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“Pure nature”

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Refugio Los Volcanes
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Samaipata
Certificate of Excellence
Bradford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
50 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Pure nature”
Reviewed March 19, 2013

A very magical, wonderful place to stay. Incredibly beautiful surroundings, lovely staff, great food... It couldn't have been more perfect. We were taken on several walks through the forest by a local guide who pointed out lots of plants, trees, birds and animals. We swam in the river under the waterfall, and at night marvelled at the Milky Way.

We booked our 2 night trip directly with the Refugio, they arranged a taxi to and from the Refugio from Santa Cruz, and it worked out much cheaper than doing a tour. We agreed with the taxi driver to go to El Fuerte on our way back, an extra couple of hours driving, and maybe not really worth it.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank SueAndLudi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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71 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Weaverville, North Carolina
Level Contributor
258 reviews
121 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2013

We were on a birding trip to Bolivia and spent two nights here. It is wonderful. The rooms were nice, but simple. Water was hot and the beds were comfortable. A porch surrounds all of the tooms. The dining area is about 150 yards from the rooms and is situated at the egse of a stream. Food was good, service was great and the wine was nice and reasonable in cost. The surroundings are amazing and have to be seen to be believed. Several hiking trails that are excellent for bird watching and general natural history etc. All the people that worked there were friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Art H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2013

I decided to come one day earlier, and due to the geological situation the connection to the outside world is very limited, and there is only a small window in which some signals get through and you might have a conversation. As I left Santa Cruz I had not been able to get word through of my early arrival, and had to get some fireworks as a back-up.

Yes - if you come unanounced and want to be picked up by car, you'd better send off your "Hey - I need a lift" firework at the gate. Vincente will immediately jump into the jeep and come for you! If not it's a very long and steep walk to carry your luggage.

Fortunately word of my early arrival seemed to have reached the lodge, as Vincente was waiting for me at the gate.

And what a gate! Not the gate per-se, but the fact that the very first glimpse of the incredible park is at the gate. The red walls and the shape of the mountains is hypnotizing! This is also the only place you can see the park at this elevation. The only lookout point inside the park is at a much lower altitude. This is not because they do not want to provide one, but due to the geology it's impossible unless you have hugely invasive constructions set up. This means that if you are greeted with fog on your way in, you'll have another opportunity when you leave.

Just inside the park you immediately see that this is a very well run and maintained operation, as the road was being upgraded, and the sides pruned.

The fact that I saw Military Macaws just minutes after I entered the park was indicative of what was to come the next 3 days!

The operation was incredibly friendly, professional, attentive and efficient.

A light bulb was dead in my room and the second Vincente heard of it he went for a new one and it was fixed.

The food was a joy after weeks of varying quality and tastes throughout Bolivia. They have a traditional oven outside the kitchen/restaurant and one evening we were sharing a really pleasant time with Vincente and Benita preparing excellent pizzas.

Staying here was like being a guest at a friend's house - so relaxing, and everything was possible - not a single "no" was uttered. I was taken care of and catered to in the best possible way.

The fact that you hardly get any radio signal here or mobile coverage (there is a tiny and unstable connection outside the room with the tree right next to it, but if you move just a bit you end up terminating the link. You need to stand on the rail and lean out, so it's hard to keep still), makes this place really special in the sea of human activities on this planet.

Here you still feel nature rules, and the sheer cliffs are a constant reminder of who's boss here. You cannot climb to any of the tops, as the cliffs are utterly vertical and I was told professional climbers have searched for possible routes, but have given up due to the risks with this kind of rock face. This means that all mammals have to use the same routes throughout, and thus you can see them if you are patient at particularly the narrow gorges.

Photos: http://www.ross.no/communicate/tag/refugio-los-volcanes/

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Morten R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bromont, Canada
Level Contributor
117 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed October 2, 2012

What if you could drive two hours, stop, look through the branches and see a flat clearing in the jungle woods surrounded by high cliffs making it a natural fortress. And what if you could leave your luggage up there and walk to the clearing, going by waterfalls, while they drive your heavy stuff down there, directly to your room.

This is Refugio de los Volcanes, situated a two-hour drive from either Santa Cruz or Samaipata. We got there through Ben Verhoef Tours (Samaipata), but you may also try to directly contact Albert (the owner) on the web.

This place is actually as described and is unbelievably beautiful. Even if there were no guided activities (observation hikes mainly, you may also swim), just sitting on your room porch and look at the environment would justify the price. This is a good place to see condors, loros, oropendolas, monkeys even toucans. The nature walks are interesting and can be planned with your guide. This is chaco forest (not quite rain forest) with all kinds of curiosities, making for a good ecology review (mutualism, parasitism, adaptation, opportunity). There are beautiful orchids also. I felt like going there with kids would be a real treat for them.

Rooms are simple, but you just don't care. You will not stay in your room, except for sleeping. You'll be contemplating and watching outside all the time with your eyes, binoculars, cameras.
The building where all the rooms are is surrounded by a comfortable porch with chairs and hammocks. The other building along the river is where you eat. Good food in quality and quantity. There is a traditional oven outside where they cook bread. They made pizza one night in this oven and it was priceless.

Absolute highlight of our one month trip to Bolivia.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank EricMonia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria BC
Level Contributor
119 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2012

We stayed here for a weekend at the end of 5 weeks of travel in Peru and Bolivia. Unbelievable. The most beautiful jungle I've visited. The owner was there at the same time as us, (Albert, originally from Germany); he comes every weekend. Try to go on the weekend as meeting him really adds a lot to your stay. He's an amazing host, serving us delicious Bolvian red wine, funny stories and amazing insider info on Bolivia. Although it was not orchid season, we found about 12 different species in flower (there are at least a hundred species in the surrounding forest so I suspect some are always in flower). The terrain is interesting to hike and the vegetation varies a lot from one hill to another, depending on drainage, soil composition and position. Wonderful butterflies and birds and insects, but few mosquitoes. Accommodation quiet and clean. Food lovely. We paid $195 US each for two people for two nights, three days including transfers there and back (it's a bit remote, not really in Samaipata at all though it's listed on trip Advisor as being there). Don't pay more than this. Some travel agencies in Santa Cruz will quote you two or three times this price. Greedy. We used Ben Verhoef tours in Samaipata to book and he seems to have the most reasonable rates. If you love nature, dramatic natural settings, flowers, butterflies, hiking, treat yourself and stay here. It will be an unforgettable experience, even with all the expectations I've just created by praising it to the sky.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Westcanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sucre, Bolivia
Level Contributor
40 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2012

This is a piece of heaven in the middle of the Jungle. Best place to relax and feel the nature. Excellent for Hiking and Bird watching.

Room Tip: every room is the same
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank MarcoB2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vieques
Level Contributor
35 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed December 21, 2011

Staying here is an amazing experience. This is a private reserve on the edge of Amboro National park, you can only vist with a guide and if you stay at the refugio. The lodge is at the bottom of a winding narrow road and there are only 6 comfortable , ensuite rooms in a pretty colonial style building that is set in the middle of a field surrounded by stunning red sand stone Masifs and tropical forest. You walk across a meadow to the dining room where you eat simple but hardy meals overlooking a river. many of the vegetables are grown on site. Birds are everywhere and during our visit most of the guests were avid bird watchers.Ben Verhoef tours of Samaipata arranged our stay and we were lucky that Ben himself was our guide , he has a keen eye and was constantly spotting and pointing out wildlife from the slightest movement. We did two 3 hour hikes during our stay and trekked thru the hills and saw dozens of varieties of birds, including parrots and parakeets, a monkey and we even spotted a coral snake scurrying away in the underbrush?There are hammocks and chairs placed to relax and enjoy the scenery, we would love to go back and certainly would recommend this lodge and the exoerience to anyone.

Room Tip: every room had an outrageous view!
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank wholegrain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Refugio Los Volcanes

Property: Refugio Los Volcanes
Address: Southern Part of Amboro National Park | East of Samaipata, Samaipata, Bolivia
Location: Bolivia > Santa Cruz Department > Samaipata
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Samaipata
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Refugio Los Volcanes is located in the southern part of Amboro National Park and is roughly a one and a half hours drive from the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Tucked away in a deep valley, Refugio Los Volcanes offers spectacular views of sandstone rock cliffs as well as the tropical forests which surround the sanctuary. There are also plenty of hiking trails offering opportunities to appreciate the flora and fauna. World renowned ornithologists such as Ridgeley, Tudor and others have visited Refugio Los Volcanes on several opportunities – their bird lists register more than 200 species- and the local botanist Roberto Vasquez has identified more than 100 species of orchids and bromeliads Our objectives are to contribute to the protection of the biodiversity of Amboró National Park; increase our knowledge by supporting scientific research; and advance sustainable development by creating local employment opportunities. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Refugio Los Volcanes Bolivia/Samaipata

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