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“Come for the Nature, Bring Back A Cockroach Infestation”

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El Monte Sustainable Lodge
Ranked #6 of 47 Specialty Lodging in Mindo
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Come for the Nature, Bring Back A Cockroach Infestation”
Reviewed October 30, 2011

El Monte seemed like a lovely place - the pictures were lovely, and the reviews overall were good. My sister and I booked the a cabin for a weekend stay, and although there were several positive aspects, I absolutely would not recommend it.

A lot of the reviews talked about the owners, and about how lovely and helpful there were. I cannot comment on that, as the owners were away for our entire stay. The woman who was left to run the lodge was genuinely nice, however she didn't have a lot of the information (how much an extra meal would cost, etc.) that one would expect from the person in charge.

To confirm our reservation, we had to either go to the office in Quito or make a transfer at the local bank. When we called the lodge to book, we were NOT told about the office. We were told that the only way to reserve a space was to go to the bank, so although it took a lot of time to do so, we completed the bank transfer, photographed our receipt and emailed it to the interim manager. Except she didn't check email, and when we called her to confirm she had received it, she said she didn't have email access after 5 pm, and she told us to bring our receipt with us.

The lodge was empty save for one other guest, and I don't know why we couldn't just have paid cash once we arrived - it would have saved us an immense amount of trouble.


The food was good, and Fernando was a wonderful guide. The extra activities (outside the lodge - butterflies and ziplining) were lovely, and the grounds and buildings were stunning.

We left the lodge with mixed feelings. It was a beautiful experience, but for the price we paid, we had expected a smoother-run operation: The interim manager seemed ill-equipped to handle guest needs: When we asked for seconds at one meal, we were told that the lodge didn't have enough food. When we arrived back after zip-lining in the rain, we spent almost half an hour huddled across the river, waiting for someone to hear our call and let us onto the property.

The accommodations were gorgeous, and they had obviously been cleaned - however, not necessarily right before we arrived. The other guest found a dead cockroach on her bed, and we too found several dead insects in the battub, floor and sink. We understand that this is an Eco-Lodge, but a quick sweep before our arrival would have made a huge difference.

When we went to the washroom to brush our teeth before going to bed, we saw several large, reddish-brown cockroaches scurrying in and out of the walls. When we mentioned this to the interim manager the next day, she confirmed that there were indeed sometimes cockroach problems, and said that because the owners preferred not to use chemicals, they were difficult to get rid of. While I understand this, a cockroach infestation is something that guests should be warned of prior to accepting payment for a reservation.

We went on to our next hotel - the Quito Radisson - and when we opened our toiletries bag in the evening, three huge cockroaches ran out. Instead of the relaxing evening we had anticipated, we instead spent the time changing rooms and arranging with hotel staff for all of our luggage to be taken away and fumigated (a hotel Radisson requirement). We were also informed that we would likely be charged with costs associated with bringing these insects into the hotel.

We immediately called both of the numbers on the Eco Lodge's webpage, and did not receive a response. We will try them again tomorrow, and try their office, but this experience has significantly tainted our overall impression of the weekend.

For the record, we are avid Ecotourists - we are not adverse to a few bugs and have come home with over 30 mosquito bites apeice, which we wear proudly. However, a cockroach infestation that follows you home - as well as the other frustrations mentioned in this review - is not acceptable.


We left the Eco Lodge this afternoon and went to our next stop, the

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Melamondiale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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138 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (37)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Boston, MA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 23, 2011

I would go back here in a heartbeat. The cabin my friend and I stayed in was huge, comfortable and beautiful. The grounds around El Monte are gorgeous as well. I have never been anywhere like this.

The food was organic and grown right there. It was the only place I could eat vegetables and fruits without being worried of getting sick in all of Ecuador. I lived there for 3 months and can promise you the food was safe, not to mention delicious.

I really enjoyed this place especially because it came with a local guide, named Fernando Arias, included in the price. He was amazing! He taught us so much about the cloudforest and could spot every living creature near us no matter what size. Not to mention, he was very friendly, helpful, responsible and flexible. Way better than the expensive guides I had in the Galapagos and in the Amazon of Ecuador!

I highly recommend staying here. Just remember that this is an ecolodge in the cloudforest of Ecuador - don't expect anything to be fancy or bug-free!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank VSling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thornton, Colorado
Level 5 Contributor
41 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed October 21, 2011

My husband and I, as part of a big retirement trip, spend 3 nights and 4 days at the El Monte Lodge in Mindo, Ecuador. My daughter had visited there 10 years ago and was very enthusiastic about the experience. This is NOT your Howard Johnson experience. It is far superior and much more interesting than a customary hotel. You have your own private cabin, very large and airy and you have largely vegetarian (some chicken and fish) meals in a stunning community lodge. The owners are fascinating people, very down to earth, and they are enthusiastic about the eco-friendly practices at their establishment. Much of the food is home-grown and you never leave the table hungry.
My favorite part of our experience was having a one-on-one guide through the cloud forest. Fernando was wonderful, had some basic English, and could spot a frog or exotic bird in a twinkling. He not only helped us find the wonders of the jungle, he helped us photograph them as well, taking the camera and creeping toward the birds with amazing patience. If you are an avid birder or just a casual bird lover, this is YOUR place.
We also highly recommend the butterfly garden (in walking distance) and the orchid and chocolate factory tours in Mindo.
We did (perhaps) bring back some biting insect, most likely a spider or two, in our luggage. We highly recommended spraying your luggage before your next stop. This is just a minor thing and it's possible that we picked up the creepy crawlers somewhere else. This is the cloud forest after all, so some insects are to be expected. We were amazed that there weren't more, actually. Pay attention to their recommendations of bug spray and be prepared for wet, muddy conditions. None of this should deter you from going - oh, and take a flashlight!
In summation - this is the opportunity of a lifetime. We are soooo happy that we went. We highly recommend this experience to anyone, regardless of age and interests.

Room Tip: We had a very spacious cabin. They do vary. I'm not sure that you have a choice in the matter be...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank MusicAce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
minnesota
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2011

We found Monte Lodge online after we had booked a week's stay in Quito. Since we only had a week's quick vacation we intended on just a few day trips to outlying areas. However - the website so intriqued us that we booked a couple nights to Mindo and El Monte Lodge. Their driver picked us up 7 am at our Tumbaco B&B - and off we went to experience Ecuador's cloud forest. Little expectation (other than pics from the website) - but we hoped that it would be something different and "an adventure". The place exceeded our imaginations - and though we have travelled many countries, nothing has been quite like El Monte. The first indication was the river music that can be heard everywhere on the grounds. It is a roar that puts you to sleep every night. Our cabins were immaculate, thatched, rocked shower area, and even with windows closed the river talk was amazing. Every meal was at the Lodge - no walls, just thatched roof. Everything - including kitchen - open to nature. Evening meals were completely by candlelight and we had the pleasure of the owners at our table. Our guide - Fernando - can be described as "The Bird Whisperer". On our daily hikes to the forest he spotted so many birds that we finally gave him the camera and let him roam to get the best shots. He is gifted and passionate about his jungle. To top it all off Tom and Muriella (Mississippi and Ecuador), our hosts, had an unannounced guest that week. O (as we now call him) is from the Huarani indigenous tribe and he is "brother" to Tom and "sister" to Muriella. He comes now and then to give them a hand - then disappears back to his tribe. The Huarani are the noted "naked" indigenous that hunt using their wits and their blow guns. Their senses are not like ours - and the ability to hunt the monkey, the tucan, and the wild pigs were stories translated by Tom at our table with humble "O" adding to it all in his indigenous Spanish. AMAZING EXPERIENCE. We intend to return someday and take an optional tour from Monte into the lands of the Huarani - this taking 3 days by canoe and the fortitude to do it. No matter what type of comforts you require - El Monte delivers. Comfort. Hot showers. Hikes, Zip Lines. Butterfly farms. AMAZING. We will return. Thank you dear staff and owners. We loved it!! Pat and Mary Kay

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank amigolucy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anchorage, Alaska
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2011

A very interesting place. Meals, served at a big table (everyone dined at the same table) was absolutely terrific. We met people who were staying there from all over the world. I would recommend this place to anyone.

Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Gabrielle L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Clara, California
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 21, 2011

This is a great lodge to experience eco friendly luxury in the middle of Ecuador's rainforest. The patrons were wonderful and really made our stay comfortable and fun. This is an eco lodge which makes you feel removed from civilization and yet a part of a community in Mindo. The food was wonderful and very plentiful and given that it's all included in the cost for each person it's not that expensive. We loved the open air main lodge, the ride across the river to get to the lodge and the fact that we had guides who could show us around to see birds, waterfalls and whatever else we wanted. I

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank connellanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2011

I have held back reviewing places in South America until I have travelled for several months (inculding 6 weeks in Ecuador) in order to, hopefully, give a fair review, in the context of the city, culture, price etc.

How can a lodge that you access via a cable car over a raging river be anything but awesome?

Price: US $200 per night for a cabin.

Bedrooms: If they are available, ask to stay in the bigger cabin (they are the same price). The nicest accomodation we have stayed in South America, for any price. As an architect I can appreciate the design and decor, and El Monte does not disappoint. Large, high raked timber ceilings, timber throughout, excellent beds and blankets, and the sound of the river at your door step. I would suggest turning the (minimal) lights out when you go to dinner as they will certainly attract bugs into the cabin. Spotlessly clean.

Bathroom: Huge, nice big tub, modern design, double sinks, clean. The water is pumped from the river and as such, not the most plesant thing to have a bath in (brown water).

Hostel Services: Beautful large main lodge house with open kitchen, a variety of places to relax and watch the birds. The food was plentiful and excellent, I was hesitant given thats its all vegitarian, but it was amazing. Our full time personal guide (included) was excellent, and the activites, such as rafting, bird watching, hiking, zip lining, tarzan swing, butterfly house etc was amazing. Everything service outside of the hiking (i.e. that wasn't run by the lodge) was extra money, but very cheap. Highly recommend the zip lining and tarzan swing.

Room service: Room service ewxcellent and daily.

Hostel Staff Service: Excellent. The owners and staff made you feel like you were part of their house, eating and talking with you and were very helpful. All spoke perfect English.

Hostel Patrons: Met some very nice people, the cabins are far enough away and the sound of the river is loud and so it doesnt really matter the nature of the other guest.

Location: Mindo itself is a small town. You don't go for the town, you go for the surrounding clous forest. The lodge is private, and the grounds and surrounding countryside is nothing short of amazing.

Conclusion: This place is expensive, and yet is certain worth it, given that meals, personal guide etc are inclusive and that the accomodation is fantastic. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Ask if the bigger cabins are available.
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank LeClare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Monte Sustainable Lodge

Property: El Monte Sustainable Lodge
Address: Roca E4-49 y Amazonas | Pasaje Chantilly, Mindo, Ecuador (Formerly El Monte Lodge)
Location: Ecuador > Pichincha Province > Mindo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Restaurant Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 47 Specialty Lodging in Mindo
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Monte Sustainable Lodge is an ecotourism destination in every sense of the word. We emphasize nature here at El Monte, in the form of birdwatching and observation of wildlife in general. Aside from the natural focus of our lodge, we also supply many of the vegetables, eggs and more from our organic garden. Most of our energy is supplied by a microhydro plant. We are located in a 110 acre reserve that is close to the Mindo-Nambillo Reserve of over 40,000 acres. At only 3 kilometers from the town of Mindo we are within access of many the activities, such as the Butterfly Garden, Ziplines, White-water Tubing, waterfalls and more. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
El Monte Hotel Mindo

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