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“Ecuador with a Personal Touch”

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San Jorge Eco-Lodge & Botanical Reserve
Ranked #27 of 116 Hotels in Quito
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 17, 2013

We very much enjoyed our experience with the Cruz family's introduction to Ecuador. We stayed in Quito and also Tandayapa. All the meals were excellent and the filtered water provided to refill the initial water bottles was totally reliable. We did not suffer even one intestinal butterfly. The Quito lodge is actually at the edge of and just above he city, and now a long way from the new airport and also quite far from the old town. It seems to serve mostly as transitional lodging for tourists going to the other venues but is extremely beautiful. The rooms are very old in the historic sense and suffer from understandable limitations. We welcomed the space heater. The main lodge, however, including the dining room and patio, is beautiful. For meals we were seated with other visitors, and enjoyed the contacts.

We opted for a mountain bike tour on our way to Tandayapa from the small town of Nono and had a great time. Our guide was Jorge, the oldest Cruz son and he is bright, interesting, responsible, considerate and a recently graduated from college in the U.S. The mountain bikes were good enough, the route is not difficult (unpaved road, some mud and rocks, maybe two hills); but I would say it helps to have done a little cycling before.

Tandayapa is indeed magical. We upgraded our room and had windows on three walls. We are not birders, but found the birdlife and guided walk fascinating. Take some bug stuff, there are no see-ums and a few mosquitos (no malaria, however.) We also found that both Quito and Tandayapa could be quite cool. Take some layers of warmer clothing just in case.

Room Tip: Open your minds to a new experience, opting for the end room in Tandayapa (windows on three sides) w...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank merilyu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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167 - 173 of 344 reviews

Reviewed March 25, 2013

March, 2013

We took the Magic Birding Tour and returned with some great bird pictures. While the Quito lodge has lots of old world hosteria charm and the Milpe lodge is in the rain forest, our favorite was Tandayapa. It was magical with so many varieties of hummingbirds hovering around, as well as other birds! The birding photo tours were small groups, which is really nice. The food was a nice variety of local foods, wonderfully prepared and presented so artistically!

Room Tip: The new Milpe Lodge should be really nice like the Tandayapa Lodge.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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6  Thank BirdingSister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2013

We spent a week, seeing San Jorge, then Tandalayapa, Milpe, and back to San Jorge. Were either by ourselves or with two other tourists. While that has advantages, it also was kind of an isolated feeling. Lovingly prepared meals were great. The GI problems we went home with, weren't so great. (Remember your Cipro!!). At all three locations there were wonderful, plentiful hummingbirds. Especially at Tandalayapa, Stalin and family made the experience memorable by drawing in lots of beautiful tanangers with bananas, grain, and the hummingbird feeders. Accommadations at San Jorge were fine, exquisite at Tandalayapa (although we had a bat one night-no big deal, probably kept the misquito count down), and just adequate at Milpe. We had underestimated how difficult the combination of altitude and the very mountainous terraine would be on our almost 60 year old bodies. The 2 hour rides on 2 lane roads hugging sides of mountains followed by the last 20-30 minutes having our bodies tossed about on potholed paths that could hardly be called roads were also not so welcome. We also had somewhat unrealistic expectations for wildlife that their web site had fanned with "300 species of orchids"-we saw 2, "parrots and toucans"- we saw them, but at a great distance so that even my 300mm lens couldn't photograph them, and the many reptiles we would see at Milpe-we saw one species of little lizards only. Unlike most of the reviewers, we didn't find Jorge Cruz to be so helpful. He knew his birds, but was personally insulted if we didn't spot the birds he saw, or if we wanted to skip the rigorous hiking of his birdwalks. Once his ego was threatened, he reacted quite poorly. Most of the staff were very helpful. At least one of your party better speak passable Spanish, because the majority of the time there will be no interpreter present. Staff nearly all spoke Spanish only. Unfortunately we must have eaten some tainted food making our long trip home quite miserable and led to a couple more days of illness on return. I don't mean to frighten anyone away. It more than likely was a minor lapse in the strictly purified water routine. It can be a good trip, just go in with your eyes open and expectations not overly optimistic of seeing dozens of beautiful and exotic birds close by.

Room Tip: They were empty at all three places. We had paid the extra to get the great rooms although it was p...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank emrgncymd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Travel2Ecuador, Public Relations Manager at San Jorge Eco-Lodge & Botanical Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded March 20, 2013

Ecuador has 4700 orchid species. San Jorge has more than 300 species which do not all bloom at the same time. Commonly, dozens are blooming at each of our lodge gardens and hundreds in our private reserves. Orchid tours are detailed with several visits to different places, and in the wild. San Jorge has hundreds of birds. Some are tame at the feeders, while others are wild. Bring your camera and spotting scope to practice amateur digiscoping from a distance, or in front of the hummingbird and tanager feeders. Professional photographers will be comfortable with any quality of equipment they bring to work at the feeders. For perfect guiding, Dr. Cruz asks that people respect nature, with no flashes permitted. No laughing or talking loud while on tour as this will scare animals and birds away, to then ask why there are no mammals and birds so close by? Tour participants must listen and stick to the guides plan. For tours with less walking, ask for our Senior Easy Tours in advance when making your reservation, and not in the middle of the tour with other group participants waiting to go. In a rainforest, it rains; that is why it is so green and lush. Understand that unless the birds are tame at feeders which we count by dozens, that most birds are wild and are not waiting for their picture to be taken. For wild photography one needs reasonable visual capacity, otherwise you can miss the birds hiking in this enormous diverse forest, and it can be frustrating. San Jorge Reserves are located in wildlife world refuges and in the Choco Corridor, one of the most diverse places in the world. Everyone is welcome!

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Reviewed March 5, 2013

I stayed here because of its proximity to the old Quito Airport, now closed. The "hotel" is some sort of old country palace in attractive grounds on a fairly steep slope overlooking Quito.The rooms are a very basic and neglected, the "Queen Bed" is for a small queen (see photo of bed with standard size suitcase to get an idea), the washbasin stand leaked, but there was a small heater (many Ecuatorian hotels have no heating in rooms) and a fireplace seemed to be decorative (see photo).The wardrobe was woefully inadequate as clothes on hangers touched the floor (photo). Straight out of the grounds were some great walks and views (photo) which helped adjust to the altitude. Food was decent home cooking. Staff were friendly. There were some birds at and around the lodge, but few compared to more out of town places. Tremendous barking competitions from dogs in the village just below the grounds. These tended to abate around 11pm, with rare bursts during the night. Other than a birding stopover I wouldn't stay here to visit Quito as it's out of town up a rough track. As a place to recover from a long flight and adjust, then it's fine and has a rather old-world charm, particularly as it was empty most of the time. Unfortunately it's a long way from the new airport.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank cliffordchambers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Travel2Ecuador, Public Relations Manager at San Jorge Eco-Lodge & Botanical Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded March 13, 2013

Guests who visit San Jorge Eco-Lodge/Quito location want to be in a historical Ecuadorian environment at a private nature reserve verses a city hotel in downtown Quito. Our lodge is an 18th Century Spanish Hosteria with smaller rooms than our other newer lodges. San Jorge/Quito is decorated in Andes décor, has antique armoires for hanging clothes and the Queen sized beds are regular sized Queens. We also checked the reported sink leak and there was none but maybe water from the shower door got on the floor. Visitors at San Jorge/Quito spend most of their time hiking the trails, birdwatching and enjoying nature. This lodge is used as our base lodge for birding/hiking tours before heading to our Cloud Forest & Rainforest lodges/reserves. It’s the only place you can bird near the metropolitan city and spot up to 45 bird species a day including the Andes Condor.

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Reviewed March 2, 2013

I loved this atmospheric, quiet hotel with excellent birding, terrific service and a very knowledgeable and friendly proprietor, George Cruz whom we were lucky enough to have as our guide in both San Jorge Quito and San Jorge Tandayapa. The setting for the Quito lodge is amazing, you can't believe you're so close to a city of 3 million inhabitants. The birds are everywhere and George is a wonderful guide, full of information about the history, the biodiversity of Ecuador, the plants and their uses as well as the birds. He shares the visitors' excitement and is an excellent host. The only detraction for less active folks is that it is a long walk up hill from the lobby/dining rooms to the guest rooms but the beauty of the grounds makes that hike worth it.

Room Tip: There are guest rooms in the same building/level as reception and dining rooms which would be easier...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Susan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

This is not a typical hotel. It is located high above the city and requires a drive up very rutted road to get there. That said, the people are very nice and very helpful. The meals were among the best we've had in a month in Ecuador. The only problem was they served too much food a lot of the time! Yes, the bar service is spotty and time consuming. Some times there is no one around the office to get help from.

Room Tip: Some rooms are up a steep pathway. So, if you are not up to climbing ramps and stairs you should as...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank nhraven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2013

I can only echo what so many have already said about San Jorge Eco Lodges. If you are birding in Ecuador, and you definitely should, do not miss the lodges designed and run by Dr. Jorge Cruz. He and his lodges are amazing. If there is a bird to be fond anywhere, he will find it. His enthusiasm for the birds and for Ecuador itself are contagious. Shortly before leaving for a trip to the Galapagos with my two daughters and son in law, I realized we had couple fo extra days to fill. I called Cheryl, the US rep for the lodges. She was so helpful and in no time I had booked three nights. She suggested we stay at San Jorge Quito for one night, travel the Nono Mindo road and stay at San Jorge Tandayapa for two nights. Great ideas as we were able to see birds in several different ecosystems in a very short time.

Jorge was our guide throughout and was very accommodating of the fact that I am 72 and my daughter has an artificial knee. None of us were acclimated to the altitude but he made sure we were able to hike the trails by taking it slow and easy. My son in law had never done any serious birding but soon caught Jorge's enthusiasm and loved seeing all the new species we had never seen. After the second day, he was identifying them on his own! Jorge's knowledge is not limited to birds. He has a far reaching knowledge of plants and his beloved Ecuador as well.

On the Nono Mindo road he spotted several cocks of the rock. At Tandayapa he helped my daughter add 87 species to her life list, 47 of which she saw before breakfast!

The two lodges we visited were great. Very simply furnished but spotlessly clean and very comfortable. Definitely not luxurious but perfect for what we were doing. The bathrooms were also spotless and the showers had lots of pressure and hot water. Besides which, the views are spectacular. The Quito lodge is an old and historic hacienda. The Tandayapa lodge has breathtaking views and larger rooms, also excellent showers. Jorge definitely has a knack for finding wonderful bird laden properties and I have no doubt the Milpe lodge and the one in planning stages in Cotanga will be equally great.

The staff requires superlatives! Friendliest, hardest working, most helpful, most enthusiastic, etc. etc! Simply the best whether or not they spoke English. We were so lucky to have Jorge as our guide throughout, including a hike during which there was a 7.8 earthquake but we heard from other guests who were very knowledgeable birders that the other guides were excellent as well. And the food!!!! Menu created by Jorge's wife Irina. Freshest of everything, lots of fruits and vegetables and delicious, not to mention so artistically served. We had to keep taking pictures of our plates!

The only caveat I have is that there is a lot of climbing involved at both of the lodges we visited and I spent a lot of time panting. We hadn't had time to acclimate from the Galapagos and there are plenty of stairs between the rooms and the dining rooms of both lodges.

All in all, the ultimate compliment is that we definitely want to go back and stay for a much longer time!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank ShirleyW582
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about San Jorge Eco-Lodge & Botanical Reserve

Address: Km 4 Cotocollao-Nono Road, Quito 00000, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Pichincha Province > Quito
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Quito
#6 Family Hotel in Quito
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
San Jorge Eco-Lodge & Botanical Reserve/Quito (High Barren Plains/Highland Rainforest) 18th Century Spanish Hacienda located in the Pichincha Foothills offering airport transfers 24/7 or pick up from downtown Quito. Comfortable Andes hacienda rooms with private bath/hot shower, decorated in typical decor; game room, lounge, restaurant, bar and small museum. Free Wi-Fi offered in upper level rooms. We are the only private nature reserve near the city of Quito, situated on a 230 acre reserve, offering nature and complete relaxation, yet 25 minutes away. Explore our beautiful gardens, birdwatching & hiking trails, hummingbird feeders, delicious cuisine and views of 11 mountains & volcanos in the distance overlooking Quito. Pre-reserved guided tours are available for birdwatching, hiking & natural history, medicinal plants, cultural tours & add on extension cruises to The Galapagos Islands or Amazon Jungle. We also own San Jorge de Tandayapa Hummingbird Lodge & Sanctuary (Cloud Forest) & two Lodges at San Jorge de Milpe Orchid & Bird Reserve - San Jorge Cliff Lodge & NEW San Jorge Forest Lodge (Upper Tropical Rainforest) listed #1 in Trip Advisor. All private reserves & lodges are within 2 hours radius of Quito. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
San Jorge Eco-Lodge And Botanical Reserve
San Jorge Eco-Lodge & Botanical Reserve Hotel Quito

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