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“One of the best places to stay in Ecuador”

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Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge
Ranked #8 of 33 Otavalo B&B and Inns
Reviewed July 26, 2007

This is absolutely one of the best places I have ever stayed in. The surrounding area is beautiful and the lodge is very relaxing and laid back. After a busy week in the Galapagos, this was exactly what we needed.

The houses are nicely decorated, clean and very spacious. It feels like a home away from home. Coffee, tea and soft drinks, as well as bottled water are in the house. The fire was lit for us every night and in the morning when it was cool.

The service here was excellent. All of the staff were very friendly and the owner was always available to help arrange day trips or to make sure we had anything we needed. Truly one of the nicest people we met in Ecuador.

After a busy day shopping at the market, the mountaintop lodge was a perfect place to come back to and relax. I highly recommend staying here (it is only a $5 taxi ride to the market but feels like a world away).

I would definitely stay here again and recommend my friends and family do as well.

Stayed: July 2007
Thank agoraphobic1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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157 - 163 of 168 reviews

Reviewed June 14, 2007

We spent five nights in Otavalo recently. The first two at the Ali Shungu Hotel in town (because we wanted to experience the animal market early on Saturday), then transferred to the Mountaintop Lodge.
We loved the hotel: it was clean, simple, friendly and in a good location for repeated visits to the market. The food at the restaurant was excellent.
As good as the hotel was, the Lodge was even better. Our host, Francisco, made us feel really welcome and the staff was friendly and professional. Breakfast and dinner were included in the price ($54.00 p.p. cash, plus 22% taxes). The food was plentyful, delectable and beautifully served.
There are four cottages, tastefully decorated and spacious, in an exquisit setting, surounded by flowers and with a splendid view. A fire was lit for us in the early evening and hot water bottles were provided at night. There was plenty of hot water and an unlimited supply of drinking water.
Three friendly dogs, three llamas, and three horses plus a cat , at the moment with a newborn, added to the cozyness of our home away from home.
It was easy to have contact with the staff and the indigenous people in the area. We love to walk and were not disappointed. A five hour roundtrip hike to the rainforest was most rewarding.
On one day, Francisco arranged for us to be picked up and driven to neighboring villages and lake cuycocha, allowing us to meet local weavers and view more of the splendid country.
Not only do we recommend this retreat highly to anybody, but sincerely hope to be able to return some day.


Stayed: May 2007
3  Thank liloandwaldo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2007

Located on 10 acres near the top of a mountain overlooking Otavalo, this retreat has five separate spacious casitas, each with a wonderful view of volcanoes. This is not a spa with lots of bells and whistles. But it is very comfortable and clean, with good, hearty, tasty food. There's lots to do, e.g. a 5 km walk around the edge of the mountain with to-die-for views of the fertile valleys climbing the volcanos, local Indians riding horseback or tending their fields, photogenic kids playing.. The host, Frank, is engaging, knowledgeable, and caters to your every whim, whether it's going to the big animal market in town on Sat morning, copying your photos to a CD, or recounting the history of the area. He will also let you use their fairly decent mountain bikes for a 7 km descent to town, thru local villages, cobblestone roads, etc. Bring your camera. Rancho Ali Shungu is the perfect blend of comfort and ambience. Its out-of-town location is optimal; there's not much in town for a tourist other than the markets. So this is the best of both worlds.

Stayed: May 2007
1  Thank bouchee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2007

This place was our break for three days between the Oriente and the Galapagos (April, 2007), and it fit the bill perfectly.

The villas are unexpectedly spacious, and wonderfully outfitted. Huge LR, DR, Kitchen, and bedroom, enormous shower. The views of the valley and volcanoes from your wrap-around front windows are stunning, and not done justice by the website. It took us a half-hour after arrival just to stop saying “wow”.

To add to the charm, we had a pair of llamas in the lawn outside our villa.

Do be aware that access is by a steep cobbled (& then dirt) road up from town; 4WD seems recommended, if not required.

Heat during the delightfully cool evenings is provided by a woodstove, which is regularly stocked and serviced by the staff.

Breakfast and dinner are served at the main building (a short uphill walk from the villas), and are thoroughly satisfying. Entrees included lamb curry, vegetarian lasagna, chicken and rice, and were always accompanied by good soup, organic salad (washed from local tested spring and friendly to sensitive tourist stomachs), and dessert. Alcohol is available at a reasonable supplement.

The property is a long walk to Otavalo – really, you’ll want a ride down – perhaps with the always amiable owner, Frank. He took us down every morning, or at least met our taxi half-way if we were planning more distant destinations. We highly recommend touring the local weaving villages – Agato & Cotacachi. Woodworking at San Antonio de Ibarra was less inspiring.

Of course the main attraction is the craft market in Otavalo. We went first on Thursday, when the activity and scale is ratcheted back a lot, and again on Saturday for the cultural and photo-op experience. This strategy worked great for us, and we made a majority of our purchases Thursday at lower prices and then felt less pressure during the crazier and more crowded Saturday market. One note, on Thursday the vendors are waiting around for customers, and are aggressive – almost every one of them will verbally solicit your business, but a polite smile and “no, gracias” suffices. On Saturday they are so busy that you will not have to deal with this factor nearly as much.

Frank will drive you down early Saturday morning to the large animal market (talk about a cultural experience!), and then to his other Otavalo downtown hotel, Ali Shungu, for breakfast and a home base during the day. Also, don’t miss the produce market – lots of local color and photo opportunities.

This is a beautiful spot to unwind and enjoy the local culture, at a very reasonable price – highly recommended!

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank browdl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2006

We LOVED our experience at Rancho Ali Shungu! Went with a group of 10, so we had 3 of the 4 guest houses...the houses are huge, with very comfortable sleeping and living quarters. The wood stove was constantly re-fueled, which I welcomed -- 4 of our group had gotten food poisoning BEFORE arriving at the Rancho (some bad bizcochos in Cayambe)...we spent lots of time in the house, but with enormous glass windows and the beautiful view, what a wonderful place to recuperate! Those who rode horses were very pleased with their tour. My 3 year old son loved the docile llamas, the resident guard dogs (with puppies), and all the open space to explore. Nice bonus: HOT hot water bottles placed under the covers at night to warm your toes--we all raved about this trick! Will visit again, and would recommend to all.

  • Stayed: June 2006
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1  Thank Wenecua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2006

The Rancho Ali Shungu is absolutely marvelous. The local staff is warm, friendly, and couldn't have made us feel more at home. The owners, Frank and Margaret, have taken care of every detail to create this beautiful place of tranquility. The food is incredible. All the comforts of home (forget the tv, just look at the view). The view of the mountains and the valley is spectacular. My six-year-old son was in heaven. He spent many happy hours playing with the resident dogs, exploring the area, and just using his imagination. The Rancho Ali Shungu should not be missed on a trip to Ecuador. Stay at least three nights.

Stayed: July 2006
2  Thank wanderingfeet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2006

We stayed at Rancho Ali Shungu with 10 people and had a wonderful experience. The cabins are spotless, comfortable and have great views, the food was delicious, and the staff and service went far beyond our expectations. Frank, the owner, was so attentive, and made sure that all of our needs were met: from oregano tea for some people with stomach illness (NOT caused by food at Rancho Ali Shungu) to special food for a 3 year old, we always felt well taken care of. It also seems that the staff is treated fairly and well, which is always questionable, especially in rural indiginous areas. Frank also had great recommendations for sightseeing and things to do.

I highly recommend Rancho Ali Shungu for an individual, family or a group like ours. It was also neat to be off the typical tourist path and in a village.

  • Stayed: June 2006
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3  Thank schalby
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 33 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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