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“The best community tourism experience in the Amazon - fact!”
Review of Huaorani Ecolodge

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Huaorani Ecolodge
Berlin, Germany
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“The best community tourism experience in the Amazon - fact!”
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
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Helpful?
1 Thank nomad_773
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Perth, Western Australia
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
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
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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
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
Scotland
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 May 2010

We stayed at the Huaorani Ecolodge for 4 nights. From the minute we arrived we appreciated what a different experience this was going to be. We were taken by dugout canoe to our accommodation which was extremely comfortable - had its own ensuite and there was the option of a "bag" of hot water to rig up to the shower. In the humid heat of the rainforest we were happy with a cold one! The sights and sounds of the jungle were right there of course.
The meals were superb and the service excellent in an informal, relaxing fashion. The walk back to our "cabin" was a nightly pleasure - the stars seemed to be in touching distance.
We were taken on day and evening walks which were just fascinating.
Our Huaorani guide, Bai, was extremely conscientious and competent. We were shown several aspects of their way of life; even how they made blow pipes - we had a shot at using them! The biology of the area was, of course, tremendous - Bai had indepth knowledge which he shared with us.
We visited three villages and in each one we were received as friends. The generosity of the people both in their time and their "treats" eg fruit was wonderful. We bought their lovely handmade souvenirs but as we were leaving one village a lady ran after us and gave me a hammock which she had made "for my grandchildren". She must have spent hours and hours making it. I had difficulty in getting her to accept a gift in return. We were sad to leave every village and just felt like we wanted to return.
We spent one very relaxing afternoon being shown how they made things - their patience was remarkable as they tried to teach us their skills. I almost managed a bracelet! They also involved us in their song and dance. Four generations of one family would dance together - the relationships between the old and the young, between the people with disabilities and the able bodied etc were so natural and caring.
The river was the main form of transport and we had several journeys enjoying the butterflies and birdlife along the water. We went swimming on a few occasions.
The Huaorani people are working hard to preserve their pristine environment and way of life for the benefit of us all. Go and see them! You are very welcome.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Retiredrelaxers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Devon,
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2010

I loved every minute of my too-brief two-night stay at the Huaorani Lodge. Everyone shares the management and ownership of the place, and it shows in the way that they are all so keen, helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Highlights? Listening to an elderly Huao lady sing us a welcome in her family home, listen to Omene tell us about how his daughter nearly died from a snake bite, a swim in the cool river after a steamy hike through the jungle, discovering the forest's nightlife on a safari walk after dark, helping a Huao family clear a field for cultivation - and had the blisters from my clumsy axe-chopping for weeks afterwards, trying to describe badminton to the villagers in a communal meeting .... I could go on. But I don't want to spoil it for you. Thinking of going? Just go, and take an open mind, especially if you're expecting hot showers (oh and by the way - last highlight for me was spotting a gecko clinging to the wall in my bathroom)

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank HugoDevon_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2009

This ecolodge is cute - the cabins are clean and cutely appointed. Currently the lodge does not have hot water, which was not what we were told, so that was a not-so-nice surprise on the first night. The staff is friendly but speaks no english so it is imperative to speak spanish or have a spanish-speaking guide on hand at all times. The meals are very good and juices and soups were especially good (Meals are included). The main cabin/dining room needs to be modified in some way to encourage people to hang around, since there is no entertainment in the cabins. This could be done easily by adding additional seating and buying some board games and decks of cards. They also talked about adding a bar, which would also encourage people to hang out. The hikes were fun but there is almost no wildlife to be seen, which was also not what I was told up front. The visit to the local community was a nice addition though I think they can enhance this experience by having a meal with them or something similar. The main concern I have with this hotel is its remoteness - there is only radio contact between the lodge and Shell, the nearest town. If there were any sort of emergency, it would be very difficult to get help, and the lodge doesn't seem to be equipped to handle medical emergencies of any sort. I was stung/bitten on my stomach (through my shirt) by some sort of insect and despite major swelling and a very nasty looking bite, I wasn't offered any medical care. Without the benadryl I had, or the Anti-Itch cream my friend had, it would have been much worse.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank laydenredd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Northants
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2009

So what did we discover ...... their blow-pipes are enormous and we never expected to learn how to shoot the darts with such accuracy; a machete in the hands of the Huaorani chief could be used like a delicate craft knife; how endearing the young children are when they peer at you out of the long grass as the plane lands; just why the preservation of the rainforest is so vital to the Huaorani not to mention the rest of mankind; a beautiful people; a breathtaking environment; an unforgetable experience ........ don't hesitate!

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank RobhNorthants
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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