Ecological Lodges in Ecuador
Largely concentrated in the Amazon region of Ecuador, but also present in the cloud forests and rainforest of the eastern slope of the Andes and the Andes themselves, Ecuador’s eco-lodges are hotels which are frequently packaged together with all-inclusive tours and offer experiences close to nature where travelers’ time is mostly spent viewing wildlife in some of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet .
Eco-lodges frequently feature cultural activities where visitors get a glimpse into the lifestyles of indigenous peoples and local cultures.
Ecotourism has grown extremely popular in Ecuador recent years. To take advantage of this boom, many tour agencies and hotels have slapped the prefix “eco” in front of their names in an effort to attract clients. To know if you are really getting the ecological responsibility that you’re being promised from your hotel or tour operator, check out EcuadorExplorer.com’s definition of “eco”.
All of the ecological lodges listed below have a long reputation of providing excellent service and lodging while protecting the environment, and in many cases spearheading local conservation projects.
Yachana Lodge – in a 2,500-acre wildlife reserve overlooks the Napo River in the Amazon region of Ecuador and provides a unique cultural and wildlife experience. With your visit, you’re simultaneously helping to support the educational, sustainable development, poverty alleviation, renewable energy and other non-profit missions of the Yachana Foundation. There are several unique activities such as visiting a local shaman, harvesting your food from a local farm and learning how to prepare it for your lunch, and visiting the Foundation’s vocational high school’s innovative projects. Of course, there are the staple Amazon rainforest activities such as birdwatching, wildlife viewing and walking the reserve’s rainforest trails. Winner of numerous international awards including National Geographics Geotourism award, Yachana is an excellent choice for student groups, volunteers, or anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the Amazon rainforest and its people.
La Selva Jungle Lodge – was recently remodeled and under new, Norwegian ownership. It is Ecuador’s newest, most upscale Amazon lodge. Located across the Napo river from Yasuni National park and on the shores of a blackwater lake with spectacular views from the restaurant, one can paddle in a canoe or kayak, go fishing for piranha, climb the canopy tower, the butterfly farm, or hike the multitude of trails near the lodge. One of the world’s premier rainforest lodges anywhere.
Cotococha Amazon Lodge – Our unique lodge is located in the upper Amazon basin overlooking the majestic Napo River. The lodge offers 17 spacious bungalows, built according to traditional architecture in harmony with the surrounding rainforest. All bungalows are equipped with a private bathroom, a private veranda with reclining chairs or hammocks to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the jungle. Daily excursions are organised, a perfect blend between soft-adventure, nature & cultural interaction makes your journey divers and educational. Imagine to drift down the river on tubes, or pan for gold on the river shores with an indigenous family, get informed about all different life cycles of a butterfly and make great hikes through virgin forest! Welcome to Cotococha Amazon Lodge, your best choice to visit the upper amazon basin!
El Monte – This exceptional eco-lodge offers charming riverside cabins in the cloud forest surrounding Mindo. El Monte, owned by an Ecuadorian-American couple, provides an array of activities including horseback riding, hiking, swimming in natural pools, birding, and whitewater tubing down the Mindo river. At the end of the day, savor home-cooking by candlelight and listen to the night-sounds of the forest. El Monte has just opened up the Mindo Biological Station for researchers, students groups, and ecologically focused tourists looking to truly explore and discover the natural treasures of the cloud forest.
Casa del Suizo – With its panoramic view of the Napo River, Casa del Suizo is an excellent choice for a first or hundredth trip to the rainforest. First class accommodations, with many of the conveniences of home, and excellent food in the tranquility of the rainforest make Casa del Suizo un unforgettable getaway.
Guacamayo Tours and Rio Muchacho – Certified Ecotourism, based out of beautiful and sunny Bahía de Caraquez, Guayamaco uses tourism to fund a variety of socio-ecological projects: an organic farm, a recycling plant, the world’s first organic shrimp farm, and much more. Dedicated to ethical, environmentally responsible tourism, Guayamaco offers a variety of tours, specializing in birdwatching, horseback riding, whale-watching, and agro-ecological tours of all kinds.
Huasquila Amazon Lodge – Located in the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve between the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Rainforest, only 4 hours from Quito, Huasquila offers six luxury cabins built in local Kichwa style. Each cabin features a private bathroom, hot water, wide interior spaces and a balcony with superb views of the Amazon. Enjoy delicious meals, bar service, exciting jungle tours, caving expeditions, excursions to petroglyphs, animal rescue center, horse trekking, kayaking and rafting with indigenous Kichwa guides. Outstanding service and activities with a friendly, family atmosphere.
Casa Mojanda – A dramatic mountainside inn, organic farm and retreat located above the town of Otavalo in the foothills of Mojanda, featuring spacious rammed earth cottages with magnificent mountain vistas. Enjoy the world famous Otavalo crafts market, horse tours, hiking, biking, birding and kayaking the Mojanda Lakes, as well as a large international reading and video library, traditional hot tub, delicious primarily vegetarian meals, children’s activities, and excellent ethno-cultural tours. Casa Mojanda seeks to cause minimal impact on the natural environment while actively supporting local culture, projects in rural public health, education, conservation of the Mojanda Lakes paramo, and watershed.
Las Terrazas de Dana near Mindo – is a newly built complex of bungalows with spectacular views of the Mindo Valley and a list of amenities rarely found in ecologically friendly lodging options such as: In suite jacuzzi, wi-fi, television, and room service that enables you to dine on your own private deck. With modern, innovative water treatment and energy conservation measures in place, Las Terrazas de Dana lets you enjoy the cloud forest ecosystem of Mindo while minimizing any environmental impacts. They can help organize tours or activities in the Mindo area such as their night time trekking, a two-hour hike discovering cloud forest creatures rarely seen during the day.
Playa Escondida – The river Malpelo winds down from the foothills of the Andes mountains to a breathtaking bay called Playa Escondida (“hidden beach”). The area, now part of the 100 hectare Playa Escondida Ecological Refuge, has retained its beauty despite the years because, as its name points out, it is off the beaten path. Swim in warm tidal pools full of marine life, explore the caves and tunnels of the dramatic coastal rock formations carved by wind and waves, or just relax in a hammock and listen to the sound of the surf.
Sacha Lodge – Primary Amazon rainforest, a bird-watching tower, a butterfly nursery, an extensive network of well-maintained trails, and outstanding accommodations make Sacha Lodge one of the world´s premier eco-lodges.
Sani Lodge – Perched on an oxbow lake, deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon between Cuyabeno Reserve and Yasuní National Park, Sani Lodge delivers unforgettable ecological getaways amidst virgin Amazon rainforest. An exciting blend of modern comfort and rustic simplicity, the lodge is an ideal place to relax and explore the surrounding jungle on foot and in dugout canoe. Stop to fish for piranha, delight in the songs of Amazonian birds, search for caiman under the light of the moon, or just soak up the magical energy of the biological heart of the planet.
Cabañas San Isidro – In the lush, subtropical zone of the eastern Andes, Cabañas San Isidro has gained a reputation as one of the finest cloud forest lodges in Ecuador. It boasts 1,300 hectares of reserve (with well-maintained trails) connected to two national parks; over 300 species of birds; recent sightings of large mammals such as spectacled bear, puma, Jaguarundi and giant anteater, exquisite fusion cuisine, and outstanding accommodations. San Isidro is also a forerunner in conservation with many new land purchases. San Isidro’s travel agency, BirdEcuador, can help you design a birding or general interest tour perfectly tailored to your interests.
Tinalandia Ecuador Eco lodge – A unique eco lodge located in the cloud forests of Ecuador, on the Western slope of the the Andes. Tinalandia is known for its amazing biodiversity all around the globe. We are the ecotourism pioneers of Ecuador and South America. We offer bird watching tours, hiking tours, horseback riding tours and rafting tours.
Updated July 31, 2015