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Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge
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Reviewed April 17, 2013

We spent 4 days, 5 nights at the lodge in early April. Having viewed the mixed reviews in March we were a bit uncertain as to what expect but this was a major highlight of a trip which also included the Andes and the Galapagos. No we did not see many parrots at the clay licks, yes it poured with rain for the whole of 1 hike through the jungle (it wouldn't be a rain forest without the rain!!)BUT we did see an electric eel, a huge boa constrictor ( which was partially responsible for the lack of parrots as it sat in a tree 10 yards away) 5 types of monkey, other snakes, an array of birds 1 huge caiman and several smaller ones, both types of sloth and more types of frog and toad than I imagined existed. Our guides Paul and Hugo were first class finding the most amazing examples of camouflaged frogs. The lodge provided wellington boots and full length ponchos so no need to worry about wet weather clothing. The food was remarkably good catering for a non meat and a non cheese eater with ease. All in all a great experience - wildlife not on tap but if it was there our guides spotted it.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Duncan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NapoWildlifeCenter, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this reviewResponded May 9, 2013

Thank you for your review. Sounds like you had a great time at NWC, please feel free to share your experiences with others.

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Reviewed April 12, 2013

We spent 4 nights at NWC in March 2013 and our experience failed to meet expectations.
It's in a beautiful setting, our room (suite) was very comfortable and the food and lodge service were up to standard.
But the main reason for visiting was for the wildlife. We found viewing opportunities disappointing and rather limited and our guides, although very nice, were not brilliant. The trip to the licks and cultural centre were quite frankly a waste of time. We were on a private tour, but were still herded in with a large group for this particular trip and couldn't do our own thing.
NWC is really geared to larger groups and is very regimented. We had already had a great introduction to the Amazon basin when we went to Manu in Peru (where the parrot/macaw lick is vastly superior and provides overall a much better Amazon experience by far). NWC is definitely not for the individual/more experienced wildlife traveller.
Maureen & Terry Kedgley

Room Tip: A waterside suite is recommended
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank TerenceK205
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NapoWildlifeCenter, Guest Relations Manager at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 15, 2013

We are very sorry to hear your Napo trip was not as you had hoped.
Regarding viewing opportunities we never guarantee sightings as you can imagine being the jungle such things are beyond our control, that being said this area is rich in biodiversity and with the Kichwa Añangu Community having banned all hunting sightings are more likely here than in other parts of Ecuador and our guests spend much of the day in the jungle to optimise potential and enjoyment. The full day in which you referred to whilst visiting the clay licks is really packed regarding activities, leaving at 6am and returning to the lodge at around 4pm, so for this reason we do have to more or less keep to schedule unless it has been pre arranged to do something different, we do not allow too many people to visit at once to avoid them from feeling overcrowded, however at times when both NWC and Yasuní eco-lodge are full obviously you will find more people there. Regarding the women´s cultural center we only have one group at a time, we are sorry to hear this wasn´t interesting to you as we usually have a great response from guests who enjoy learning about the culture and was of life of the Kichwa people. I would suggest to other guests coming to NMW that they check the itinerary beforehand and if there is anything that doesn’t interest them like clay licks or cultural activities to let us know in advance and we can arrange something more else.
We thank you for your comments which are always valued by NWC

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Reviewed April 8, 2013

My family of 4 (kids are 8 and 9) travelled to Napo last month (March). With the price tag, I nervously anticipated this to be a the trip of a lifetime for my family. I would say afterwards that it met and exceeded my high expectations. I can see that some negative reviews have been posted in recent weeks. Most of the comments I cannot relate with or did not experience the same thing. I stayed 4D/3N. All of us caught traveller's diarrhea w/in the 1st 24hrs but we took our meds and were not greatly impeded by this. My 9 year old was a bit feverish w/ headache and malaise but that also passed.

Our assigned guide Delfin was amazing. He has superpowers for spotting game as did the Añangu guide Patricio. Delfin speaks great English and he himself is Quichua, the regional ethnic group. With a firm footing in the modern world, he still has a deep connection to the traditional ways of the Quichua which still exists in the most remote places in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

We are easy to please. We didn't have our heart set on any particular species. I can get excited about anything from a parrot to a leaf cutter ant. This is a rainforest. Many places to hide. If you get the glimpse of what you want to see, then you are very lucky. Photography is as challenging here as anywhere and I enjoyed that challenge. I don't understand how some commenters expect it to be automatic just because they paid a certain price. I don't know what to tell you other than go to a zoo if you want guarantees.

I will say we had exclusive access to our guides. We were not in a group. I would have had a much lesser experience in a large group. Some excursions were very early in the morning and rigid about being on time and for good reason. There was also flexibility later on. If you want to go on a longer walk over terra firma forrest, you can. If you want to do a short night walk, the guides were fine w/ that. Very cool stuff to see at night by the way.

As far as luxury deep in the rainforest... c'mon! Think of the logistics! Everything comes in by man-powered canoe down the creeks to include the gas tanks, hot water heaters, and everything else. Don't expect a long hot shower. Enjoy your refreshing lukewarm shower and relish the remoteness... or go back to the luxury African safari. It's also very humid here compared to savanna Africa. That makes it much harder to maintain. If a downpour turns you off, I might recommend Tanzania during the dry season.

Tips... yeah, kind of high on top of the price but I paid recommended because Delfin and Patricio showed us so many great things I can't even put a price on it (tree boa, red tail boa, anaconda, macaws, sloths, monkeys, katydids, tarantula etc etc.) If you get a lame guide, don't pay a dollar. Enough said. There are behind-the-scenes actions that make this a better experience. Getting out of the canoe and enjoying fresh tropical juices is a nice treat. We also very much enjoyed the guides company at all meals. We enjoyed learning from them. We had plenty of questions. If you can't maintain a conversation, you're short on curiosity.

The Napo experience was a lot of money. Never felt for a second it wasn't worth it. Running this lodge is not cheap and no one is getting rich from it. Everything was taken care of at all times. Our cabana was right on the lake, I would recommend that. We are still experiencing this trip as our kids are doing projects in school based on their unique experience. I hope you have the same type of experience we did and I hope you recognize and appreciate the threat Yasuni is under from encroaching oil industry.

Room Tip: Request a cabana on the lake. Maybe more money but beautiful view.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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7  Thank TMH2421
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NapoWildlifeCenter, Guest Relations Manager at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 12, 2013

What a great review and I have to say we agree with your every word, we are really pleased you enjoyed your Napo stay and that your children also have nice memories and can put their newly gained knowledge about the jungle into use.
Hey if you want to come back why not enter our Facebook photo competition to win a free holiday!

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Reviewed April 6, 2013

We did a 5 day, 4 night trip to NWC (March 28 – April 1) after our time on the Galapagos. After reading some recent negative reviews about NWC that seemed to be related to guides and staff, I am happy report that our experience was top notch. The guides, staff and accommodations were just great. At the Quito airport we are met by NWC staff who looked after our check in and boarding passes. It’s a 30 minute flight on a 737 (Aerogal) to Coca where we were met by NWC staff and transferred to the dock area where we met our guide Delfin. It’s then a 90 minute ride down the Napo River to the welcome area where we transferred to the paddled canoes for the trip up Anangu Creek. Unfortunately it poured rain the whole 2 hour trip up the creek, but our guides still pointed out 4 species of monkeys a tree boa and other wildlife.

We (wife and 13 year old son) had cabin #16 right down by the lake (on stilts above the water) which had a beautiful view of the lake. The room was very nice and even had a back deck with a Jacuzzi! The shower was nicer than ours at home with lots of on-demand hot water. The beds were very comfortable with a ceiling fan. Sleeping was never a problem. I love the night chorus of frogs and insects.

The food was good but not exceptional as previously described. Remember though that EVERYTHING gets paddled in up the same creek that you do. The bartender Marcello was really friendly and helpful. All of the other staff were pleasant and attentive. We didn’t see any tension among any of the staff.

Our guides, Deflin (bilingual) and Patricio (local) were exceptional. I can’t say enough good things about them. Delfin was also Kitchwa himself and was “raised in a small jungle village” (his words). They both spent a lot of time explaining the local plants, and cultures from their own personal experiences. One time they heard peccaries off the trail and offered to take us “off route” to find them. My son saw several, including a baby very close up. These guys saw stuff that we would never have noticed. On some of the walks and paddles, we saw lots of stuff and on others less. That’s life with nature. The morning and afternoon excursions were never rushed but be prepared for 5 am and 5:30 am wake up calls! In the end, we saw 8 species of monkeys and more types of birds than you can imagine. We also saw some very cool bugs and a kinkajou on our night walk. We’ve been to similar places in Costa Rica (Drake Bay) and Belize (Pooks Hill) and would put this in a similar category (great).

NWC does have its’ idiosyncrasies as others have noted. Chiefly, you always tour and eat with the same guides and group of visitors. For us that was fine since it was just the 3 of us and our guides, but for other groups with mixed interests and physical abilities, it was more of a challenge for them. I’d encourage you to make your interests and abilities clearly known to the NWC when you book your trip so that you can hopefully get paired with a similar group. If you are 2 people and wait until you get there, it might be too late. Bring cash for tips for the guides and the other staff. They deserve it!

Room Tip: Lakefront rooms are great, especially 15/16.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank sdigel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NapoWildlifeCenter, Guest Relations Manager at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 10, 2013

Thank you for your review, we are pleased to hear you had a great time at Napo, as you noted all our staff are attentive and welcoming and always try to help wherever possible. Please feel free to tell your friends about your experience and we hope you always remember your time at Napo fondly

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Reviewed April 3, 2013

Visiting NWC was a truly memorable experience. The staff attempt to group people with similar interests. There were a few groups of passionate bird watchers, for example.
Our objective was to see a broad spectrum of the life forms found in this part of the world. Our guide Daniela, together with Javier and Boliver ( the hard working indigenous paddlers, who transported us on non-motorised canoes for hours each day) helped us see 9 of the possible 13 types of monkeys, together with birds, insects and plants.
We stayed in room 13, which was well worth any extra cost.
While the 5 am wake up calls were a shock to the system, you have to be guided by the staffs ability to know when you will see the wildlife. The food was always tasty and plentiful. The staff were, for the most part, friendly and helpful. Pedro, the manager, was a standout.
There was an element of "don't mention the war", as our guide did not elaborate on the reasons that swimming in the lagoon has been banned (caiman attack, as per other posts).
The visit to the Kichwa cultural centre was interesting and informative, but I was saddened to see the children (aged 1 to 5) being fed on large bags of potato chips and other junk. I feared for the impact of tourism on the indigenous, and the long term impact of the money flowing into the community.
Being Australian, I was uncomfortable with being guided as to how much to tip each staff member. I would much prefer to tip for exceptional service, and not just tip for someone doing their job. In the end, we tipped, but the majority of guests either did not, or else did so privately.
All in all, I highly recommend NWC. Take bug spray, be prepared to get wet (it is the rain forest), and to be woken up early. But also be prepared to experience undisturbed nature at its very best.

Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
3  Thank baileypandn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NapoWildlifeCenter, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this reviewResponded April 5, 2013

Thank you for your review, we are pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay with us. Our guests opinions are always listened to and we have taken on board your comments. We hope you always remember your Amazon holiday

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