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.
- 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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