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“Jungle Bliss!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Yachana Lodge

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Yachana Lodge
3.5 of 5 Lodge   |   Community of Porto Rico, Ecuador   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence
Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
269 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 142 helpful votes
“Jungle Bliss!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2011

My daughter and I feel so privileged to have visited Yachana Lodge and been able to experience the Amazon jungle as we did. I chose this lodge based on Trip Advisor reviews and couldn't have been more pleased.
We were so lucky that we and 2 others were the only guests that our guide was responsible for. Juan was impressive--so knowledgeable, attentive and pleasant. Because the other two people were working with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism, they spent much of their time with the founder of Yachana--Douglas, leaving us with Juan all to ourselves. This meant he was able to coordinate activities to our preferences. He even roasted cocoa seeds so we could make chocolate from scratch (peeling, grinding and making into a paste--then the best part--dipping small bananas into the fresh, dark chocolate) and he helped us weave baskets. My daughter enjoyed preparing a meal of tilapia cooked in leaves and hearts of palm and stinging nettle side dishes with the chef. We even ate cooked larvae--reluctant to try them alive and wriggling.
The night walk was a favourite activity--frogs, bats, a boa constrictor, a possum....
The visit to a local healer was also amazing. He performed a cleansing ritual then Juan challenged us to use the spear and blow guns to hit targets. May I say I did quite well with the latter.
Loved to see the world's tiniest monkeys and all of the other fauna and flora too.
We went on a trek into the jungle to find the prehistoric bird: the Hoatzin--got great video too.
Another day we took a double-decker type vehicle to do some bird-watching and visited a market frequented by the people from the jungle and surrounding areas.
One of my best memories is lying in bed after 10 pm (when the generator is turned off) in the absolute blackness of our comfortable cabin and listening to the cacophony of insect sounds (especially cicadas) outside of our screened windows. One night the drumming of rain on our roof drowned out all sounds but lulled us into a relaxing sleep.
It only rained that one night and a brief time one morning, otherwise the weather was great. It is very humid (after all, it is the rainforest) and hot but we managed to keep up with our guide. Be sure to drink a lot of water to remain hydrated!
Before we left for this vacation I contacted others who had posted on Trip Advisor re: questions that I had. Questions like: are there snakes, were you afraid to swim in the river, how was the canoe ride? I would like to allay the fears of anyone who is a bit concerned about potential dangers or would like to know what to expect. Here goes:
-we saw only 1 snake, a boa who resided in the thatched roof of one of the lodge huts (uninhabited)--he became active at night hunting the bats in the roof--no threat to us
-hats and sunblock are a must
-bring along your own light poncho (cheap at any Dollar store) if it rains but they do supply them in case you don't have one (we brought rain coats that we only needed for less than an hour) --they supply a pair of boots for your jungle treks
-definitely bring DEET insect repellent--my daughter was bitten many times when she fell asleep in the hammock on the balcony without spraying repellent first (lesson learned)
-the canoe ride in/out of the lodge was very pleasant--the seats are comfortable (see their Yachan video) and there is a lovely breeze as you traverse the mighty Napo RIver, in fact, we wore jackets for part of the ride--such lovely scenery
-the stairs where the canoe docks are steep and long so if you are not fit now, you will be after your stay (I lost 9 lbs by the time I returned home)
-there is always time to rest up/clean up between activities and before meals
-we chose not to swim/tube in the river although Juan said it was safe
-the food is locally harvested, fished, caught, made. It was reflective of the Ecuadorian culture and was delicious! It was served by the students from the Yachana high school--sweet boys with limited English but very eager to please
-be sure to sit on the deck and watch the sunset at least one night
Special mention should go to Douglas, the founder of the Yachana Foundation. It is his vision that we are allowing to flourish. The money we tourists bring in goes toward the running of the high school and land is being prepared for a university that should be ready by September of this year. Outstanding!
Douglas also encourages a friendly, open atmosphere. We were able to meet Jaun's wife and she joined us for a couple of meals. This really added to our overall enjoyment of this wonderful place. We felt at home and welcome--like a part of the Yachana family.
We hope to one day to return.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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114 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2011

I recently stayed at the Yachana Lodge with a large student group from California. Our stay was amazing in this jungle paradise. The staff at the lodge are comprised of student from the Yachana Technical School which is operated by the same gentleman who runs the lodge. We were provided with an extremely knowledgable guide, Robert, who was a treasure. Robert is a kind and gentle soul that has dedicated his existence to preserving his home lands along with sharing his knowledge of the local flora and fauna. If you have the opportunity to request a guide for your stay, Robert is the choice to make. He made the whole trip...

  • Stayed January 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2010

I can only say great things about Yachana Lodge.

The setting: in the rainforest with breathtaking views of the Napo River

The accommodation: My room was a very comfortable cabin with its own terrace complete with hammock overlooking the wonderful lush vegetation and exotic plants of Yachana’s grounds.

The food: deeelicioius. I had great food whilst taking in the wonderful views of the surrounding rainforest and river.

The staff: genuinely helpful and efficient. Really great people.

The activities: Our small group was assigned its own individual guide called Avel. Avel arranged plenty of varied activities for us during our stay. Trekking in the jungle, visiting a local market, spear throwing , visiting the college and students are some examples. All through our excursions Avel kept us smiling and interested with his wonderful humour and extensive knowledge. A brilliant guide.

Summary: I really felt at home here. The staff are welcoming and friendly – and it’s all very genuine. Thanks to the excursions we gained a great insight about the surrounding natural habitat and local community. And visiting the college whose students (from the local community) benefit from the profits made by Yachana was a great experience.

Moreover the team behind Yachana organized everything for our trip to Ecuador, including the second half of the trip to the Galapagos. Internal flights, transfers, hotels etc. All we had to do was get our return ticket to Ecuador and turn up.
I thoroughly recommend Yachana Lodge.

A very unique place offering a very enjoyable and memorable experience.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ocean Springs
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2010

I met a great variety of employees (Douglas (founder), Hugh, Lars, Paola, Emanuel, my fantastic guides Delfin & Juan, and several attentive folks whose names I missed) and all of them provided excellent, attentive service. Their cause - educating locals and travelers about the importance of the amazon jungle ecosystem - was always present but never pushy. Rather than getting in the way, their cause adds to your personal experience so you know your experience is contributing in a positive way.

Other lodges may be 'deeper' in the jungle, but Yachana has access to large pieces of primary (untouched) jungle that provide tourists like me the amazing, life-changing experience we hope to enjoy when we travel, plus it gives back to the local people of all tribes as a whole -- not just helping a single, local community - through education and opportunity.

Additionally, Yachana only hires locals as guides. I enjoyed a freelance guide (Delfin) and a guide who serves on the Yachana board (Juan) -- both of whom come from communities where they still use blowguns to hunt, run barefoot through the jungle, and many of the people have never seen a car in their lives. Authentic. Real. I definitely recommend spending time with Yachana Lodge! Great cause. Great experience. Great service.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ecuador
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2009

I travelled to Yachana Lodge on the Napo river from Quito. I would thoroughly recommend it as I had a varied and fascinating trip. The lodge is located on the Napo river, the largest tributary of the Amazon and is beautifully located. Sunsets are a photogrpahers dream and as soon as you arrive you are made to feel very welcome and part of a very special family.

The lodge is different because it is run by local people and is part of a foundation that has created conservation projects and learning for indigenous people. There is a high- school nearby that is run by the foundation where children from local Amazon tribes are tooled with the skills they will need back in their communities. The nature and wildlife trails are all guided with local guides.

Juan was our guide and until his late teens had lived in his community as a hunter. His tracking skills were amazing; he could see birds, primates and insects that only a trained hunter could see. He would call the birds and they would answer and appear. He speaks fluent English and Spanish so it was easy to understand everything about the fauna and flora.

The food is all grown organically on the lodge`s farm and the meals were excellent. We got to make our own lunch on one day with foods from the rainforest - a real experience.
The accommodation was clean and basic with en suite bathrooms. There were very few mosquitos but sand flies were a problem if you didn´t cover up. Service was impeccable - the staff couldn´t do enough for you and seemed genuinely delighted to have you to stay at the lodge.

A truly memorable experience and one that needs to be shared.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ecuador
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2009

We stayed three nights at Yachana. Their location is beautiful (you take a three hour boat ride from Coca). The rooms are nice, but not over the top, the food was really good, We had a guide assigned to only family and he was great (Jose). The profits from the lodge run a high school for indigenous youth so they have a good thing going. Just a great Amazon experience.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ft. Myers Beach, Fl
Level Contributor
25 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2008

A wonderful experience. On the canoe ride to the lodge a large snake popped its head up out of the water right next to me! Luckily, I love reptiles so I was delighted. Of course noo ne else saw it so they must have thought I was crazy. The rooms were very nice and I felt very safe with armed guards at my doorstep every night. The food was excellent, the fresh fruit, it was all very good for being in the middle of nowhere especially. Juan was our guide and was very informative. We saw birds, monkeys, and poisonous frogs. He took us intertubing down the river, so much fun. The whole experience was enchanting and unique.

Stayed November 2005
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Yachana Lodge

Address: Community of Porto Rico, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Napo Province
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 47 Specialty Lodging in Napo Province
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Yachana Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
After 17 years of operating on the other side of the Napo River, we have built a new, stunningly beautiful Yachana Lodge within our 2,500-acre reserve. In our new location you will discover a hidden secret of the Amazon: a world class, award winning "Geotourism Lodge". There are 14 luxurious cabins built on a bluff overlooking the Napo River with spectacular views of the river and the Andes in the distance, surrounded by lush natural forests and beautiful gardens. All cabins have private bathrooms with hot water shower and large porches with hammocks. A major activity for our guests is our Lost Foods of the Amazon culinary program; visiting and harvesting on a local farm, then preparing your lunch and eating it in our beautiful, open dining area designed in the style of a typical Amazonian hut, with spectacular views of the Napo River. We also offer walks in the rainforest, incredible birding and other cultural activities. Yachana's accommodations and activities are targeted at the traveller who cares about sustaining and enhancing the geographical character of the Amazon - its rainforest environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well being of its residents. The Yachana Foundation for 23 years has created opportunities in ecotourism, education, conservation, income generation and health care throughout the Ecuadorian Amazon. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Yachana Hotel Napo Province
Yachana Lodge Ecuador/Napo

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