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“Two Nights is Not Enough!”

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Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge
Ranked #8 of 35 Otavalo B&B and Inns
Reviewed December 4, 2011

We visited Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge at the end of our two week trip to Ecuador with the idea of relaxing and unwinding from our week in the Galapagos before we headed back to Seattle. It met and exceeded all expectations and I wish we could have stayed for several more days because it was so perfect. The living spaces are huge and comfortable, the food outstanding, the staff attentive and the owners are really interesting and fun. Frank offered guidance on our day's activities when asked and was the perfect travel guide! Margaret was so fun to meet and makes the most amazing jewelry (be sure to ask about it)! Our horse ride was interrupted by thunder and lightening but was very fun nonetheless and after the storm passed, leaving in its wake no electricity, the staff did not miss a beat in preparing a beautiful meal and seeing to all our needs. Most of the lodge is not electricity-based so hot showers were still available and the atmosphere enhanced. It was the perfect location to venture into many of the surrounding communities and then to return to relax and reflect on the day. There is so much natural beauty in the area. When I return to Ecuador, I will return here for as many days as I can fit in to enjoy more of the hiking trails and other nature-based experiences. The weaving and leather materials in the area, as many have noted, is wonderful.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank LAOLAO10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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125 - 131 of 169 reviews

Reviewed December 1, 2011

A quick 2 hour ride bus from Quito, Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge is the kind of place where you could hole up for days and be quite content.

We intended on staying two nights before moving on toward the central part of the country, but our plans quickly went out the door when we were taken by the lodge and its idyllic setting overlooking Otavalo. It is a place that you simply do not want to leave.

The accommodations are amazing—roomy guesthouses that are beautifully furnished, fully-equipped, and immaculately clean. Each has a wood-burning stove that’s kept stoked all day long.

The staff is friendly and attentive, and the owner, Frank, goes out of his way to ensure that you feel at home. His extensive knowledge of the area, its customs and quirks provide insights unavailable in any guidebook. And his ties to the community are a testament to his commitment to making a positive impact on the present and future of his neighbors.

Meals at Ali Shungu are part of the treat. With a strong emphasis on vegetarian, they are thoughtfully prepared, fresh and varied—and always delicious.

We loved the remoteness of the location, for its peace and serenity. Yet we knew a 10 minute taxi ride would put us in the heart of Otavalo.

Ali Shungu may be as close to perfection as you can get.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank nuvu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2011

Perched atop a mountain above Otavalo and Lago San Pablo, Ali Shungu is a wonderful place to spend a weekend in front of the fire, walking the grounds, riding horses or dropping into Otavalo for the vibrant weekend markets.

Although we are not vegetarians, we found the vegetarian menu delicious for both breakfast and dinner.

Also, make sure you play fetch with the tireless Sarah, one of the owner's dogs. It can be several hours of entertainment.

We have stayed in a wide variety of haciendas in Ecuador over the past two years but Ali Shungu remains our favorite. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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Thank teejayemm21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2011

We stayed the last week of October 2011.

My wife and I arrived to Ali Shungu Mountain Lodge very tired after driving all the way from Mindo. We were very pleasantly surprised. Frank was very useful giving us directions to get there. The cabins are humonguous, very tastily decoraded and super clean. Flute Andean music was playing and the fireplace was sparkling with a very romanting fire.

The food was excellent and plenty, we had a little problem with a toilet and it was immeditedly resolved.

Overall very reasonable for the price, family enviroment, very safe and so reclusive, far away from the tourist trmoil of Otavalo. Still close to go to Cotacachi, Antonio de Ibarra and Otavalo itself.

Highly recommended. We have been visiting Ecuador twice a year and we are familiar with many places: Luna Runtun, Hacienda Cusin, Papallacta etc. But this place it always will be in our hearts.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Juan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2011

My husband and I, along with another couple, visited Ecuador for a week, prior to embarking on a week-long cruise of the Galapagos Islands. Our time at Ali Shungu was a most gloriously relaxing and peaceful respite from the hubub of Quito and the small stresses of living--ever so briefly--in an unfamiliar country. As has been said in many previous reviews, the casitas are commodious, beautifully designed, decorated with local art and handicrafts, and utterly charming. My husband and I had our own casita, as did our friends. The vistas from the large picture windows are dazzling--beautiful, green hillsides, and massive craggy volcanic peaks.

We stayed three nights, and I wish it had been more--a week would not be too long. Getting to Ali Shungu from Otavalo is not for the faint of heart. I implore you to let owner Frank arrange for your transport to the lodge. He refers to the "road" leading to Ali Shungu as his "moat." Certainly, no one would drive the narrow, rutted dirt road as part of a Sunday outing! When you arrive, Frank is there to greet you, along with canine mascots Sara and Paco. Frank jests that guests must agree to spend at least an hour daily throwing sticks for Sara, one of the friendliest, sweetest, most indefatiguable yellow labs on the planet--on ANY planet. Paco lacks the retriever gene, but is equally friendly and companionable.

Breakfast and dinner at the main house are included with the casita, and the meals are delicious. Margaret, Frank's wife and partner, prepares gourmet Ecuadorian cuisine nightly. Breakfasts always begin with delicious fresh fruit and juice, and truly sustain you until the evening meal. After dinner, Jose Maria would come round and light our wood stove for us, as the evening are cool at the +/- 10,000 ft. altitude enjoyed by Ali Shungu. Later in the evening he would deliver a most welcome hot water bottle which made trying to get to sleep with cold feet a nonissue.

We had minor issues with hot water one day, and the wifi was tempermental in our casita during our stay, although it worked well at the main lodge. This was more of an Ecuador infrastructure issue than anything else.

I could continue for paragraphs. Suffice it to say that all the glowing reviews below mine are accurate, and then some. We did not opt to ride horses, but we did hike around the property, and each morning we awoke to see our personal llama calmly grazing outside our bedroom window. Top that!

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank realjewell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2011

My travelling companions and I were in Ecuador for fifteen days. While we stayed at some excellent hotels the Ali Shingu Mountaintop Lodge was the best of them all. What great accommodations, fine food, outstanding view, friendly pets and gracious hosts. Everything that you might want to do while there is efficiently arranged by the hosts Frank and Margaret. One of the highlights of the stay were the two horseback rides through the surrounding land, a truly relaxing experience with magical vistas.

We would stay there again in a heartbeat! In fact, the lodge is a reason to go back to Ecuador.

Tom

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank ThomasBoston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2011

My husband is from Ecuador and we fly in every couple of years and get the immeadiate family all together (16 of us) for about a week. We chose Ali Shungu because of its proximity to Quito and the fact that the owner Frank had the ability to rent out 3 of the houses at the same time for a week to us.

Frank picked us up in Otavalo (along with an extra hired taxi) and drove us up and up and up the mountain. I think the only thing I didn't embrace about our week there was the fact that we were so very far away from town. The narrow dirt road you take up the mountain probably shouldn't be traversed by car...you need something with a little bit of height. Once we got there...we loved it. Horseback riding...hiking and plenty of family time spent without televisions or phones. The houses are wonderful, huge windows and comfortably equipped with everything you might need...books and plenty of games. We spent 6 nights and were comfortable and can't say we found ourselves getting bored.

I do wish we had stocked up on groceries prior to coming up the mountain (as each house has a kitchen). Dinner was served at the main house...it would have been nice if they served all three meals there....or served meals to order since we were so far away from everything.

Overall it really was wonderful...the views are fantastic, the place was clean (even smelled of eucalaptus from all the eucalaptus trees around). I would go back again.
Angie

Room Tip: All of the rooms are fabulous!
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  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank AngieYepez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge

Address: Imbabura, Otavalo 100450, Ecuador (Formerly Rancho Ali Shungu)
Location: Ecuador > Imbabura Province > Otavalo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 35 B&Bs / Inns in Otavalo
Price Range: $85 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Travelers enjoy the tranquility and beauty of Andean Mountains and Culture in our warm and spacious guesthouses, surrounded by 40 acres of private gardens and forests ...all just a few minutes from the world famous markets of Otavalo. ... more   less 

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