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“Kind of disappointing”
Review of Jamu Lodge

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Jamu Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 10, 2013

After reading all the amazing reviews here, I feel like we stayed at some other Jamu Lodge. We did the 3n/4d trip.

Our trip started on a hot bus with windows that don't open and a bus driver who took many unnecessary risks while driving (which is the norm for Ecuador). We met then someone who sort of spoke English and gave us chicken and vegetables in a tupperware. If you're vegetarian, you just get a few more vegetables. Then we got on the canoe and it turned out the guy who gave us food was going to be our guide. He pointed out the birds and anything of interest while we rode down to the lodge, but if you weren't up front, you couldn't hear a word because of the engine noise. We then got to the lodge, had some juice, and got our rooms. Later, and every night after, we went to the lake to swim and watch the sunset. That was pretty much the only day that stuck to the itinerary they gave us when we bought the tickets in Quito.

We just dropped any notion that the activities would follow the order in the itinerary, but we hoped we would still at least do the activities it mentioned. The itinerary said we'd visit two local communities, but we just went to one. We ended up paying $6 each instead of $4 for the yuca bread and shaman. I guess that made up for not paying the park entrance fee. I think groups from other lodges payed the entrance fee, but our group just skipped going in the park office. We pretty much did everything else mentioned, except the piranha fishing. Maybe it's prohibited now. No one mentioned it. I know other groups at Jamu got to hike more than we did, because we met them at the community after they had just finished a hike in the rain forest. We saw another group get to do some canoe paddling on the lake, which we didn't do. Not counting the night hike, we only got to walk in the rain forest once, for about 3 hours.

The lodge itself had no surprises. We didn't get the exact room we were told, but I've been in Ecuador long enough to not believe a word anyone tells me, so it wasn't surprising. No lights and cold showers were expected. Our room had a nice view of the forest, monkeys, and a trash covered tin roof. I'd be embarrassed if I owned this place and saw the amount of garbage accumulated on the roof, or piles of random construction equipment laying around.

The food was really good, served family style. The staff made a pretty good effort to cater to vegetarians. Instead of a meat dish, they served fried eggplant or stuffed peppers. One night there wasn't a main vegetarian dish, but when we asked if one was coming, they said that the side dishes everyone else got was the main vegetarian dish. They then offered to fry an egg.

I think the most disappointing was the rookie guide. He was a really nice guy, and I know he knew a lot about the rain forest, he just kept it to himself. I'm guessing it was due to a lack of English speaking confidence. We learned most of our information by eavesdropping on another group's guide. Our guide could have used some more training before actually taking on paying customers. I had to keep telling myself that this was one of the cheaper lodges, and we get what we paid for, but it was hard to convince myself this while watching another group at the same lodge have a totally different experience.

Room Tip: The Tarantula room was nice and I think had hot water. We stayed in the Piranha(matrimonial) which...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank QuitoJohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jamucito, Gerente at Jamu Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 16, 2015

Hello QuitoJohn! Firstly we want to say thanks for your remarks on your personal stay in JAMU LODGE. We are glad that you enjoyed the paradise-like landscape surrounding the lake as well as that you also had the chance to delight yourself by swimming in it. So it seems that your overall experience was good. As for your staying in a room that was not chosen by you, we are very sorry about that we want to inform you that some measures were taken so that such a kind of misunderstanding will not repeat ever again. We hope that this response and the measures taken will satisfy you in a next visit. As for the trash you saw on the roof, it was totally replaced by one of recycled Tetrapack. Also further measures have been passed so that neither workers nor clients may not throw trash on this blind point in our Hotel. As for the guide you refer to, his name is Pedro, he is a member of the local community that was getting started his career as guide. We have to say that he has evolved professionally and currently we are very satisfied with his performance. However, we are aware that in his professionalization process he might have made mistakes, for which we are sorry, but as you know mistakes are inherent to the learning process. And finally about our food some changes have been implemented to satisfy all our guests.

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87 - 93 of 196 reviews

Reviewed September 8, 2013

Forest was about 15-20 meters tall on average, shorter than expected. Density of wildlife was low, mostly birds, less than half with interesting plumage (mostly sparrows, herons, etc), but saw a few monkeys from a distance. Guide spoke broken English and was unenthusiastic. You don't fish for piranhas as advertised. Lake sunsets were pretty. Overall, felt like a visit to central Florida. I preferred the Ecuadorean highlands.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Jsnap15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jamucito, Gerente at Jamu Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 16, 2015

Thanks for your comment JSnap15!! Although it seems that your expectations on the Cuyabeno rainforest were not fully satisfied. To this respect, we need to tell you that about a 50% of our bookings are made by Travel Agents with whom, unfortunately, we usually don´t keep a frequent information exchange which involves the risk that sometimes things don´t work in the right way.

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Reviewed August 15, 2013

We stayed here for four days, with our two children 13 & 17 years old. This was a fantastic experience. It was very well organised and we had the guide Henry Palacias. This guide is really good in his job. He knows enormously a lot of the environment. There was a specialist in our group from Spain specialised in tropical spiders, but Henry knows at least as much. The cabins our n the middle of the nature so you experience the real jungle life in the night, without any trouble of insects. It is quit basically, but certainly for the teens it was an adventure of which they are still talking....

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Paul D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2013

Jamu Lodge was a five star experience. It is a rustic lodge in the heart of the Amazon River basin jungle. It is not a place full of creature comforts, but it is comfortable and pleasant. It is almost 20 miles downriver from the main road, and your adventure starts with a 2 to 3 hour canoe ride. Once at the lodge you will have a chance to experience the Cuyabeno river and connected lakes up close.

The lodge provides excellent guides. Our group was led by David. He was fun, patient, knowledgeable, passionate and informative. He has a masters level education and has spent years studying the area. He knows the people and has even lived with them. His ability to find animals and plants was excellent and he happily answered our numerous questions. He kept the group organized and on schedule. He was quick to smile and laugh and treated each visitor on an individual basis. He joined us for all of our meals and spent several hours talking with us about the issues affecting the jungle and the people there.

A typical day started at 8 am with breakfast. David would review the day's agenda and we would meet up again about 9:30am. We would load into the canoes with water bottles, snacks, rain ponchos and life jackets to head out for the day's activities. Trips up and down the river included sight seeing animals and plants, hiking into the jungle, visiting a local village and shaman and swimming in the large lake, Laguna Grande. During our visit we viewed monkeys, birds of many varieties, insects, snakes, turtles, frogs, tarantulas, sloths and both grey and pink dolphins!

As I said in the beginning, the lodge is rustic. Rooms have running water, showers, toilets, but no electricity. There is a generator that runs each morning to allow you to recharge cameras and other portable devices. There is no internet and no cell phone service. There is a phone for emergencies. The food is basic but tasty and filling. Instant coffee, tea, cocoa and drinking water are provided. There is a bar that provides soda, beer, wine and a few cocktails at reasonable prices.

Jamu Lodge is one of twelve in the Cuyabeno region. I am sure the others offer many of the same features and experiences, but I was most impressed by the staff. Our guide David was an excellent host, our canoe captain, Brian was very skilled, even navigating the river at night with ease. The rest of the staff was attentive and cordial. All in all it was a world class experience and I highly recommend Jamu Lodge.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank catsmith63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2013

We just got back from the 4-day tour and it was amazing. David was an exceptional guide, passionate, knowledgable, patient and friendly. The comfort level of the lodge is like summer camp - not like a hotel, but way better than a tent. We enjoyed every minute, and highly recommend Jamu lodge.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank LotusLauren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2013

Loved this lodge for the the staff and food! Our guide David was lovely. We saw lots of animals and swam with the pink river dolphin! Bring lots of clothes, rain gear and a good flashlight. No problems with mosquitoes.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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1  Thank Shirley W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2013

Jamu Lodge is a really great choice and a very good price. The rooms are clean and nice, all the staff are very helpful and the food is really good. David was such a good guide and he made sure we saw lots of animals and had a really fun experience.Our time at Jamu lodge was definitely a highlight of our trip.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Nicole T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jamu Lodge

Address: Tamayo N24-96 y Foch, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Sucumbios Province > Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 9 Specialty Lodging in Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
Price Range: $269 - $477 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Jamu Lodge is an Eco-Hotel located in the Cuyabeno Reserve, close to Laguna Grande.We have a total of 18 rooms for multiple or double accommodation, most with private bathroom and hot water, dining area, lounge area with hammocks and bar.The hotel employs different sustainability policies, like a sustainable waste management systems (e.g. we try to minimize waste by buying in bulks, using local ingredients in the kitchen), water saving measures, recycling organic and non-organic wastes were possible.Furthermore, we provide biodegradable shampoo and soap for guests, and use biodegradable products for housecleaning.For electricity we have solar energy to charge batteries from mobile devices, cameras and video cameras.Buildings are constructed with recycled materials where possible, and in harmony with the natural surroundings, reflecting the traditional design of the Amazon.We employ and train local staff where possible, and who are paid at fair wages, for example our river transport is handled by the local community. Our operation minimizes fossil fuels encouraging our visitors to do the activities rowing.We also protect the native fauna and flora and inform guests, staff and visitors of the importance and value of a healthy ecosystem and describe how to best enjoy the area without causing negative impacts. ... more   less 
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