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“The guide makes the trip” 5 of 5 stars
Review of La Selva Amazon Ecolodge

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La Selva Amazon Ecolodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   265 Foch and 6 de Diciembre, Sonelsa Building 6th Floor, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Chichester, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“The guide makes the trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

The success of our trip into the Amazon basin owed mainly to to our naturalist guide, Paul, and our native guide Theo. Paul spoke perfect English, was immensely knowledgeable and hugely enthusiastic about his subject. And charming with it. Theo spoke no English but managed to communicate nevertheless - showing us a lot about how the natives have learned to use all the natural resources of the jungle. And always smiling. Without Paul we would have seen very little - he taught us how to "see" in the jungle (it's very dense and much of what there is to see is at the insect level). We were there 6 days and had one day pretty much wiped out by rain. Take note that you could easily lose several days to rain. High point for me was catching a piranha. Swimming in the lake is slightly nerve wracking tho ! Lodge is very high standard, food is good. Richard & Val Evans visiting from UK

Room Tip: Rooms overlooking lake are definitely worthwhile.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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222 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (77)
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English first
Savannah, United States
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2014

LaSelva's parent company is Columbus Travel. When I booked my trip I was told by Christian they don't supply documents - not even a receipt so I went forward totally on trust. One learns from one's mistakes. The day before I was to fly to Coca, I emailed them to verify that someone would pick me up at my hotel the next morning for the flight to Coca and was told they couldn't find my file. They eventually did and I was taken to the airport.
My room at the Lodge at one time no doubt had a view of the lake but the trees have been allowed to grow up in front of the balcony and obscure it. I asked to change rooms but the manager - Marcello - did not speak English. The trees also prevented even a whisper of a breeze from entering the room, and the ceiling fan - even on high (I suspect it's merely decorative) - barely circulates the air and so the room - #3 - is stultifying. Way too hot for sleeping. You won't want the mosquito netting which just contributes to the "dead zone" effect. Slap on a little mosquito repellent before turning in instead.
La Selva is very proud of its amenities - L'Occitance shampoo, conditioner and lotion - but they seem to be on some sort of austerity program as they never replace the lotion or conditioner when the bottles are empty. (Two showers a day are necessary, and sometimes an extra in the middle of the night to cool down - so the products quickly run out) The shampoo comes in a large size the other two in a tiny size.
The shower floor is slippery - bring flipflops to shower in.
Altho the guides are wonderful - it's basically the same repetitious trek twice a day. Up at 5:30, a walk through the jungle looking at plants and some birds and monkeys, and the same thing again at 4 in the afternoon. The wellies you are given, are super smelly - bring socks and don't think about those feet they've been on before yours.
The nature walks could do with some imaginative tootling. Picnics, a take-away birding list, a scavenger hunt, a good astronomer, etc. The guides all know their stuff, but there is no prep before you go out, and the rare bird species are few and far between, sometimes just a glimpse as they fly over.
OK - enough whining.
It is in a dreamy location. The food and food service are fabulous. The bartender always greets you with cold lemonade when you return from your morning trek - which is nice.
Did I say no more whining? Sorry...
As were leaving Coca, at the airport I was told Christian had not made a reservation for my flight out, nor had he made a reservation for my free night at Casona de la Ronde in Quito. Eventually Edwin and Luis took care of it, but I was the last to board the plane.
All in all, I would not book it again.

Room Tip: DO NOT accept room #3. I also heard Tapir has a mold problem
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
LaSelvaEcolodge, Public Relations Manager at La Selva Amazon Ecolodge, responded to this review, February 1, 2014
We would like to apologize for the inconveniences you experienced while visiting La Selva Lodge.

At the lodge:

The trees certainly have grown around the scenic room areas. They are about 6 meters away from the rooms though, so they do not entirely obscure the suites, but we do understand how they may obstruct views of Lake Garzacocha. The reason we have not trimmed or cut them down is because the trees are a very important part of the environment. Since we are an Ecolodge, we must stick to certain practices and have decided to keep the trees not only because they are the foundation of the shorelines of Lake Garzacocha, but home to numerous wildlife species. The trees are also quite young still and they are not ready to be cut down even if we decided to do so. We hope you and all of our future guests can understand and respect the importance of the nature that surrounds us.

We apologize for the troublesome ceiling fans and lack of no-slip mats for our showers. We are currently ordering mats for each room. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. As for the French L’Occitane amenities, there is always more available upon request.

Whenever guests visit the lodge we offer rubber boots, or “wellies”. After guests are finished using them, it is standard for us to wash and disinfect them inside and out.

Indeed, the Hotel Manager on duty during the time of your stay did not speak English, but each of our guides do. Our guides spend most of their time with guests, even accompanying them to meals to make sure that all is ok with our passengers during their stay. We always strive to accommodate our guests the best we can.

As explained from the very first introduction given when arriving to La Selva, the diversity of the wildlife is much larger than the density of the wildlife. One must expect the unexpected because as the guides explain, you never know what you may see. From our guide reports during the time you visited, we can see that many rare animals were seen including, Boa Constrictors, Tangaras, Toucans, the “Leoncillo” monkey, “Chichico” monkeys, Howler Monkeys and even a sloth which is extremely difficult to find, amongst other insects, frogs and birds.

Office Assistance:

It is part of our standard process to reconfirm services with our passengers and Christian did so on Dec 3rd so that your vouchers and e-tickets would be given by our representative at the airport. As part of our services, we always have a representative at the airport giving all the necessary assistance to our passengers with documents, airline check-in, and instructions for your trip.

We apologize for Christian not sending you the general voucher in advance. We are making all the corresponding corrections in order to avoid this misfortune occurring again.

When you contacted us, our sales manager was who assisted you and she confirmed the pick-up time immediately. Our operations department always calls our passengers the day before departure, around 5 to 6 pm to provide all the proper information for the next day’s transfer. Unfortunately, you called before we the time that we normally call to confirm.

Regarding the flight, we have checked with our operations department and we had your reservation confirmed. The reason for the confusion is because a double booking was made. This is why you had a delay when checking in and entering the VIP lounge where our passengers wait for the flight back to Quito.

We always look after our passengers to ensure only the best service. Christian called you to inform you that the booking at the hotel was done and to check if you needed any additional any service. At the last minute, you decided you wanted an extra hotel night in Quito, which Christian reserved and offered a courtesy (free of charge) transfer as well.

At La Selva Amazon Ecolodge & Spa we always do everything we can to continuously improve our services and your feedback has been highly appreciated.

Sincerely,
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge & Spa
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2014

This part of the amazon basin is extraordinary. The lodges in inaccessible areas such as this are basically cruise ships, and rightly so. You venture forth each day, penetrating and absorbing what you can of the environs. A good home base (ship) will support and augment your experience. In an alien and mildly hostile, environment, such as this, you would expect daily briefings and lectures on where you are and what you should be looking for so that the daily expeditions are building on a familiarity and allow for more nuanced and detailed learning. Not so at Selva. Too bad. The lodge itself is quite nice, food decent, all things considered, and the setting is sublime. Service was disappointing, but then again, consider where you are. Still, the manager could have been more like a good cruise ship host and shown interest in his passengers and their experiences.

Still we had an extraordinary experience thanks to our guide Rodrigo who is among the few if not the only indigenous bi-lingual guide in the area. Not knocking the non-native expert guides, but to experience this place with someone who has lived in it his whole life, who has learned to imitate heaven knows how many bird calls, monkey cries, who has hunted with a blow gun and so on, is taking the game to a whole other level. Get him if you can and further try to limit your group to 2 - 6 people who are like minded, especially if you are even mildly interested in birds. He is a first-rate birder. Without trying we logged nearly a hundred species of birds and with some effort and patience all seven species of monkey and even two-toed sloths. That is some eyesight. And kudos as well to our other indigenous albeit non-bilingual guide, Sergio, who was also great - he even tolerated my Spanish. Like Rodrigo, he saw some stuff that I swear he had to plant the night before, like the sloth.

The same advice holds true if you can't get Rodrigo. Keep it small. The other guides seemed knowledgeable and enthusiastic, but to a degree you need to direct the agenda if you wish to avoid all the introductory niceties that would have been better served up over beer at the lodge (photos included).

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LaSelvaEcolodge, Guest Relations Manager at La Selva Amazon Ecolodge, responded to this review, February 4, 2014
At La Selva Amazon Ecolodge & Spa, we make it very important that upon arrival all guests are given an introduction to the lodge and all activities. At the end of each day, guides are also required to sit down with their group of guests and brief them about the next day's activities.

We will look into this and make sure the the briefings are more clear, in a more comfortable, at ease environment for guests and if needed, more often as well. We appreciate your comments and feedback and will do all we can to improve our services.

Sincerely,
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge & Spa
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2014

Our four day visit to La Selva was special primarily because of Diana our naturalist guide and Henry our native guide. Both were enthusiastic and very, very knowledgeable about the Amazon, its flora and fauna. At our request Henry delighted in showing us (via Diana's translation) how different plants were traditionally used for medicinal purposes or for building and hunting. Diana spoke excellent English and dined with us at every meal. Meals were excellent and there was plenty to eat.

Visitors need to be prepared for the 2 hour plus boat ride from Coca to the Lodge however it is a comfortable ride along which you are provided food and beverages. If wind affects your ears you might want to take ear plugs as the boat is open air (with canopy) and it travels fast.

Although a couple we were given a family room which was spacious. All rooms have ceiling fans and fly-screens as opposed to glass windows. Mosquito nets are over each bed however we did not require them. We had a resident cockroach in the bathroom but i guess you can expect insects in the jungle.

Upon arrival guests are met with a welcome drink and PowerPoint presentation that introduced the Amazon and its inhabitants. It also briefly introduced you to the itinerary and what is available at the lodge.

The lodge was quiet when we visited although we were advised that recently there was a corporate group was in residence. I can imagine a corporate group could spoil the ambiance of La Selva as sound travels so easily in the remote location. I certainly would not have felt so comfortable with a large group in residence.

Prior to visiting we had met two couples who had returned from the Amazon (not La Selva) who were riddled with bites. The bites were not from mosquitoes but from a ground dwelling insect that likes to crawl up legs, arms etc and bite sensitive skin areas i.e. behind the knees. These bites were very sensitive and itchy up to a week later. We were very concerned about the risk of exposure to these insects but were assured upon arrival at La Selva that we didn't have to worry and they were right. We didn't even have issues with mosquitoes.

Experiences - the visit to the local family farm was a highlight with the opportunity to taste local indigenous food and drink. Handicrafts made by the family were also available for purchase however there was not pressure to buy.

The treetop tower was fabulous for spotting birds. You spend a few hours there so make sure you have binoculars to get the best experience possible. From the tree tops the orapendulars were busy feeding their chicks so some close up photo opportunities were available.

The nocturnal walk was interesting. I would highly recommend a good torch or headlamp and a fly net as the insects like to fly into the light.

All in all there is a great diversity of animals but not density so you have to have patience. The lodge is still transitioning from a full restoration with the butterfly enclosure still to be done. Of all the attractions this was disappointing. I have seen better butterfly enclosures in Australia, larger and with more species of butterfly. In its present state it lets the resort down.

If you have the time, a massage in the jungle spa is memorable and relaxing.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LaSelvaEcolodge, Guest Relations Manager at La Selva Amazon Ecolodge, responded to this review, February 4, 2014
Thank you for writing your review on our listing for La Selva Amazon Ecolodge & Spa.

It is true that no matter where you go in the jungle, you will still find insects. Our staff works extremely hard to keep our guest´s rooms clean and spotless, although every once in a while insects may still find their way into the suites in the short time frame that a door or window may be open. It is certainly not uncommon, but on the other hand, we will continue to do our best to eliminate this from happening and to ensure our guests a restful nights sleep with no worries about unwanted guests in their rooms.

Regarding the Butterfly Farm, we are still in the process of restoration to make it even more wonderful than it already is. We have come a long way from what it was before and we look forward to the continued improvements and finished product! As always, we appreciate all comments and feedback and look forward to improving our services.

Sincerely,
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge & Spa
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Exeter, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2014

Fantastic guides. Diana and Tao made our trip. Capable of spotting animals of all shapes and sizes and very knowledgeable. We were very lucky to have to ourselves as the lidge was so quiet. Food was also very good and the wildlife was always surprising?!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coquitlam, Canada
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2014

Spent 3 nights here and would have liked to spend more.

Our guides Diana and Sergio were incredibly enthusiastic and really added to our enjoyment of the trip. As Diana likes to say "it is not a zoo" and the animals do not show up on schedule but we still managed to see 3 types of monkeys, pigmy marmosets, countless birds and more. When you thought there was nothing around Sergio would find a frog or insect which Diana would tell us all about and glowingly describe are "beautiful" - even the tarantulas Sergio coaxed out of their holes with a small stick.

It is the rain forest - so be prepared to be hot and very sweaty in the humidity. One day the rains came and it mostly poured - the lake rose 4 feet overnight. But Diana took us for quick expeditions between the downpours. Sergio took us up a very narrow stream in the canoe that is only navigable (barely) right after a heavy rain. We literally had to duck and lean side to side to avoid the branches, and we only got the canoe stuck twice!. And there was Yoga in the main building during the heaviest rain.

Food and room were outstanding and very luxurious, but the main draw for me is the jungle. When you go spend some time looking at all the different layers of vegetation and the incredible variety of plants and trees in the very dense jungle.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birdsview, Washington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2014

We can no longer recommend La Selva to other nature-loving ecotourists.

On the positive side: the setting is spectacular, the observation tower is splendid, birding by canoe is idyllic, the food was great, and the native guides are excellent.

However, the renovations and changes that have taken place since we were there in 2009 are more geared to spa-seekers and business retreats than to people interested in a true jungle experience.

Why we say that: A bunch of people from some corporation was holding a retreat in the main lodge for the first 24 hrs we were there, with very loud speakers blasting movies, music videos, powerpoint presentations, and other talks across the compound and the lake throughout the day, during lunch and dinner, and on until 11 PM. Although the manager and nature guide had emphasized quiet enjoyment of the sounds of the jungle in their introductory remarks to us, the managers seemed to have no control over the loud group (or any real desire to quiet them), despite our complaining several times. I even got up from the dinner table to go upstairs to ask the noisy group to stop using a loud microphone, only to find that it was the manager himself using the microphone instead of speaking quietly to the group. He was very pissed off at my interruption and did not apologize then or later. The same group carried on in drunken revelry until after 1 AM, when they stumbled noisily into their cabins. Not a pleasant experience for all the other visitors trying to sleep or listen to the wonderful night sounds. We were delighted when the noisy group departed, but the next night we were awakened at 10 PM by the screeching of a loud motor. It was a staff member running a gasoline-powered floor polisher on the lodge floors. It was VERY loud. My husband even got out of bed and went to complain, only to be blocked entry to the lodge by a night security guard who had no sympathy.

Another bad sign of the changed focus of the lodge was the paucity of nature books on hand for visitors to browse!

Also, the renovations to the lodge and cabins are more fitting for a luxury spa in a city. Much of the cozy, rustic feel that we found so charming in 2009 has been lost.

Although our group of four still had a wonderful time there, La Selva is no longer a prime destination for eco-tourists in our opinion.

Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katie B B, Public Relations Manager at La Selva Amazon Ecolodge, responded to this review, January 24, 2014
On behalf of La Selva Amazon Eco-lodge & Spa, we are very sorry to hear that you were disappointed in your stay.

We have indeed made many improvements to our lodge, including our accommodations with only the very best intentions of further satisfying our guests. These changes included entire refurbishments of the accommodations while keeping the idea of inviting and integrating the surrounding jungle sounds and sensations into the accommodations, but without bringing the jungle itself into your room.

The changes we have made at La Selva have been no more geared to business gatherings or spa-seekers than they are to everyday people interested in wildlife deep in the jungle.
Actually, it is not our custom to house large corporate groups or organizations. It is very rare to have these types of groups because La Selva was not created with that vision and neither do we target those types of markets. Our purpose is to provide an Ecolodge in a relaxing atmosphere while delivering excellent opportunities to experience the Ecuadorian Amazon.

We would like to apologize if our nighttime Security Guard seemed to lack understanding; they are always polite and friendly but must be strict when it comes to the safety of staff and guests. Nevertheless, please understand that safety is our number one priority at La Selva.

At La Selva Jungle Lodge, we do not operate any gasoline powered equipment anywhere on the premises due to ecological standards. Additionally, our staff does not have permission to operate equipment or clean past strict daylight hours in order to prevent unwanted clamor that can take away from the wonderful night sounds or disturb guests during their free time. We express great regret to know that you were disturbed at such a late hour.

Also, the latest we allow our bar open is until 10PM. After 10PM, our bar manager will politely let guests know that the bar is closing and if further assistance is needed. We apologize for any inconveniences and we can be sure that this will not be a situation that will happen again anytime in the future.

Regarding the availability of books, guests are always more than welcome to borrow from our growing collection.

We hope that you accept our most sincere apologies regarding the situations you experienced at La Selva Lodge. We do everything to continuously improve our services and your feedback is highly appreciated.

Sincerely,
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge & Spa
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Selva Amazon Ecolodge

Address: 265 Foch and 6 de Diciembre, Sonelsa Building 6th Floor, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Yasuni National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Yasuni National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — La Selva Amazon Ecolodge 4*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge is the perfect Reserve for all kinds of travelers. We offer naturalists - wildlife tours, special birdwatching programs, honeymoon trips and family excursions, all in harmony with the rainforest around you.At La Selva, guests are given the opportunity to explore intricate trail systems led by both a local Native Guide and a bilingual Naturalist Guide divided into small groups in order to maximize overall experiences. La Selva’s guides are the key to fulfilling and captivating outings because they already know the area well hearing, seeing and even smelling things guests cannot, they are passionate about the jungle and their years of experience make all the difference between an acceptable tour and an astounding tour in the Amazon.Native guides are from the local communities and behold an awesome amount of ancestral knowledge about the AmazonThe Naturalist Guides that lead guests through the Amazon are bilingual and have studied and trained for many years in order to become a Naturalist and National Park certified guide. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Selva Jungle Hotel Yasuni National Park
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge Ecuador/Yasuni National Park

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