Isla Isabela.
  • No pollution possibilities such as disposal of grey water at sea or garbage being thrown into the sea.
  • Money spent by visitors ALWAYS benefits local communities. Red Mangrove Galapagos Lodges are part of the solution of sustainability for locals on 3 different islands in the Galapagos through employment and advancement through education, training and sponsorships.


The Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, is uniquely isolated inside a red mangrove forest in front of the sea, yet only a five-minute walk to the Charles Darwin Research Station or downtown Puerto Ayora. The Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge is a newly renovated (not merely refurbished) lodge that sits on a 3 kilometer white sand beach.

The Red Mangrove Floreana Lodge offers newly constructed casitas directly in front of the sea. 3 Lodges on 3 islands with 1 Red Mangrove standard of quality now only takes one email or phone call to book.

Our “Darwin’s Triangle” programs offer such an array of options that, for the first time, visitors are not limited to cruises to more widely experience the Galapagos. Daily tours, culinary camping, snorkeling and diving are a few of the activities we offer.

It’s not merely the abundance of Galapagos activities that merits saying our land-based programs should be considered an even better option than a cruise. At Red Mangrove, we are all too aware of how fragile the Galapagos environment is and how vital it is to be part of the solution, not the problem. And, YES, people live in the Galapagos. We hire locally, buy locally, educate locally, sponsor locally, etc. Plus, Red Mangrove is Ecuadorian owned.

We believe all of the above makes the right kind of difference, a difference that adds up to solution-oriented tourism in the Galapagos. For the Galapagos to have a future for generations to come, visitors must also be a part of the solution. With Red Mangrove Galapagos Lodges, visitors do not need to choose between either maximizing the enjoyment of their visit or minimizing the impact on the environment / supporting the local communities. We offer the whole package…so to speak.

Our land-based programs offer more activities with more flexibility while also offering more benefits to locals and taking less of a toll on the environment than cruises. Isn’t it about time the way you thought about Galapagos tourism evolved, too?

Red Mangrove Galapagos Lodges: Solution-oriented tourism on every level… Galapagos experience, Galapagos conservation, Galapagos residents.