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“A disappointment” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge

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Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge
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Yanez Pinzon N26 -131 y la Nina. Edificio Las Carabelas, oficina 101, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador   |  
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Lincoln, United Kingdom
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“A disappointment”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

We spent 4 nights at NWC in March 2013 and our experience failed to meet expectations.
It's in a beautiful setting, our room (suite) was very comfortable and the food and lodge service were up to standard.
But the main reason for visiting was for the wildlife. We found viewing opportunities disappointing and rather limited and our guides, although very nice, were not brilliant. The trip to the licks and cultural centre were quite frankly a waste of time. We were on a private tour, but were still herded in with a large group for this particular trip and couldn't do our own thing.
NWC is really geared to larger groups and is very regimented. We had already had a great introduction to the Amazon basin when we went to Manu in Peru (where the parrot/macaw lick is vastly superior and provides overall a much better Amazon experience by far). NWC is definitely not for the individual/more experienced wildlife traveller.
Maureen & Terry Kedgley

Room Tip: A waterside suite is recommended
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
NapoWildlifeCenter, Guest Relations Manager at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this review, April 15, 2013
We are very sorry to hear your Napo trip was not as you had hoped.
Regarding viewing opportunities we never guarantee sightings as you can imagine being the jungle such things are beyond our control, that being said this area is rich in biodiversity and with the Kichwa Añangu Community having banned all hunting sightings are more likely here than in other parts of Ecuador and our guests spend much of the day in the jungle to optimise potential and enjoyment. The full day in which you referred to whilst visiting the clay licks is really packed regarding activities, leaving at 6am and returning to the lodge at around 4pm, so for this reason we do have to more or less keep to schedule unless it has been pre arranged to do something different, we do not allow too many people to visit at once to avoid them from feeling overcrowded, however at times when both NWC and Yasuní eco-lodge are full obviously you will find more people there. Regarding the women´s cultural center we only have one group at a time, we are sorry to hear this wasn´t interesting to you as we usually have a great response from guests who enjoy learning about the culture and was of life of the Kichwa people. I would suggest to other guests coming to NMW that they check the itinerary beforehand and if there is anything that doesn’t interest them like clay licks or cultural activities to let us know in advance and we can arrange something more else.
We thank you for your comments which are always valued by NWC
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305 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    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 (97)
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English first
West Point, New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

My family of 4 (kids are 8 and 9) travelled to Napo last month (March). With the price tag, I nervously anticipated this to be a the trip of a lifetime for my family. I would say afterwards that it met and exceeded my high expectations. I can see that some negative reviews have been posted in recent weeks. Most of the comments I cannot relate with or did not experience the same thing. I stayed 4D/3N. All of us caught traveller's diarrhea w/in the 1st 24hrs but we took our meds and were not greatly impeded by this. My 9 year old was a bit feverish w/ headache and malaise but that also passed.

Our assigned guide Delfin was amazing. He has superpowers for spotting game as did the Añangu guide Patricio. Delfin speaks great English and he himself is Quichua, the regional ethnic group. With a firm footing in the modern world, he still has a deep connection to the traditional ways of the Quichua which still exists in the most remote places in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

We are easy to please. We didn't have our heart set on any particular species. I can get excited about anything from a parrot to a leaf cutter ant. This is a rainforest. Many places to hide. If you get the glimpse of what you want to see, then you are very lucky. Photography is as challenging here as anywhere and I enjoyed that challenge. I don't understand how some commenters expect it to be automatic just because they paid a certain price. I don't know what to tell you other than go to a zoo if you want guarantees.

I will say we had exclusive access to our guides. We were not in a group. I would have had a much lesser experience in a large group. Some excursions were very early in the morning and rigid about being on time and for good reason. There was also flexibility later on. If you want to go on a longer walk over terra firma forrest, you can. If you want to do a short night walk, the guides were fine w/ that. Very cool stuff to see at night by the way.

As far as luxury deep in the rainforest... c'mon! Think of the logistics! Everything comes in by man-powered canoe down the creeks to include the gas tanks, hot water heaters, and everything else. Don't expect a long hot shower. Enjoy your refreshing lukewarm shower and relish the remoteness... or go back to the luxury African safari. It's also very humid here compared to savanna Africa. That makes it much harder to maintain. If a downpour turns you off, I might recommend Tanzania during the dry season.

Tips... yeah, kind of high on top of the price but I paid recommended because Delfin and Patricio showed us so many great things I can't even put a price on it (tree boa, red tail boa, anaconda, macaws, sloths, monkeys, katydids, tarantula etc etc.) If you get a lame guide, don't pay a dollar. Enough said. There are behind-the-scenes actions that make this a better experience. Getting out of the canoe and enjoying fresh tropical juices is a nice treat. We also very much enjoyed the guides company at all meals. We enjoyed learning from them. We had plenty of questions. If you can't maintain a conversation, you're short on curiosity.

The Napo experience was a lot of money. Never felt for a second it wasn't worth it. Running this lodge is not cheap and no one is getting rich from it. Everything was taken care of at all times. Our cabana was right on the lake, I would recommend that. We are still experiencing this trip as our kids are doing projects in school based on their unique experience. I hope you have the same type of experience we did and I hope you recognize and appreciate the threat Yasuni is under from encroaching oil industry.

Room Tip: Request a cabana on the lake. Maybe more money but beautiful view.
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  • Stayed March 2013, 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NapoWildlifeCenter, Guest Relations Manager at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this review, April 12, 2013
What a great review and I have to say we agree with your every word, we are really pleased you enjoyed your Napo stay and that your children also have nice memories and can put their newly gained knowledge about the jungle into use.
Hey if you want to come back why not enter our Facebook photo competition to win a free holiday!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

We did a 5 day, 4 night trip to NWC (March 28 – April 1) after our time on the Galapagos. After reading some recent negative reviews about NWC that seemed to be related to guides and staff, I am happy report that our experience was top notch. The guides, staff and accommodations were just great. At the Quito airport we are met by NWC staff who looked after our check in and boarding passes. It’s a 30 minute flight on a 737 (Aerogal) to Coca where we were met by NWC staff and transferred to the dock area where we met our guide Delfin. It’s then a 90 minute ride down the Napo River to the welcome area where we transferred to the paddled canoes for the trip up Anangu Creek. Unfortunately it poured rain the whole 2 hour trip up the creek, but our guides still pointed out 4 species of monkeys a tree boa and other wildlife.

We (wife and 13 year old son) had cabin #16 right down by the lake (on stilts above the water) which had a beautiful view of the lake. The room was very nice and even had a back deck with a Jacuzzi! The shower was nicer than ours at home with lots of on-demand hot water. The beds were very comfortable with a ceiling fan. Sleeping was never a problem. I love the night chorus of frogs and insects.

The food was good but not exceptional as previously described. Remember though that EVERYTHING gets paddled in up the same creek that you do. The bartender Marcello was really friendly and helpful. All of the other staff were pleasant and attentive. We didn’t see any tension among any of the staff.

Our guides, Deflin (bilingual) and Patricio (local) were exceptional. I can’t say enough good things about them. Delfin was also Kitchwa himself and was “raised in a small jungle village” (his words). They both spent a lot of time explaining the local plants, and cultures from their own personal experiences. One time they heard peccaries off the trail and offered to take us “off route” to find them. My son saw several, including a baby very close up. These guys saw stuff that we would never have noticed. On some of the walks and paddles, we saw lots of stuff and on others less. That’s life with nature. The morning and afternoon excursions were never rushed but be prepared for 5 am and 5:30 am wake up calls! In the end, we saw 8 species of monkeys and more types of birds than you can imagine. We also saw some very cool bugs and a kinkajou on our night walk. We’ve been to similar places in Costa Rica (Drake Bay) and Belize (Pooks Hill) and would put this in a similar category (great).

NWC does have its’ idiosyncrasies as others have noted. Chiefly, you always tour and eat with the same guides and group of visitors. For us that was fine since it was just the 3 of us and our guides, but for other groups with mixed interests and physical abilities, it was more of a challenge for them. I’d encourage you to make your interests and abilities clearly known to the NWC when you book your trip so that you can hopefully get paired with a similar group. If you are 2 people and wait until you get there, it might be too late. Bring cash for tips for the guides and the other staff. They deserve it!

Room Tip: Lakefront rooms are great, especially 15/16.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NapoWildlifeCenter, Guest Relations Manager at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this review, April 10, 2013
Thank you for your review, we are pleased to hear you had a great time at Napo, as you noted all our staff are attentive and welcoming and always try to help wherever possible. Please feel free to tell your friends about your experience and we hope you always remember your time at Napo fondly
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Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013 via mobile

Visiting NWC was a truly memorable experience. The staff attempt to group people with similar interests. There were a few groups of passionate bird watchers, for example.
Our objective was to see a broad spectrum of the life forms found in this part of the world. Our guide Daniela, together with Javier and Boliver ( the hard working indigenous paddlers, who transported us on non-motorised canoes for hours each day) helped us see 9 of the possible 13 types of monkeys, together with birds, insects and plants.
We stayed in room 13, which was well worth any extra cost.
While the 5 am wake up calls were a shock to the system, you have to be guided by the staffs ability to know when you will see the wildlife. The food was always tasty and plentiful. The staff were, for the most part, friendly and helpful. Pedro, the manager, was a standout.
There was an element of "don't mention the war", as our guide did not elaborate on the reasons that swimming in the lagoon has been banned (caiman attack, as per other posts).
The visit to the Kichwa cultural centre was interesting and informative, but I was saddened to see the children (aged 1 to 5) being fed on large bags of potato chips and other junk. I feared for the impact of tourism on the indigenous, and the long term impact of the money flowing into the community.
Being Australian, I was uncomfortable with being guided as to how much to tip each staff member. I would much prefer to tip for exceptional service, and not just tip for someone doing their job. In the end, we tipped, but the majority of guests either did not, or else did so privately.
All in all, I highly recommend NWC. Take bug spray, be prepared to get wet (it is the rain forest), and to be woken up early. But also be prepared to experience undisturbed nature at its very best.

Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NapoWildlifeCenter, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this review, April 5, 2013
Thank you for your review, we are pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay with us. Our guests opinions are always listened to and we have taken on board your comments. We hope you always remember your Amazon holiday
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San Francisco, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

A great place. It's not luxurious like a 5 star hotel, but it's hard to imagine being kept more comfortable or served better food in the middle of the Amazon. And it's not a zoo – the animals are often up in the trees or skittering away as soon as you see them, but our Kichwa guide, Meliton, was incredible; he would see things that were totally camouflaged to us, and track hidden animals by sound and smell when all I could hear was the rain and all I could smell the forest. We saw 4 kinds of snakes, 7 kinds of monkeys, caiman, giant otters and countless bird and insect species. Our naturalist Diana was also great - cheerful, helpful, knowledgeable. So yes, they do ask you your preferences and then as far as I could tell they take you on what they'd already planned, but it was great, so we didn't mind. And yes, you do get put with a group of people for your entire stay so if you are grouped up with someone obnoxious it might be unpleasant, but mostly if you are into this kind of trip you are probably going to get along fine with others who have the same preference – everyone we met at the lodge was enjoyable and into the spirit of the place. The only negative is the tipping: at the end it is "suggested" that you leave fairly high tips and I think most of the guests would have preferred higher initial fees and lower suggested tips, as your final impression of the place is all the awkwardness and pressure that goes into tipping. On the other hand, service at the lodge was outstanding in all respects, so maybe the system is working just fine.

I appreciated reading before I left the comments by the reviewer on March 4, 2013 regarding items to bring with you; it is advice worth following. I will add 3 things NOT to bring.
1) Hiking boots. Your boots are inadequate for the mud and thorns; the lodge will give you big rubber boots for hikes, and all you need are sneakers or sandals for wearing on the boats and around the lodge.
2) Rain coat. Your raincoat will be less effective then the ponchos that they will give you to wear.
3) Mosquito head nets. Bring thin long sleeves to wear if you are sensitive to bites, but the mosquitoes weren't bad at all, and insect repellant was sufficient.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NapoWildlifeCenter, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this review, April 3, 2013
Hi, thank you for your review, we are really pleased you enjoyed your stay with us and genuinely value your comments as they are not only helpful to us but other travellers can benefit greatly from the constructive comments made. A report has recently been submitted to our management team containing any common comments made by guests in order to improve our service.
Please feel free to share your experiences with your friends or even enter our photo competition on facebook to win a free holiday.
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La Jolla
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

My wife and I just got back from a 2 week trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos. The first days we stayed in the Napo Wildlife Center and found it to be excellent. The food was great, the lodge was clean and well maintained and the staff were friendly and helpful. Although it was the rainy season in the Amazon we went at this time to get the calm seas in Galapagos making it a tough choice. However the rain was inter-dispersed with good weather enough to see wildlife although we did not visit the clay lick due to rain. One should recognize that seeing wildlife in the rain forest is extremely difficult even under the best conditions. A few tips to those considering a visit that we pulled off trip advisor that were great. First pick rooms 13 or 14 for the most remote "in the forest" location and bigger rooms. Second, if you can pay extra for a private boat and guide so you wont have to be tied to the desires and schedules of the other visitors at the lodge unless you really want to mix with other folks who might have very different interests from yours. There is still time to interact with others at happy hour and dinner!

Room Tip: Rooms 13 & 14 are in the best location and are suites!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NapoWildlifeCenter, Guest Relations Manager at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this review, April 3, 2013
Hi

Thanks so much for you review, we really appreciate your comments and are glad you had a great time, please fell free to tell your friends about us.
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Bergerac, France
Top Contributor
588 reviews 588 reviews
128 hotel reviews
Reviews in 215 cities Reviews in 215 cities
308 helpful votes 308 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

Difficult to rate... This is an eco lodge... No aircon; limited facilities; simple accommodation; no swimming pools; comfortable beds etc.... On a lake; 2 hrs by canoe from the landing stage which is in itself 2 hrs by powered longboat from Coca. It is remote. Run by/on behalf of local indigenous people there were some obvious tensions between staff members. Service was good. Food in the lodge was very good and plentiful although picnic food was poor- soggy roll; crisps and a carton of drink. Guide was highly knowledgeable but more of a very experienced amateur who could not really answer questions outside of his own limited area of expertise. All staff very helpful and pleasant despite the tensions in the team. Wildlife viewing was, as on previous Amazon trips, difficult as the lush greenery allows most animals to hide from view. However, lots of monkeys, birds and occasional otters and caiman... As an Amazon experience this rated well against my previous experiences in Brazil. But beware,,, this is not like an African safari! Final billing process is from the 1800's.... needs updating....

Room Tip: Room 5, on the lakeside away from the landing jetty is probably the best position.... Rooms 11 and 1...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NapoWildlifeCenter, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this review, March 20, 2013
Thank you for your recent review we are pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay at NWC. As you have mentioned we are an eco lodge and therefore facilities such as swimming pools and air conditioning are of course out of the question although we do pride ourselves on cleanliness, comfort and luxury, all within realistic possibilities.

It is true that we have undergone a change in management which of course would involve a period of adjustment, however our service staff are very professional and we feel work together as a team to offer the best service possible. Our guides are well trained and knowledgeable in their field and are subject to strict licensing laws enforced by the environment minister. They are obliged to attend training courses regularly meaning that they are constantly improving their guiding skills and have the support they need to work on areas of weakness if any should exist.

I hope this response been of help to you and thank you again for your valuable comments.
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Additional Information about Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge

Address: Yanez Pinzon N26 -131 y la Nina. Edificio Las Carabelas, oficina 101, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
Phone Number:
Location: Ecuador > Yasuni National Park
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Yasuni National Park
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Napo Wildlife Center offers visitors a number of vantage points from which to admire and experience the spectacular, awe-inspiring diversity of the Amazon Basin. Climb the 120-ft. high galvanized-metal stairs to the jungle tower for otherwise impossible eye-to-eye views of canopy dwellers such as monkeys, eagles and macaws…Spy on clay licks teeming with parrots and occasionally visited by jungle cats or a magnificent elephant-muzzled tapir…Experience Man’s ageless interaction with the jungle through the native community’s perspectiveEnjoy evening walks to witness the astounding nightlife of the dense, entangled understory…Explore the many trails through “terra firme”, “varzea” and swamp forest in search of the best that Amazonia has to offerBe it from the ground up, or from the canopy down, from hidden viewing blinds to silent paddling up black-water creeks, we deliver the biggest most intricate picture possible of this wonderful world. Napo Wildlife Center not only provides the educated perspective of bilingual guides but also the hands-on knowledge of the true guardians of Añangu, who live and witness the marvels of their jungle home every day. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Napo Wildlife Centre Hotel Yasuni National Park
Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge Ecuador/Yasuni National Park

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