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“Unique stay in stunning cloud forest”

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Santa Lucia Cloud Forest
Ranked #32 of 277 Speciality Lodging in Quito
Reviewed 11 October 2013

We stayed in Santa Lucia for 2 nights and had an amazing time. The tough, sweaty hike up to the top of the mountain where the lodge is located is worth every second. The views from the lodge are stunning – you get 360 degree views of pristine cloud forest. The birdwatching is superb, we saw around 50 species of birds and we’re not even birders. The staff is very friendly and the food is tasty, filling and healthy. Bring torches and batteries as there is no electricity. You should also bring your favorite snacks as the selection is limited. Be prepared to hike up and down a lot, as essentially every trail requires a steep descent into the forest. We did the hike to visit the cock-of-the-rock lek, which was quite demanding (waking up at 4am and hiking in the dark for a few hours) but the experience was amazing and definitely worth it. We rented a private cabaña which was super clean and comfortable and had the most incredible views. Our local guide was very friendly and extremely knowledgeable – he really knew the forest and the birds. Definitely recommend this place.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Paul L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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20 - 26 of 49 reviews

Reviewed 24 August 2013

It's difficult to write a fair review of a place which can't easily be compared to anywhere else by virtue of its location and the fact that it is run by a community rather than by a commercial enterprise. We are a family of 4 who were the only visitors during our stay. The views were spectacular. The tranquility was interrupted only by the hum of hummingbirds. Our guide was friendly and attentive. The trip to see the Andean Cock of the Rock Lek was unforgettable. The effort made by the community and volunteers to build and maintain the lodge at the top of a mountain is humbling. That said, the food really was not that tasty, nor generous in quantity (bring your own chocolate and fruit), and having paid $720 for 2 njghts accommodation it seemed a bit much to have to pay extra for coffee or hot chocolate after dinner. Also, compared to Mindo or the Oriente there were far fewer birds or insects to see. Every walk involved substantial climbs, which meant a lot of effort with sometimes limited reward. I sensed that there might be more to see in the rainy season, and also that the staff were better attuned to hosting visitors in larger groups who had a specific purpose, such as volunteers or scientists, rather than a family on a holiday.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Zigster280
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2013

First the lodge, truly a special place in the midst of astounding plant and animal biodiversity. Everything from the hummingbirds to the orchids and other epiphytes were just magical.
The guides, the staff and the food were over-the-top good, and the showers with a view were the best showers ever!

We also volunteered for four weeks in Nanegal with the Santa Lucia community. The staff were lovely, the work interesting, and the accommodation more than adequate.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank LaN0mada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2013

Our family of seven, ranging from ages 25-55 stayed at Santa Lucia lodge from December 31st-Jan 4th 2013. As you can imagine, or may know from experience, arranging a trip for a group of adults can have its challenges. Santa Lucia Lodge was extremely helpful, informative, and accommodating from our first contact via e-mail to the end of the trail head on our hike down.

Our entire family hiked up New Years Eve and received a very warm welcome upon our arrival. The staff at Santa Lucia all chipped in and prepared a lovely dinner for us too. We were even able to help create two dolls (effigies) to burn, as it is a local tradition.

Despite it being off season, we enjoyed every last minute of our experience. Our days were as action packed as we wanted them to be. Some of our group chose to relax on the hammocks at the lodge and some of us hiked all day long, went to the sugar can plantation etc. Pancho was our guide and he was phenomenal. His passion for the land, flora, people and animals in this area was palpable. Holger was also extremely helpful in providing us with further information and at times bridging the odd English-Spanish communication gap. If the 4am start to the cock of the rock is a bit too early for you, think again. It was an incredible and unique experience. We aren't even big "birders" and we were left breathless.

The accommodations were beautiful-the cabins were all locally made and the views were breathtaking. Extremely clean and comfortable. The shower was also one of the best we had..and it was hot too! Food was delicious too and a lot of it is locally grown.

Staying at the Santa Lucia cloud forest was the highlight of our trip to Ecuador. At Santa Lucia, you are able to focus on the beauty and serenity of nature. But more importantly you know that you are supporting eco-tourism and a group of local farmers/community members that are committed to preserving an incredibly beautiful and important ecosystem.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank TKulyk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 October 2012

We only stayed here for a few days, but it made a big impression on us. It has genuine Eco lodge credentials, and is a properly community led tourist lodge. Santa Lucia sits at the top of a hill, surrounded by primary and secondary rainforest. The views acros the mountains and down to the valley are spectacular and you really feel away from it all. There is no electricity, so bring a torch. All meals were typical local Ecuadorian food, with many of the ingredients grown on site. Spanish would definitely be useful, although several people here including volunteers speak excellent English. Our guide Eddison deserves a speacial mention, he was an expert at spotting the wildlife in dense jungle cover, and named them in English, Ecuadorian and Latin. We will never forget our trek with him to watch the Andean Cock of the Rock birds first thing in the morning.
We did a few smaller treks the rest of the time we were there, and also relaxed a lot watching the hummingbirds feeding near the restaurant and just drinking in that view!!

Room Tip: All the rooms looked good. We had number 1, Sami's Lodge, with great views.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Little_Beret
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2012

We stayed at the Santa Lucia lodge for two weeks. It was truly a once in a lifetime kind of experience. It is the most pristine forest environment I have ever been in. If you like to the feeling of really getting away from it all (which I do), this place if for you! The Lodge is almost like a giant tree house. Although they also have really cool private chalet bungalows. In order to get there you must drive to the end of the road as it ascends into the mountain and then hike for two hours farther. All the gear/luggage is packed in on the back of mules as you climb up into the forest. Each evening the clouds and mist descend to cover the lodge and mountains in a blanket of moisture. This place is a diamond in the rough. Go now before it gets "discovered". If you are looking for a five star resort, then keep looking. But if you want to experience nature in a deep but safe/comfortable way you should give it a shot. The food was good, and is made by the local staff. Make sure to bring some snacks from home (Cliff Bars, etc.) because you will be doing a LOT of hiking in the forest. The lodge itself is owned and run by a cooperative of local farmers who have made an amazing commitment to preserving one of the most important and unique bio-spheres on earth. I loved it!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank JacobPinger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2012

We stayed here for 5 nights in June 2012. The location is magical with views over the cloud-forest. The 2km trek up to the lodge was not as hard as I had expected. Wellies were offered at the trailhead - accept them and choose yours very carefully - they will be your constant companions!

The staff were fantastic - friendly and helpful. Noe - our bird-guide, and Marco - the cook deserve a very special mention. The food was very good! Their love for their forest and commitment to its on-going health are palpable - which is humbling and inspiring.

They need help in what they are doing and do accept volunteers - it would be like volunteering in paradise! (At least as long as the sun shines!)

We had a cabin (number 2) with a private bathroom, hot water in showers but not in wash basins, It was simple and excellent. It is worth getting up early to find the birds or walk as the clouds close in around lunch time and activity seems to stop - except around the humming-bird feeders which are a constant source of interest and activity until night falls.

There are walks to take from the lodge, you'll need your wellies.

Room Tip: Choose a cabin with private bathroom.
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank hollybush2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Santa Lucia Cloud Forest

Address: Barrio La Delicia | Nanegal Grande, Quito 00000, Ecuador
Region: Ecuador > Pichincha Province > Quito
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #32 of 277 Speciality Lodging in Quito
Price Range: £26 - £56 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Community-based, Santa Lucia owns a 1800 acre montane cloudforest reserve in the Chocó Andean region, a biodiversity 'hotspot. Just 2.5 hours from Quito, we offer beautifully crafted cabañas on a mountain peak with amazing views over the forest. 80% primary forest, the reserve has over 394 species of birds; 45 species of mammals including pumas and the endangered Spectacled Bear; and thousands of tropical plants native to the region. Ideal for birding and hiking. ... more   less 

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