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“A uniquely wonderful and intimate lodge” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Huaorani Ecolodge

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Huaorani Ecolodge
Otavalo, Ecuador
Level Contributor
130 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“A uniquely wonderful and intimate lodge”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 April 2011

I would like to add my voices in agreement with the excellent reviews below. I feel we could have written them almost word for word. I am the owner of an eco-lodge here in Ecuador and have also been to various lodges and projects in the rainforest and the Huaorani lodge competes with the best of them and exceeds most of them in the cultural aspect. The program is well- designed to explore important aspects of traditional Huaorani life with hands-on activities and social interaction. The Huaorani are very hospitable and seem to appreciate visitors. I suggest reading Savages before going for a sense of the courageous struggle of the Huao people against oil company exploitation.
The Huao lodge is well-designed and appropriately rustic and intimate, and so may not have some of the amenities of other lodges (ie a bar, a shop) but for us, that was perfect. The sounds of the forest were amazing from our cottage near the river.
I should also add that what sounds like a long day's travel to arrive there is actually a lovely trip through the avenue of the volcanoes, and then a small plane ride over the rainforest which is nothing short of spectacular. The trip back by canoe is also a lovely adventure.

  • Stayed March 2011, 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?
1 Thank pachamamacita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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66 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 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
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English first
Ohio
Level Contributor
37 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 November 2010

Our experience at the Huaorani was incredible. From the moment we set foot on our 5 seater cessna that would take us deep into the Amazon rainforest. This ecolodge is so remote, it's only accessible by plane. We were greeted by the local community who took us by canoe to our separate lodges and showed us the group hammock house and lodge where we would eat dinner the next 4 nights. During our time at the ecolodge we experienced guided hikes through the rainforest (including night hikes!), enjoying all it's sights and sounds. We learned how to weave large leaves into baskets, we got a chance to practice shooting blow guns and spear throwing, and we were able to swing on vines! Each day we would visit nearby communites and talk and dance with the people and buy/trade for the handmade items (my husband brought home a 12 foot hand carved spear!) Near the end of our stay, we spent a day kayaking down stream to our campsite they had set up and we enjoyed swimming in the river and hearing the Huaroni's stories around the campfire. The morning before we left we had a strenous hike that included alot of uphill climbing with mud and repelling down to get to a waterfall but it was all worth all the effort to be able to swim at the waterfall. The Huaorani people are so warm and friendly and the eco lodge though simple is an oasis in the jungle. We enjoyed falling asleep to the rainforest sounds each night. I would definitley recommend this to anyone looking to getaway for a real adventure.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jessica J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Helena, Montana
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 October 2010

I have traveled in the Amazon regions of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador on multiple occasions, and this lodge stands out as a unique and wonderful cultural experience. The area is remote and beautiful, and you feel that you are truly deep in the heart of the forest. But what makes it really special is the Huaorani people. It is rare to get to see inside an indigenous culture still living as they have (almost) for eons. The Huaorani were so proud and happy to share with us, it was remarkable, and left quite an impression on me. I highly recommend reading Joe Kane's "Savages" before going. I had just finished it before my trip and I was thrilled to be met at the airstrip on arrival by none other than Moi, the lead character (hero) in the book. We met Moi's family, and he told us Huao origin stories, and gave us lots of information about their beliefs.

I loved trying the blowgun and was impressed with its accuracy. Even we novices could hit a melon from 50 yards away pretty easily. One of the best trips of my life.

  • Stayed November 2009
    • 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?
1 Thank gregdetour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia
Level Contributor
78 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 195 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 August 2010

Wow, not even sure how to describe this in a few sentences. This was an amazing trip. Fascinating location, totally different perspective of nature, illuminating glimpse into how a whole another section of the planet lives, fun active vacation and chance to have some of the nicest people on earth share their world with you...

You travel well into the heart of al Oriente (hours from Quito, bush plane into jungle and to met by the lovely Huaorani people and taken via poled canoe to their "lodge" (which I put in quotes because it's maximum four platform/tent buildings, no chance of overcrowding here).

We were lucky to have Moi,the tribal leader, as our naturalist, who took us on all sorts of amazing hikes and activities:
- night hikes (amazing!),
- daytime hikes to sacred waterfalls, learning about medicinal plants and insects along the way,
- kayaking downstream (for an incredible, tranquil jungle experience),
- visits to a few of the clans that belong to the tribes (wonderful people...and a introspection-causing view on living, happiness and family),
- swimming in a cool jungle river (refreshing and enervating at the same time),
- trying your hand with jungle blow guns
...basically, I could ask nothing more from a active, eco-friendly, meet-the-world vacation!

The "rooms" we very clean, nice beds, showers (and mind-blowing sounds of the night jungles). The food was very tasty and very plentiful. And the staff were of Ritz Carlton level of service and friendliness (except that you actually get to talk with.laugh with, and learn from all of these "staff".

We were also blessed to have Jose Z as our guide from Quito who stayed with us the whole time. We've traveled the world and met many good guides, but he was truly the best we've ever had and has an incredible base of knowledge of the jungle ecosystems and flora and fauna, the Huaorani people and culture and the history/geopolitics of the region. A truly insightful experience from someone whose love for - and kinship with - the Huaorani people is evident in all he does...brought a true texture to this visit.

So, if you're looking for a faux-nature experience (like so many of the eco-lodges in Africa have become), this isn't your thing. Nor is it your destination if you're looking for relaxing on a chaise lounge and air-conditioned, marble bathrooms. BUT, if you're looking for a truly inspiring experience that few will ever have that puts you into the middle of the jungle with some of the warmest people on earth, I can HIGHLY recommend this trip! It will stay with you for quite some time...and that's a wonderful thing.

P.S. If you decide to go, read the book "Savages" (Kane) before you go. You'll learn a lot about the "first encounters" with the Huaorani people and all that has happened in the few decades since and their current leader, Moi (who, if you're as fortunate as we were, will be your local guide).

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank PhillyBoyz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Berlin, Germany
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2010

Visiting the Huaorani Ecolodge was easily the highlight of my 6 month tour of South America. The Huaorani are the warmest and funniest bunch of people around and their forest homeland filled with to the brim with biodiversity does not disappoint either. Although we did not see any jaguars, we heard three calling to each other after dinner within hear shot of the lodge. Our Huaorani guide causally told us, if you bump into one of those in the forest, don't run, just relax and try and stare it down until it looses interest and wonders off. This advice may sound like something out of a Rumbo film, but the Huaorani definitely know what they are talking about. The Hauorani believe there is no difference between the physical and spiritual which combined with the forest paradise which they call home makes for an incredibly invigorating experience.

The lodge itself is very comfortable. The food delicious and the service very impressive considering the concept of customer service is hardly a traditional Huaorani concept! The lodge is also apparently about to become certified under the Rainforest Alliance backed Smart Voyager Certificate. Highlight of the trip? Every minute of the five days we were there!

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nomad_773
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Western Australia
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 July 2010

If you have read some of the other reviews, you will be aware of the unique journey to Huaorani Ecolodge that begins in Quito, winding through the Avenue of the Volcanoes to eventually arrive in Shell; flying low over unbroken miles of dense jungle to land at the grass strip at Quehueire Ono, to then step into a dugout canoe for a enchanting, silent glide down the Shiripuno River to the Huaorani Ecolodge.

You will also be aware of the wonder-filled hikes through the jungle (our favourite was the night walk, where an astonishing array of little critters could be observed), led by a local guide with a lifetime of jungle knowledge. Let's not forget the vast array of stars that fill the night sky.

You'll also have read about the winsome, friendly lodge staff that come from the surrounding communities that are an absolute delight and privilege to get to know.

Other jungle lodges claim to be "ecolodges", but few really are. Huaorani Ecolodge is one of the few. If you are a serious ecotourist, or just want to minimise the impact you have when visiting a pristine environment, Huaorani Ecolodge is for you.

These are all excellent reasons to stay at Huaorani Ecolodge, but I want to urge you to choose the Huaorani Ecolodge jungle experience based on the Huaorani's own long-term vision - to help preserve this ecological wonderland and its worthy custodians for as long as possible. This part of the Oriente continues to come under enormous pressure from oil interests. These ventures offer communities higher living standards but history has shown that the more likely outcome is irreversible ecological damage and an eventual abandonment by communities of their traditional lifestyle as they increasingly depend on the petrodollar. The communities that established Huaorani Ecolodge recognised these serious threats to their way of life and are resisting the petrodollar, instead turning to ecotourism. In doing so, they improve their quality of life while protecting their territory from ecological damage and preserving their traditional way of life as much as possible.

We were conscious of these issues before we stayed at Huaorani Ecolodge, but it was only when we visited that we came to appreciate how long and hard the Huaorani have had to fight to defend their territory from large oil interests and corrupt (or at least weak) government, and how incredibly important it is that they do so. You simply cannot imagine how precious and unique the jungle is until you experience it for yourself, nor how much life it gives to those who live deep within it. The Huaorani invite you to come - your visit is an experience you will not easily forget and, quite likely, it will be a transformative one.

From a statement made by the Huaorani in the early 1990s during their fight to protect their territory (as reproduced in "Savages" by Joe Kane, 1995):

"The Huaorani are the bravest people in the whole world. The rivers and the trees are our life. We protect our life for the whole world. We are the protectors of the forest. We are not afraid to die. We are not afraid to kill. Now the Company is invading our land. Our land is where my grandfather was born and my father was born and I was born. We will fight the Company. We will fight like Huaorani fight. The Huaorani are the bravest people and we need no one. But the Huaorani will be friends with the whole world that does not try to destroy us. We invite the whole world to come and see how the Huaorani protect the forest."

  • Stayed May 2010, 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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Drover70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 July 2010

Just getting there is an experience on its own and would make the trip worthwhile...a single engine plane landing on a small strip cut into the jungle. For the next few days you are bombarded by the jungle, making for unbelievable experiences that are not easily forgotten. I am not sure that this can be done anywhere else in the world and who knows how much longer this type of trip will exist in our fast moving world.

Stayed December 2009
Helpful?
Thank BKANNER
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Huaorani Ecolodge

Property: Huaorani Ecolodge
Address: Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
Region: Ecuador > Yasuni National Park
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Yasuni National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stay in an eco-lodge situated at the headwaters of the Amazon and run by the Huaorani, one of the most isolated ethnic groups on earth: first contacted by the outside world only 55 years ago, they speak a language that is unrelated to any other. You’ll learn to use a blowgun, hear their leader relate the tribe’s fight against oil exploration, and take a two-day meander down the Shiripuno River in kayaks, watching for tropical birds and monkeys.Highly Commended -The Virgin Holidays Responsible Travel Award 2009 and 2010Best Company in Innovation 2010 - LATATrips of a Lifetime award by Travel & Leisure 2010Best Sustainable Tourism Project 2008 and 2009 - LATABest Adventure Travel Companies on Earth by National Geographic 2009 ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Huaorani Ecolodge Hotel Yasuni National Park
Huaorani Ecolodge Ecuador/Yasuni National Park

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