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“Excellent lodges and fantastic birding” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cabanas San Isidro

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Cabanas San Isidro
Certificate of Excellence
Weaverville, North Carolina
Level Contributor
254 reviews
118 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
“Excellent lodges and fantastic birding”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 November 2013

Cabanas and Guango are actually two separate properties that are owned and operated by the Busamante sisters (Carmen for San Isidro and Irene for Guango). They are both located on the eastern slope of the Andes but at different elevations. Guango at around 9600 feet and San Isidro at about 7000. Hence you get different bird communities at each place.
I will start with Guango. There is one main building that houses all of the rooms as well as the dining room and common areas. The rooms are fairly small, but very comfortable. The beds are doubles and are very comfortable. Hot water is abundant and available at all times. The staff is very good and very helpful. There are several miles of trails on the property and the birding is excellent. It is best that you arrange for a guide so that you get the most out of the birding. Hummingbird feeders are placed about the main building and you can often see 4 to 6 species of hummingbirds are one time. The food is very nicely prepared and of high quality.
San Isidro has a separate dining room (hardly a shack as one reviewer stated), along with a very nice lounge are located about a 5 minute walk for the dining area. The lounge is comfortable with a large deck at ground level for bird watching etc. as well as an open "patio" on the roof with a 360 degree view of the surrounding forest etc. Beer and wine are available in the lounge on the honor system. For entertainment there is a dart board, regulation size pool table and a large flat screen TV in a separate alcove. The rooms are spacious and nicely appointed. We had two double beds as well as a sitting area. The bathroom is large and hot water is available at all times. A roofed private porch was attached to the room and overlooked the forest.
Meals were a treat. Always of good quality and often of very interesting design. The staff were very friendly and helpful. We did meet Carmen and she is a delightful host.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Art H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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96 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sheringham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 October 2013

Lodges are run by two sisters, and both are first-class. Friendly service, appetizing and plentiful food. At San Isidro I saw two species of Antpitta, they are by staff, both absolutely stunning. At Guango feeders attract Sword-billed Hummingbird. Recommend both.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NorthNorfolkBirder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane
Level Contributor
22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 September 2013

My husband and I stayed at both places in April 2013 and were delighted with our experience. Carmen organised a great birding guide, Andres Trujillo, who met us at Quito airport with driver Mauricio. We stayed overnight at Guango, a comfortable lodge with great views from an upstairs lounge. Rain hampered our walks to some extent but Andres was determined to show us the best birds. We are not expert birdos, but saw 43 species there, including a family of torrent ducks, Andean potoo, mountain toucan, 2 chat-tyrants, many tanagers and hummingbirds
Next day we drove to San Isidro to stay in a good cabin for 3 nights, enjoying the excellent food. Alejandro was a good host. Andres again showed us many birds, 72 species - highland motmot, crested and golden-headed quetzals, 4 woodpeckers, many tyrranulets, tanagers, hummingbirds and the famous San Isisdro owl.
On our last day, we were driven to Coca for our trip to Napo, Andres ensuring that we waited at the right jetty and pointing out the various water birds there.

Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank bernrosie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nashville
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 August 2013

Our cabana was wonderful. It was very spacious with a porch overlooking the rain forest. The bathroom was large as was the shower. My sister-in-law stayed in a smaller cabana which also had a porch. It seemed to be closer to the bird activity. The advantage to this cabana was that it had hot water all day whereas we only had it in the morning and evening.

All of the staff are very nice. The manager, Alejandro, was super nice and provided interesting information. We met Carmen Bustamante, the owner, who was also very accomodating. We needed to change cabanas because of lack of information on our part and it was done quickly and with a smile.

The only thing to remember is that this is a rain forest. As Alejandro, in the dry season it rains everyday. In the wet season it rains all day everyday.

Room Tip: This s a wonderful place to bike.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank NashvilleGran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
219 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 374 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 June 2013

While TA has been advised that Guango and San Isidro are different places, they have not been responsive. They are about 1.5 away from each other by car, in different cities, at different elevations, with different bird life, and with very different levels of amenities. Travelers BEWARE

Hummingbirds at Guango are better than 5*! Incredible! It was overwhelming to see so many birds (and types!) as they fly from the feeders to the nearby trees. It's a birder's and photographer's dream. Video and cameras are welcome - but not high-speed multiple flash. You can linger and enjoy the shady paths and amazing hummingbirds. Once was just not enough for me... I traveled back and went again! This place is not yet well known - enjoy it now when you can have it almost to yourself like we did!

I have been to Guango Lodge which is a hummingbird paradise. Located in the eastern Andes slopes in the cloud forest, it's hard to find though it's right on Highway 28 between Quito and Baeza. It is a 10 minute drive east of Papallacta town on the down-slope side (accessible by regional public bus). All you will see is a simple sign saying Guango Lodge and the gate is often closed. However the side walk-in gate is open and you can follow the path to the building... enquire there for your $5USD day pass which includes a coffee or tea. The staff ignore you like they just don't care. However, you are not there for them - enjoy the hummingbirds.

An easy-access must for anyone visiting the nearby thermal hot springs at Papallacta. I have not stayed at Guango Lodge overnight - it might be basic accommodations.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank 2-4-T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Europe
Level Contributor
268 reviews
107 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 May 2013

Five of the seven Europeans in our group suffered varying degrees of what appeared to be food poisoning that we suspect originated in the packed lunches provided by Guango Lodge. The first person to be afflicted suffered some severe vomiting about three hours after the lunch. Two others had diarrhea that night, whilst two more complained of queasiness over the next day. I was one of the diarrhea sufferers and it was the worst attack that I have ever had. By the way, I have traveled extensively, both in South America and in Asia and my stomac usually gives no problems. Although I stayed five more nights in Ecuador, in the end I had to cut short my vacation and return to Europe. On my return I found that I had lost weight, from 76kg to 72kg (the only positive aspect of the experience!).
Guango Lodge is a good place for birders, but the main highway does cut through the birding area, so you have to scuttle across the road on a blind bend. At night the noise from the very rare truck was almost overwhelmed by the noise of the racing stream near the bedrooms. I slept very snugly here and didn't need the offered water bottle. The cooked food was OK and the service friendly.
Cabanas San Isidro is a great place and I regret that I wasn't on good form to enjoy it more. Birding is sensational, particularly very early in the morning. Food is excellent and varied. Accomodation is a bit hit and miss: If you are sleeping near the general meeting house then you may have a small, dark room with wafer thin walls. In these rooms you will hear everything that your neighbour does; and I mean everything!! If you get one of the larger cabins, then you live in a large bright room, wooden walls, comfortable bed and perhaps even some nice views. If your cabin is near to the dining area, you may even get wifi in your room.
Tripadvisor should separate Guango Lodge and San Isidro as they are a long way apart and of a quite different standard. If you only have time for one of them, then San Isidro wins on every score.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank cliffordchambers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Campton, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
154 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 April 2013

We only stayed at San Isidro. The cabin we had (a duplex) was about the best we had while in Ecuador. Very roomy with our own deck. Lots of shelf space for luggage. Two comfy soft chairs and a coffee table plus two comfy beds. Meals were quite good. Trails were in good shape for the rainy season.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank nhraven
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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