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Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge
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Reviews (169)
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Reviewed February 10, 2012

After spending 3 nights at Ali Shungu mountaintop retreat, I can tell you that it has won a special place in my heart and soul.  High above the town of Otavalo,  we were warmly greeted by Frank, the proprietor.  He introduced us to Jose Maria, his compadre, who does many things on and around the property.  Later we met Margaret, Frank's wife, who also made sure that we were well taken care of.

Our cabin:  a spacious 4 room home, large picture windows, very tastefully decorated, attention to detail, very comfortable, warmed by wood stove.  
The food:  bountiful, fresh, organic, beautifully presented, delicious, and varied breakfast and dinner.
The mountain setting:  Eucalyptus forests, beautiful flower gardens,  stone paths, lots of space.
The site:  magnificent views all around, especially Imbabura Volcano.  Watch the light change on the mountain throughout the day and evening.  Wow!
Side trips:  Paguche, Cotocachi, Cuicocha....Frank has great suggestions.
Horseback riding:  gentle horses led by Jose Marie,  sights, sounds, and smells of the countryside, blanketed with green farmland.
Otovalo:  Saturday animal market, food market, artesian  market,  indigenous people.  All very colorful!
Expense: very reasonably priced.
The hosts: Frank and Margaret have helped the indigenous people through their many projects. Frank also makes documentaries to raise awareness of the needs of the people. Now he is also studying bee keeping. Margaret makes beautiful jewelry, and is also working on making berry wines.

It was hard to leave Ali Shungu. Just thinking of the place gives me a sense of calm. Thank you Frank and Margaret!

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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Thank micki27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2012

Our experience at Ali Shungu couldn't have been better. We had a beautiful private house with 2 bedrooms and numerous beds overlooking the Imbabura volcano, always changing and adjusting its beauty with the changing light. The native artwork in the house was tastefully chosen and created a warm environment, symbolizing the Otavalo and other nearby indigenous cultures. Two meals were provided: breakfast and dinner, and they were more than ample, healthful, beautifully presented and served by Paulina in native garb, and fresh! Much of the food comes from their organic garden. I'm vegetarian and was in veggie heaven! Each of the nights we were there had a different culinary theme: one night was Asian style, another was Mexican themed. Lunch can be bought for the economical price of $8 USD. Meals are accompanied by beautiful recorded native music.
The help, was ,well, helpful! JoseMaria stoked our wood burning stove regularly to keep our house warm, took us on a horseback ride without commenting on our lack of experience, and provided us with hot water bottles to keep our beds toasty. He even carved us walking sticks!
Owners Frank and Margaret are a delight. They support many indigenous causes and treat their native help with dignity. Although they look like aging hippies, they have been in Otavalo so long that natives all know who they are and seem to accept them as honorary Otavalenos.
If you stay here, you will be outside of town, but travel to town can be arranged easily for 5 USD. Some may prefer to stay in town, and I probably thought that would have been preferable....until I experienced Ali Shungu. It's worth it to stay at A.S. and go into town for shopping the market. Frank can also arrange other tours for you with a mestizo driver, Fabian, for $10 an hour. He can take you to Cuicocha, Cotacaxi, waterfalls, weaver, whatever. Fabian is a great driver and fun to be with.
We were there on Friday, Sat. And Sun. On Sat, Frank took us to the interesting animal market in town.
If possible, try to spend at least 3days in Ali Shingu so that you can relax in the mountains and not just shop the market
I usually write my reviews with a list of pros and cons, but quite honestly, I can't come up with any cons regarding Ali Shungu!

Room Tip: All rooms are beautiful. The only sounds you'll here are those that nature provides: crickets, birds, etc.
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank sannettie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2012

My husband and I spent 8 days in Ali Shungu lodge over Christmas. 2011. We chose this lodge on line as it appeared to be secluded, quiet and mysterious especially when the mist came down in the evening. We were not disappointed. This is a marvelous location on the mountain top overlooking Otovalo. The accommodations are spacious, beautifully furnished and extremely comfortable. The staff were so friendly and helpful. The owner Frank, went out of his way to make us comfortable and gave us a ride to town anytime. He shared so much knowledge about the town and the area. The food was wonderful , mostly vegetarian, healthy and well prepared and served. We experienced fruits in salads and juices that we had never heard of before and they were delicious. The lodge manager, Jose Maria ,was also very helpful and even provided a hot water bottle at night! I cannot wait to return and experience the magic of Ali Shungu. I recommend at least 3 nights to truly appreciate the experience?

Room Tip: All of the cottages are spectacular.
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank IsabellaRichard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2012

The perfect place to revive your body and mind, and find some adventure if you feel like it. This place is a true getaway in the mountains, surrounded by eucalyptus trees, and the guesthouses are fabulous. Everything has been designed for comfort - the beds are fantastic, the view is incomparable and the food some of the best I have ever had. I felt welcomed but independent, there is plenty of information and help to plan your days but also the freedom to be alone, rest and relax. Every aspect of my stay was perfect!

Room Tip: All the guesthouses look fantastic!
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled solo
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Thank Jemima J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2012

I LOVE it here! We stayed here Dec of 2011.
Frank and Margaret make you feel instantly at home at Ali Shungu and are filled with a wealth of knowledge on Ecuador and are happy to dispense tips to you. The rooms/house is MASSIVE! Basically, my friend and I had a whole house with 6 beds to ourselves, living room with fireplace and kitchen. The price includes a 2 hour horseback ride and meals. It's an incredible deal and great quality service. I've been telling all my friends about it. I highly recommend this place and would love to come back.

Room Tip: All rooms have great views.
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank ChrissieLamchop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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