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“Not Recommended”

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Birdwatcher's House Hostal
Ranked #38 of 47 Specialty Lodging in Mindo
Portland, Oregon
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Not Recommended”
Reviewed December 12, 2012

We would concur with a previous reviewer that Birdwatcher’s House is not recommended. As that reviewer stated, the lodging has moved out of Mindo, and is now located a $10+ taxi ride from Mindo, 5 km. from San Tadeo up a long cobbled/dirt road then 1 km. down a rocky road. The owner and bird guide, Vinicio Perez, does have a long history of birding in Ecuador but perhaps is burned out. He enjoys taking photographs but is slow to share what he knows about local birds. It's confusing to us why Sr. Perez would be in the hospitality business as he does not have a welcoming personality.

The positives are that the rooms are pleasant (hot water temperamental, wi-fi erratic) and the views across the valley when the clouds lift are beautiful. There are good walking opportunities up and down the road and the birding is good where there are remnant forest patches. When asked, the owner did drive us a few km. down the road so we could walk to better birding habitat.

Birdwatcher's House is located just off the Nono-Mindo Road, a famed birding site. Unfortunately, it's on a stretch of the road that has been heavily cut over and converted to pasturage. It's a long walk in either direction to get to extensive intact forest. To be fair, Vinicio's land does include some good forest with a short trail through it, but you won't want to confine your birding to just that patch.

Note that the website offers a volunteer opportunity for birders (at $15/pp/day) but it’s unlikely you will be doing much related to birding. The lodging at this point has few guests so you will not be helping with tours, which we were very disappointed to learn upon our arrival. Volunteers before us planned to stay a month and left angrily after 1 week; we had planned to stay 6 weeks but left (on good terms) after 3 weeks. In both cases the owner wanted more money than was due him at the end of our stays.

Our work consisted of cooking and washing dishes, heavy hoeing and weeding (no gloves), teaching some English to his one employee, graphics, creating a bird checklist, and website editing. Meals are mostly in silence and the atmosphere is not one of joy. Sr. Perez hadn’t paid his electric bill so we were without power for 2 days and he was reluctant to use the generator. Note: the cloud forest can be cold, rainy and damp.

Our recommendation for here: stay at Bellavista Lodge 7 km. down the road as it’s in great birding habitat, the people are positive and helpful, the food better, and overall it’s a better value. If you’re wanting to volunteer somewhere, keep looking.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank JamaicaBirder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
markaschmitt, Manager at Birdwatcher's House Hostal, responded to this review, May 29, 2013
Hi JamacaBirder,
thanks for your input to the TripAdvisor community.
We are sorry you didn't enjoy your experience with us here at Birdwatchers House but I would like to clarify a few anomalies in your report.
I would firstly like to highlight that you were here with us a volunteers, your report about your experience may well be justified but I don't think this is the forum for this. There are plenty of other forums for reports of this nature.
Secondly volunteers are here to assist us with getting the business looking 'ship-shape', sometimes this might not include very glamorous tasks, a holiday is a holiday, maybe your expectations were different for your experience.
Thirdly you were charged an additional sum due to the alcohol you consumed while here and the transfers you requested. I'm not sure many places would offer free beer and wine to their volunteers. If I am wrong then please tell me where this great place is.
Again, I am disappointed you did not enjoy your 'holiday' with us. We continue to work hard to ensure that our paying customers have the best experience possible.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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22 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed July 31, 2012

This hotel has now moved out of town about 40 minutes ($10-$15 cab ride) down a horrendously bumpy road. It's so far out you won't want to go back to Mindo very often/at all, so it's not a good base if you're trying to see things in Mindo.
For the birders- I can't recommend it very highly. It's cold, there is no heat, and the dining area is outside- so bring a warm hat and jacket. It's well set up to see birds, with hummingbird feeders that attract maybe 12 kinds, and we saw a few other types of birds on the property. The owner, Vinicio, was not present much and didn't help us find or ID any birds (or ask if we had target birds), even on the $90/person tour we took to Paz de Los Aves, with Angel (plus an extra $30 for the taxi and $25 to get into the preserve)- that tour was amazing and you should definitely go, but Vinicio spent his time taking photos and not helping us ID or find a single bird. He even fell alseep at one point as we waited for one of the rare birds to arrive.
We had better luck at the Orchid Garden in Mindo, where we went for the orchids but also saw different types of hummingbirds than we saw at the Birdwatcher's hotel, and a bunch of Tanagers.
I will note that a guest who was there right before us was more impressed with Vinicio, and Vinicio was more active in the tour that they did to Los Aves than during our tour.
If I planned it again, I would stay in town and do my birding trips from there- if you've never been to Ecuador before, you will certainly add new birds to your lifelist at the feeders in town.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Emma L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tasman, New Zealand
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed October 1, 2011

Lovely clean, quiet rooms and generally a great atmosphere. Very friendly helpful staff. Excellent value for money.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Ali C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
st andrews
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 13, 2011

A evry clean and immaculately presented hostel in a quiet part of Mindo. The host Vinicio is veru helpful and is a fund of knowledge on birds apart from his own superb photos which decorate the walls. His staff are very friendly and attentive. I would recommend the hostel for anyone with an interest in Natural History. Vinicio can organise trips to local sites to see coco of the rock as well as telling you all that you are seeing.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank standrews52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 4, 2011

The staff was very friendly and made the experience in Mindo that much greater. The hostal was very cozy and comfortable.

Stayed June 2011, traveled solo
Helpful?
Thank tobyc5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 16, 2011

My teenage daughter and I stayed here in Mindo for one night during our trip to Ecuador. The hotel is beautiful with impeccably clean rooms, tiled bathrooms and eating area, and the rooms are cool and comfortable. There is a lovely garden and walk outside with hummingbird feeders and chairs to sit in. Next to that is a quiet area with a jacuzzi and three hammocks, which is a great place to read and relax. The owner speaks very good English, and is a superb guide for birding tours. He also gave us great advice on where to eat in the small village of Mindo, and helped us get to the places in the area we wanted to go. We bought tickets to the Mindo Canopy Adventures in the hotel for $13, and they even did our laundry for us. I highly recommend this for anyone coming to Mindo. The rates are very reasonable, and the whole staff was friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank kbrannoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
Reviewed December 20, 2010

Walking distance from downtown Mindo with many choices of restaurants. We came for the birding, but there is great adventure here as well.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank GregB17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Birdwatcher's House Hostal

Property: Birdwatcher's House Hostal
Address: 600m off the Nono-Mindo Road, 6kms from the Y-junction into Mindo, Mindo, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Pichincha Province > Mindo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #38 of 47 Specialty Lodging in Mindo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 7
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