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“Pure local experience”
Review of Huaorani Ecolodge

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Huaorani Ecolodge
Reviewed July 25, 2013

Superb place located in the middle of the Amazon region. The premises are located in a very remote area in the Amazon region, you will realize how far you are from the cement jungle as soon as you step in the small plane which will take you to the small community where the Lodge is located. listening to mother nature talk to you all day thru is priceless. Our guides Gustavo & Bai (Huaorani) are very knowledgable, so take the opportunity to ask as much as you can about the history, background and all sort of issues related to The Huaorani Community in Ecuador, you will know so much after this trip. The project is 100% locally managed so you will get to experience what is to live in the jungle among this unique group of people. The trip is certainly a cultural experience, chatting with the local people and trying to inmerse in their daily lives is an opportunity in a milllion. There are also another activities such as walks in the nature, kayak, camping and most importantly discover small communities and their habitants. Be sensible when you visit these areas and enjoy your trip!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MaifeNM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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31 - 37 of 66 reviews

Reviewed July 8, 2013

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon. We knew we wanted to experience the rainforest but were interested in a more remote, unique and cultural experience. After explaining our interest to representatives at the travel company Adventure Life, it was suggested that we stay at Huaorani Lodge, an ecolodge located within the territory of the Huaorani people, an indigenous group within the Ecuadorian jungle. We decided it was for us and thereafter Sullivan with Adventure Life helped us plan the trip from start to finish. It was exactly what we had hoped for. After staying a night in Quito, we were picked up by our guide and spent the first part of the day traveling into the jungle by car, plane and finally canoe. Thereafter we spent the next seven days enjoying hikes, bird-watching, swimming in and canoeing on the river and, most importantly, spending time with the Huaorani people and learning their ways of life. Their welcoming nature, skill set and symbiosis with the environment were truly awe inspiring. Our guides, Gabo and Eweme, were extremely knowledgeable, patient and fun to be around, and they, along with all the staff members at the lodge, were the best hosts we could have had. The lodge itself was also fantastic. The cabins were comfortable and had screened in walls which allowed us to enjoy the sights and sounds of the jungle while affording us protection from the insects at night. The meals were filling and delicious- our chef, a young Huaorani man named Remigio, was amazing. The location was also ideal, adjacent to the beautiful river and truly remote. I strongly recommend this trip to anyone who is looking for the adventure of a lifetime and who wants to experience the true beauty and bounty of the Amazon rainforest. You won’t regret it!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jess0405
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2013

A friend and I (both teachers in our 50's) stayed at the ecolodge in June 2012 for 5 days. Our guides were Xavier and Ewme and both were excellent. This leg of our three week trip was the highlight and that's saying something considering the other two legs were a cruise in the Galapagos and hiking in Machu Picchu. We loved meeting the Huoarani people and learning about the jungle from people who live and hunt there every day. Since we are both teachers we brought school supplies with us to share and that really opened doors for us in the villages. What a blast visiting the schools and playing with the kids. We made and drank chicha, wove baskets and headbands, used a blowgun and spear, canoed, swam, kayaked, hiked day and night, had a picnic on the edge of the river, camped out, star gazed, saw wildlife, and ate great food. I really don't have anything negative to say. It was wonderful. GO!

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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8  Thank lizardgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

Ever since I read Joe Kane's book, "Savages," I had wanted to visit the Huaorani. Finding another senior citizen to travel with me, I was set. The trip met all my expectations! I sat beside the pilot in our little five-seater plane taking in the panorama of the jungle unfolding beneath us during our flight from Shell to the narrow ribbon of grass that serves as a landing strip. As we stepped out of the plane, Xavier, our English speaking naturalist introduced us to Mincaye Enkedi, our Wao guide, who speaks some Spanish. We donned knee high rubber boots and settled into our dugout canoe poled by two Wao young men. The trip down river to our lodge was memorable for the peacefulness of the river and the beauty of the forest complete with the sounds of many birds. Soon we were at the landing for the lodge and faced the first of many challenges of climbing steep, muddy and slippery river banks. I found that at age 79 I was able to manage them quite well! We were delighted to find our screened cabin clean and comfortable, complete with twin beds, a small bathroom area featuring a lavatory, flush toilet and a shower. No sooner were we settled in than we were served a very good meal and then set off on the first of many information filled hikes. Mincaye and Xavier had so much to share with us about life in the rain forest, the plants and their many uses and how the Wao live quite well in an environment we outsiders could never survive without their help. Visiting villages and meeting the people was the highlight of the trip for me. I will never forget getting my face painted and singing and dancing with the women and girls. I felt so welcomed by these friendly, fun-loving people, and I fell in love with the children! I would love to visit again when my three and five year old grandsons are old enough to go with me!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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6  Thank HelenFin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2012

We stayed in August and had a great time. Everyone else has summarized the trip but I have a few pointers. Bring a lot of cash for the trip. Each community sells bracelets and necklaces and small denominations might be a good idea if you don't want to buy much. The Huarani guides are amazing. They really share the forest with you and deserve a really big tip at the end. I am not sure how much money the travel company actually gives to the Huarani people but it seems like the best way to support them is to buy their jewelry and tip your Huarani guide. Spend as much time with your Huarani guide as you can and ask him questions about everything. It is a truly rewarding trip that made me a staunch rain forest advocate!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank James A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2012

I've just come back from 4 days, which I really enjoyed. The most important things are a) the guides and b) the organisation of the trip.
My two guides, Xavier and Ewme, were both excellent - knowledgeable, friendly, reliable. Really first class! The trip was very well organised, from the pick up at the Quito hotel to the drop off at Coca airport. The food is also pretty good throughout.
There are walks through the rainforest and canoe trips along the Shiripuno - both great fun. And the last night is at a campsite near the village of Nanquipare - again, very pleasant. It's a priviledge to see the rainforest in this way, and to meet the Huaorani, who are without exception friendly and welcoming.
There are no negative points - for sure, the lodge could perhaps be a little more comfortable (hot water?), and the seating on the non-motorised canoes could be improved, but these are minor things.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank tnbms162016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2012

We were the group that almost didn't get there! There had been an unusual amount of rain in the area during our time in Ecuador, and although we got on our little plane and flew right over the landing strip, locally it was too wet there to land. We landed back in Shell and our guide, Santiago, found us a really nice hotel in Puyo, and took us on a walk in a nearby park along the river. After another full day trying to get out and doing some local activities, the weather was still too rainy. At that point, Tropic could have just sent us back to Quito, but instead they spoke with the entire group, asking for our ideas and opinions, and giving us several options, including staying at a different lodge. We were their last group of the year and they really wanted to try to salvage our trip, even though the weather was beyond anyone's control. In the end we wanted to try one more time the next morning, and we made it into Huaorani territory! Our trip was a little bit shorter but thanks to Santiago and Tropic we were able to add on an extra day. We stayed one night at the Ecolodge. It was comfortable, the food was really delicious (best salsa ever, wanted to bring it home!) and everyone was really friendly. It would be great, as others have suggested, to have an area there to hang out. I enjoyed the night camping as well. I didn't know what to expect...you are in a tent but on a high, covered platform. It rained overnight but we stayed totally dry at our campsite. People from the Ecolodge are there with you and cook hot meals. My favorite parts of the trip were kayaking (beautiful, quiet, a great slow way to experience the Amazon), visiting the communities and playing with the children, and the night hike. Both our Huaorani and Ecuadorian guides were top-notch. We felt immediately comfortable with Santiago, he worked hard to do everything he could to try to get us out there, find activities for us in the meantime, and even gave up a day of his own free time. Once we were in the Amazon, his passion for the place, the people, and especially the birds, was obvious and inspiring. Some advice: bring more clothes than you think you need, everything gets damp and stays that way, and you are hiking in mud. Those dorky zip-off pants work well, you will want long pants for hikes. Zip locs or Dry sacs for everything, especially your camera. They sell these at the Ecolodge too. This was one trip where I actually used all those "what-if" items I packed!
Negatives: well, we lost some time there, so some of our experiences were changed or cut due to time. Wish we had more time at the communities so it felt even more authentic. Agree with another reviewer that sharing a meal or an activity would be a good idea. Need more guide-led educational talks about Huaorani history, and the drilling in the Amazon. Thought we would have this "educational experience" driving on the Via Auca on the way out but all we did was drive.
Overall, it was an amazing experience, well worth the money, especially knowing that it goes to the communities. And don't let my experience with the weather put you off. One caveat for us was that we were trying to land on a smaller air strip, as the regular one is under construction for a bit. I would say ideally try to schedule this in the middle of your trip to Ecuador so you have days on either side.

If you are going to get all the way to the Amazon, this is THE way to authentically experience it. I have traveled to many countries, including 2 weeks of safari in Africa, and this truly is an experience unlike any other. Go!

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank signorina_m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Huaorani Ecolodge

Address: Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Yasuni National Park
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Yasuni National Park
Price Range: $150 - $200 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stay in an eco-lodge situated at the headwaters of the Amazon and run by the Huaorani, one of the most isolated ethnic groups on earth: first contacted by the outside world only 55 years ago, they speak a language that is unrelated to any other. You’ll learn to use a blowgun, hear their leader relate the tribe’s fight against oil exploration, and take a two-day meander down the Shiripuno River in kayaks, watching for tropical birds and monkeys.Highly Commended -The Virgin Holidays Responsible Travel Award 2009 and 2010Best Company in Innovation 2010 - LATATrips of a Lifetime award by Travel & Leisure 2010Best Sustainable Tourism Project 2008 and 2009 - LATABest Adventure Travel Companies on Earth by National Geographic 2009 ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Huaorani Ecolodge Hotel Yasuni National Park
Huaorani Ecolodge Ecuador/Yasuni National Park

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