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“Worst Guide EVER” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Jamu Lodge

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Jamu Lodge
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Cuyabeno, Sucumbios, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, Ecuador   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Edmonton, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Worst Guide EVER”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2013

I have been to the rainforest in Ecuador twice before and both times the guides were amazing: patient, knowledgeable, more or less on time. They put their guests first. Our guide Miguel AKA Condor was rude, impatient, late, unprepared and spent more time flirting with one of the girls on our trip then trying to ensure that everone had a good time.

Specific examples:

After being asked for the second time about our daily itinerary he told one guest rudely "like I have already told you, we are going to hike for about an hour."

Because it was my friends birthday after dinner they came out with an cake for her, it was very sweet and super special! While we waited for plates to arrive I continued to show some of the pictures I had taken that day to a guest who had asked about them. Miguel interrupted and told me I was being rude and disrespectful to my friend by not giving him the opportunity to thank the cooks who had made my friends very special cake and that they work very hard to feed us. He then pulled out a tip envelope and put it on the table.

While I was talking to other guests Miguel came to the table we were sitting at and plunked a book down in front of me and the girl he was trying to pick up. I continued to talk to the guest I had been talking to until I was told that he had brought the book to the table because he thought it would be interesting to us so could we pay attention.

He constantly waivered between being rude and aggressively cheerful.

They also tried very hard to chose where you could sit for dinner and who you could dine with based on length of tour. If you tried to sit with other people you were told you couldnt.

In addition Miguel planned a trip for the midday heat everyday... all of the animals were sleeping or hiding.

When we went to the indigenous village to visit he disappeared for at least an hour and did not tell us where the bathroom or drinking water was.

Later when a new group arrived we were put with Pedro who was FANTASTIC. Unlike Miguel, Pedro didn;t sound rehearsed or bored and he told us some very cool facts about some of the animals we looked at.

Additionally we were there for 5 days and only one day did they provide sufficient food for vegetarians.

The location it self is AMAZING and we saw so many animals however having an arrogant and ignorant guide definitely put a damper on the experience. I will not be returning.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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84 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    50
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    7
    4
    0
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2013

but also wouldn't really recommend. The food was nothing to write home about, but nothing to complain about, either. The guide was very knowledgeable and found a lot of wildlife for us, which was wonderful. The itinerary was exactly as described for our group. Our days were spent away from the lodge on the river or on hikes, which was wonderful. That part of the experience was truly great since we saw a lot of wildlife and our guide was very knowledgeable and chatty about things!

The staff was friendly, but were all very young and focused on the other young adults at the lodge. My 2 sons and I were mostly ignored. If we were a young couple or single, I would have had a very different experience. Traveling as a single mom, throughout South America, I found people went out of their way to be helpful, that was not the case at Jamu. At the lodge, I felt they seemed burdened that we were there. The guide was actually great with my kids, but there were no accommodations or helped offered to me when it was obvious I was repeatedly struggling to do things because I was helping my kids. No one was rude about it, but it was just odd that no one seemed to notice that it might take me a little bit longer to do things because I was trying to help 3 of us do it. Often other guest would offer to help, but never the staff.

Additionally, I confirmed 3 times beforehand that we had a matrimonial suite since I knew those were quieter rooms. When we arrived, we had 3 single beds in a tower with a group of very loud, young Germans. They were just having fun. I didn't expect them to be quiet for us. However, my kids didn't get much sleep and would have had we got the room I reserved and had confirmed for the trip.

The bus trip from Lago Agrio to the Reserve was not pleasant, but I didn't really expect much more than that. This is a budget trip, so my expectations were set for budget! I just would have expected to get the room that I reserved and an extra hand or moment here and there since I was alone with my kids.

Lastly, there was a lot of random trash strewn about the property. None of it was visible from the main dining area or the common areas, but looking out the windows of any of the rooms, there was a lot of trash. I don't mean a few pieces of paper. It looked like someone would have emptied a couple of 32 gallon trash bins out the window. That seemed very odd!

I would recommend this lodge for young travelers who want a good party. Not so much for an adult traveling alone with kids. If I had been with my husband, our experience would have been vastly different because he would have been able to help. If I were to do it again, I would have paid a bit more to get a bit more out of the experience.

Room Tip: Ask for the Tarantula or one of the other rooms that are not in one of the towers, which were very l...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quito
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013

After reading all the amazing reviews here, I feel like we stayed at some other Jamu Lodge. We did the 3n/4d trip.

Our trip started on a hot bus with windows that don't open and a bus driver who took many unnecessary risks while driving (which is the norm for Ecuador). We met then someone who sort of spoke English and gave us chicken and vegetables in a tupperware. If you're vegetarian, you just get a few more vegetables. Then we got on the canoe and it turned out the guy who gave us food was going to be our guide. He pointed out the birds and anything of interest while we rode down to the lodge, but if you weren't up front, you couldn't hear a word because of the engine noise. We then got to the lodge, had some juice, and got our rooms. Later, and every night after, we went to the lake to swim and watch the sunset. That was pretty much the only day that stuck to the itinerary they gave us when we bought the tickets in Quito.

We just dropped any notion that the activities would follow the order in the itinerary, but we hoped we would still at least do the activities it mentioned. The itinerary said we'd visit two local communities, but we just went to one. We ended up paying $6 each instead of $4 for the yuca bread and shaman. I guess that made up for not paying the park entrance fee. I think groups from other lodges payed the entrance fee, but our group just skipped going in the park office. We pretty much did everything else mentioned, except the piranha fishing. Maybe it's prohibited now. No one mentioned it. I know other groups at Jamu got to hike more than we did, because we met them at the community after they had just finished a hike in the rain forest. We saw another group get to do some canoe paddling on the lake, which we didn't do. Not counting the night hike, we only got to walk in the rain forest once, for about 3 hours.

The lodge itself had no surprises. We didn't get the exact room we were told, but I've been in Ecuador long enough to not believe a word anyone tells me, so it wasn't surprising. No lights and cold showers were expected. Our room had a nice view of the forest, monkeys, and a trash covered tin roof. I'd be embarrassed if I owned this place and saw the amount of garbage accumulated on the roof, or piles of random construction equipment laying around.

The food was really good, served family style. The staff made a pretty good effort to cater to vegetarians. Instead of a meat dish, they served fried eggplant or stuffed peppers. One night there wasn't a main vegetarian dish, but when we asked if one was coming, they said that the side dishes everyone else got was the main vegetarian dish. They then offered to fry an egg.

I think the most disappointing was the rookie guide. He was a really nice guy, and I know he knew a lot about the rain forest, he just kept it to himself. I'm guessing it was due to a lack of English speaking confidence. We learned most of our information by eavesdropping on another group's guide. Our guide could have used some more training before actually taking on paying customers. I had to keep telling myself that this was one of the cheaper lodges, and we get what we paid for, but it was hard to convince myself this while watching another group at the same lodge have a totally different experience.

Room Tip: The Tarantula room was nice and I think had hot water. We stayed in the Piranha(matrimonial) which...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 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
    • 3 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.
Cleveland, Ohio
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

Forest was about 15-20 meters tall on average, shorter than expected. Density of wildlife was low, mostly birds, less than half with interesting plumage (mostly sparrows, herons, etc), but saw a few monkeys from a distance. Guide spoke broken English and was unenthusiastic. You don't fish for piranhas as advertised. Lake sunsets were pretty. Overall, felt like a visit to central Florida. I preferred the Ecuadorean highlands.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Westerlo, Belgium
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013

We stayed here for four days, with our two children 13 & 17 years old. This was a fantastic experience. It was very well organised and we had the guide Henry Palacias. This guide is really good in his job. He knows enormously a lot of the environment. There was a specialist in our group from Spain specialised in tropical spiders, but Henry knows at least as much. The cabins our n the middle of the nature so you experience the real jungle life in the night, without any trouble of insects. It is quit basically, but certainly for the teens it was an adventure of which they are still talking....

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Quito, Ecuador
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2013

Jamu Lodge was a five star experience. It is a rustic lodge in the heart of the Amazon River basin jungle. It is not a place full of creature comforts, but it is comfortable and pleasant. It is almost 20 miles downriver from the main road, and your adventure starts with a 2 to 3 hour canoe ride. Once at the lodge you will have a chance to experience the Cuyabeno river and connected lakes up close.

The lodge provides excellent guides. Our group was led by David. He was fun, patient, knowledgeable, passionate and informative. He has a masters level education and has spent years studying the area. He knows the people and has even lived with them. His ability to find animals and plants was excellent and he happily answered our numerous questions. He kept the group organized and on schedule. He was quick to smile and laugh and treated each visitor on an individual basis. He joined us for all of our meals and spent several hours talking with us about the issues affecting the jungle and the people there.

A typical day started at 8 am with breakfast. David would review the day's agenda and we would meet up again about 9:30am. We would load into the canoes with water bottles, snacks, rain ponchos and life jackets to head out for the day's activities. Trips up and down the river included sight seeing animals and plants, hiking into the jungle, visiting a local village and shaman and swimming in the large lake, Laguna Grande. During our visit we viewed monkeys, birds of many varieties, insects, snakes, turtles, frogs, tarantulas, sloths and both grey and pink dolphins!

As I said in the beginning, the lodge is rustic. Rooms have running water, showers, toilets, but no electricity. There is a generator that runs each morning to allow you to recharge cameras and other portable devices. There is no internet and no cell phone service. There is a phone for emergencies. The food is basic but tasty and filling. Instant coffee, tea, cocoa and drinking water are provided. There is a bar that provides soda, beer, wine and a few cocktails at reasonable prices.

Jamu Lodge is one of twelve in the Cuyabeno region. I am sure the others offer many of the same features and experiences, but I was most impressed by the staff. Our guide David was an excellent host, our canoe captain, Brian was very skilled, even navigating the river at night with ease. The rest of the staff was attentive and cordial. All in all it was a world class experience and I highly recommend Jamu Lodge.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Louis area
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2013

We just got back from the 4-day tour and it was amazing. David was an exceptional guide, passionate, knowledgable, patient and friendly. The comfort level of the lodge is like summer camp - not like a hotel, but way better than a tent. We enjoyed every minute, and highly recommend Jamu lodge.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
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Additional Information about Jamu Lodge

Address: Cuyabeno, Sucumbios, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Sucumbios Province > Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Jamu Lodge is an Eco-Hotel located in the Cuyabeno Reserve, close to Laguna Grande.We have a total of 18 rooms for multiple or double accommodation, most with private bathroom and hot water, dining area, lounge area with hammocks and bar.The hotel employs different sustainability policies, like a sustainable waste management systems (e.g. we try to minimize waste by buying in bulks, using local ingredients in the kitchen), water saving measures, recycling organic and non-organic wastes were possible.Furthermore, we provide biodegradable shampoo and soap for guests, and use biodegradable products for housecleaning.For electricity we have solar energy to charge batteries from mobile devices, cameras and video cameras.Buildings are constructed with recycled materials where possible, and in harmony with the natural surroundings, reflecting the traditional design of the Amazon.We employ and train local staff where possible, and who are paid at fair wages, for example our river transport is handled by the local community. Our operation minimizes fossil fuels encouraging our visitors to do the activities rowing.We also protect the native fauna and flora and inform guests, staff and visitors of the importance and value of a healthy ecosystem and describe how to best enjoy the area without causing negative impacts. ... more   less 

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