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“Excellent Family Adventure!”

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Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge
Certificate of Excellence
Aptos, California
Level Contributor
82 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
“Excellent Family Adventure!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 December 2011

Our family of four (with 2 kids, ages 11 and 8) signed up for the 5 night / 4 day experience at Napo Wildlife Center. We had researched all of the available options, and we were so glad that we chose Napo. It is located within Yasuni National Park, with great hiking trails only a short distance away (by canoe).

We paid extra ($325) for a private guide as we wanted flexibility with our children. Each day our extremely knowledgeable guide took us out canoeing and hiking along with a local naturalist (also exceptional). Our kids are experienced hikers, and we went on some challenging, and very fun, hikes where we encountered a flabbergasting variety of animal life—five kinds of monkeys, boa constrictors, a huge anaconda, colorful birds, black caiman, a two-toed sloth, camouflaged frogs, a wide array of fascinating insects and spiders.

Our time at Napo gave us a greater understanding of how important each creature (and plant) is to the whole environment.

I am giving Napo five stars because our overall experience there was incredible. No place is without its quirks, however, and here are some additional notes that may be helpful in determining whether this place is for you:

The cabañas were very comfortable. We had a spacious room with one king size bed and two twin beds. There are mosquito nets over each bed; however, on our first night my son had a very large (over 3 inches) flying cockroach inside his net. We got used to these large creatures inside our room (they were intriguing). Bugs are to be expected in the rainforest. I put an energy bar wrapper on my nightstand while reading in bed, and within 10 minutes the wrapper was swarming with teeny tiny ants.

And speaking of bugs, we did have to make liberal use of our mosquito repellant. We tried using a “natural” repellant, but that didn’t work at all (the mosquitoes seemed to love it), so we ended up with the hard-core variety, which did in fact work. We hiked through swarms of mosquitoes.

We did swim in the lagoon, which was refreshing. The water is opaque, and you cannot see anything below the surface. Something did brush against my leg under the water, which was a bit unsettling (this is the same water in which the caiman, snakes, and other sea creatures live). But our kids loved jumping off the dock over and over, and enjoyed the water immensely.

I don’t think that it matters which box you check on the questionnaire regarding whether you wanted intense or easy hiking. There seemed to be a basic itinerary for all the groups, with more flexibility for doing intense hiking if you have a private guide.

You are sorted into groups based upon your guide, and you stay with those groups for all your hikes and all of your meals. When we were there, there was a couple that didn’t pay extra for a private guide but actually got one because they were staying for a longer time. Then there was our family with a private guide. Then there was a large “melting pot” group of about 8 people who had the third guide. For each meal, we sat at the same table with our guide. I think that it would have been much better if there had been open seating during the meals so that we could have interacted more with other people.

The food was okay. Not bad, and the chef did seem to care, but it was nothing to rave about.

The tree-top tower offered a great view, but the railing is NOT safe for children—wide open spaces where a child could easily fall through.

The man waiting with glasses of fruit juice after each canoe trip was a good concept, perhaps, but he expected you to finish your juice on the spot and leave the glass with him. No time for sipping. I understand that they wouldn’t want sticky glasses left in the cabañas—due to bugs. However, the man’s energy was a bit too intense, and not in a welcoming, positive manner.

The Añangu Quichua Community provided a dance / educational presentation to show various cultural aspects of people who lived in the rainforest. However, the community only settled there within the last 75 years (or less), moving from the lower Andes mountain area and driving the Waorani people (who were actually living in this area) deeper into the rainforest and jungle areas of Yasuni National Park. Therefore, the dances / trapping methods / ways of life that were presented by the Añangu community were really part of another culture’s lengthy history, not their own. The presentations were still very interesting and educational, but not quite the same as if the people had been showing us their own traditions that had been practiced by their ancestors for multiple generations.

If it is raining, dress warmly for the motor boat ride down the river (to and from the lodge). It was pouring for our ride back, and even with the rain ponchos that were provided, I got very wet and cold from water blowing up under the boat’s side tarp.

With all of that being said, our experience at Napo was one that we will forever remember. It was fantastic, beyond our expectations, and we highly recommend it to others.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
9 Thank kathysjourneys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NapoWildlifeCenter, Guest Relations Manager at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this review, 4 March 2013
Thank you for your review although a while ago. Please feel free to share your experience with others
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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538 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (176)
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
51 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 November 2011

We've never been as sad to leave a place as we were the morning we left NWC. We had a fantastic time there. We hiked, we learned a lot, we saw 7 species of monkey, too many birds to count, some marvelously creepy insects and more besides. We spent one morning running through the jungle (quietly), chasing down a herd of peccaries and were rewarded with the site of the herd passing in front of us. We feel like we had the best guides at the lodge (Delfin and Mariano) who seemed to know everything about the flora and fauna around us and 'spotted' the peccaries by feeling the vibration of the heard moving through the forest!

My advice for you if you are lucky enough to go to this beautiful place:

Remember your insect repellant. We didn't find too many irritants there, but sometimes the water seeking bugs want to land on your face.
Remember sunscreen too. We were there for 4 days and it only rained for one night and morning. The rest of the time was stunning sunshine.
Take a bathing suit (you can swim by the dock in the lake).
Take some flip flops, shorts and tops to relax in. You will have down time every day by the lodge and will want to be comfortable. You'll also want something to do during this time...books, a deck of cards, some dice - whatever floats your boat.
I recommend long sleeve (loose fitting) shirts and long pants for the jungle. You will wear rain boots for most of the hiking, so if you don't want the boots to chafe your skin, you'll need pants/very long socks.
While we're on the subject - thick socks for the boots are a necessity.
Still on the subject - NWC provides rain boots and ponchos for all. I didn't use my boots or jacket - just wasted space in my case.
A pair of binoculars EACH is appreciated when you're in the canopy looking at toucans.
Be prepared to be quiet - you'll see more creatures.
If you're a hungry horris like me, then take some snacks. We took some granola bars and small bags of chips/nuts and were grateful for them. Napo feed you three times a day and the food is delicious and plentiful, but if you're a grazer, you'll need something to graze on. Don't expect to find a little store selling bug spray, sunscreen, pop and snacks - there isn't one.
Take flashlights for the night hike and for walking back to your cabana.
You can pay your bar bill with your credit card, but tips should be in cash at the end of the trip.
The food is excellent - try everything :) I'm a vegetarian and had plenty of really tasty food to eat. Hot sauce is provided..try putting it in your soup - yum.
Be prepared to get up early (like 5am early) - but you won't need an alarm clock , as someone will knock on your door to wake you.

Enjoy your experience knowing that the local community are the beneficiaries of the lodge profits. These people are visionaries who have seen a future in eco-tourism that is sustainable, profitable and will support their environment and traditions. It truly is a remarkable place, shared with pride.

Room Tip: You will get whatever room you are allocated. They all have wonderful views, even ours and we were...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank RachaelAdams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NapoWildlifeCenter, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this review, 6 March 2013
Thank you for your review we hope you still remember you stay at NWC
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SanFrancisco, CA
Level Contributor
27 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 November 2011

This is by far one THE most SPECTACULAR places that we have EVER traveled to!

You know you are in for a special travel vacation when you are greeted at the Coca airport by your naturalist and then spend the next 4 hours heading down the Napo River to the lodge! The first 2 hours on the river is beautiful, but the next 2 – 2.5 hours in your “dug out” canoe are simply spectacular!

You are surrounded by so much lush vegetation and animal sounds, that you KNOW that you are in another world! The world of the Amazon! As you begin to emerge from the Anango creek to the lagoon, you see the Napo Wildlife lodge ahead and it just takes your breath away. The cabanas blend in so perfectly with the natural surroundings.

The thatched roofs, the natural woods, all make for a stunning, almost surreal moment. And, everything that this lodge does is totally environmental. The water is filtered from the lagoon for your cabana, the bathroom supplies are in reusable containers. A true Eco-lodge!

As night falls, and you make your way back to your cabana after dinner, which by the way, was SUPURB every evening, you will be greeted by the Amazonian “sounds of the evening”. Every evening was different on our 4 day, 3 night stay. We heard birds, frogs, cicadas, fish and caymen in the lagoon, and a myriad of other night creatures. (While we found the night sounds part of the experiance, and found that they lulled us to sleep, if you are a light sleeper, you may want to bring ear plugs)

The staff are some of the most attentive that we have ever had the pleasure of being served by. EVERY meal was simply delicious! Fresh, plentiful and tasty. Bryon at the bar ALWAYS remembered what we liked and would have our refreshments waiting for us after our day of rain forest adventures.

Napo does an OUTSTANDING job of keeping the groups small and intimate and we never “ran into” the other groups who were staying at the lodge. Only at the parrot clay licks did we run into another group, which is an amazing feat considering the number of other guests which are staying at the other river lodges.

The canopy tower will give you the most amazing view over the rainforest canopy, and it is there that you have the chance to see abundant wildlife. On our morning, we saw a 3 toed sloth, a pair of Scarlet Macaws, and a variety of other birds. The tower is about 120 feet in the air, so if you have a serious issue with heights, you may find it a bit daunting…but…I encourage you to try and make it to the top because you will be richly rewarded.

The evening canoe trip was also quite the highlight as you will often see the Caymen and we saw many bats and the elusive Owl Monkey!

Our Guide Jorge and our Naturalist David are some of the BEST that we have had the privilege of having their knowledge shared with us! Jorge’s knowledge of the rain forest is unsurpassed!

This is one trip that we truly wished we had booked the 5 day 4 night package as you loose one entire day traveling to the lodge, and you leave at 7am on your last day at the lodge. Therefore my recommendation would be to spend the extra $$$ and stay the extra day. For us, it means that it will give us the opportunity to visit Napo Wildlife Center again!

Room Tip: If you are traveling solo as we did, you may get "upgraded" to one of the newer cabanas...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank colbysmomma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NapoWildlifeCenter, Guest Relations Manager at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this review, 4 March 2013
Thank you for your review although a while ago. Please feel free to share your experience with others, we hope to see you sometime in the future
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 September 2011

We went to Napo based on reviews - what a place! All the previous reviews are accurate and I can only add our names to the list of Napo followers. Not only do you have luxury in the rain forest but the eco-concept is held true. It is the whole community that runs this lodge, bringing the biologists to give the expertise and translation. Each trip out you have a local ex-hunter and and naturalist to guide you - the perfect combination.
Any advice? If you swim in the lagoon don't put your head under - my husband got sick. Make sure you go on a night trip in canoe and walking - such a great experience. They don't advertise the wifi but it's fast and only $10 per day. You can't use any products for cleaning other than those provided to prevent pollution - so girls take some leave-in conditioner for your hair!

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the lagoon - there are 4 doubles and 1 2 room 'suite'
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank Chelseastella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NapoWildlifeCenter, Guest Relations Manager at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this review, 4 March 2013
Thank you for your review although a while ago. Please feel free to share your experience with others
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MB-G
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 September 2011

Napo is a dream. Add clarity, and avoid family strife by taking a pair of binoculars per person. Nobody wants to give up their binocs when they are looking at a monk saki monkey, potoo or a macaw.

Room Tip: Ask for a room over the lake
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank StrawberryP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NapoWildlifeCenter, Guest Relations Manager at Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge, responded to this review, 4 March 2013
Thank you for your review although a while ago. Please feel free to share your experience with others
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge

Property: Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge
Address: Yanez Pinzon N26 -131 y la Nina. Edificio Las Carabelas, oficina 101, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
Phone Number:
Region: Ecuador > Yasuni National Park
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Yasuni National Park
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Napo Wildlife Center offers visitors a number of vantage points from which to admire and experience the spectacular, awe-inspiring diversity of the Amazon Basin. Climb the 120-ft. High galvanized-metal stairs to the jungle tower for otherwise impossible eye-to-eye views of canopy dwellers such as monkeys, eagles and macaws...Spy on clay licks teeming with parrots and occasionally visited by jungle cats or a magnificent elephant-muzzled tapir...Experience Man's ageless interaction with the jungle through the native community's perspectiveEnjoy evening walks to witness the astounding nightlife of the dense, entangled understory...Explore the many trails through "terra firme", "varzea" and swamp forest in search of the best that Amazonia has to offerBe it from the ground up, or from the canopy down, from hidden viewing blinds to silent paddling up black-water creeks, we deliver the biggest most intricate picture possible of this wonderful world. Napo Wildlife Center not only provides the educated perspective of bilingual guides but also the hands-on knowledge of the true guardians of Anangu, who live and witness the marvels of their jungle home every day. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Napo Wildlife Centre Hotel Yasuni National Park
Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge Ecuador/Yasuni National Park

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