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“Amazing Natural Beauty”

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El Refugio de Intag Cloud Forest Lodge
Ranked #5 of 31 Otavalo B&B and Inns
Reviewed May 8, 2011

I visited here on April 11, 2011. I had been to the Intag Cloud Forest some 13 years ago and wanted to take my Dutch husband to see all the orchids! We LOVED El Refugio!! The resident care-taker/guide, Oswaldo, was the best! He knows all the orchids and where to see them. He also found the elusive Cock of the Rock, which everyone comes to see, and very few actually see it! Oswaldo knew exactly where it was nesting and we saw it on TWO different occasions! The meals, prepared by his wife Lupe, were DELICIOUS and all fresh ingredients grown right there on the property! Hiking here can be muddy as we were there during the rainy season, but boots are provided [up to a size 10 or so] and the little rain that we had was not a deterrant to our jungle walks. We also had wonderful, sunshine and saw lots of birds and butterflies. DO remember to take insect repellent for your walks in the jungle and a hat and sunscreen are also good to have. Our room was really comfortable, and we slept each night with the sound of the river running right behind our house. Oswaldo built us a roaring fire in the evening and my husband STILL cannot stop talking about the beauty of the flowers and how green everything was! We were lucky enough to have a glimpse of the volcano, Cotacachi from our front porch one morning. Hummingbirds visited the feeder by the porch of the main house where we ate our breakfast each day! We are back in Holland now and having serious"Ecuador Withdrawl!" If you love nature and want a remote place, but one that has beautiful rooms and lots of HOT water...this is the place for you! The Ecuadorian people are very gracious and kind, the manager of the property, Sandy, is great, and I think you will find this a truly almost spiritual place to relax! The drive in from Otavalo takes about 2 hours over some very rugged terrain, so you MUST go with a local driver who has a 4x4 vehicle andknows the roads, especially if it is the rainy season. Sandy, at El Refugio can arrange this for you. If you are looking for a wide-screen TV and a sports bar, this is not for you. If you are a true nature lover, and crazy about orchids and wild beauty, then don't miss El Refugio!!

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Worldtgardener
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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53 - 58 of 58 reviews

Reviewed August 12, 2010

Very remote but if you love nature and birdwatching, this is the place. Orchids grow everywhere. The caretakers speak no English but they cook all the meals (delicious) and provide wonderful walking tours through the Cloud Forest. The manager, Sandy Statz, lives nearby and speaks perfect English. She makes sure the guests have all their needs met. She made sure we all got to see The Cock of The Rock and so many other birds up close.
I would suggest people bring along insect repellant, thick socks since you will be wearing rubber boots (they provide them), and your own rum for cocktails. We took our own water too. If you drink the water there you have to boil it first.
My friends and I stayed here three nights as a side trip from Hacienda Cusin near Otavalo. It is a 2 hour drive through the Andes but the scenery is worth it.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with friends
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Thank janbird1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2010

I got to the Intag Cloud Forest retreat from Otavala. it was a good bus ride - and while i contuned to be awre of the altitutde, the drive through the Cloud Forest was spectacularand well worth any effort. When you sit finally at the front veradah of the Intag Cloud Forest Retreat - enveloped by the mountains and the clouds and the prisitne forest - a sense of peace and interconnectness just flows into you.

I spent as much time as I could just sitting - and it was wonderfully restful and dleightful.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled on business
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Thank Minds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2010

the journey from Otavalo, via Cotacachi mountain and twisting down through dense Gunera and bamboo and through several eco-systems, is stimulating in itself. Arriving into the utter peace of El Refugio is a reward unto itself.

Oswaldo, my engaging and knowledgeable guide and his wife, my superb cook (and embroidery artist), the climbs up plant-festooned mountains, over gurgling streams and rivers, the profuse flora and fauna and the night walks, left me refreshed and ready for my return to 'civilization'.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank haciendacusin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2017
Google Translation

  • Stayed: July 2017, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dorian N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2016
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  • Stayed: November 2016, traveled as a couple
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Thank oliphon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Refugio de Intag Cloud Forest Lodge

Address: Casilla 18 | Via Intag Km 53, Otavalo 100450, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Imbabura Province > Otavalo
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 31 B&Bs / Inns in Otavalo
Price Range: $107 - $109 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This cloud forest Lodge is located just 33 miles from the market town of Otavalo along the Toabunchi River in northwestern Ecuador. The brick-and-stucco house and the wooden cabin are surrounded by gardens that attract the 200-plus species of birds from the retreat's 60 acres of forest. The often snow-capped 17,000' Cotacachi mountain is in view. Mild temperatures are the norm: an average of 75 to 80 F. Guests can hike along the river or up the mountain to view birds and orchids and other strikingly beautiful wildflowers. The area is free of tropical diseases. Meals are available from the resident caretakers who are also the cook and guide. A thirty-minute drive takes you to the small town of Apuela, with stores, a health clinic and the Coffee Cooperative of ACRI, to witness the way the coffee process works--from farm to roasted beans. Not far away are the hot baths of Nangulvi. These natural hot springs are set in a deep valley, the mountains rising straight from the valley floor. The best part of El Refugio is the closeness to nature it provides. The refuge is off the main road, so the sounds you hear are the birds and the river, and the clouds that frequently cloak the forested mountains make for a dramatic setting. ... more   less 
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