Mixed feelings about El Monte.
After a windy couple of hours drive from Quito we got to Mindo and then on to this remote lodge. We loved the rope pulley entrance (although later did have issues with waiting a while for someone to come and let us in).
The cabins were gorgeous. Wooden, very spacious and all very spread out. We did have to move cabins due to a wasps nest and leaking ceiling, but the staff were very helpful about it. The water, however, was never really hot enough, which was a shame as there was a great bath with a view. But we get that sacrifices like that often come with the eco-lodge territory.
The nature walks were great, plenty of toucans etc really close, and with really friendly, helpful guides. We also went out to the butterfly farm and chocolate workshop, both of which were really fun outings.
The food was fantastic. Almost no meat, but really tasty and inventive. The homemade hot chocolate was to die for!
One downside was that the owners weren't there and the manager, who we ate every meal with, didn't seem to know the answers to any of our questions. It was also inconvenient having to go to their office in Quito to pay beforehand.
Also, contrary to other reviews, alcohol was available there - however it was strangely kept in a locked cupboard meaning we had to wait quite a while for the manager to come and unlock it. Indeed overall there seemed to be very little trust of the Ecuadorian staff. We were told not to tip them directly as 'they wouldn't spend it responsibly' - instead we had to pay the manager, who then said she would add it to their paychecks.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- El Monte Sustainable Lodge is an ecotourism destination in every sense of the word. We emphasize nature here at El Monte, in the form of birdwatching and observation of wildlife in general. Aside from the natural focus of our lodge, we also supply many of the vegetables, eggs and more from our organic garden. Most of our energy is supplied by a microhydro plant. We are located in a 110 acre reserve that is close to the Mindo-Nambillo Reserve of over 40,000 acres. At only 3 kilometers from the town of Mindo we are within access of many the activities, such as the Butterfly Garden, Ziplines, White-water Tubing, waterfalls and more. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- El Monte Hotel Mindo