Internalization of the apelin receptor by apelin-13 is characterized by dissociation from beta-arrestins and rapid recycling to the cell surface. Paradoxically, the apelin receptor internalized by apelin-36 was sequestered intracellularly. The specific pathways involved in apelin receptor trafficking were resolved using beta-arrestin1 and constitutively active and dominant negative Rab proteins following activation by apelin-13 or apelin-36. beta-Arrestin1 dissociated from the apelin-13-internalized receptor while the apelin-36-internalized receptor was trafficked with beta-arrestin1 to intracellular compartments. The apelin-13-internalized receptor was rapidly recycled to the cell surface through a Rab4-dependent mechanism while Rab7 targeted the receptor to lysosomes. The internalized receptor co-expressed with dominant negative Rab4 were trafficked to lysosomes. These observations revealed a novel ligand-dependent targeting of the apelin receptor to beta-arrestin-associated and -dissociated trafficking pathways and a role for different Rab proteins to direct these pathways.