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“Definately birding lodges”
Review of Cabanas San Isidro

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Cabanas San Isidro
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
115 reviews
111 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
“Definately birding lodges”
Reviewed 19 April 2012

These two lodges cater specifically to birders and they do a great job. Guango Lodge is a little basic and a bit tired but the hummingbirds and the food are great. Can be quite cold - even in the rooms. San Isidro has good rooms - the restaurant area is a bit scruffy but they have a great lounge and everyone is very nice.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank canbird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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104 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 April 2012

We spent two nights at San Isidro in March. While we are not real birders, we visited San Isidro to hike and bird watch. There were so many wonderful birds on the grounds of the lodge that one doesn't even need to hike the trails. We took a number of hikes on well maintained trails accompanied by a guide provided by the lodge. Be sure to bring binoculars. We saw tons of humminbirds, quetzals, Inca jays, owls,antpittas, tanagers, wood peckers and the cock of the rock.

The food at the lodge is eclectic and very tasty and the cabins are comfortable. It's high-end rustic so it's not inexpensive. We spend time in Ecuador every year and has beento lots of different lodges. We will definately be returningto San Isidro,

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank pbbfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bali, Indonesia
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 February 2012

The setting is idyllic and the food wonderful. Great birds, but a surprising lack of frogs and insects that I would expect in a mid-elevation cloud forest habitat. Large rooms and very friendly staff. At $120/ night per person it isn't cheap, but worth the price for a short stay. Also has a good variety of hiking trails.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Jim P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oslo, Norway
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 January 2012

I had just one night here, and that is absolutely not enough. I recommend 3 nights, much more if you have an interest in nature as a whole. If you are into flora and insects you'll need much more time.

For birders you will get an idea of the local birds and their behaviour and territory in a 3 day stay.

You can walk on the road leading further into the huge reserve, or you can simpy sit in any location you find interesting and let the fauna appear all on its own. You will see so much flora and fauna.

Pre-dawn I spent perhaps an hour in an area right outside my cabana - there was no need to go any further as the traffic of different bird species was incredible!

I had a cabana close to the restaurant, which is of a more recent origin than those at the communal building closer to the parking area. A spacioius and clean cabana with all I expected and needed.

The communal building is really great, and I love the hammocs!

I loved the nocturnal sounds so close to my bed, and stayed up as long as possible to enjoy it, as I knew it was my one and only night. I especially enjoyed the two species of owl hooting.

I was the only gest (!) and enjoyed it to the max. There had been a large group the day before and a group was coming in the following day or so. I had dinner with the manager and my guide, and it was a cosy experience to sit together and hear his stories. The food was much better than I expected, so the stay was a great one in all ways possible!

I got to see some of local the "stars", the "San Isidro" owls for one. Their fame is by the fact that they look like a mix between the Black-Banded Owl which has not been recorded above 900 metres, but only exist on the eastern slope and the western-slope-only Black-and-White Owl. The other lodges in the area are supposedly unable to record this species on their grounds, so this adds to the uniqueness and conundrum.

The second must be the Peruvian Antpitta, recently domesticated. Perhaps when you visit they are less wary and you can see them as close as the White-bellied Antpittas beig fed closer to the lodge.

The only downside of the logde is for those interested in photographing nocturnal insects. As they are drawn to light, you will see countless on your porch and the walls around, but as the new cabanas are painted in shiny paint, it's a lot harder to get decent shots. A brick wall in any color paint and even wood in matte paint is so much better.

You will still see so many moths and other insects just walking around the premises, and a god LED flashlight is definitely a must.

The walk down to the river beach is much further than you might think, so don't be fooled by the rather misleading local map. You need to walk quite a bit alongside the river - after the two bridges - before you're there.

While you're there, please give your support by purchasing CDs, books or other items on the local flora and fauna. I bought the very last CD "The birds of Cabanas San Isidro" - containing 207 bird species.

San Isidro: http://cabanasanisidro.com/
My photos from San Isidro: http://www.ross.no/communicate

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Morten R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Caz, NY
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 November 2011

We just returned from a 9-day trip to Ecuador. The purpose of the trip was strictly birding. We stayed one night at Guango Lodge so that we could be there at first light in the morning. The rooms are small, but so cozy and quaint with stone walls and curved ceilings. There are thick wool blankets on the beds which were needed as this lodge is at about 9000' altitude. Hot water bottles were served up before bedtime. They kept our feet warm and made us feel so comfortable. The food was very good. The birds were outstanding! There are many hummingbird feeders and many hummingbird species. Some of my best photos of the trip are from the feeders at Guango. A beautiful mountain stream runs alongside the lodge and you can find torrent ducks and white-capped dippers there. The only negative is that the road from Papallacta to Baeza runs close by and traffic noise might be an issue if you like to sleep late.

Our next stop was Cabanas San Isidro. We stayed 6 nights and did not want to leave. The cabins are scattered about the lovely grounds. Ours was at the far end, so we had the forest as a neighbor. The balcony and sitting area looked out on the Guacamayos Ridge for a beautiful view. The room is huge with two double beds and a large closet with big roomy shelves for stowing your stuff. Ask for a room with a balcony. Some just have little porches by the front doors. We had both. Our balcony was a great spot for watching birds, reading and journal-writing when we weren't out enjoying the marvelous network of trails every day.

The food was AMAZING! It was all very fresh and delicious. If you're lucky you will have Carmen's black pepper ice-cream with ginger syrup served on a slice of babaco. Or how about passion fruit mousse? Or seafood ceviche for lunch?

There are hummingbird feeders all over the grounds and an orchid garden. The trails go on and on through the beautiful cloud forest. We were there in November. It was technically the dry season, but that just means it rains less than it does during the rainy season. We had beautiful sunny mornings. The clouds would start to build up around noon or early afternoon and by late afternoon it would rain. The rain sometimes lasted all night, but always stopped in the morning. The temps were probably in the 50's at night, and up to the low 70's in the day. Very pleasant. A light jacket was all I needed and usually a tee shirt was sufficient. Bugs were not a problem. Bring sunscreen. Altitude at San Isidro is about 6700'.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a balcony.
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank suhoopfan44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
80 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2011

We stayed at Guango one night, and San Isidro for 3 nights. The weather was mixed, with one day on which it never stopped raining. The advice from a previous reviewer to avoid the wet season is good, but such weather can be survived. We still managed to see more than 120 different kinds of birds, including cock-of-the-rock, antpitta, condor, quetzel, forest falcon, tanagers, etc. The staff is warm and welcoming, the food is amazingly good and interesting, and we were lucky to meet Mrs Carmen Bustamante one of the days we were there. She had arranged a wonderful package for us; we had a fabulous English-speaking bird guide, William Perez, who picked us up in Quito and who shared his extensive knowledge, bird finding skills and good humor with us for four wonderful days in this very special part of Ecuador.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Bozotraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sacramento, California
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 July 2011

We stayed four nights (one night in Guango) to finish off our cloud forest birding vacation to Ecuador. Highly recommended though we'd advise avoiding the rainy season of June, July and August here. Somehow we missed that crucial information in the guidebook. If you do come at this time, you probably want to ask for a heater to be put in your room.

It didn't rain ALL the time, so we enjoyed hiking and birdwatching every day, and the comforts of the lodge and cabin. A great place to rest and relax. Orchid garden also a plus but the wonderful birds that enjoy the lodge grounds were the highlight. We had the services of a spanish speaking local guide and also had good experiences seeing birds with the drivers also. Highlight was visiting the biological research station nearby - Yanayacu - and seeing the details of documenting the cloud forest butterfly and bird life histories.

If you are serious about your birdwatching and don't know Spanish, check into guided trips with English speaking guides. There are opportunities to combine this visit with visits to other nearby locations, at lower elevations in the Oriente, and also with a day at Antisana National Park for high elevation birding. Most people probably stay at Guango one night and San Isidro one or two nights. But with a car or a guide, there is a lot more to do in the area - meriting longer stay.

Cabanas is a place committed to quality ecotourism, birdwatching, conservation, education and research. The food is not to be missed - highly recommended for those interested in exploring local fruits and vegetables, herbs and sauces. A unique place in a rare and fascinating environment.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jaysacto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cabanas San Isidro

Property: Cabanas San Isidro
Address: Via Cosanga | Caucheras, Km 3, Cosanga 150751, Ecuador
Region: Ecuador > Napo Province > Cosanga
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Cosanga
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cabanas San Isidro, a large reserve with some of the best access to primary mid elevation cloud forest in Ecuador, is renowned for its world class birding, exotic cuisine and outstanding conservation ethic. Our extensive trail system will lead you through gorgeous forest to a Cock-of-the-Rock lek, waterfalls, rivers and even archaeological sites. Fun activities for kids! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cabanas San Isidro And Guango Hotel Quito

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