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“Perfect South American Getaway”
Review of Casa Mojanda

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Casa Mojanda
Ranked #1 of 14 Hotels in Otavalo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 19, 2009

Loved Casa Mojanda since the day I first visited, so much that I bought a house on the land for many future trips. There are so many wonderful highlights at CM that make it a memorable place to stay again and again. You do not have to travel elsewhere to experience the lush beauty that Ecuador has to offer. The landscape surrounding CM is something not to be missed, from the morning sunrise to the regal mountains in the back yard. The people are also so warm and inviting, they make you feel like home from the moment you step foot on the property. I have had many interactions with the people on my frequent trips there and have to say that I have never had an unpleasant encounter, they made me feel comfortable and welcome right away. The manager Marlena is especially a great source of knowledge, is very personable, and well versed in hospitality. Whether you are planning to stay one night or one week, CM offers an easy travel transition for any type of traveler. There is the perfect balance of comfort for those who are not used to being away from home and remoteness for those who want their trip to be an authentic experience of Ecuador. You will not be disappointed by the aromatic, colorful, fresh off the earth meals provided by CM as a complementary part of your stay. Even if you do not call yourself a vegetarian you will find that these palate pleasing dishes are undeniably delicious and satisfying. I have recommended many friends and family to stay here and have never had anyone return with a bad comment, I would definitely not hesitate to refer many more people to CM in the future. I am absolutely confident as a guest and resident in the staff and their abilities to take care of CM. For those concerned with the environment, I can say that CM upholds their principles as a true ecolodge and would not be careless with the natural beauty that surrounds them. Mark down Casa Mojanda as a must see on your travels around Ecuador and South America, you will not leave dissatisfied!

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Seattletravelbug62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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189 - 195 of 224 reviews

Reviewed January 18, 2009

I have been a regular guest at this extraordinary eco-lodge in Otavalo for over 5 years. I recommended it as the ideal destination for a special trip our extended family of 14 was planning. I also recommended it to a few other friends who were planning a trip to Ecuador over the Christmas holidays. In each case, the experience was the same- from the 3 year old to the seniors in the group, everyone loved Casa Mojanda

We have stayed at many wonderful hotels on our travels, but Casa Mojanda is our favorite. Betti, the owner, is the most dedicated hotel owner I have ever encountered. She takes care of every detail, from taking reservations to personally receiving guests, adding an atmosphere of intimacy to the experience. From the moment you arrive, it becomes obvious that she cares deeply about the needs of each and every one of her guests. And she has translated that to her caring staff. Service is attentive without being obsequious, and the staff is highly personable and a delightful source of conversation

During our 7 night stay, Betti and her wonderful staff proved to be consistently gracious hosts, always available, always helpful and surprisingly thoughtful. Each day, the staff helped us plan excursions for the family.. From the wonderful tour of the local villages and Lake Cuicocha that Marlena arranged, complete with excellent guide, to hiking trips to the waterfall and lake Mojanda, and horseback riding through the mountains. Every day was a perfect balance of culture, history, adventure and relaxation.

Casa Mojanda is nestled in a picture-perfect location, The setting is idyllic and the accommodations very comfortable. My husband and I had a wonderful room complete with a personal fireplace and spectacular view of the mountain which was visible from a reclining position on the bed. The rooms were immaculately clean, there was plenty of uninterrupted hot water & a wonderful hammock in a private spot out the back door of the cabin - perfect for an afternoon siesta.

Then there is the food...the gastronomy has a charm of its own. Everything was perfectly prepared, organic, and generally fresh out of the garden. Breakfast is served every morning in the dining room and guests have a choice of healthy and delicious breads, fruit, homemade granola and yogurt, eggs, pancakes etc. etc and there is always freshly squeezed juices, coffee and herbal teas.

The restaurant brings a fusion menu of international and local cuisines, with dishes such as the "plato typico" (llapingachos with peanut sauce, yuca encebollada con aguacate, beets, aji sauce), the Indian (chicken curry, coconut rice, saag paneer, mango chutney, pappadans), the special Christmas dinner ( turkey and all the fixin's) apart from the spectacular homemade soups at each meal, several kinds of salad, and fresh baked, decadent desserts each night.

To complete the atmosphere Casa Mojanda will arrange for a professional massage therapist and healer. Several members of our group signed up for 1 hour massages. We all agreed it was one of the best treatments we had ever received. Of course, the hot tub adds the final touch to a perfect day of hiking and adventure and there is nothing quite like soaking in the tub under the Ecuadorian sky, stargazing and listening to the song of the tree frogs.

I cannot say enough about how wonderful our stay was. Needless to say, we plan to return to Casa Mojanda in 2009, Thank you again to Betti and all the wonderful staff.

¡Adiós, Casa Mojanda! ¡Hasta el próxima vez!

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with family
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Thank ronnit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2009

I am currently staying at Casa Mojanda, and plan to return and stay as long and as often as possible. I have been here since early December and was here earlier in 2008 as well. I cannot say enough about the wonderful environment, food and service by the dedicated staff at Casa Mojanda. During the busy holiday season I got to know many of the guests and all were absolutely enthralled, and planning their return visits.

For that reason I cannot begin to understand who wrote the two reviews below, and was shocked to read them. I never met anyone who expressed any complaint about their stay here -- to the contrary, all have been delighted. The guestbook, which is a large book with as much space as desired, reflects the wonderful experiences that guests -s uch as those I have conversed with -seem to have when staying here. The holidays were magical for all of us who had the privilege of visiting.

Betti manages Casa Mojanda full-time along with a gracious and accomodating staff. Diego has been here as well on various occasions. They built Casa Mojanda from scratch in 1994 using traditional constructions methods and materials, in this case rammed earth.There is a strong feeling of an owner-run resort here, and many if not most of the staff have been here for a decade or more. Their new assistant manager is doing a great job, very ably assisted by a charming Otavalan woman. Although relatively new, they have been very helpful and kind to me and to other guests. I can't imagine who could conclude otherwise. On so many occasions I have received wonderful recommendations from Betti, the assistant managers for tours and excusions and valuable contacts in this area and elsewhere in Ecuador. This could only be based on many years of experience working in ecotourism.

The organic garden is terrific and produces most of the produce and many of the grains used for the wonderful meals. All green matter is composted in a large compost shed and no chemicals are used. Other materials (paper, plastics, glass jars, bottles) are recycled and reused whenever possible. The food is extraordinary, combining local dishes with international ones. The coffee is organic fair traded shade grown coffee, the granola is homemade as is the yogurt, as is the whole grain bread and pancakes (from wheat grown at Casa Mojanda). There are flower gardens, native trees, and a lovely herb garden which grows fresh herbs used in teas.

The writers of the two negative reviews below must have been at another hotel! Their descriptions are completely at odds with my experience and the many many other guests I have come to know while here. (One reviewer said he or she was here for eight weeks, which is hard to believe given the negative review -- why did he or she stay so long? What's the deal with that?)

But a visit is worth many thousands of words, and I doubt TripAdvisor readers will be disappointed if they visit Casa Mojanda.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank snijuniper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2008

I would like warn visitors of claims made by Casa Mojanda on their mis-leading web site.

I work as a lecturer in sustainable tourism at a leading university in the UK. I travelled around and stayed at various lodges in Ecuador earlier this year to take an audit of their sustainability and environmental claims. However, I was very distrubed by what I uncovered at Casa Mojanda. I stayed for 8 weeks at Casa Mojanda and was very distrubed by what I found.

As I stated, their web site is totally out of date - these were aspirations of the past. I believe the ideals for the environment were soundly carried out in the past. However, since the departure of Mr Saches things have slipped very badly.

The hotel now claims to be something it is not which and this is not fair on the guests who think they are booking a hotel that has certain environmental principles.

1. There is NO community garden. There is a garden used for the hotel kitchen. Only about 10% of the food is organic. The rest is bought at the supermarket.

2. The community have nothing to do with the owners of Casa Mojanda as they dispute where money and other donation's have gone. (I have examples).

4. Absolutely NO re-cycling takes place. eg. paper, glass, metals etc.

5. Natural cleaning products are not used.

6. Local workers are employed (they have to as there is no one else!) but feel they are not respected, although they are well paid by local standards.

7. Soups that are meant to be vegetarian are actually made with chicken stock!

8. The vehicles used to transfer guest to and from the airport were not road worthy when I was there, ie bald tyres. Also, it is cheaper to use an local taxi.

The rooms are very simple, basic, but clean and comfortable. The views are wonderful and the air very clean. Only 2 rooms have fire places, which is a shame as it gets cold at night, but electric heaters are provided.

Please do make enquiries and investigate very carefully if you want to make sure that where you stay is of true benefit to the environment and to the local people. Claims on web sites cannot not be trusted. Please remember that staying just a couple of nights does not give you a true picture of what is going on in eco tourism hotels. I stayed at Casa Mojanda for 8 weeks.

Casa Majonda is a lovely simple country hotel, but is not an eco-lodge in the true sense of what these principles should imply.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled on business
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3  Thank Eco-traveller15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pachamamacita, Owners, General Manager and President at Casa Mojanda, responded to this reviewResponded January 28, 2009

Your readers should know that we have confirmed that the writer of this review was NEVER a guest at Casa Mojanda, much less a guest here for eight weeks. She was here two years ago to apply for a position as manager and was dismissed after two weeks for repeated failure to report to work and because she could not speak even basic Spanish contrary to her representation. She thus had almost no contact with the staff or community and little contact even with guests during her short stay.

All of her assertions, save one, are false, and are listed below along with our response.

1. There is NO community garden. There is a garden used for the hotel kitchen. Only about 10% of the food is organic. The rest is bought at the supermarket.

FALSE. There is indeed a community garden that we helped set up many years ago and still functions and provides produce for the local school. Casa Mojanda also maintains a large organic garden for the hotel which is separate, and provides almost all of the produce and most of the grains served here.

2. The community have nothing to do with the owners of Casa Mojanda as they dispute where money and other donation's have gone. (I have examples).

FALSE. Casa Mojanda helped open and fund the rural clinic here in 1997, and with our guests, continues to provide equipement, medicines, and to help fund the salary of the doctor who services the clinic. Casa Mojanda founded and fully funded a pre-school and kindergarten for 8 years before the government of Ecuador made kindergarten a part of basic education. We also fully fund and run a library and after school program which operates all year including summers. There have been no complaints registered with us or with any other institution with respect to any donations. In fact our rigorous monitoring of all donations to community projects, and the ability for our donors and guests to see exactly where their donations have gone that has made our community projects successful.

4. Absolutely NO re-cycling takes place. eg. paper, glass, metals etc.

FALSE. All paper, metal and glass is reused or recycled. All green matter is composted for our organic garden. Even plastic bottles are reused whenever possible and safe.

5. Natural cleaning products are not used.

FALSE. We use vinegar, washing soda, baking soda and other natural products whenever possible for cleaning. Unfortunately alternative cleaning products are not available in Ecuador, so we must make our own, and we do so whenever consistent with high standards of cleanliness.

6. Local workers are employed (they have to as there is no one else!) but feel they are not respected, although they are well paid by local standards.

FALSE. But yes, our staff is local and paid well. They do an amazing job, and work in a social and supportive environment in which the work is quite varied and interesting. They all live close to the work, and most have worked here since we opened in 1996 or soon thereafter.

7. Soups that are meant to be vegetarian are actually made with chicken stock!

FALSE. All of our soups have a vegetable base except in the rare circumstances where guests are offered the option of chicken or vegetable based soup.

8. The vehicles used to transfer guest to and from the airport were not road worthy when I was there, ie bald tyres. Also, it is cheaper to use an local taxi.

FALSE. The vehicles we use are comfortable, well maintained and properly insured. Our transfers are with drivers known to us for years for their safe driving and reliability. Taxis charge the same or more at this point, especially if hired from Quito but guests are more than free to choose their own means of transportation.

The rooms are very simple, basic, but clean and comfortable. The views are wonderful and the air very clean. .....

TRUE. But they are not just "rooms" but are large free-standing rammed earth cottages with private baths and terraces overlooking spectacular mountain vistas. The decor of Casa Mojanda has been widely admired for its rustic charm, display of crafts from all over Latin America and originality.

We invite and welcome TripAdvisor reader comments regarding these matters, and we will respond personally to all inquiries. We thank TripAdvisor for permitting us to air our point of view as the owners and managers of Casa Mojanda.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2008

We had a very disappointing six-night experience at Casa Mojanda. They require advance payment by check mailed to Ecuador and I sent in our $1228 payment for six nights including breakfast and dinner (for two) two months in advance. I had enough trust to do this based on the glowing reviews on this web-site stating that this is a hands-on inn run by the owners themselves. This may have been true at one time, but "Diego and Betti" and no longer a couple. They have separate lives and Diego lives in Quito, almost three hours away. Betti was in Africa when we visited and staff members said that she no longer runs the hotel, leaving the operations to a manager. I do not believe that she lives full time on the grounds.

The manager left in charge has zero hotel management experience. We learned that she visited Ecuador for the first time six weeks prior to our visit. She does not speak Spanish. I could fill pages with the problems that we encountered. We were cold. We wore hats and coats to dinner and in our room. We had reserved a room with a fireplace but the wood was stored outside and was so wet that a fire could only be started one night. The manger refused to allow us to store wood in our room to dry out. The mattresses, pillows, sheets and bedding are old and worn out and not the level that you expect at a B&B or inn at this price point. The used soap bars from the prior guests were left in the bathroom for our use.

The physical grounds were obviously designed with care and thought and love that are now completely absent from the running of the property. The food is still as reported -- excellent -- and the kitchen staff, and all the Ecuadorean staff are devoted and lovely.

This can not overcome the negligence and poor judgement that the owners exhibit in leaving the property under the management of an untrained, incompetent person that they barely know. First, this manager invited us to watch DVDs of her "spiritual teacher," proselytized about her "shamanism," and prayed at dinner. She had no knowledge of the surrounding area and made several mistakes in arranging our activities that were disastrous and unsafe.

We finally wrote emails to Diego and Betti and Betti has now sent me five emails with scant apology, lots of defense of the staff, and quite nearly blaming me for the outcome of our visit. Diego's response was to credit us $150 of the $1228 we paid in advance. If you need a place to crash in order to see the Otavalo market, you may find it acceptable. But, if you want to make a holiday of exploring the northern Ecuador region, do not count on any expertise or coordinating ability from this management. If you treasure your vacation days, look elsewhere for accommodations.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank soontoperu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2008

My first trip to Casa Mojanda was in October 2005 with a small group. Since then I have returned to Mojanda at least three times.
Not only is the Inn beautiful, serene and truly heavenly to look at, but the owners and the staff are extraordinary in every way.
If you are lucky enough to get a cottage with a fireplace, someone will come each evening and light it for you.
The food is all home grown and prepared right on sight--they have the same kitchen crew from when we first went in 2005. And the soups are spectacular. I dream about soup from Mojanda.
It is family friendly in every way and it appeals to an educated--off the beaten path type of traveler. Many wonderful bonds and friendships have been formed during our visits to Casa Mojanda.
Meals are communal but there is plenty of space for privacy if you wish to be alone at other times.
They have a fully stocked video library and there are plenty activities if you want to do more than just watch the magnificient mountains move through the clouds-as I do.
Don't go if you are mean or cranky although it will certainly soften you and brighten your outlook on life if you do.

  • Stayed: October 2005
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2  Thank betsykPa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2007

It is much easier to write about places that aren't pleasant. I loved my stay here - a long weekend. The situation is gorgeous - on a hillside with great views. But then you get good views everywhere in Ecuador. This place is special as it nestles into the hillside - well designed to fit in with the countryside. Inside, as well as out, all has been thought out and done with style and good taste. The gardens are lovely to wander round. There is horse riding. There is the hot tub to relax in at the end of the day- situated outside looking down the valley. Each cabin/room comes with its own little private area and hammock. And to cap it all the food is delicious. There is a cookbook due out - I'll be first in line. (And I cannot believe people carp ot paying $4 for a large glass of wine - and they are large - there is an honesty system - list what you have when you take it.) Go and stay - it's a short cab ride from Otavalo and worth every penny.

3  Thank rowanLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Casa Mojanda

Address: Apartado 160 | Km. 3.8 via a Mojanda, Otavalo 100450, Ecuador
Phone Number:
Location: Ecuador > Imbabura Province > Otavalo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 14 Hotels in Otavalo
Price Range: $157 - $203 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Casa Mojanda 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Casa Mojanda operates on the basis of a firm and ongoing commitment to the principles and practices of ecological tourism and contribution to the surrounding community. Casa Mojanda was designed to have a minimally intrusive impact on our local ecosystem and culture. We believe that ecotourism operations must at a minimum “do no harm,” and be sustainable socio-economically and environmentally, as well as harmonious with and actively supportive of indigenous traditions and cultures. When it comes to lodgings and resorts, we believe that small is beautiful. By keeping Casa Mojanda large in vision but small in scale, we are able to interact with our guests personally, and whenever there is interest, we will connect visitors with local schools, clinics and environmental projects. Each guest is a part of this ongoing process and your feedback and participation are most welcome. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Casa Mojanda Otavalo
Casa Mojanda Hotel Otavalo

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