San Isidro Lodge
San Isidro Lodge is a small family-friendly lodge enveloped in cloud forest in the Andes of Ecuador, with opportunities for wild-life spotting.
San Isidro Lodge is nestled in the valley of the river Quijos, one of the westernmost headwaters of the Amazon, just two hours' drive from Quito Airport. It sits at an elevation of 2,050m above sea level in a hilly zone still mostly blanketed by humid cloud forest. The property was originally founded as a cattle farm and was later converted into a birding lodge dedicated to the conservation and preservation of the montane forest environment. Although the lodge has undergone many upgrades since its initial opening, meaning it is now far more comfortable than an average birding lodge, conservation is still at the heart of everything that happens there.
Wildlife is prolific in the vicinity of the lodge and whilst no sightings can ever be guaranteed, guests may spot mammals such as tapirs, monkeys, ant-eaters and even spectacled bears. Bird watching remains the main attraction here though, with 20 walking trails into the forest (created by the local community) providing superb opportunities for spotting a variety of species. There are also plenty of other facilities and activities at the lodge including an outdoor thermal pool, board games, cooking lessons and painting.
The rooms are spread between a number of cabanas throughout the grounds and whilst they vary in size, shape and design, all have private bathrooms and Wi-Fi and most have a private balcony and large windows with views out over the tightly forested, crinkly hills beyond. The restaurant, which serves Ecuadorian dishes using locally sourced ingredients, also has stunning views and is frequently visited by hummingbirds. Included excursions (birdwatching, hiking and canoeing) are all offered on a shared basis - with other hotel guests - using a local (Spanish speaking) guide, so hiring an additional English-speaking guide is usually recommended (must be pre-booked).
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