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“Like stepping into a page from National Geographic magazine!”

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Maquipucuna Reserve & Eco Lodge
Ranked #18 of 253 Specialty Lodging in Quito
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Beverly, Massachusetts, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Like stepping into a page from National Geographic magazine!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 18, 2013

My sweetheart and I traveled to the Maquipucuna Reserve with a group from the New England Wildflower Society. I grew up in northern NJ in the 1950s and now live north of Boston. The most exotic trip I ever went on as a kid was camping in Maine. Anything beyond that I only knew from the pages of National Geographic magazine. Maqui blew me away. Lush, green forests with brightly colored birds, peculiar animals and rushing rivers were spectacular sights, but I was most smitten by the simple, genuine friendliness of the people. Over the years I'd become accustomed to peers trying to out-class and out-splash each other. At Maqui, there were just people being people, all cooperating to make life more livable from one day to the next, epitomizing the concept of "commonwealth." Beyond the people, we stayed in a two-family cabin, with our own bathroom and a porch, set back from the main lodge, which was very peaceful and relaxing. Meals, taken outdoors under a roof, were unusual to my provincial palate, but very tasteful and healthful. Trails were clearly marked and the air was therapeutic just to breathe. If your lodging standards are lofty, hovering somewhere north of Hilton-esque, you'll be unsettled by Maqui's rustic rooms and facilities, but I challenge you to find any upscale hotel where you rub elbows with friendlier, more down-to-earth people. Before my days on Earth are done, one way or another, I'm going to find my way back to Maqui!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank Bill_Woolley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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54 reviews from our community

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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
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
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English first
Santiago, Chile
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 13, 2013

I have been to Maquipucuna twice!, after my first 1 month stay while doing my ecotourism internship i fell in love with this Reserve and everything about it, so as soon as i was able i went back for seconds. This is the real thing, a visionary dream of making a difference come true and you can see how every individual involved in Maquipucuna strives to constantly improve their operation in every way possible. What i find most impressive is the total involvement of the local community of Marianitas where most of the staff originates from, Arsenio the manager and sometimes guide is a great person and master birdwatcher!, complementary to the reserve they also have an organic and bird friendly finca with a Coffee and Banana plantation very fun to visit.

The biodiversity in the Cloud Forest is just unbelievable!, there is life 360 degrees everywhere you look!!; under you, above you and all around you!. the trails are a lot of fun and there are great spots for swimming in the river. During the night temperature drops drastically and you bundle up and fall asleep to the sound of the jungle.

I had the great luck of being there simultaneously with a group of doctors that goes frequently to do medical missions, i went with them as a spanish-english translator and was able to visit many small towns tucked away in the Choco Andes, unfailingly all the people you meet are warm and very generous. They also receive visits from schools and do different activities of environmental education with the children, they have some great volunteer programs as well!.
The food is reaaaaally good, everything was really tasty..there is this really awesome typical preparation that tastes kind of like a muffin but wrapped in banana leafs and cooked in boiling water. Finally, their vibe just makes you feel at home but away from home!.

I have very fond memories of everyone there and send them all my love from the Chilean Andes!!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank Annette B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Currently Living in New Jersey
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 20, 2013

We returned to Quito after our Galapagos guide JuanFe in 2011 had convinced us we had to see the Ecuadorian Amazonia if we were ever to return to Ecuador. So early the next day after arriving in Quito we made our way to the Macquipucuna Reserve. We were traveling with our 10 & 8 year old and we were hoping to keep them busy and engaged the entire trip (not that easy to do when you are competing with the memory of the Galapagos). Keeping an open mind and being prepared to see a different part of Ecuador we found ourselves in GREAT hands. Rebecca, Rodrigo and Arcenio were more than we could have hoped for with great information, patience and great ideas to keep us all in awe of Maqui. We were there for two days and two nights and had ample opportunity to hike almost all the beginner/intermediate hikes (including a night hike), play around the falls and swim in the river. They had amazingly fresh food and they had no problem accommodating my vegan diet. Macquipucuna is a an excellent example of sustainable tourism within Ecuador that not only talks the talk but walks the walk and it is fantastic!
DO NOT forgot to buy coffee from Rodrigo. It is truly comparable to the BEST coffee found in Manhattan!!! You will love your visit to Maquic

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank TracySchraven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 21, 2013

The best place we stayed in our 5 weeks of travel.
Everything was great from the moment we contacted them. Emails were responded to in a timely manner. Explanations were clear.
We were picked up from the airport and driven to the lodge. Before we met this driver we could have been convinced that road markings were purely aesthetic, signs and traffic lights were optional, and killing passengers was a national sport. But pleasingly we stayed on the correct side of the road within the speed limit, stopped for red lights, and avoided all objects (both stationary and moving).
The staff were great; one of our group had serious allergies to several foods, but we did not have to remind them when we arrived. The meals they had waiting for him was pre-planned to avoid poisoning. The cook was also very careful not to cross contaminate his meals (a rarity in South America).
The rooms were spacious, and the common areas had a great atmosphere. At night we enjoyed a drink at the bar over a game of cards while listening to the nearby river - total bliss.
The scientist (Roberto) who showed us the coffee plantation and took some of us bird watching was both knowledgeable and entertaining to talk with.
The walks were lovely,with plenty of pretty birds, and amazing butterflies and insects.
We wish we had stayed longer.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank Frogbabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
111 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 28, 2013

This was just what the doctor ordered and an absolute MUST DO if you have more than a couple of days in Quito!
We’d arrived sick in Ecuador from Costa Rica (2 adults and 2 kids 11 &13). After two days in Quito we were in need of some lower altitude and Maquipucuna was perfect. Almost immediately we started to feel better and our appetites came back.
I had booked a 3D/2N Classic Plus tour via the foundation before leaving Australia. Rebeca was very helpful in arranging everything for us via email including the bus from our hotel to the lodge. She even went as far as calling the hotel to tell us that the bus would be a few minutes late.
The trip out of Quito takes you past the mitad del mundo and if we’d wanted we could have stopped for a quick look. We opted not to and went straight on to the lodge. The journey takes you through the mountains on a very good road almost all the way. At one point you turn off onto another paved road which is slightly more winding but not precarious, there have been a couple of landslides in the past but its clear that the authorities are on the case pretty quickly. The final 7km are off road and are lovely taking you over the main river (Umchacca – or something similar) and across a few streams. All up the journey took about 2.5 hours.
The lodge itself is lovely and on arrival we were greeted by the manager and guide Arcenio who was just wonderful. There is a dining area downstairs where all the meals are served and upstairs is an open lounge /bar area. We had two rooms with private bathroom on the upper level of the lodge. There are other options such as a house if there are 6 of you or rooms without private bathroom in the lodge. The rooms were clean and spacious with 2 double beds in each room. The beds were the most comfortable we had slept on in the previous 6 weeks. The lodge is right next to the river so if you are a light sleeper or can’t deal with the noise of the water take earplugs. Personally I found it comforting. The food is excellent if a little too plentiful. The coffee served is their own shade grown organic coffee and is very good – in other places we were served instant coffee – ergh.
Arcenio is an amazing guide, able to spot the tiniest of birds in the darkest of places, he took us on numerous guided walks through the property. They provided us with wellington-/gum- boots to keep our walking shoes clean. Birds are in plentiful supply and depending on the weather you are likely to see toucan, motmots, quetzals and if luck a cock-of-the-rock along with multitudes of tanagers and tree creepers. We were out of spectacled bear season which was a pity but did not dampen our enthusiasm for the place at all. Next to the dining area there are hummingbird feeders where a variety of hummingbirds can be seen.
Arcenio also took us to their demonstration shade coffee plantation where the kids had an opportunity to pick the coffee cherries and then process them as far as the bean drying process.
On the trip back to Quito, Rodrigo, the owner came with us and we spent a great couple of hours talking about the foundation and the ideology behind it.
Would I go again? – absolutely even if the bears aren’t there. It’s a great place just to relax and read a book for a couple of days.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank CookCorn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2013

I stayed at Macuipucuna with a work colleague after a busy week of work in Quito and our two days/one night package was exactly what we needed. Some pretty good hikes (although the walks themselves did not feel like hard work at the time, my calves were suitably aching the next day), a fantastic guide who could spot birds and tropical creepy crawlies with accuracy - very educational hikes, and some fantastic views.
The Lodge itself is just lovely - the rooms and food are basic, but clean, and with a very warm and friendly welcome, it made it feel super homely and relaxed. The hammocks dotted around the property were a perfect touch (and very comfortable for post-lunch nap!). And there are hummingbirds galore around the property.
From Quito it is approximately a 2 hour drive up to Mindo - but that is mainly due to the traffic getting out of Quito - but with the hotel pick-ups, it makes getting to the Lodge really easy and stress-free, and you get there in time for a short walk before lunch, with time for a longer hike after lunch (followed up by a chocolate massage - which is more like a body scrub rather than a massage).
One tip - make sure you take some hard core mosquito repellent and long sleeved t-shirts - I am still scratching my mossie bites over a week later!! And don't forget your bathers - there is an awesome waterfall and river for bathing. In terms foot wear, if you are not in Ecuador for hard core hiking, then I wouldn't bother carrying hiking boots as they supplied wellington boots/gum boots - which were very comfortable for hiking in, and was necessary because a lot of the trials are very muddy.
Enjoy - I would highly recommend, only wish we had been able to spend a little more time there.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
2 Thank JackieM79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Jolla
Level Contributor
131 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 31, 2013

My wife and I spent two nights at the lodge after coming from the Amazon Napo Eco Lodge (see review). We came here primarily to see some of the birds and were not disappointed as we were able to see many hummingbirds and some great birds such as the Toucan Barbet, Toucans, and Quetzal all in one full days stay. The rooms however are very basic, although clean and the food is basic as well so don't expect excellent accommodations. Our Guide, Arsinio, was excellent and a master at spotting birds, or anything else that moved for that matter and knows the area well and is highly recommended. The room we booked was a "suite" which we later found out was a term used to describe a room with a private bathroom! Overall we highly enjoyed the place and the cool cloud forest environment but just be aware that the accommodations and food themselves are pretty basic. Our room did come with a chocolate massage which was a first for us and very interesting experience!

Room Tip: Get a suite with a private bath!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank AnthonyPM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Maquipucuna Reserve & Eco Lodge

Property: Maquipucuna Reserve & Eco Lodge
Address: | Sta. Marianita, Quito, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Pichincha Province > Quito
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 of 253 Specialty Lodging in Quito
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Maquipucuna is the official home to the Spectacled bear and the closest pristine rainforest reserve & ecolodge to Quito, Capital of Ecuador. The Maquipucuna Ecolodge is located 2 hours northwest to Quito, it is the official gateway to the Maquipucuna Nature Reserve. The Reserves extends over close to 6,000 hectares (15,000 acres) containing more 45 species of mammals, 250 species of butterflies, and 1000 species of moths - among other species. In addition to hosting more than 2,000 species of plants, Maquipucuna harbors 376 bird species or 4% of the world's bird diversity. Visitors can hike a system of 8 trails spanning 32 km of well maintained trails, dive into natural swimming holes, visit waterfalls, experience the first coffee-tour in Ecuador, bird-watch, visit our organic garden,visit neighboring community ecolodges, learn about our conservation efforts in the Choco-Andean conservation & sustainable development corridor, or simply relax. ... more   less 

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