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“The most beautiful place in the world?”

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Santa Lucia Cloud Forest
Ranked #27 of 258 Specialty Lodging in Quito
UK
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“The most beautiful place in the world?”
Reviewed May 9, 2009

I have now visited Santa Lucia lodge on 3 occasions over the last few years, both as a volunteer and a tourist. My initial trip, inspired a period of 2 years of worldwide travel, leading to volunteering again 2 years on. The lodge is beautiful, the views you get on reaching the lodge are just amazing. The people always offer a very warm and friendly service. If you are in Ecuador and want to experience the fantastic sights of the cloud forest and the forever welcoming local hospitality as well s the great local cuisine, then this is the place to visit.

The accommodation is in either the eco-lodge, or one of 5 brand new cabins, all offering amazing views of the mountain scenery. The lodge is remote and although it seems a bit of a mission to walk the trail from the end of the road to the lodge (allow an hour, but don't worry the mules take your main backpacks), you are rewarded for your labors by receiving one of the most amazing vistas you could imagine.

There is really nothing that I can fault about Santa Lucia and I would visit again at any available opportunity. Thanks to all the workers for the good work and I wish the best of success to them in the future.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank DanSwansborough
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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47 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Providence, RI
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2008

My boyfriend and I are nature photographers and we visited Santa Lucia to photograph and do some biridng. We took a bus from Quito and it worked out perfectly (and only cost 2.00 one way as opposed to getting van service from the lodge which was quite expensive). The bus takes you right into the village and people from Santa Lucia will pick you up. They drove us up to the trailhead and we packed our luggage on mules and then hiked up with a guide. It was a rigorous hike, mostly because of the altitude. This is not for very small children or anyone that does not regularly exercise. It was completely worth it! We have both traveled to more than 10 countries and across the U.S. and agreed it was one of the most beautiful places we've ever been.

The stay was fantastic - nice and rustic room - warm lodge, compositing toilets and hot showers (welcome after a day of hiking). The food was also great. They provided a naturalist guide for us as well and he was excellent (we generally do not like dealing with guides). The birding guides there are particularly good. They are committed to finding birds and are very excited about getting up early. One guide took us out to the cock of the rock lek at 3:30am to set up for photos. Incredible.

I would recommend this to anyone who wants a bit of adventure, an affordable stay, and the opportunity to support a lodge that is supporting a community and an ecosystem.

  • Stayed June 2008
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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Helpful?
2 Thank naturephoto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aromas CA
Level Contributor
91 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed July 20, 2008

This is a community run lodge with cabins and dorms a two hour walk up a mountain into the cloud forest. Great views, wildlife, and remarkable people. Accomodations and food are first rate, given that everything there comes up on foot or mule. Great for birders, anyone interested in cloudforest ecology, or anyone interested in getting comfortably off of the grid.

Helpful?
1 Thank Aromasguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Osos, California
Level Contributor
116 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed June 27, 2008

I visited this lodge with a friend because of its remote natural location, the great variety of birds and other wildlife, the very eco-friendly nature of its operation, and the local ownership which keeps profits in the community near Santa Lucia. It was everything I expected and more. To get to the lodge I rode in their vehicle to the end of the dirt road out of Nanegal and hiked a couple of miles up to the lodge - they used mules for the luggage. The lodge is located on a ridge with an incredible view of the valley below and the cloud forest behind. I could hear nothing but nature around the lodge - no cars or other sounds of "civilization". While the composting toilets, solar-heated showers, and lack of electricity might make the place sound like "roughing it", it is really very clean and comfortable with excellent food and a very courteous and capable staff. It is a very sociable place in the common areas as well - with vistors from all over the world, and local staff who are not segregated from the guests, but freely mingle, play cards, visit, etc. The hiking trails provide great birdwatching and natural sightseeing. We hired a local guide for a reasonable price and it was well worth it as he showed us things we would never have seen or otherwise appreciated. This location is a geat place for hiking, birding, botanizing, photographing, and just relaxing. The people who own the lodge are also preserving and restoring habitat as well as educating local people. I not only thoroughly enjoyed myself (the Cock-of-the -rock lek is a lifetime experience) but at the same time felt I was helping to support a very worthy cause. I would not recommend this place for people with physical disabilities or those looking to stay in a glitzy place with swimming pools and a night club atmosphere, and TVs and phones, but for me it was heaven. (Be prepared for no electricity - bring extra batteries, a book or two to read, cards, a musical instrument, other non-electronic entertainment, etc.)

  • Liked — comfortable, quiet, eco-friendly and in a beautiful setting
  • Disliked — no complaints
  • Stayed February 2006, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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Helpful?
Thank centralcoastguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kauai Hawaii
Level Contributor
75 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed January 27, 2008

For a true nature lover, its hard to beat Santa Lucia. You can pay to be picked up from Quito (80 km or 50 miles) or just arrange to meet in the town of Nanegal (we took the bus to Nanegal, very cheap) This is a real ecotourism adventure. The lodge was formed by several members of a community living and farming in the area who decided to conserve the area. They stopped farming and began bringing in tourists. It is remote and rustic. Community members rotate through as cooks/caretakers/ and guides.
From Nanegal you are taken by truck to the trail head, and donkeys head up the hill with your packs from there while you walk, It is a good 2-3 hour hike uphill, but is very pleasant. There is no electricty, but you won't be staying up late, as you get up early for hikes and bird-watching. Our guide was amazing, mostly self-taught, truly loves the jungle and is incredibly knowledgeable. He knows all the birds there and their calls. It was great listening to the birds answer him back! And he knows about the birds too, their habits, etc. The montane cloudforest is a unique environment and we learned a lot.
On my visit in 12/06 I went with another person and there was just one other person in the whole lodge, but they can accomodate about 20 people. The food was delicious (popcorn in the soup...surprisingly good! The bathrooms are shared, and during the day you are expected to use the composting toilets, which were very clean. Showers are also shared, and have the best view of any shower I've ever had!
The rooms are mostly for 2-4 people. There is a large common area and dining room to hang out in, and I enjoyd playing cards with the staff or taking naps in the afternoon in the hammocks on the porch. There is a nice reading library filled with nature and bird books. Lots of info in English, but some of the guides have limited English skills...they can tell you the English names for the wildlife and a little info, but if you speak Spanish you'll get more out of the experience.
In summary, this place is for those seeking a unique experience in a beautiful and remote place. If you need a bar or nightclub on your holiday, look elsewhere. If you want to see some amazing birdlife (I'm not a "birder" but I do enjoy birds) this is the place for you. It's quiet, romantic, isolated and lovely. I look forward to returning there one day soon.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — thin walls
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Fisher7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Santa Lucia Cloud Forest

Property: Santa Lucia Cloud Forest
Address: Barrio La Delicia | Nanegal Grande, Quito 00000, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Pichincha Province > Quito
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #27 of 258 Specialty Lodging in Quito
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Community-based, Santa Lucia owns a 1800 acre montane cloudforest reserve in the Chocó Andean region, a biodiversity 'hotspot. Just 2.5 hours from Quito, we offer beautifully crafted cabañas on a mountain peak with amazing views over the forest. 80% primary forest, the reserve has over 394 species of birds; 45 species of mammals including pumas and the endangered Spectacled Bear; and thousands of tropical plants native to the region. Ideal for birding and hiking. ... more   less 

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