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“Not just for Birders - Fungi and Plants too!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Wildsumaco Lodge

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Wildsumaco Lodge
Tustin CA
Level Contributor
135 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Not just for Birders - Fungi and Plants too!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 18, 2012

Known as a birder's paradise, with almost 500 species seen on the property, we found that this lodge offers much more than some of the most unusual birds in the world. The lodge, their Biological Research Station and it's non-profit arm, the Rio Pucuno Foundation, conserve wonderful low cloud forest, much of it primary forest. Altitude ranges from about 4000 to 5000 ft. The range of plant life is bewildering and the fungi are abundant (at least in late May) and fascinating. We saw several species of large millipedes daily and enjoyed taking videos of them walking on the trail, and bothersome insects were few. We photographed many beautiful moths and butterflies. Most entertaining are the banks of Hummingbird feeders off the main deck, allowing easy viewing and photography of rare species. The deck also provides early morning and late afternoon entertainment by birds, monkeys and fine sunsets and views of the Antisana Volcano, when the ubiquitous clouds part for a while. A fine library of books in the Lodge helped ID what we saw, as did the owners and their guides. There are dozen trails for exploring and nature observing, more than we could complete in our four days there in May. Spanish speaking guides are available for about $35 per day and English speaking guide for about $150 per day.
We stayed four nights and completed about half of the trail system, took hundreds of  pictures, went out with a fine Spanish speaking guide on a morning Antpitta feeding walk, and left wanting much more time in this cloud forest.

The owners, Jim and Bonnie, are on site and eager to interact with guests, not only to answer questions (which are many) but also to help with bird ID and natural history information. Themselves avid birders who have lived many years in South America (their original home is the USA), they are committed to involving and employing local residents in all of their conservation efforts.

The Lodge holds about 20 guests. Rooms are large and outfitted with great lighting, electrical sockets, a large tale, a small desk and a couple of chairs. They are a short distance from a great room which serves as a living room with a giant fireplace, dining area, a bar and a library.

Three fixed hot meals are served restaurant style each day, delicious and pretty filling, with many typical Ecuadoran dishes. Coffee and tea are always available. One member of our group has special dietary needs and they were cheerfully accommodated.

Room Tip: All rooms at the lodge are equal. Rooms at the Bio Research station ate 15-20 minutes walk away from...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank ExplorerMundi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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35 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    27
    5
    3
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
67 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2012

Overall, a superb birding lodge. I stayed there during a period of very low bird activity but were still enjoyed a few good mixed flocks and lots of other interesting wildlife. The owners are very friendly and seemed to genuinely want to talk with us and hear our opinions on conservation, other bird lodges, etc. They were very accommodating to all our needs and we felt like family.

Most impressive is their set of goals for the area, which include extensive engagement of the scientific community in the states, building a new biological station up the road (now done!), engaging the local community, and actively managing the surrounding land for conservation ends.

A few caveats- I was not very pleased with the food, but it is better that what one can expect at a less upscale (or *more appropriately priced*) birding lodge. The mattresses in my room were very uncomfortable, but the spaciousness of the rooms and great showers (truly the best of any birding lodge) made up for this. For guests staying at the biological station, be forewarned that is pretty removed from the forest up the road and overlooks a pasture, unlike the lodge.

Overall, though, this lodge was a joy to stay at and bird. They have Plain-backed Antpittas coming in to be fed worms, easy access to great forest birds, superb tanager flocks, and a set of invertebrates and herps that beats anywhere higher up in the Andes or further down on the Napo river. Come for the Military Macaws and the Grey-tailed Piha, stay for the comfort and good company.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank wildlifephotog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Andover, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
72 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 21, 2011

Having birded extensively in Ecuador, I was keen to spend some time at the relatively new Wildsumaco Lodge. My husband and I engaged the services of Jonas Nilsson, a very talented and knowledgeable bird guide and co-owner of the property, who accompanied us from Quito to Wildsumaco, via one night at Guango Lodge at higher elevation. We then spent five nights at Wildsumaco, using Jonas' services for two days and then birding on our own the other two. We thoroughly enjoyed all our time spent in this forest reserve, exploring the six-kilometer gravel road up from the Loreto Road, walking the trails, watching hummingbird feeders, and just relaxing on the verandah, gazing out at the forested ridges beyond. I was recovering from total knee replacement, so I was a bit apprehensive about what the trails would be like, but I had no trouble on those I chose to negotiate. They are the best-constructed and -maintained trails of any property I have visited in Ecuador, thanks to the very energetic Jonas and his local staff. The lodge itself is top notch, with good food, comfortable and spacious rooms, and a great hot shower. All this is topped with the gracious hospitality and affability of the co-owners, Jim and Bonnie Olsen.
Jim, Bonnie, and Jonas are all invested in preserving as much of the local forest as they can. There is much virgin forest, secondary forest, and cattle/agricultural property along the approach road, and this all adds up to fabulous birding with many species unique to the eastern foothills. But, one caution: unless you are a highly skilled birder, experienced in tropical birding, who knows all the sounds and what to expect in each habitat, you will have trouble seeing most of the birds. Early morning activity fades after a few hours, and the rest of the day is given over to looking for feeding flocks (of which there were few during our stay) and slowly walking trails listening for forest specialties. To that end, we would urge those considering going to Wildsumaco on their own to hire Jonas as guide. He thoroughly knows his forest and the birds and their sounds, uses playback to bring them in, and can get a scope on a moving target as fast as anyone. Jonas is almost 100% responsible for my seeing as many birds as I did, and as well.
Lasty, I cannot pass over one of the best delights of staying at Wildsumaco -- the roar of the daily tropical showers on the tin roofs! I could go back just for that.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Buthraupis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MB-G
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 26, 2011

Aside from the nice rooms and wonderful view, The manager, Alejandro, was most helpful and the food was wonderful

Room Tip: Ask for a room where the water pressure is good for a shower
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank StrawberryP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Encinitas, California
Level Contributor
55 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2011

As stated by others rating Wildsumaco, this lodge is designed for and by birders. If you're looking for night life try elsewhere. If you're looking for a fine experience to be in the natural world, this is one great place. They (owners) have seen many other bird lodges and extracted their strong points and eliminated their weak ones to build one of their own which stands among the top birding lodges anywhere. The individual rooms are thoughtfully appointed and have very comfortable beds. The food is excellent. The hosts are themselves birders and go out of their way to accommodate the wishes of lodge patrons. The trails are well designed and maintained to a standard that equals or excels those of other places in similar habitats. They also have an excellent reference library in the common/dining room. Most highly recommended!

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank peterginsburg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yorkville, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2010

I was traveling to see birds - specifically hummingbirds - which were there in abundance in 2 locations with approximately 25 feeders and some attractive plantings. At least 14 different species were easily seen here! ( I saw well over 100 different species of birds there in a day without working too hard.)

This is a newly constructed lodge with comfortable simple rooms, good showers and bathrooms. Good hiking trails and more under constructions. Probably only dedicated birders will flock here, but you should know of the major birding sites within 200 miles this is one of the most comfortable! If you aren't hiking, the deck is a great place to sit with a drink or a book - relax and watch hummingbirds and look over the rainforest canopy.

It is also very good to know that this lodge is very, very active in local conservation by their protection of land & community involvement. The owners are great - friendly, knowledgeable and committed to wildlife and forest conservation.

I wouldn't go birding in Ecuador without including a couple days at Wildsumaco.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank pbgoodhart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mesa, AZ
Level Contributor
26 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 18, 2008

We stayed one night at this lodge. The room was large and beautiful with a fantastic bathroom.

The lodge was beautiful with stunning views of the valley. The food was very, very, good with a delicious chicken dinner, banana pancakes for breakfast, and wonderful sandwich as a boxed lunch.

The owners were very personable and helpful.

We are birders and we were there for the birds. The trails and hummingbird feeders were well maintained. The lodges location is perfect for birders headed toward the Napo River lodges.

  • Liked — Large rooms, great food
  • Disliked — Only stayed one day wish we could have stayed longer
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MesaAZBirder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Wildsumaco Lodge

Property: Wildsumaco Lodge
Address: Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary, Sumaco 150756, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Napo Province > Sumaco
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Sumaco
Number of rooms: 24

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