I went to Sani to experience the rain forest and 'Amazonia' but mostly for the birding. I was very sorry to leave on the fifth day, and if returning, would stay another one or two. I appreciate that Sani doesn't limit start dates except for no Sunday starts. It makes more efficient travel planning (in my mind). The office was very helpful with questions and when I needed to ask for a delay in final payment due to a medical situation they were accommodating. I booked directly with them and the Western Union money wires went well.
I requested Domingo as my local bird guide. He had been recommended and though he had limited English, and I had rusty Spanish, he knows birds in English so we got along quite well. His guiding services are free. I didn't feel I missed anything for not paying for a bilingual guide, but I understand why they offer it....what I didn't realize is that you dine with your guide, so in my case we sat across from each other with limited conversation. Between his quiet nature and our lack of common language some would find it awkward. Day 3 we had two other guests at table and birding, but them being from France, meant I was intermediary in three languages. Phew.
Domingo was a great guide and his second paddler is his nephew Jason, who he is training as a bird guide. Jason has a good future ahead of him. They were a good team.
Given the birding focus, I did not participate in the regular day to day activities though we had some hours in the jungle, most birding is done from canoe or river boat.
Though theoretically the dry season, it is still wet in February. It took a while to get my poncho from them, but boots were handy and I had a pocket poncho at hand. Do bring one of these as we all got caught in a shower with luggage on the way to the lodge and no lodging provided items. They protected the luggage, but my handy dandy pocket poncho protected my backpack with all the cameras and electronics.
Food was very good and after one or two send backs, they were very good about accommodating my food sensitivities/allergies. I always had fresh fruit selections for dessert, and I think no one got cream soups while I was there to make it easier for the kitchen.
Other guides I interacted with were very personable and knowledgeable.
Room was clean and ample. As it is humid, try to leave excess luggage and clothing in Quito and put all items into zip lock bags until you need them to reduce humidity and mustiness (or in a 'dry bag' if you have one. It helps, but doesn't totally eliminate. At times clothing may not dry, but my 'quick dry' clothing did dry - in two days. Also take merino wool socks. Even if not totally dry (and they do dry) they are comfortable and antibacterial (you can tell the benefit of that). They recommend tall socks which I second....due to the chaffing rubber boots.
Water was usually hot, but the first day there were issues with the heaters. The electrician travelled in with us and fixed the problem. Others mentioned variable hot water but mine was consistent after day 1.
There is internet though I was rarely able to actually access my emails. They ask us to use the lounge for internet, but there are rooms closer to the tower with better reception, and the actual dining room might be better. One can easily fore go it for the time in the rain forest. Family should know that no news is good news.
Sani was a great stay during my month in Ecuador.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sani Lodge is the only jungle lodge in Ecuador that is 100% owned and operated by the indigenous Kichwa community of Sani Isla. On the banks of a stunning lagoon, and surrounded by pristine rainforest, packed with monkeys, manatees, sloths, manatees and over 550 types of birds, this superb jungle lodge is a perfect base to explore the Amazon jungle by day and enjoy some real comfort by night. Camping option available. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sani Hotel Yasuni National Park
- Sani Hotel Quito
- Sani Resort All Inclusive
- Sani Lodge Ecuador/Yasuni National Park