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“Great time at Intag”

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El Refugio de Intag Cloud Forest Lodge
Ranked #8 of 27 Otavalo B&B and Inns
Memphis
Level Contributor
28 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Great time at Intag”
Reviewed 4 June 2013

We stayed for 3 days/2 nights at Intag and had a wonderful time. Oswaldo picked us up from Hacienda Cusin at around 9 am and by 11 we were at Intag. We were lucky enough to be able to stay at the Green House (the owner was out of town). It is a very nice 2 story house next to a small river. (We slept at night with the windows open to listen to the rushing water). Our first afternoon we went with Sandy out to the the Intag Cloud Forest Reserve where, in spite of the pouring rain, we saw the famous cock-of-the-rock. It was very cool. The next day we went on an am and pm hike through the forest, learning about birds and medicinal plants from Oswaldo. He is a wealth of knowledge! We were well fed.........full breakfast,lunch and dinner, with a different menu at each meal. Lupe, Oswaldo's wife, is a great cook. The beauty of the area is simply wonderful and I hightly recommend as a place to get away from it all and enjoy nature.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank tripsofalifetime
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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51 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
1 review
Reviewed 1 June 2013

My friend and I stayed at El Refugio in March. It was a wonderful experience. We stayed in the 4 plex cabin that has been newly constructed.The front and the back of the cabin are divided. Each half has an entry way and sitting area with private rooms off of the foyer. This would be private if the other room was occupied by strangers but also ideal when travelling with kids or friends as you can have your door open to the foyer - or visit in this area as there are chairs.

Each room is decorated nicely and has a bathroom with shower. The only somewhat negative thing I can say is that the rooms were cold in the evenings/ nights. This could be easily rectified with having a hot water bottled placed in your bed. (there is a kettle in the room). The views when waking up are beautiful and you can hear the water flowing by in the river.

Peter was a great host. He is an avid birder and very educated. I cannot recognize a sparrow from a flamingo but Peter still had the patience to point out birds and lead us on hikes.

The meals are fantastic - great to have "home cooking" while travelling. Breakfasts consist of coffee, fresh juice and fruit, pancakes, eggs, etc. Each day was different. Lunches and suppers (cost $12 each) consisted of freshly made bread/buns, soup, and an entree. There is the option to opt out of the meal plan and make your own in the kitchen but I would not recommend this - you will kick yourself when you see what Lupe is created!

For a minimal fee, Oswaldo, will drive you to local sites. The views are stunning. Oswaldo is a very careful driver and a very kind man.

This was a fantastic getaway. Great charm. Beautiful Environment. Friendly people. Rubber boots on loan if you happen to forget yours!

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank calgarytraveler686
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 March 2013 via mobile

I visited El Refugio for five days in March 2013 with two others in my party, and stayed in the newly constructed Garden House. It was an amazing visit, and I highly recommend El Refugio to anyone looking for time off the beaten path and a chance to explore the amazing natural beauty of Intag. El Refugio provides first-rate creature comforts, including: Lupe's delicious food, piping-hot showers, spacious and well-appointed accommodations, and board games, books, binoculars, and wi-fi in the common dining area. The Garden House was perfect for our group of three. The house is beautifully designed into two halves with separate entrances, each half with two bedrooms with bathrooms en suite and a large entry/sitting area.

El Refugio is well-situated for exploring the surrounding rainforest. Our outings included a bird walk to the nearby lookout and the waterfall at La Florida, a day trip to the pre-Incan ruins of Waiyman, and a day trip of birding and hiking at Siempre Verde. All are worth doing if you have the time. The best part of our stay was the people--our gracious hosts Peter and Sandra, Oswaldo, and Lupe.

For those looking to spend time in Otavalo, Las Palmeras and Hacienda Cusin (we stayed a both) are great options, with Cusin being the grander, more impressive option. Both are a short cab ride from downtown, which can be covered in a full or half day.

  • Stayed March 2013
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Helpful?
1 Thank Hermes2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2013

Friends suggested that we spend some time at El Refugio before returning home after a month-long vacation in Ecuador. It was the perfect place for the last five days of our holiday! Tho the drive there is rough, Oswaldo (who lives with his wife and 2 children on the property) is a wonderful driver; he was also available to take us on excursions around the area. His wife, Lupe, is a fabulous cook. The meals we had at El Refugio were among the best we had on our whole trip! We had a large, lovely room with private bath; we were the only guests there during our visit but would have felt comfortable with our privacy even if there had been other guests as the house is so spacious. The grounds are beautiful! And the sound of the rushing river made for peaceful sleep. We are not hard-core birders (!) but did love the bird watching we did, the walking, the reading, the peace, the beauty. We were lucky to be there when Peter, the owner, was there but would have been very well taken care of by Sandy (his associate), Oswaldo and Lupe if he had not been there.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank sweltwoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Munich, Germany
1 review
Reviewed 6 February 2013

The Refugio de Intag is a heavenly place not only for ornithologists but also for lovers of orchids and other wonderful plants. It is situated in the beautiful “Valle de Intag” and is the perfect place to (as we say in German) “let the soul dangle”, which means to unwind.
There are two guest houses at the Refugio. The one we rented was very spacious and beautiful, with a wonderful living room (with open kitchen which we never used) and two bedrooms each with an own bathroom. The other guest house has two very charming apartments. The breakfast/lunch/dining room is in this guest house and it is situated nearby Osvaldos house. Osvaldo is the caretaker of the place, he and his charming wife Lupe prepared all the great meals for us.
Oswaldo was great with our boys. Even though he did not have much English and our boys only had about ten words of Spanish, they got along great.
On our expeditions around the house Osvaldo always took a book with pictures of birds with him so that he could show us pictures of the birds that we got a glimpse of in the trees. We were given two pairs of binoculars for bird observation.
The two dogs at the Refugio are so friendly and our boys always wanted them to join us on our expeditions. There is a small river passing the Refugio. The boys loved to throw branches into a natural pond and one of the dogs would always fetch them and bring it back. Osvaldo took us fishing one day and that was a very nice activity for us, too. Luckily we caught some trouts and Lupe prepared them in the most delicious way for dinner.
Osvaldo also showed us how they harvest and process their own coffee. The greatest thing for our sons was to help Osvaldo for half a day to chop down plants and trees with the “macheta” (a long bush knife) to make his banana plantation more accessible. My husband and I relaxed in the hammock and read a book. Wonderful!
A memorable experience for all of us was a visit to the nearby school. Sandy Statz took us there and we joined one of her lessons. The children were really cute and our boys had fun with them, despite the language barrier. On a globe we showed them our home country Germany. Some of the children had their own horse “parked” in the backyard because otherwise the way to school would be too far for them.
When it was time to leave the Refugio, Osvaldo drove us back to Otavalo. On the way we stopped at Lago cuicocha, a very nice crater lake, and did a boat tour. It was very touristy, but nice.
We were lucky to spend four days at the Refugio and really enjoyed the silence, the nature, the good food and good company of Osvaldo and his family in such a safe and wonderful place on earth. Luckily we decided to see less places and rather spend more time at each of them, so we could really relax at the Refugio.

Room Tip: The two guest houses are quiet really cosy. Beautiful equipment.
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Coco102
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
Reviewed 10 December 2012

El Refugio has the nicest rooms I've stayed in since I've been in Ecuador. They are spacious, clean and really nicely furnished. It also was the best hot shower I've had in my 4 months here. It is located about a two hour bus ride from Otavalo, in one of the most beautiful valleys in Ecuador - Intag. It is very easy to get to via bus from Otavalo and is right off the main road near the bustop. There are some great hikes you can do right from El Refugio through pristine cloud forest and the food's tasty as well (especially the coffee which is grown right in Intag and roasted in house). The owner, Peter, is a great guy, as are Oswaldo and Lupe. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed November 2012
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Helpful?
Thank hannaht1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
costa rica
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 December 2012

      After a month in Ecuador, this is the last place we stayed.  It was memorable.  We had no trouble getting a hold of them, last minute, and had the ok to come.   We had a rental car, but the bus would do fine, as El Refugio is located close to the main road.  The drive was spectacular, on a curvy but well maintained road.  This is one the few places we came across that really has wonderful extensive forest.
      We enjoyed the Ecuadorian family that ran the place, Oswaldo took us birding and exploring, and he is a really nice guy.  We also had the pleasure of the owner, Peter, and the manager, Sandy, coming birding with us, and that was a truly gorgeous day thru the forest.  They were people that we really liked right away, warm and caring. 
      The food was good, the room we stayed in was the top floor of a house.  It was lovely, comfortable, and there was lots of interesting art and books in the room.
      I would recommend this place to anyone who wants to be off the beaten path, and see some really nice forest.  It was one of the high spots of the whole month.   
      The birding was great, and there is much opportunity for that...  but there is also great hiking trails, rivers, culture, and wildness there too.  Excellent choice.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank susandrew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about El Refugio de Intag Cloud Forest Lodge

Property: El Refugio de Intag Cloud Forest Lodge
Address: Casilla 18 | Via Intag Km 53, Otavalo 100450, Ecuador
Region: Ecuador > Imbabura Province > Otavalo
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 27 B&Bs / Inns in Otavalo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This cloud forest Lodge is located just 33 miles from the market town of Otavalo along the Toabunchi River in northwestern Ecuador. The brick-and-stucco house and the wooden cabin are surrounded by gardens that attract the 200-plus species of birds from the retreat's 60 acres of forest. The often snow-capped 17,000' Cotacachi mountain is in view. Mild temperatures are the norm: an average of 75 to 80 F. Guests can hike along the river or up the mountain to view birds and orchids and other strikingly beautiful wildflowers. The area is free of tropical diseases. Meals are available from the resident caretakers who are also the cook and guide. A thirty-minute drive takes you to the small town of Apuela, with stores, a health clinic and the Coffee Cooperative of ACRI, to witness the way the coffee process works--from farm to roasted beans. Not far away are the hot baths of Nangulvi. These natural hot springs are set in a deep valley, the mountains rising straight from the valley floor. The best part of El Refugio is the closeness to nature it provides. The refuge is off the main road, so the sounds you hear are the birds and the river, and the clouds that frequently cloak the forested mountains make for a dramatic setting. ... more   less 
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