Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Green Initiatives at Galapagos' Lodges
In the Galapagos Islands Red Means Green: Red Mangrove Galapagos Lodges Promotes Sustainable Stewardship by Example
How does red turn green? Think Red Mangrove Galapagos Lodges (http://www.redmangrove.com/). This environmentally and socially responsible company is pioneering multi-island, land-based touring while guiding a fragile ecosystem to a sustainable future. In so doing guests experience green, solution-oriented experiences surrounding natural and social environments.
"Galapagos is one of the few destinations on earth where enlightened guests do not have to give up amenities or adventure in order to be in harmony with our responsible tourism philosophies," said Hernan Rodas, visionary owner and founder of Red Mangrove Galapagos Lodges. He noted that his company also focuses on local communities when it comes to hiring, purchasing, educating and sponsoring.
As a result, he said, visitors relax into an intact, solution-oriented, sustainable vacation while discovering the intra-island beauty of five distinct islands: Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Floreana, Tortuga Island and Isabela.
The company's three lodges on Santa Cruz, Isabela and Floreana were constructed with a sustainable philosophy from the ground up. Red Mangrove's Aventura Lodge on Santa Cruz became the first hotel in Galapagos to have an onsite filtration system for drinking water to eliminate the need for imported bottled water; the lodges are among the only island accommodations to utilize black water treatment plants to recycle water; low-water, energy-saving washers and dryers assist the sustainable process, as do efficient 50KVA automatic generators and low environmental impact four-stroke motors on an inter-island transport vessel. (Note: inter-island, land-based touring consumes less fuel than cruise programs do.) One lodge (Floreana) operates entirely off the grid. Cleaning products and supplies are all bio-degradable and the company has achieved an almost-paperless status. Organic bulk shampoo and repellents are sourced from the Ecuador Amazon.
Locally hired employees are supported with business and language skills training and are offered sponsorship opportunities for further education to become, for example, naturalist certified guides. Staff and guides lead by example promoting environmental stewardship by policing visited areas daily, picking up any trash or litter they may find.
Red Mangrove walks the talk of habitat preservation and community involvement. Accommodations and operations adhere to and often exceed the most stringent environmental standards. Out of respect for the local community, Red Mangrove has helped native fishermen find alternative livelihoods through tourism by utilizing a fleet of former fishing boats for transportation and sightseeing. Other outreach projects include support of a Family Health Program initially serving families of Red Mangrove employees on the Island of Isabela, a care program for at-risk horses associated with local tourism in Puerto Villamil and in partnership with the University of Cuenca, assisting a dental care program for employees, tourism providers and islanders on Santa Cruz, Isabela and Floreana. See: http://www.redmangrove.com/our-involment/.
About Red Mangrove Galapagos Lodges
Red Mangrove Galapagos Lodges in 2007 introduced a land-based alternative to exploring the Galapagos that heretofore was a cruise-only destination. 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. 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 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 unique architectural design which blends its mangrove forest and seafront environments tastefully and responsibly. Its location boasts generous views of Puerto Ayora Bay. Separated from the ocean by a white sand, palm-lined beach, Isabela Lodge offers eight rooms outside the sleepy fisherman's village of Puerto Villamil on one of the most volcanically active islands on Earth. Red Mangrove Floreana Lodge is a romantic gathering of 10 private pine cottages just a five minute walk from the village of Puerto Velasco Ibarra (population 150).