This was a great experience from the very start. Mules carried our bags up to the lodge on the mule trail as my husband and I followed our guide up to the lodge on the main trail. The walk in was about 1.5 to 2 hours all uphill. We were prepared for a very rustic experience, but what we got was a gorgeous private cabin overlooking the valley below, great meals, and a very knowledgable guide who took us on walks every morning and talked to us after dinner every night to ask us what we wanted to do for the next day. We stayed 4 nights and quickly developed a routine of birding and hiking in the morning and taking a siesta after lunch as the rains started up. We truly appreciated that this was a community run lodge, developed by a number of families who had originally been given the land after a government land reform program. After agricultural efforts did not pan out, the families decided to try an ecolodge, a gutsy move considering its remote location and hike in. The cloudforest location is a great draw for birders and biologists. The only negative comment I have was the lack of coffee in the morning (it was available the first morning and then it was black tea from then on), a hard thing for an addict like myself! And no I did not ask, figuring that they had not had their mule delivery recently! Other than that, a fabulous place. The last night we were there, a number of young men picked up their instruments and played traditional ecuadorian music after dinner, what a treat!
- 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