Giant Tortoise Reserve

First Reserva de Tortugas (Tortoise Reserve) in the Galapagos

QUITO, ECUADOR, Feb. 16, 2011 –  Ecuador’s leading hospitality company for active adventure, Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges, is creating the first Reserva de Tortugas (Tortoise Reserve) in the Galapagos.

According to Hernan Rodas, visionary founder and owner, his company has purchased 20 acres adjacent to the Galapagos National Park, a short drive from the company’s Aventura Lodge on Santa Cruz. Here animals have free and unobstructed movement. While there are a number of tortoise farms dotting the islands, Red Mangrove’s will be the first actual reserve for these giant reptiles.

“We see this as a necessary step for the preservation of the threatened Galapagos giant tortoise,” said Rodas.

He emphasized that the reserve is being created from a minimalist, least environmental impact perspective. Only guests visiting Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge may walk the grassy trails on the preserve. Although there will be washroom facilities and a rain shelter, there will be no gift stores.

“This reduced traffic and development will limit any impact on the tortoises and their environment,” said Rodas, underscoring that conservation is the top priority. Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges seeks to build alliances with local conservation organizations and the national park for the greatest benefit to the species. April or May 2012 is the anticipated completion date of Reserva de Tortugas.

At present the site harbors 30 to 40 giant tortoise, but the total number at any time will depend of how humid it is and how much water is in a small pond that attracts the tortoise. These reptiles weigh up to 880 pounds and in the wild can live for over a century.

The name Galapagos comes from the Spanish word for tortoise. Early explorers would have witnessed the species in numbers of over 250,000 in the 16th century. By the 1970s the number had dropped to around 3,000 and the species is classified “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

About Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges
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 5-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 wellne!
ss surrounded by the sounds of the jungle and crashing surf.  The company recently announced an extensive dive program embracing novices to experts with over 45 dive sites and multi-island dive packages for varying length vacations and interests.