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Review of Siona Lodge

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Siona Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Poitiers, France
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 30 July 2010

Last year I spent 6 months in Ecuador, working in Quito for a tour operator called Surtrek.
They gave me the chance to go to the marvellous Cuyabeno reserve, with the help of Mrs Rasmussen, owner of the Siona Lodge.

In the Lodge, everything was fine, clean, with a lot of charm. I felt like a real discoverer.
The staff was very involved in welcoming people as best as they can !
I would like to thank them for this amazonian adventure stay, I dream of it and thank to them I know I'll return to cuyabeno and I hope in the Siona Lodge !

Don't hesitate, you can't imagine what you will live there !

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank traveler217
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Sycamore, Illinois
Level Contributor
217 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2010

There were no reviews on tripadvisor when I book my trip to the Siona Lodge. I had an exceptional visit. This is one of the newest ecolodges in the Cuyabeno Reserve and
one of the closest to the entrance at the Cuyabeno Bridge.

It is a 1 1/2 hour ride from the airport in Lago Agrio to the entrance at the Cuyabeno Bridge where you board a motorized canoe. If you are not stopping to see animals, the trip takes about 1 1/2 hours as my return ride did. Taking this ride on the Cuyabeno River more slowly is usually a good thing because we saw lots of monkeys on the trip to the lodge. I saw four different species of monkeys while I was there.

This lodge has one of the smallest environmental footprints of all the eco-lodges. Lights are powered by solar panels. Hot water is powered by propane. The propane, bottled water, and food are all transported into the lodge by motorize canoe.

This is a moderately priced lodge. It is not the cheapest, but it is less than half the cost of the more expensive lodges on the Napo River. There were at least four species of monkeys with monkeys often hanging around the lodge itself. I saw many species of bird with several of them only being in the Amazon and not other parts of Ecuador. The yellow-headed vulture, the crested eagle, and the spectacled owl were some of the bird highlights. The fresh-water pink dolphin was a special treat.

I thought the food was excellent given that they brought it all in by motorized canoes in shipments every other day or so. It was nicely prepared overall. Vegetarians were nicely accommodated. Wine, beer, and soda were available at reasonable prices. This is not, however, the place for unreasonably picky eaters.

I recommend bringing some of your own snacks such as trail mix and trail bars. Bring some Gatorade power to mix with the bottled water they provide. Chocolate bars will probably melt, so bring hard candy if candy is necessary for you.

It was in the low 80s with not a lot of rain for us. There was more rain in Lago Agrio, Quito, and Cuenca, than I experienced actually in the Cuyabeno Reserve.

Hiking should be done in the morning, I found the wildlife was pretty scarce in the late afternoon. The best time to be on the lagoon is late afternoon as the sun sets.

Visiting the villages and the local Shaman in the Cuyubeno Reserve might be a bit disappointing for those expecting the images of the Amazon one has seen in old movies, but the wildlife one sees in route to the villages is often worthwhile. There has been a lot of mixing of peoples in the region with a lot of persons of Columbian origin.

The airport is a small, but clean, modern facility. If you are picked up directly by the driver for the Siona Lodge, there will be no problems. Don't listen to those who want to warn you away from the Cuyabeno Reserve because you flight into Lago Agrio that is close to Columbia.

You might pick up a few people in the back of your truck along the way as you are being transported. This is part of the charm.

You will see a lot of oil pipelines along the way. The Amazon is the primary area for oil production for Ecuador. Surprisingly, the odor of oil is not prominent like it is in many oil producing regions of the USA. As you board the canoe for a trip down the river to the lodge, you leave the oil production behind.

The river is very small at the initial point you board the canoe at the Cuyubeno Bridge. It gets wider. I was told, however, the water often diminishes toward the end of the year. The May-June time frame is an excellent time to visit here. The bugs were not as bad as they are at my home in Illinois in the evening.

The owners and staff of this lodge are very helpful and try to adjust the trip to your needs. One couple stayed here for seven days and said it was too short. I highly recommend at least four nights and five days. I do think this is probably a better
place for adults than small children. Do not do the rush trip. Part of the nice aspect
of this lodge is doing one major activity per day and taking it easy. Enjoy the sunsets
and the canoe rides at night in the moonlight.

Bring books and perhaps movies on a portable DVD player. Lights will be out
by 9:30 or 10:00. Usually one goes to bed early and rises early. The beds are
comfortable and have insect nets. The insects and lizards are not a terrible problem,
but if you would get upset by seeing a small lizard or insect in your room, this is probably not the place to go. Snakes are not a common problem at the lodge.

My only suggestion for improvement is for easier ways to pay for the experience other
than a wire transfer. Other than that small inconvenience, this was a fantastic trip.

Moreover, Edwin made great domestic flight arrangements for me. The trip on TAME from Guayaquil to Quito, Quito to Lago Agrio, and Lago Agrio to Cuenca (via Quito) was only a bit over $200.

It is well beyond a camping trip in comfort, but far from a tropical all-inclusive resort.
I loved it here and will likely bring college students here next year. The international mixture of guests provided interesting conversations.

Although I speak intermediate Spanish, having few Spanish skills should not be a major problem here. The only requirement is that you need to have a little tolerance for less than perfect English--just as they had a lot of tolerance for my less than perfect Spanish.

Joseph Scudder
Professor of Communication at Northern Illinois University

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5 Thank Mamiya7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Siona Lodge

Property: Siona Lodge
Address: Laguna Grande | Reserva Cuyabeno, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, Ecuador
Phone Number:
Region: Ecuador > Sucumbios Province > Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Siona Lodge is an eco hotel located in Cuyabeno reserve. We have 11 double rooms with private bathroom, hot water, and balcony with lake view. 110v electrical outlets with solar energy, dining area, lounge and bar, freshly cooked meals using local ingredients. Our activities are jungle trekking, bird, caiman and pink dolphins watching, visits to siona community all guided with an English naturalist guide. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Siona Hotel Cuyabeno

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