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“San Jorge Eco lodges in Ecuador”

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San Jorge Eco-Lodge & Botanical Reserve
Ranked #23 of 111 Hotels in Quito
Certificate of Excellence
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“San Jorge Eco lodges in Ecuador”
Reviewed 7 June 2013

While properties focus on birding tours there is so much more. We spent a few days between the San Jorge Eco lodge and the Tandayapa lodge and found that it was the highlight of our trip.
We planned our trip around seeing the Galapagos Islands and, while they were spectacular the lodges tucked away in the highlands, cloud forest, rain forest and amazon river basin were fantastic. Thinking we would explore the mainland before our departure we booked a few days with the San Jorge Eco lodges. What an amazing find. We new instantly that we could come back and just explore Ecuador. We highly recommend sometime in Ecuador for anyone considering travel in South America.
The staff with the San Jorge Eco lodges were fantastic. They have a local number in the states and Cheryl is easy to talk to and makes all your arrangements for your customized travel needs. Best food of our entire trip was with them in all inclusive trip package that allowed us to hike and explore or join others traveling the "Magic birding circuit". While we are not "birders" we found seeing and learning about them much more interesting than we would have thought.
The owner Dr Cruz has published books about birds in the different eco zones that you will see and also on medicinal plants found in each zone.

Room Tip: Our room in the cloud forest at Tandayapa was at tree level and 3 sides of the room were all windows...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
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7 Thank leonardifinstad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 June 2013

Ecuador: beautiful country, full of beautiful people. We were on a 9-day trek sponsored by the Sierra Club. There were 15 of us, all Sierra Club members, which made for all of us being like-minded toward nature and hiking. But, boy, was there diversity within the group. Two Germans, two Taiwanese, An Egyptian Moslem, an American Jew, a Korean-American, a Cuban woman, a Slovenian woman, and an assortment of Americans. Our tour started out with 2 nights at the main eco-lodge in Quito, the capital at 10,000 feet. The altitude really wasn't a problem, but the room was cold and the beds small. We requested the steam rooms and jaccuzzi to be started up for us the next night, but dinner was so late the jacuzzi was lukewarm when we got into it and cold by the time we left the steam rooms (one of which did work). We took a nice city tour of colonial Quito. They took us to a big souvenir market which had lots of touristy stuff like faux shrunken heads and cheap purses and plaques with "Ecuador" written on them. Most of the women bought phony alpaca scarves and blankets. The eco-loge had a gift shop with real alpaca at only slightly higher prices. Service was great, but don't count on anyone speaking English outside of the airport (where most everyone spoke good English, unlike Miami). (Basic traveler's Spanish is enough: "Que donde los banos? Uno mas de cerveza, por favor." Our host and trail guide was the indomitable Dr. Jorge Cruz, a former veterinary surgeon who knew every animal and plant by sight, scientific name, medicinal use, and place in the ecosphere.
Then we boarded a shuttle bus to the Tandalayapa Eco-Lodge and Hummingbird Sanctuary for two days. Fantastic view of hummers and other birds from the open air breakfast and dining table. We went on a "3 hour" hike (it lasted about 5 hours that went up and down) about 1,000 ft. All 15 people went, five of whom were over 70 years old). Inside of a Cloud Forest, our evening hike was cancelled due to rain. Nobody complained, we were tired, they had a nice little bar, and everyone had good stories to tell. The same short little Ecuadorean with the perpetual ear-to-ear grin, who cleared the jungle trail ahead of us with a machete, donned a white shirt, bow tie, and vest to serve us cocktails, beer, and wine.
And then off to Milpas Eco-lodge Orchid & Bird reserve at 3,000 ft. Two of us occupied the bottom floor of a beautiful two story bungalow. It had a balcony and two nice hammocks overlooking the jungle. We took a great hike with our wonderful guide through the jungle to two sacred waterfalls, where some of us had a nice swim. The most beautiful butterflies I've ever seen in my life (including a Monarch!) were seen here. Excellent birding from the third story observation deck. We saw amazing toucans, parrots, hummers, and more. On the trek: parasol ants, army ants, reptiles (a snake that ate feir-de-lances!), walking palm trees, stinging jungle wasps (watch out!), and more.
And then back to Quito for two more days. On the way we stopped at two "Middle of the World" monuments to all have our picture taken with one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and one in the Southern. And we hiked up a volcano and had box lunches in a pasture. The short little Ecuadorean farmer, who owned the five cows we were lunching with, came up and Jorge gave him a beer. He had the same ear-to-ear grin we saw on all Ecuadoreans. We also stopped at a huge open air market that was wonderful. Everyone was nice and friendly, but the traffic was horrendous in Quito. They say there are more cars than people (3 million people), and once an Ecuadorean gets behind the wheel, look out. (Ever seen that Disney film with Goofy as the bad driver?--that's Ecuadoreans). We got the same room as our first two nights there. Small, cold, small beds. No glass in bathroom window. We were given a little portable electric heater, but it died in the night. Nice view, though.
I came back with some fine examples of Ecuadorean folk art: woodcarving, ceramics, textiles, and more. But the memories of the trip were the best of all.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank PiratePhil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orlando, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 May 2013

We signed up for a set of visits to each of their three lodges, starting at the highest elevation and going down. None of the locations had heat in the rooms and many times it was quite cold. The food though was quite good. The rooms overall were quite clean and free of bugs.

The pool here hadn't been cleaned, the spa unheated but they did get the sauna hooked up and running.

Quito Lodge

We paid extra for the view room, which meant we were hiking up and down hill for every meal, sometimes in the dark, sometimes over slick pavement. The birding is good here. We took the botanical plant tour and were introduced to native medicine--really cool and worth it.

Tandayapa Lodge

The Tandayapa Lodge was our favorite. We paid extra for the view room and it was well worth it. The dining area is a wonderful place to spot birds and the caretakers/cook are very service oriented, helpful with food, birds, keeping the lodge in excellent shape and planting lots of flowers. The hikes around the property with and without guides are worth it--you'll spot more birds with a guide. Mornings are fun because of the feeding frenzy.

Milpe Lodge

Our only problem with the Milpe Lodge was our room was plumbed so that the sink and shower gas were connected to different tanks and the tanks were all nearly empty. Eventually we did get hot showers and shaves but it took a fight. My husband showered in hot water, fairly quickly, too, then I jumped in, suds up and no hot water. It was pretty cold out and they didn't have extra towels so I dripped while the lugged tanks around. The food at this lodge is excellent too, and the birding and orchids the best we saw.

Room Tip: Only pay extra at Tandayapa.
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank sfharper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cocoa, FL
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 May 2013

Fabulous!!! We'd go back in a minute. We are definitely novice bird-watchers (and my husband wasn't even sure he'd like it) and we had an amazing time! It truly is a wonderful, magical experience to stay, first, at the 18th century style hacienda in the highlands on the outskirts of Quito - lovely. Then, we moved to the up-graded glorious new lodge in the cloud forest at Tandayapa (we were fortunate to have the room with huge windows on three sides from which to enjoy the mountain views and many birds). We enjoyed the delicious "Ecuadorean country cooking" and then sat at our open-air table for a long time after each meal in awe of the beautiful hummingbirds all around us. On one day at Tandayapa alone, we saw twenty different species of hummingbirds and thirty different species of other birds. Caretaker and guide lovingly pointed out each bird. We even saw three "Cock of the Rock" birds, relatively close up! We were very fortunate to be hosted during our stay by the owner and visionary entrepreneur himself, Ecuadorian-American Jorge Cruz. As he drove us between lodges, he shared from his fount of knowledge about the history and culture, politics and economics, and wildlife and nature of Ecuador. Wow! We learned so much from him and very much enjoyed getting to know him. I wished I never had to leave Tandayapa, and my husband felt the same about the beautiful setting at Milpe in the rain forest. We'd love to go back after the spectacular new lodge is finished at Milpe in a few months. The only negative experience we had was being badly bitten during our walk by some insect (similar to chigger bites) even 'though we used bug spray - we recommend you use spray with DEET in it (we did not). Also,, do remember to take binoculars and a flashlight (for moving between lodge and restaurant after dinner). Truly a special experience!!!

Room Tip: The "deluxe up-grade" is definitely worth the extra money.
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Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank worldcally
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Winchester, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 April 2013

My experiences at the family owned and operated San Jorge Eco-lodges were fabulous. I stayed several nights at their Quito lodge and also explored their beautiful hummingbird reserves at San Jorge de Tandayapa and the rainforests and waterfalls of San Jorge de Milpe. I delighted in the meals served at these respective eco-lodges. While other English speaking guests spoke very highly of their guides (who were fluent in English) I had the pleasure of having the owner, Dr. Jorge Cruz (doctor of veterinary medicine) be my guide throughout most of my days there. His love for and knowledge of nature is extraordinary. Testament to his expertise, Dr. Cruz has published a book (which includes contributions by his son who also serves as a guide on their properties) on the birds of Quito and a text on the medicinal qualities of the local flora and fauna. He and his family’s commitment to nature have resulted in the creation of hundreds of acres of natural reserves on which the San Jorge Eco-lodges are located. Guests thus have the pleasure and privilege of exploring these pristine nature reserves, each in a different eco-system, while being offered expert guides to enhance their experience.

The Eco-lodges were very clean and comfortable and the staff were friendly and wonderfully helpful. Meals at the lodges, overseen by Jorge’s wife, Irina, were extremely healthy, delicious and beautifully presented. Do be prepared for a walk to get to some of the lodges or rooms but all worth while and the views from Tandayapa and Milpe were splendid.

I was also extremely impressed and touched by Dr. Cruz’s friendliness, helpfulness and dedication to his guests. I observed his unending commitment to ensure that guests had positive experiences at their eco-lodges, while bird watching, exploring their nature reserves and getting to know their beloved Ecuador.

I went to Ecuador traveling alone as a single, non-Spanish speaking, female visitor. I wanted to see the Quito countryside and experience the local people and their culture as much as possible. I knew that I could make reservations at a hotel in downtown Quito and take day trips, arranged through the hotels, to go out into the countryside. But the typical “tourist routine” of getting on a bus and going out to the well-trodden tourist sights was not what I wanted to do. I really hoped for a much more authentic experience of the people and an opportunity to get off the “beaten path” and see the pristine nature of Ecuador. Jorge and his staff took me under their wings. They listened to my desires and offered up experiences that were far more than I had ever hoped for. That which was offered to me through Jorge, his family and the staff from the San Jorge Eco-lodges resulted in one of my trips of a lifetime. I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude.
Veronica

Room Tip: - room with balcony and fireplace in Quito - end room at Tandayapa
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
5 Thank Veronica Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
Level 5 Contributor
71 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 April 2013

We very much enjoyed our experience with the Cruz family's introduction to Ecuador. We stayed in Quito and also Tandayapa. All the meals were excellent and the filtered water provided to refill the initial water bottles was totally reliable. We did not suffer even one intestinal butterfly. The Quito lodge is actually at the edge of and just above he city, and now a long way from the new airport and also quite far from the old town. It seems to serve mostly as transitional lodging for tourists going to the other venues but is extremely beautiful. The rooms are very old in the historic sense and suffer from understandable limitations. We welcomed the space heater. The main lodge, however, including the dining room and patio, is beautiful. For meals we were seated with other visitors, and enjoyed the contacts.

We opted for a mountain bike tour on our way to Tandayapa from the small town of Nono and had a great time. Our guide was Jorge, the oldest Cruz son and he is bright, interesting, responsible, considerate and a recently graduated from college in the U.S. The mountain bikes were good enough, the route is not difficult (unpaved road, some mud and rocks, maybe two hills); but I would say it helps to have done a little cycling before.

Tandayapa is indeed magical. We upgraded our room and had windows on three walls. We are not birders, but found the birdlife and guided walk fascinating. Take some bug stuff, there are no see-ums and a few mosquitos (no malaria, however.) We also found that both Quito and Tandayapa could be quite cool. Take some layers of warmer clothing just in case.

Room Tip: Open your minds to a new experience, opting for the end room in Tandayapa (windows on three sides) w...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank merilyu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cincinnati
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 March 2013

March, 2013

We took the Magic Birding Tour and returned with some great bird pictures. While the Quito lodge has lots of old world hosteria charm and the Milpe lodge is in the rain forest, our favorite was Tandayapa. It was magical with so many varieties of hummingbirds hovering around, as well as other birds! The birding photo tours were small groups, which is really nice. The food was a nice variety of local foods, wonderfully prepared and presented so artistically!

Room Tip: The new Milpe Lodge should be really nice like the Tandayapa Lodge.
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
6 Thank BirdingSister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about San Jorge Eco-Lodge & Botanical Reserve

Property: San Jorge Eco-Lodge & Botanical Reserve
Address: Km 4 Cotocollao-Nono Road, Quito 00000, Ecuador
Region: Ecuador > Pichincha Province > Quito
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Quito
#10 Family Hotel in Quito
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
San Jorge Eco-Lodge & Botanical Reserve/Quito (High Barren Plains/Highland Rainforest) 18th Century Spanish Hacienda located in the Pichincha Foothills offering airport transfers 24/7 or pick up from downtown Quito. Comfortable Andes hacienda rooms with private bath/hot shower, decorated in typical decor; game room, lounge, restaurant, bar and small museum. Free Wi-Fi offered in upper level rooms. We are the only private nature reserve near the city of Quito, situated on a 230 acre reserve, offering nature and complete relaxation, yet 25 minutes away. Explore our beautiful gardens, birdwatching & hiking trails, hummingbird feeders, delicious cuisine and views of 11 mountains & volcanos in the distance overlooking Quito. Pre-reserved guided tours are available for birdwatching, hiking & natural history, medicinal plants, cultural tours & add on extension cruises to The Galapagos Islands or Amazon Jungle. We also own San Jorge de Tandayapa Hummingbird Lodge & Sanctuary (Cloud Forest) & two Lodges at San Jorge de Milpe Orchid & Bird Reserve - San Jorge Cliff Lodge & NEW San Jorge Forest Lodge (Upper Tropical Rainforest) listed #1 in Trip Advisor. All private reserves & lodges are within 2 hours radius of Quito. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
San Jorge Eco-Lodge And Botanical Reserve
San Jorge Eco-Lodge & Botanical Reserve Hotel Quito

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