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“Excellent base to see all the area has to offer”
Review of Cuyabeno Lodge

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Cuyabeno Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Excellent base to see all the area has to offer”
Reviewed November 19, 2011

My wife and I stayed here for 5 days/4 nights and had a very nice time. As we'd previously spent time in a jungle we decided that we wanted a bit of extra luxury than we'd previously experienced (mattress on the floor, old mosy net) so we paid a little extra and went for the 3rd floor tower room. It was very much worth the extra cost as the room was very clean and comfortable and added to this we had a tree-top view of the surrounding area from which we saw amongst other things a family of toucans! The staff were very friendly, the food nice and plenty of it and the guides attached to the lodge are very good especially if Sulema, our guide,is anything to go by. You need to be prepared for the fact that you are in a jungle and as such need to be open to the idea of frogs and moths being visitors to your room but this was just part of the fun for us.

Room Tip: The 3rd floor tower room is amazing. We have no idea about the other rooms as we didn't experien...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
4 Thank Simon N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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175 reviews from our community

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Covington, Kentucky
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2011

Great lodge, especially if you want to go deeper in the jungle. It was a 30 minute plan ride from Quito, 2 hours car ride and 2 hour powered canoe to get to the lodge but worth it!!. Spent 4 nights. I booked the observation tower room which is a must especially if you want some extra comfort. It was $50.00 more for the whole stay and more than worth it. There are only 3 rooms so be sure to reserve. I went in Oct which was the dry season and the river was very low and getting around was more difficult and didn't see as much wildlife because of the season. The food was EXCELLENT and the staff friendly. I was a little concerned being less than 50 miles from the Columbia but no problems at all. Felt safe, a few of the guides speak English but I now understand why everyone asked if I spoke English, there are very few English speaking Ecuadorians. Be sure to visit Quito and the Equator really fascinating.

Room Tip: Definitely get the observation room.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Jo Ann S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirkland, Washington
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 22, 2010

Would go again. Comfortable. Safe. Insects not a problem. Staff great. Food fine. Bring good flashlights.

Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank MatthewKSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Camarillo, California
Level 6 Contributor
883 reviews
143 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 271 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2009

Great wildlife viewing in the reserve. Monkeys, sloths, birds, and pink river dolphins. It is an area that is still pretty wild. Some areas are pristine, with the best areas closed to motor boat traffic. Guides are skilled and knowledgeable, staff is very nice, management is nice, and interested in sustainability. Office in Quito is a little slow to respond to inquiries and questions. Rooms are comfortable, but are open to outdoors. No fans or AC, but mosquito netting is provided. Semi-private cabins with two rooms per cabin. Nobody was in the next Food is pretty good. Activities are good, especially wildlife viewing. More early activities (before 9 AM) would be better, when the animals are more active. Price is very good.

Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
5 Thank Hitcher84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. George, Utah
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed May 31, 2009

We spent 4 days here and had a great time. The lodge is in a beautiful setting with abundant wildlife right on the grounds. We saw exotic birds, a 6-foot caiman with 5 babies, monkeys, and a snake (non-venemous). The rooms are open-sided and very comfortable. As others have said here, there could be a privacy issue if the unit beside yours is occupied. That was not the case during our stay. The food is good. Not gourmet, not a lot of fresh produce, but satisfying and reasonably tasty. The cook does a great job with the mostly canned ingredients he has to work with. The tours were outstanding and the guides knowledgeable. All in all, we found this to be a great value for the money and enjoyed our rainforest experience immensely.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ronc41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guayaquil
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed March 25, 2009

We booked a four-day trip and within about 24 hours were realising our mistake - an extra day would have made all the difference! Not that it could have been much better if we'd tried - the trip was very well planned and executed, the rooms were simple but clean and comfortable. The food was again quite simple but came in reasonable portions (and with the option of seconds!) and kept our energy levels up!

The lodge's location on the Cuyabeno lagoon, part of a flooded forest which differs from much of the Ecuadorian jungle eco-systems, meant for lots of canoe rides which were a great way to see lots of interesting species of caymans, monkeys, sloths, fresh water dolphins, anacondas and birds. There were walks organised to learn about the endemic plants and smaller animals (insects basically) as well as opportunities to fish for piraña and swim in the lagoon at sunset,

There was also a trip to a local indigenous community where Don Victoriano and his wife kindly received us and helped us make yucca bread - from the ground to the mouth in a matter of 45 minutes, all that was required was some effort (on our part) to grate and drain the yucca, and expertise on his wife's part to cook the thing on a large iron hotplate. It was interesting talking to Don Victoriano and contrary to our original unease about the community visit, we really enjoyed our time there.

Our guide was really what made the trip. José Bohórquez, a Guayaquileño by birth, was outstanding. He was patient, with a keen eye and ear as well as a wealth of information on pretty much everything we came across - he really made the difference between this being merely a good trip and the excellent trip it turned into. Can't recommend him and the package highly enough!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank tombolton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
Level 6 Contributor
95 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2009

Cuyabeno Lodge is located by the Laguna Grande on the Cuyabeno River in the northeast part of the country. The setting is much different from that of the Napo River as it is flooded forest; as such, there is less high ground and travel is by canoe or motor launch. I was looking forward to seeing species endemic to this area.

Getting there takes a while. It is a short flight from Quito to Lago Agrio, where an uncomfortable bus picks up guests and takes them to the bridge about 2 1/2 hours away along paved and gravel roads. There, you secure a permit from the officials to visit the reserve; take your passport or Ecuadorian i.d. (permits are $20 or $6, respectively). Then you wait for the lodge´s launch to arrive; the trip along the river takes another hour and a half or two hours.

At the lodge, you are greeted with glasses of fresh juice and shown your room. I found the cabin quite comfortable, though as a previous reviewer mentioned, the wall separating the two rooms does not go to the ceiling and you can overhear conversations, snoring, or... The cabins are indeed rustic, built in the local style, and are completely open-air. While there are blinds to block the sun, the door is a half-door and there were no blinds on some of the windows. I don´t have a problem sharing my space with the locals, but if the knowledge that frogs or lizards or insects can make themselves at home there bothers you, you might prefer staying in Quito. At the very least, use the mosquito net. I experienced no bites or even heard mosquitos, but I´ve slept under thatch roofs before and don´t care for their denizens falling on me during the night. The bathroom had running water, plenty of hot water, and a flush toilet. For now, cabins are lit by candles, but when I was there solar panels had been installed in the restaurant and were being readied to place on the cabins. Either way, a flashlight is a must.

The food was simple but good. As they prefer to keep the surroundings intact, they don´t have a garden, so yes, the food is brought in and some of it is canned. Meals are set with no choices, but they do serve seconds. Vegetarians should plan to ask the wait staff to bring out the meal without meat, or just eat around it.

Activities are planned for each group, and groups alternate early morning with later morning activities. Unfortunately, my guide, while very sweet and personable, was young and less experienced than guides I´ve had elsewhere, and I didn´t feel she was as attentive to bird or animal sightings as other guides. I´m a birder but was the only one in the group I was assigned to who had binoculars, and on occasion the guide didn´t even carry hers. I felt the activities were pretty canned without a lot of spontaneity, as would happen with sudden sightings of something interesting. As far as I could tell, there were no canoes with which you could explore on your own a little, although it would seem very difficult to find your way back to the lodge unless you´re a master navigator.

I was in serious pain from all the sitting. The motor launches have seat pads, but even those get uncomfortable after a while. The canoes had hard seats. However, it was a lot of fun to hop off the boats into the river for a swim, especially knowing there are piranhas in the water; contrary to popular belief, they don´t attack just anything that falls in unless there´s blood. We took a couple of slow short hikes, but there are no trails on the spit of land the lodge is located on, and I really missed being vertical.

As the title suggests, I´m glad I went--sighted numerous animals such as six species of monkey, birds, river dolphins, and a giant anaconda. If I were to visit the rainforest again, however, I would head back to the Napo. Napo lodges take a long time to reach as well, but there is more walking and I had an excellent guide.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank azbuceadora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CuayabenoLodge, Owner at Cuyabeno Lodge, responded to this review, July 4, 2014
I always take criticism very seriously, because every mediocre or bad experience in Cuyabeno is one two many. So let's look at the concerns of this reviewer.

First of all, at the end the reviewer mentions a very impressive list of fantastic wildlife observations. Most visitors to the jungle are thrilled with those observations. I hope that the memories of those wonderful observations over time dominate over the discomfort he experienced with some of our facilities and services.

What I don't quite understand is the rather lengthy elaboration of getting to the jungle. It takes a 30 minute flight from Quito to LagoAgrio and 1,5 - 2 hours by bus to get to the entrance of one of the best pristine jungles in the whole world! I have been in all amazon countries, and only Manaus offers you a quicker access to the jungle. Mentioning that it takes another hour or two on the Cuyabeno River makes no sense. The Cuyabeno River is pure virgin jungle and the jungle experience has started the moment you enter the canoe.

Yes, the cabins are open, but many people experience that as an essential part of the jungle experience. The cabins are very clean and have decent beds with mosquito netting. These cabins have been designed for a jungle experience, not for hoteling in the capital. However, we now also have luxury cabins, so that people who like a bit more privacy have such option.

The reviewer mentions the lack of experience of the guide and with that he was right. While we are very selective with our guides, the problem is that they are government regulated and sometimes we end up with an inexperienced guide. All Cuyabeno lodges draw from the same pool of guides. A poor guide is the result of certain government policies that restrict the availability of guides. This is a problem in all protected areas of Ecuador. What does draw the attention is that the reviewer is raving about the wildlife he has seen, so the guide did succeed in getting him to right places. But again, every once in a while, we end up with a mediocre guide, just like all other lodges.

It is illegal to go on excursion without a guide, which makes it impossible to venture out on yourself. Moreover, this is the tropical jungle. Unless one is a very experiences jungle traveler, one should not want to do that anyway.

The reviewer seems very pleased with the Napo Lodges, which by the way are some 5 hours down stream of the town of Coca and many located in SECONDARY forest. It is true that in Cuyabeno, observing wildlife happens from the river, but........... THAT IS WHY YOU SEE SO MUCH WILDLIFE!!!! There just is more wildlife along the narrow rivers as there is in the well drained forest.

What happens is that in the well drained jungle - like in the Yasuni National Park - you have to spot wildlife in the crowns of 35m high trees, looking up. There the contrast of the light of the sky is so strong that the leaves almost seem black. You simply don't get to see as much wildlife in Yasuni as in Cuyabeno.

I don't know what is more fatiguing, walking through the jungle for many hours or sitting comfortably at thick plastic pillows in a canoe, with your camera equipment, binoculars and bird books comfortably at hand........... My experience as a wildlife ecologist with 4 decades of professional experience, is that you can get twice the amount of excursion time in while in canoes as on foot. You just cant walk for so long and be attentive of wildlife.

Since this review, our food has improved even further. Since the entire road LagoAgrio - Cuyabeno has been paved, we are now able to bring in all food fresh. So we no longer serve any canned food. Most other reviewers are raving over the quality of the food. There is a different menu of home cooking for every meal every day!

I hope that the good memories of this reviewer will prevail of his disappointment, because some of his mediocre - negative experiences, actually have been rated very positive by the vast majority of the other reviewers. Cuyabeno is one of the best jungle parks in the world, and in Tripadvisor, the Cuyabeno Lodge is rated the best lodge in the reserve. It is our mission to give every visitor a fantastic experience so that he/she becomes a supporter for the conservation of the reserve.
Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil, wildlife ecologist and founding shareholder.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cuyabeno Lodge

Property: Cuyabeno Lodge
Address: Office 608 Av. Los Shyris N36-188 and Naciones Unidas, Edificio Shyris Park Park | 100 Meters South of the Mall "Quicentro Shopping", Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve 17, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Sucumbios Province > Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
Hotel Class:3 star — Cuyabeno Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Built in 1989, the Cuyabeno Lodge was the first lodge in the park; the owners believed that the rainforest traveler should be accommodated in conditions which would be both in harmony with the surrounding environment and attuned to the needs of the modern visitor. At Neotropic Turis, we, the owners of the Cuyabeno Lodge, are the pioneers in the tourist operation and we built the first Eco friendly lodge in the Cuyabeno National Park. The Cuyabeno Lodge is one of two lodges located right on the lake and one of the few lodges that never gets flooded. We recently built a canopy watch tower and 3 new deluxe rooms. We have 24 hours electricity from solar energy, the only silent electrical motors in the park for excursions and hot showers. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Cuyabeno Hotel Cuyabeno

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