Cabanas San Isidro is a well-known destination on the east slope of the Andes for serious birdwatchers, "aka "birders"., which I am not. Check the itinerary of any of the major birding tour groups and you'll find that the only place to stay on the east side of the Andes
in the cloud forests is at San Isidro. But San Isidro should appeal to anyone with a serious interest in nature. The lodge consists of a converted farmhouse that serves as the dining hall, a limited number of 'rustic" cabins,and a separate lounge building that overlooks the vast expanse of a private forest reserve that is part of a larger plan to preserve the flora and fauna of this wonderful section of Ecuador. Don't expect fancy china or frilly linens or spa treatments,
but the lodge and the rooms are clean comfortable and spacious. Most of what you need to know about the lodge is contained on their website at [----].
San Isidro is about a 2 1/4 hour drive from downtown Quito, on a paved and well maintained road. Driving from Quito to San Isidro produces one spectacular vista after another. Climbing initially over
11,000 feet at the Papallacta pass, you then descend and drive through one greener valley after another till you have dropped in elevation below 7000 feet. San Isidro sits at 6600 feet. Although I consider myself a tropical boy, having lived the last 30 years in Miami, I have never found a climate as agreeable as at San Isidro. Temperatures varied from the high 50s at night to the mid-70s and brought bright sunshine daily. Consequently, there is neither air conditioning nor heat available or necessary at San Isidro. San Isidro quite properly can be described as being in a cloud forest, where daily showers ,mist ,some light clouds and bright sunshine alternate. During our stay, a pair of cotton or nylon pants and T-shirt and and a rain jacket as needed was all the clothing necessary to be comfortable. Although we were there in early June, (supposedly the rainy season on the east side of the Andes), we had virtually no rain and much brilliant sunshine. What rain we did have consisted primarily of mist and fog which was, as elsewhere in the Andes, rapidly changeable. The individual cabins atSan Isidro are spacious and have electricity, a small balcony and hot water. Hot water was available between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.. Most birders will find themselves out birdwatching well before 8 a.m. but since the equatorial locus of San Isidro and all of Ecuador compels a 12 hour day of sunlight from roughly 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., hot showers tend to be taken between 6 p.m. and 7,when dinner is served. Dining happens in the converted farmhouse, which is charming and intimate and lacks only a fireplace for effect(warmth is not needed). Each meal atSan Isidro was a gourmet delight. The food at San Isidro compares favorably with such upscale lodges as Lapa Rios in Costa Rica and most fine restaurants here in Miami. The difference, however, is that while at Lapa Rios,there may be a choice of entrées, at San Isidro dinner consists of what the cooking staff has planned for the evening. Notwithstanding that ,individual dietary restrictions or preferences are accommodated if declared in advance, and quite frankly, each meal was a jewel.
While we were there the lodge was run by the resident managers Rhoannn and and her husband Galo. Rhoann is an ex-pat American and Galo is Ecuadorian and together they make as delightful and helpful a management team as I have found anywhere .The lodge boasts numerous
hiking trails for all levels of fitness and interestsand spectacular
hummingbirds abound at the feeders strategically located around the lodge. There is no pool, and there are no other distractions besides what nature affords-rivers, waterfalls, mountains, wonderful hiking and of course, the fabulous birds. The wonderful meals helped make our stay at San Isidro a peak experience.
San Isidro is owned by the Bustamante family, who had the foresight years ago, to preserve thousands of acres of forest and woodland, rather than convert it to farmland. Carmen Bustamante planned our trip and made all arrangements for us during our 10 day stay at three locations in Ecuador, including San Isidro. She found us the best guide and companion we could hope for in Ecuador or anywhere else, William Perez and perfect accommodations to suit our needs in Quito and Mindo as well. Write her if you plan to stay at San Isidro or anywhere else in Ecuador --her assistance is invaluable. I will happily respond to anyone interested in further information about our trip, about San Isidro or anything else my wife and I learned about Ecuador dring our visit to San Isidro , Quito and Mindo. But do not try to reach me during the first two weeks of September, as Carmen is presently planning our return visit.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com so you can book your Cabanas San Isidro reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Cabanas San Isidro And Guango Hotel Quito