San Isidro Lodge

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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).

Bartolome, Galápagos

What our clients say

  • Ecuador is a wonderful country with much to see and do so often overlooked by those seeking to visit South America and that I now know is a big mistake. 

    DW, Lingfield
  • Most Memorable Moment?: Drving up Mt. Cotopaxi and watching a Gaucho chase a cow riding a horse at the gallop whilst trying to lassoe it on a cobbled road,...some rider! …

    NBH, Watchet
  • Waking up at Hacienda Porvenir and being able to see the sun rising near Cotopaxi. Being in the Galapagos once again and seeing all the wildlife - such a unique…

    JB, Edinburgh
  • Probably the Tren Crucero (was the top experience) but too many highlights to mention.

    SB, Cambourne
  • Ecuador Highlights: Seeing hummingbirds & humpback whales, summiting the Pasochoa peak with Kristian, Quilotoa Volcano Lake, Quito cable car ride, the Las Cajas Park walks with Wilson. 

  • Two parts: Seeing cotopaxi and the surrounding area for the first time, and stepping off the boat onto floreana and having to avoid sea lions and iguana, magical.

    HT, Conwy
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Our Expert's Opinion

What a delight to wake up in the morning and sit out on the porch, listening out for and spotting all the wildlife and birds in the gardens. I liked that the cabins are spread out throughout the grounds, allowing for privacy and the chance to really relax and enjoy the natural setting.

Kathryn Rhodes Travel Expert Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.


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Bartolome, Galápagos

Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Heloise
    Heloise Buxton - Travel Expert

    Heloise started her Latin American journey as an exchange student in Santiago, Chile. With extended summer holidays this was the perfect opportunity to backpack through Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.

  • Ben
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Carrie
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

  • Juliet
    Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert

    After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!

  • Maggie in LATAM
    Maggie Wilson - Travel Expert

    Maggie visited Latin America on her first backpacking trip when she was 19. Since then, she has taken every opportunity to travel, and has managed to explore a lot of the region in subsequent trips.

  • Paul Winrow Giffin
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

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