Quito, Ecuador– Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges http://www.redmangrove.com/, the region’s leading hospitality company for active adventure, suggests that recreational divers, novice to expert, consider Darwin’s magical archipelago as the destination for a wide variety of official PADI dive certification programs.
Hernan Rodas, founder and director of Red Mangrove Galapagos and Ecuador Lodges reports that the Red Mangrove’s Dive Center accomplished more diver certifications in 2011 than any other operation in the Galapagos.
“In all of Ecuador there were 1,489 diver certifications issued in 2011. Red Mangrove’s team of licensed instructors and master divers accounted for 160 of them, making us the largest producer of diver certifications in the Galapagos,” Rodas said.
Rodas suggested that would-be divers seeking certification do classroom and required pool work at home, either with a local dive shop or recreation center or online through PADI’s website (accessed via Red Mangrove’s dive website: http://www.redmangrove.com/diving-in-galapagos/diving-classes/.)
To complete the third and final stage of the certification process divers are then required to perform open water check-out dives with an instructor.
“This is when many beginning divers look to warm and exotic waters so they can combine their requirements with an extended vacation,” explained Rodas. “We have packages with just that in mind, allowing a diver to be certified during the first two days of their stay and then enjoying all the islands have to offer during the rest of the week.”
“We’re finding more and more dive instructors bringing their students here as a group for certification,” said Rodas, adding that a new instructor incentive program is being developed that will provide lodging incentives for the instructor who brings with him/her four paid students.
According to Rodas, many divers travel with non-diving companions and family members which also makes Red Mangrove’s land-based multi-island programs attractive. Year-round certification programs and vacation packages can be combined to accommodate diver/non-diver groups. There’s a staff of five PADI approved dive instructors available with an equal number of dive masters to accompany divers on recreational outings. Two modern dive boats take guests to 45 dive and snorkel sites available off of Santa Cruz, Floreana and Isabela islands.
A popular package for beginner divers is Darwin’s Land and Sea Adventure, 6 days and 5 nights (with eight dives) priced from $2,291 per person, double occupancy. See: (http://www.redmangrove.com/diving/land-and-sea-adventure.html). Certification is extra starting at $350 per diver on up according to the type of program (PADI certifications include Open Water Diver / Referral, Advanced, Rescue Diver, Dive Master, Specialty Certifications and Emergency First Responder).
Another option for guests who have never been diving but would like to try it is to sign up for the PADI Discover Scuba Diving Experience for ages 10 and up. 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 $250 per person including introduction, equipment and in-water instruction.http://www.redmangrove.com/diving/discovery-scuba.html
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 wellness surrounded by the sounds of the jungle and surf.