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“Beautiful setting and comfortable rustic lodge, but mixed service”
Review of Isla Suasi Hotel

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Isla Suasi Hotel
Ranked #10 of 65 Hotels in Puno
Certificate of Excellence
Santa Clara, California, United States
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Beautiful setting and comfortable rustic lodge, but mixed service”
Reviewed 6 January 2013

We stayed at CAPC Isla Suasi for just one night during our honeymoon. Initially I had hoped we could spend at least two nights given that the rest of our honeymoon itinerary was so hectic and Isla Suasi would be our last destination. But as it turned out, I was VERY glad that we only had to spend one night there.

Getting to Isla Suasi is not an easy matter. Though the island itself is less than a kilometer from the shore, it's from the opposite shore of Puno, meaning you have to cross the entire lake to get there. And if you haven't heard already, Titicaca is BIG. That said, getting there turned out to be the most interesting part of our visit. Though the Floating Islands are a tourist trap, it's fascinating to learn how the Uru people have lived in what is essentially a floating slum since even before the Inca Empire. I didn't find our next destination, Tequile Island, as interesting but we did get an introduction into the native inhabitant's daily lives and customs. After that, it was another couple hours or so to our final destination, Isla Suasi. The "speedboat" we were on was comfortable and they provided boxed snacks and water for us. Our guide for the boat trip and island visits was also pleasant and helpful in shuttling our (large) suitcases from place to place.

Upon arriving at Isla Suasi, I couldn't help but be struck by how beautiful it is. The water is crystal clear there (unlike the lake waters around Puno) and the rock formations are symbolic of the island's defiance of the inhospitable environment on this high-altitude lake. A small group of guests who had just checked out were boarding the same boat we had just left and wished us a good visit. The path from the pier is steep and the air is thin, so fortunately they had a golf cart to take us and our luggage to the lodge. We were introduced to our guide, Gilbert, and learned that aside from just one other man, we were the only guests in the entire resort. We also learned that there are no outlets in any of the rooms and that all guests must use just two communal outlets located in the lobby to charge any electrical devices. Given the lack of other guests, this didn't present any problem to us, but I imagine it could be a problem during peak times. Gilbert explained to us that there were a number of activities available to us: hiking, bird watching, canoeing, kayaking, star gazing, billiards, and massages. Most are included in the room rate, with an additional fee for massages. We were guided to our room which was located in the main lodge. It featured two skylights, two moderately-sized windows overlooking the lake, a king-sized bed, a small table with two chairs, a wood-burning stove, and a small bathroom with walk-in shower. Though the entire lodge is solar-powered (the only one in the world, they claim), there was no shortage of hot water. It was rustic and comfortable, but not luxury accommodations by any means.

After getting situated, we headed down for some lunch and were greeted by Rolando, our attentive and gracious waiter. The food was tasty enough even if the alpaca steak was a bit overcooked. After lunch we wanted to get in some activities before the rain started but our guide Gilbert was nowhere to be found. In fact, with the notable exception of Rolando, no one offered to help us with anything. We wanted to go canoeing and Rolando told us that signs to the right would guide us to them. We followed signs to "canoas" but instead of finding canoes we found some row boats. My wife said we must be in the wrong area but I insisted on taking one of the aged boats for a spin. 10 minutes and 3 splinters later, I agreed with her that we must be in the wrong place as those boats were clearly not meant for the use by guests. We explored the island a bit more after that before heading back to the lodge for a nap. Unfortunately for us, that was just at the time that band practice started. Drum and flute sounds permeated the lodge for no less than two hours. Not being able to sleep with such racket, we decided to take in some more activities. Though there was lots of activity in the lodge - people hurriedly moving things around - we again couldn't find Gilbert or any one to help us with the activities. So we ventured out on our own and were able to find some beautiful spots on the island: pebble beach, huge boulders, wild vicunas, the alpaca stable and of course many beautiful views over the lake. Upon returning to the lodge, it was clear that a big event was in the works. But how could that be when they only had 3 guests in total? Buffet tables had been set out with some rather awesome looking food and a long dining table with roughly two dozen chairs had been assembled. We grabbed a couple of beers ourselves and watched the preparations, trying to figure out what exactly was going on. Shortly after, the band got in position, along with what we could only guess was the entire staff of the lodge along with a middle-aged woman who we correctly guessed was the owner of the island. Band started, and an entourage came through the front door to much applause and fanfare. Turned out that they were the executive staff of Casa Andina making their annual visit to Isla Suasi. Ironically, they were the only ones at the party who showed any interest in talking to us - the guests! And I must admit that they are a friendly and charming bunch of guys and apologized for no one explaining what was going on. We also had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sample Suasi's delicious local "rabbit" (which is actually vizcacha, a chinchilla-like rodent which I was told they hunt solely for this annual event). Though the executive team insisted that we dine with them, we opted to dine by ourselves. Not only was it our honeymoon, but we didn't want to interfere with their team building dinner. Dinner was fine, but nothing to write home about. By the time we returned to our room, the fire was blazing and our room was quite warm (even hot). A knock at the door, and some hot water bottles were delivered to pre-warm our bed. The fire was a nice touch and definitely added to the ambiance, but since we'd already been struggling with the thin air, I was worried that it was robbing us of even more much-needed oxygen.

The following morning, we again tried to find Gilbert but assumed he was busy with his visiting execs. Fortunately Rolando (as always) was willing to help us. We explained our difficulty in finding the canoes and he volunteered to guide us. As it turned out, some joker had reversed the "canoas" arrow so that it directed to the wrong path. We easily found the canoes this time, which were indeed quite nice, and set out to row around the island. It was by far the high point of our time on the island as we got to see so much: cormorants, ibises, ducks, the aforementioned vizcachas, vicunas, and lots of beautiful scenery. It took only an hour to go around the entire island and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who's familiar with a canoe or kayak.

We returned to the lodge around 10am and had a couple hours to kill before our boat would take us back to Puno. While sitting outside, we chatted with Miguel, Casa Andina's VP of Human Resources, whom we'd met the previous evening. He was genuinely interested in how we enjoyed our time at Isla Suasi and we said that it was ironic that we would speak much more with him than our own guide. I guess that he spoke with Gilbert afterwards, because Gilbert was VERY attentive to our needs after that and set up a nice van and driver to take us from the Puno port to the cathedral at Lampa and then Juliaca airport.

All-in-all, Isla Suasi has a gorgeous setting, a comfortable rustic lodge (even if not exactly luxurious), and mixed service (great from Rolando and the visiting executives, and poor from our guide).

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank JohnAndTasha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CasaAndina_CS, Propietario at Isla Suasi Hotel, responded to this review, 13 February 2013
Dear Guest,

We are very thankful for letting us know your experience at our hotel in Suasi Island. Your feedback definitely helps us to recognize those issues that might need more attention from us.

We are also glad to know that you could enjoy not only our facilities but also the surroundings of Suasi Island. As you mentioned, it is a beautiful and remote place where you can practice different activities according to your preference. As well, we are pleased you got to meet some of our executive managers and that you could spend some time with them.

Regarding your comments on the mixed service, we apologize if you perceived poor attention from some of our staff. Rest assured that we will reinforce this point with our team to avoid any similar situation in the future.

Once again, thank you for your time and we will love to have another opportunity to serve you again at any of our hotels.

Best regards,

The Casa Andina team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 December 2012

we were on the island in november and agree with soferena it was a brilliant time of the year to go. we enjoyed the walks, particularly with Rolando who was the guide and waiter and catered to our every need. the lady who established the island as an eco island is maria and she is such a warm friendly person who has a library of books which are so informative. we met some lovely people during our stay here and relaxed. we spent three nights there and it was so nice to come back to our room at the evening to the lit pot belly stove in our room. this is an eco island and it is put into practice. great place to relax.

Room Tip: for quiet and relaxed time this is a great place to be
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank vera m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 December 2012

A trip to Isla Suasi is a must-do in Puno/Lake Titicaca. Going in November was ideal - as no one was there - just me, my fiance and another lovely couple from Australia. They pick you up from your stay in Puno and take you on a tour through Lake Titicaca. Maria, the guide, was great. Upon arriving at the hotel, you immediately feel bliss. Total nature and solitude. Excellent rooms, beds, showers, grounds to walk around and take in the scenery. The food was excellent and the staff was great! Rolando, especially, was a dear. Had we not talked to the other couple, we would not have known to ask Rolando to take us on the trail. He explained everything about the property to us, the animals, the plants, and even stopped to take pictures of us at scenic spots.

Also, if I could dream to sleep in any bed in the world again... it would be there. They also put warm bottles in the bed during turn down service, so you sleep warm.

Lastly, it was awesome how it was an eco lodge. The place was so well lit with the sky lights and they do not turn on power until 6 until 11 p.m. It's nice to shut off your phones and electronics here.

I cannot express enough about how great this stay was for us. I highly recommend.

Room Tip: We stayed in the second floor and had a balcony facing the front.
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank soferena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
northampton england
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 December 2012

Beautiful location great food friendly staff
We did lots of walks with guide Rolando who was very knowledgeable and helpful
Best part of Peru so far
We made use of all facilities such as canoes and rooms lovely with log fire

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank asia2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 December 2012

My husband and I stayed here a few nights while touring Peru. The location is cool because you're actually staying on an island in Lake Titicaca (as opposed to other hotels where you're just along the shore) and you can meet Marta--the woman who owns the island and lets Casa Andina run a hotel on it.

The rooms are nice and clean. Each has a fireplace because it can get really cold there at night (bring warm PJs!) and our room was in what I considered to be the main part of the building. It was a little more rustic than I thought it would be considering it's Private Collection, and the skylight shade in my room was definitely broken, but the room was well kept.

The staff was nice and helpful. If I remember correctly my guide was Gil, and he was very friendly and knowledgeable. I can't remember the waiter's name, but he was always very pleasant and polite.

On the island there are nice walks that you can do (see the vicunas and squirrel-bunny creatures roaming about) and there are kayaks that you can take out on the lake. Otherwise the activities require little less energy--massages, billiards, visit the library/cultural center.

A MAJOR complaint is that when it was time to leave it was pouring rain--rain so heavy that you couldn't see far in front of you. They had us take a glorified raft back to the mainland so we could catch a car to continue on with our trip. They immediately lost points for being stupid enough to think a raft is suitable transportation in a downpour, but then when we're on the raft ready to go, they realize that oh wait, maybe our suitcases should be in plastic bags to protect them from the rain. So they go running back up to the hotel to grab trashbags to put our luggage in. Then they go and realize that oh wait, everything in the raft is soaking wet, maybe they should get us a pillow to sit on. I was very clear that I didn't want a pillow to sit on, I just wanted to go and get out of the rain, but apparently my opinion didn't matter. So in the end, my husband and I stood on this stupid raft in the pouring rain for (no joke) 10 minutes. We were both beyond soaked. Now call me crazy, but I imagine this isn't the first time they've had guests leave the hotel when it's raining, so why do they not have a better game plan for this situation?! I work in hospitality. I've worked through a fire in the building (something a little more unusual than rain) and I would never be so stupid to leave my guests in the pouring rain!

Overall it was nice (which is really due to nature, not anything Casa Andina did), but my husband and I agree we wouldn't go back (especially for the price) and that we probably could have found a better place to stay.

Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank ashley r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lima
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 December 2012

The service is very good and the food as well. I ordered a piscosour the last day and it was extraordinary!!! Walking to the top of the mountain is just great!! highly recomended to do it twice a day.
To go around the island in the boat is great.
Time goes super slow is amazing!!!
We just love it!!!!!
The massage is good but can be better with some music.
The rooms are cozy but simple, good enough, confortables.

Room Tip: do not get neighboors you can hear the noise from the other room.
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank fabioladLima
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 November 2012

Yes, the location is great but the prices they charge are way out of range.

Rooms are nice and spacious. The view is breathtaking. The food is below average for the amount you pay. On the day of arrival we had a really nice bbq outside close to the lake with trucha and vaca, salads and vegtables. After lunch we already had to decide what we wanted for dinner and we could choose between trucha, vaca and a pasta. So not much for the variation......

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jewel76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Isla Suasi Hotel

Property: Isla Suasi Hotel
Address: | Isla Suasi, Lago Titicaca, Puno, Peru
Phone Number:
Region: Peru > Puno Region > Puno
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Puno
#3 Romantic Hotel in Puno
#4 Family Hotel in Puno
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Isla Suasi Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A solar-powered ecolodge on remote and uniquely beautiful Isla Suasi-the only private island in massive Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable body of water. Featuring panoramic lake views from every room, surrounded by terraced gardens and designed with native materials (stone, adobe and thatched roofs) to blend into the island, the lodge is committed to being green. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Casa Andina Private Collection Isla Suasi Hotel Puno

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