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“Yachana Lodge” 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
Nashville, Tennessee
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Yachana Lodge”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2012

Our visit to thr Amazon area of Ecuador was an addition to our trip to the Galapagos Islands. We were not very excited about this part of the trip until we got to the Yachana Lodge. We were so glad that we went there and had a great time. All of the staff were wonderful especially our quide Juan Kunchikuy. What an amazing man. His knowledge of the rain forest and all the animals and plants was extremely impressive. His command of English was outstanding and he told us all about his interesting life growing up in the remote part of the Amazon.
The lodge was in a spectacular setting and the deck ,with a view over the river, was beautiful and a great place to sit and watch the sun set each evening. The food was delicious.the room we stayed in was large with a balcony overlooking the gardens. My husband loved the hammock which he spent some time in when we were not on hikes, canoe trips or at meals. We wished we had planned to stay longer and highly reccommend Yachana Lodge.Our only dissapointment was that we did not see any of the fresh water dolphins in the river on the journey from Coca to Yachana by motorised canoe.

  • Stayed February 2012, 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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103 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (24)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Bridgend, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
254 reviews 254 reviews
83 hotel reviews
Reviews in 85 cities Reviews in 85 cities
236 helpful votes 236 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2012

Yachana is a 4 hour trip by motorised canoe, down the river Napo from Cocoa, about an hour's flight from Quito. The area is lovely - both primary and secondary rainforest, but you can see the impact from commercial logging as you travel down the river.

The lodge itself is not what I expected, in that it was large, impersonal and more of a 'resort'. For the first time during my stay in Ecuador I felt like a 'package' tourist. I was expecting to experience a more ecological philosophy, but didn't see much of this in reality. We were issued with plastic bottles and didn't see a great focus on true eco-tourism. However, this was the only negative - the excursions more than make up for this.

The surrounding rainforest is packed with amazing rare plants and wildlife. We saw many species of frogs, bugs, birds, spiders, snakes etc. There was also plenty in the lodge including tarantulas. Make sure you take plenty of deet and bite cream, and wear long trousers/tops on the treks. They supply you with wellies and ponchos but take plenty of wet gear just in case. Our guides were great, especially Avell who was indigenous to the area. When we were out of the lodge on our many treks and hikes, his knowledge and passion made our time in Yachana really special. Through him we learnt about the people and Amazon eco-systems. The local high school, which the Yachana Foundation supports was a highlight, as was our time with the medicine man - both a short canoe ride away.

There were plenty of facilities including a bar, drying room and dining area, which had stunning views over the river. There was mixed accommodation including bungalows and a more recently constructed block which is purposely built to house group tours. The room was basic but comfortable, although there were a number of holes in our mozzie nets when we arrived. Tip - plug these with wet tissues while you wait for the staff to repair them. The room was fine with 2 bunk beds and a clean ensuite. More storage and hanging facilities would be welcomed. Limited hours of electricity/lights which was fine as you'll be out and about during the day.

I'd recommend the Yachana Lodge as a good base to explore the stunning surrounding area but feel its original mission of education and eco-tourism has become slightly lost and is now more focussed on catering to large tourist groups.

Room Tip: Try for a higher bungalow - better views and a more personalised touch than the purpose built blocks...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Alberta, Canada
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2012

We stayed at the Yachana Lodge for 2 nights, and wish we had stayed longer! The food was delicious, the setting was amazing (spectacular sunsets from the side of the Napo River), and the excursion to the shaman and tubing down the Napo River were highly memorable moments of travel. Our guide, Avel, was a wonderful addition to our travels, and shared lots of interesting indigenous knowledge about the rainforest and its people. We kept our valuables in the Yachana safe, and everything was returned to us intact. Thanks for a great learning experience!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quezon City, Philippines
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2012

Great service, great staff, great experience. The food was healthy and excellent. The guides were friendly, caring, committed and very knowledgable about the culture and environment in the Upper Amazon.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Nairobi, Kenya
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2012

This is not a lodge, this is an idea made real. The lodge is part of a project involving a technical high school. Students do internships in the lodge. The general goal is "to achieve sustainability through education", as mentioned on the website. I met the founders, "a bankrupt American businessman and an Amazonian hunter", as described on the New York Times. Their story is inspiring. Coming here has been an amazing experience that I will never forget. Oh, and the service is impeccable. I went there on a business trip, a workshop with about 40 participants. Not a single one complained about anything, we all had an exquisite experience.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
East Lansing, Michigan
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2012

From the many choices for an Amazon experience in Ecuador, we selected the Yachana Lodge because of its connection to a school its foundation started and supports, knowing the accommodations would be mid-range compared to other "ecolodges." While the room and bath met our modest expectations, the dining exceeded expectations; and the service was terrific. We were met at Coca airport, transported by mororized canoe up the Rio Napo, ate every dinner with founder Douglas McMeekin, members of the school faculty and /or the foundation board, and eventually with other touring guests as well. Our guide Robert is an articulate, mature 21 year old native of the community and member of the high school's first graduating class and, frankly, he was the No. 1 reason our experience was fabulous. We had his undivided attention and learned much about the community, the school, the surrounding flora and fauna, as well as the challeges of the local people and the threats to the environment.












We knew there are "ecolodges" with more or fewer creature comforts, so of the many choices for an Amazon expertience in Ecuador, we selected the Yachana Lodge because of its connection to the school its foundation started and supports.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Sammamish, Washington
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2011

We chose Yachana because we wanted to learn more about the Amazon rainforest, its people, and its significance to our world and ecosystem. Yachana is unique among rainforest based lodges in that its mission is around education, sustainability, and eco-tourism. Yachana is a foundation and supports a vocational high school / boarding school for Amazonian youth. We found that other lodges focused on the animals and flora and bird-watching, all wonderful activities, but we wanted to learn about the people and the environment.

Let me start by saying that I hate the heat, the humidity, and bugs. The Amazon rainforest was the last of several destinations we visited in Peru and Ecuador, and I thought I would not enjoy it. Instead, Yachana became the highlight of our trip for me and my four kids (ages 17, 15, 13, and 8). We had the most incredible guide, Juan, who comes from the southern part of the Amazon rainforest, and whose experience and life story has been featured in the New York Times. It was such an honor to have him as our guide -- we all learned so much about the rainforest, about his culture, about the issues facing the Amazon rainforest and its people today. We also met Doug, an American, who founded the lodge and foundation. We were happy to be able to be a small part of this vision for the Amazon rainforest and the Yachana foundation.

The lodge itself is beautiful landscaped with lush gardens and is right on the Napo River, where we went tubing one day. It is also walking distance to a small town, where we went one day to watch a very competitive 3x3 volleyball match and then joined the whole town in the evening for a high school graduation dancing celebration. We hiked a lot through the primary forest and saw many interesting things -- plants, trees, animals, insects, frogs, bats, and a GIANT tarantula. The highlight for us was visiting a healer and participating in a cleansing ceremony and trying our hand at blow darts and spear throwing. That day, we came across tulcans and a giant wasp nest. All in a day's adventure!

Meals are served in the open air, thatch roofed dining hall overlooking the Napo River. The drunken parrot bar offered many memorable discussions. The workers at the lodge are also the high school students, or graduates of, and my kids made life long friends. You realize, teens around the world have so much in common......

The rooms are basic but very clean. Potable water is readily accessible. There is a small gift shop. Yachana was very reasonable -- once there I found we did not need to spend much as all meals and excursions were included. The only place to really spend money is in the gift shop and the bar, and you can settle via credit card. I even put the staff tips on my credit card.

Yachana does not have mosquitoes, but they do have sand flies. Rubber boats are supplied for jungle treks, so don't forget to bring long light weight socks to wear with them.

Overall, a memorable experience with lasting impressions. We learned so much.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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 44 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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