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La Selva Amazon Ecolodge
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed November 27, 2013

My husband, Mike, and I visited for five days and four nights beginning the end of October. We had the most amazing time seeing pygmy marmosets, lots of birds, and so much more. We enjoyed the food, our lovely room, and our knowledgeable guide. Paul was the best guide ever! Thanks for a great time. We went on to the Galapagos and had another 15 days of awesome fun.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank Donna I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 21, 2013

What a wonderful and amazing place. The Lodge is very nice and comfortable. Our room #7 was a Superior Suite on the lower level and quite nice. Comfortable bed with nice linens and mosquito netting. The open windows and ceiling fan kept the room at a comfortable temperature while allowing us to enjoy the sounds of the jungle. It was close to the main areas and we were afraid it would be noisy but we were not disturbed at all, although you can sometimes hear voices from the staff and footsteps from the upstairs room. Each group of guests has a naturalist guide (ours was Jose) and a native guide (Bolivar), both of whom were very knowledgeable and friendly. The group ate meals together with the naturalist which allowed for some nice conversation. The daily activities were varied and we did some hiking as well as canoeing. Scheduled activities were in the early morning and then at around 4:30 in the afternoon. After lunch time allowed for individual activities such as swimming in the lake, kayaking, fishing or massages and naps. The pace was very relaxing.

The amount of wildlife we saw was incredible. This was our second trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon and we saw way more at La Selva than the other lodge we stayed at. 3 different kinds of monkeys, an anaconda, caiman, parrots, macaws, herons and so many more birds than we could name. We also had a day of cultural activity where we visited one of the local villages and got to taste some "authentic" local food including roasted beetle larvae (tastes like bacon!)

The biting bugs were not bad at all and although the lodge is open, there were never any issues at meal times even though we never used insect repellent. They do not get mosquitos as the lake is too acidic for them to lay eggs.

The travel time to get there is long but they are well organized and it really is not bad at all. From Quito a 1/2 hour flight, then about 2 hours in a boat on the Napo River, a short walk (10-15 minutes) to a canoe and then about 15 minutes to the lodge.

The final comment we have is about the food. WOW WOW WOW is all there is to say. The food was unbelievably good. Every meal was delicious and with an Ecuadorian flare that made each meal interesting as well.

La Selva Lodge is definitely worth the trip!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank GMSnRAS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2013

In the middle of the Amazonian jungle, miles from nowhere, the only transportation to get there being canoes, sits a gem of a lodge. The staff were all welcoming and helpful. The accommodations were very comfortable and spacious. I wish the lighting was brighter, but hotel rooms are dark - maybe it is not such a good thing to see oneself clearly when one travels, especially in humid, hot environments which is not conducive to looking one's best. The naturalist in charge of our party of 4 was excellent as was the native tracker who, always with machete, created trails for us when fallen tress prevented us from moving forward. The food was excellent and presented well. The opportunities to experience the jungle at various times of the day and at different places and from different perspectives was excellent. It truly was a fantastic experience.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank Myrna F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2013

My partner and I did the five day/four night trip in early November. The entire experience from booking (direct thru Columbus Travel the owners) to transfer out (special arrangement to meet the Manatee Explorer boat on the Rio Napo) were well handled and exceeded our expectations. The "newly remodeled" lodge and grounds are wonderful. The staff is exceptional. Management was attentive and involved. The rainforest experience was educational, fun, and awe-inspiring.

The basics: we were picked up at our hostel and met the La Selva rep at Quito airport. He handled all the flight/luggage/checkin arrangements and we flew to Coca on a 35 minute flight. Next a bus transfer (ten minutes) to an old hotel on the Rio Napo to wait while the luggage was loaded and our boat was prepared. Then a two-hour ride down the river enjoying a snack/lunch provided in a souvenir tote bag with a refillable water bottle for use at the lodge, and the occasional wildlife sighting and briefing about the environmental impact to the eco-system. We then docked and walked (carrying our day packs only) roughly 15 minutes thru the rainforest on a raised wooden walkway to a canoe launch ramp. We were paddled about 20 minutes until the beautiful main lodge building came into view at the far end of the large "blackwater" lake. After a welcome drink (always provided after every subsequent excursion thru out our stay) of fruit juice we met the lodge manager, were given an introductory briefing of the lodge facilities, the Amazon rainforest eco-system, arranged into groups of 6-8 guests, assigned our rooms, and assigned to a naturalist guide. After a brief 'freshen up' and room tour (where our luggage was waiting) we were fitted with our rubber boots and began our first adventure.

The Activities: This is basically a 'safari schedule' - for those who have never been on safari/wild life tour this means you are assigned a naturalist and a local guide for the entire stay. You do all of your activities together as a group, dine together, meet and schedule independently of the other groups. The schedule is early morning activity (wake up 6am-ish) and afternoon/evening activity (4-7 pm-ish) to maximize the rainforest experience. In the course of our stay we enjoyed natural hikes, canoe rides, the parrot clay lick, a local family visit, night walks, piranha fishing, etc. Although the schedule seems rigorous to some guests, there is plenty of mid-day time (it gets hot!) to relax, swim, nap, shower, kayak, fish, read, etc. and ample evening time to enjoy the lounge and socialize with the other groups.

The rainforest experience: A complete immersion into the Amazon rainforest eco-system with explanations of native plants, the rainforest "blackwater lake system", the local peoples culture, the amazing butterfly preserve, and of course bird and wildlife viewing. As stated up front - this is nature - nothing is guaranteed, we approached this part with minimal expectations. We were quite pleased with the entire educational experience. The wildlife sightings were amazing. (We have been on several African safari camp adventures - this is not Africa) - the wildlife here is quite allusive and under severe environmental and human threat - but we read and studied prior to this trip and adjusted our expectations. However nothing really prepared us for the sight of an 18 - foot black anaconda sunning itself 100 meters from the lodge. Just an example of how amazing this place can be yet its all based on the luck of nature and to some degree the skill of your guides. We saw many birds, insects, reptiles, snakes,monkeys, bats, fish and butterflies during our activities in the rainforest near the lodge. We were really lucky at the parrot clay lick - we had a full on sighting experience on our morning there - (while on our subsequent visits from our later Manatee river cruise we struck out completely). The point being nature is fickle and allusive and ever-changing, it's something consider during your rainforest experience. Our visit with a local Kichwa family was a great adventure. We sampled native foods, chicha beer, and experienced eating grilled palm larvae (huge bugs - tasted like bacon yum!) and tried our hand at using a blowgun. Wonderful cultural exchange and learning experience and we helped the family/community by purchasing unique handcrafts.

The room and lodge: we stayed in superior suite #6. Adjacent to the main lodge with a balcony over the lake, the suites are built in groups of four unit to a building but were very thoughtfully designed as well we rarely heard the other guests in their rooms, on their balconies, their 'plumbing' sounds etc. The suite was quite larger than we expected - canopied king bed, seating areas, large wardrobe with a safe and additional cabinets, nice tile floor thru-out, large dual sink vanity with separate water closet and "rainforest" shower. Our room even had a 'dry-box' unit for slow drying your cameras/binoculars etc if condensation became a problem. The room was very clean and well maintained. Turndown service was provided and included a pitcher of purified water and cups. Clean water was always available at several coolers located in the main lodge to refill your reusable bottles. Plenty of thought was given to the idea that guests will become muddy, wet, and dirty at times as an outer covered area with boot-jack - boot racks and wall hooks were attached to the room with an ample 'dressing' space right in side the door. The only minor issue - ceiling fan only - this is an eco-lodge with no a/c. The rooms are designed with multi-facing screen windows to catch the breeze and it was encouraged to keep your curtains open to allow airflow thru the suite, (even at night privacy was never an issue due to the lodge layout) Yes - the evenings can be warm and humid - but this is a rainforest jungle lodge in the middle of relative nowhere - so even as sleep was sometimes uncomfortable the incredible soothing night sounds of the jungle and lake more than made up for this minor inconvenience, in my opinion.
The main lodge building is very nice - lower reception/meeting area and the upper deck -lounge/bar/viewing area and dining room were well constructed and beautifully designed to have a minimal impact on the surrounding jungle. So much so that wildlife was easily spotted from the deck area and the monkeys came within feet of the lodge walkways to noisily cavort in the trees. The food was very good in my opinion. I am not a 'picky' eater and never lacked for variety or quantity of food. Most meals are served 'plated' as opposed to 'buffet'. If you liked a dish and wanted more just ask - I did, and you will be accommodated. We enjoyed the creative mix of native food and more traditional foods - I suggest you keep an open mind as really you are here for the cultural experience also. The special lunch 'bbq' of local ecuadorian specialties was marvelous, as was one evenings 'five course chefs tasting dishes meal'. The management staff of the lodge was very attentive to the guests, the bartender was great at remembering your drink or wine, and your meal always ended with a briefing from your guides for updates and weather expectations, wake-up times etc. It was nice to dine with your guide to learn even more about Ecuador, the Amazon, the rainforest, etc. instead of most other guests "they been every where stories".

The guides: you are assigned a naturist guide and a local guide. During our stay we had Jose the naturalist and Bolivar as our local guide. The guides not only educate you during your activities and find cool stuff for you to see, that also assist in navigating the rainforest. By this I mean assisting you in/out of the canoe, assuring your safety on the sometimes slick and muddy hikes, etc. They were always pleasant and helpful, even with photography (a great help for a novice like myself). Jose was wonderful. He has amassed an extensive knowledge and understanding of this entire rainforest ecosystem and had a passion for education about the protection of the wonderful habitat. Our native guide Bolivar, was a treasure of local plant uses and knowledge of the jungle. We enjoyed our time with Jose as he was very intelligent and involved in several causes for rainforest protection and the indigenous peoples welfare, which we found very interesting and educational as well. Our hats off to Bolivar for hacking thru the overgrowth, carrying our extra ponchos, wiping our canoe seats dry, paddling the canoe, helping us piranha fishing and using a stick to coax that huge tarantula out from hiding so we could photograph it at night.

As our stay concluded we were very pleased with the managers effort to co-ordinate our transfer to the Manatee River Boat. Normal procedure for the last day is a two-hour boat ride return to Coca and airport transfer. We had made prior requests with our booking agent at Columbus Travel to try and meet the river boat somewhere on the river so we could avoid the Lodge to Coca - Coca to the river boat long canoe rides. This required the manager to contact the Manatee as the river flow and weather conditions dictate the river boat location, to coordinate this. This was last minute and was accomplished without any problem - we met the river boat 1/2 hour upriver from the lodge and the captain was expecting us with a welcome drink. We made no whiny demands for this as we understood the nature of the river and were willing to accept the longer transfer if needed. We really appreciated the managers effort to accommodate us. One last note - we enjoyed great weather - no rain during our stay which helped with our comfort level and enhanced greatly our wildlife encounters. Luck of the rainforest!

Some last thoughts: although we prepared for the absolute worst in weather by waterproofing our luggage by separating gear and clothing into plastic bags, etc. the lodge packed our checked duffels in large plastic bags for canoe transfer - nice touch. We had researched the lodge thru their website, Trip Advisor, and online forums to fully understand the adventure and maximize our experience. I suggest for your comfort, planning, and expectations you invest a little time in this - it made for a much nicer visit for us by being prepared and really the lodge exceeded our expectations.

I highly recommend this lodge experience. Understand where you are going and what to expect and you will not be disappointed with the luxury rainforest eco-lodge adventure that La Selva offers.

Room Tip: The superior suites on the lake were wonderful and the breeze was much better at night as opposed to...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank AzRat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2013

My husband and I had the most wonderful experience at the La Selva Lodge in the Amazon. Our expectations were not just met they were truly exceeded.

The lodge and our room were great and we especially liked falling asleep and waking to the sounds of the rain forest. The customer service provided by the staff was outstanding. The chef out did himself, the cuisine was delicious. We especially liked the fresh fruit juices provided after we returned from the morning excursions.

Our guides, David and Enrique, were so knowledgeable and amazing in their ability to spot wildlife, even clear across the lake. Every morning and late afternoon they would plan what we would do. Without them we would missed so much. We especially liked the late afternoon canoe rides around the lake: watching the birds, looking for monkeys, enjoying the beautiful sunsets. It was so peaceful.

When you visit La Selva you get a chance to experience and learn about the Amazon rain forest. Our experience is one we will never forget.

Muchas gracias to everyone at La Selva and especially David and Enrique.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kathy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2013

The lodge is as luxurious as it gets deep in the jungle. The staff was attentative and friendly throughout. Our naturalist guide Jose was absolutely great. Our native guide, Pajarito, I imagine even better - although he didn't speak any English, we could tell that this was his turf! Upon arrival, the first meeting with the jungle by the canoes across the lake was breathtaking, and an amazing way to start our stay. We do believe the lodge has room for minor improvements, but bear in mind that this is a jungle lodge!! Rooms were more or less bugfree; food was top notch; location beautiful - couldn't ask for more as first time visitors to the jungle. It is a jungle-light experience. If you're looking for some hard core action, this is not the place to go, but a rather chill (although plenty of activities lined up, and morning alarm set off at 5am) adventure.

  • Stayed: October 2013
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Thank Teeteetripping
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2013

Our trip to La Selva was totally unforgettable. The lodge is charming and the rooms were lovely. It is definitely not 'roughing it in the jungle'. The rain showers were great and since it is so humid there I truly made use of them. It was great sleeping wit the doors wide open and waking to the unforgettable sounds of hundreds of birds and the Howler monkeys. The food was outstanding. I was really surprised that they would have such an excellent chef in such a remote location.
The jungle experience was not exactly what I expected but it was not disappointing. I expected to see more animals but as they explained to us the jungle is incredibly dense and the animals don't really want to be seen. But we did learn a lot about the flora and fauna and we did see lots of monkeys, birds and butterflies. Our visit to the indigenous community was very interesting, a wonderful simple life. The highlight of my trip was seeing the Anaconda sunning himself in a tree while I was out kayaking. What a beautiful sight! As well, the boa that joined us in the lounge while we were enjoying a drink before dinner. Loved it!
Our guides, Andreas and Theodore were so knowledgeable and made every effort to make our jungle experience amazing. I especially liked that we were in small groups so it felt like you had the attention of the guides at all times.
One thing that really surprised me was the lack of biting insects. Of course, I was covered in bug spray but the bugs certainly were not an issue or annoying that I expected. The dining room is completely open and I never noticed any bugs while we were eating.
The other thing that surprised me was that I didn't need to be covered up while walking in the jungle. I wore short sleeves and shorts the whole time I was there.
An experience I will never forget!

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
3  Thank Lindy443
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Selva Amazon Ecolodge

Address: Sucumbios | Yasuní Biosphere Reserve, Yasuni National Park 170143, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Yasuni National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Yasuni National Park
Price Range: $771 - $783 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — La Selva Amazon Ecolodge 4*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge offers wildlife tours, special birdwatching programs, honeymoon trips and family excursions, all in harmony with the rainforest around you. At La Selva, guests are given the opportunity to explore intricate trail systems led by both a local Native Guides and a bilingual Naturalist Guides divided into small groups in order to maximize overall experiences. La Selva’s guides are the key to fulfilling and captivating outings because they already know the area well by seeing, and hearing things guests cannot. They are passionate about the jungle and their years of experience make all the difference between an acceptable tour and an astounding tour in the Amazon. Native guides are from the local communities and behold an awesome amount of ancestral knowledge about the Amazon. The Naturalist Guides that lead guests through the Amazon are bilingual and have studied and trained for many years in order to become a Naturalist and National Park certified guide. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Selva Jungle Hotel Yasuni National Park
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge Ecuador/Yasuni National Park

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