We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
New! Find and book your ideal hotel on TripAdvisor — and get the lowest prices

“Language barriers, water barriers and more.” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge

We can't find prices for this hotel
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this hotel, but we can search other options in Yasuni National Park
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge
Certificate of Excellence
Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
25 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
“Language barriers, water barriers and more.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 December 2011

The morning I was heading downstream on the Napo River it was swollen and extraordinarily foamy due to heavy rain in the Andes. The river is wide and fast flowing, but the driver time and time again hit debris and hat to stop the 200 horsepower outboards to check for damage and take out stuff that had clogged the propellars.

If that wasn't enough, huge underwater sandbanks were everywhere, and the only sign they were there was huge fallen trees that did not move like the rest of the debris. So the idea of getting to Napo Wildlife Center in an blink of an eye due to 2x200 hp outboards was quickly dropped.

After a couple of hours the boat seems to head straight to shore, but only a few metres away I notice what seems like creek and black water mixing with the muddy Napo. This is the entrance to the domain of the Anangu Quichua people who changed so dramatically from ancient traditions to modern eco tourism. From now on the only power was manpower! We were paddled for 1.2 hrs up the small river to the center! The only means of transportation to and from the center is the canoe! And donæt think the river will be flowing the same direction! If it hasn't rained locally, the river will flow towards the Napo river! If the Napo River is swollen like, it's power will inundate the lsmall river, and force itself upstream and thus - change the direction of the flow! I experienced this many times during my 3 night stay, and pondered how they cope with this da in and out. But thy are of the forest, and the flow of the forest is the flow of the lives of the Anangu Quichua people.

The first thing that hit me when I arrived at the pier was that the cabanas were so much larger than what I got through the photos of the place. Inside they were spacious and very modern, and yet again I pondered - how did they manage to transport all the material just by canoes? They did and still do as they continue to expand. Several times I watched canoes so laden with stuff that they were floating only a few centimetres above the water - filled with building materials, food and what not.

Being a single traveler and a photographer I was assigned an Anangu Quichua guide, as I was not interested in missing any opportunities. He did of course only speak Spanish. I had many a canoe trip with him, as they all know their territory inside out, and also the English names of almost all that is inside the park. Thus the language barrier was somewhat frustrating during meals, as we could only suggest and point or ask for translation for the most mundane of things, but out in the field it was nothing less than an existentional dance of life!

The food was exceptionally good, and as said before I had to wonder how they managed the logistics! Strawberries and apples in the Amazon? Well - the Andes is not far away, but what a difficult journey!

The operations and everything about this place radiates professionalism on the highest level, I was immensely impressed! It stands as a beacon for all others to follow.

As for the wildlife...... I don't know where to begin! It's so rich in species that it's hard to comprehend that so much life can be supported.

Just as an example: during a night canoe trip, I noticed the incredible amount of bioluminescence. Most know of the fireflies, beetles and glow worms, but the amount of each species was simply staggering. In Norway I was happy one summer to count more than 20 individuals in an area perhaps 400 metres square. On the floating vegetation on the edge of the lagoon and the streams flowing into and out from it, I'm certain there was more than 1000 in the same sized area! On one leaf there could easaily be 10 worms! I so much wanted to photograph it, but being in the middle of the Caiman domain - the water - I dropped the idead.

Another example is that fish just jumped into the boat - time and time again, as the canoe perhaps resembled a big Caiman, and thus they jumped out of the water to escape and ended in the canoe instead. In fact the sheer amount of fish and fish species support a rather large population of Caiman. Some are really huge (4 metres), and at night you can hear some really powerful splashing sounds from them, as well as seeing them if you use a flashlight.

There are also quite a few anacondas, and I watched one small one (2.5 metres) kill and consume a turtle (!). Despite this - I really enjoyed to swim in the lagoon :-)

I cannot go on as nobody would want to read it all, but this topped Costa Rica's Casa Corcovado for me, and I never thought that possible!

The final "gift" was a completely clear sky the last night, with a full moon and light so bright that the frogs were hestitant to vocalize in their normal volume, and everything cast a silvery shadow.

My photos from the Ecuador and Napo Wildlife Center trips: http://www.ross.no/communicate
Napo Wildlife Center webpage: http://www.napowildlifecenter.com

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Morten R
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 NWC
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

506 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    446
    42
    13
    5
    0
See reviews for
124
266
28
5
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 (165)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Hitchin, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 December 2011

It's hard to know where to start with this place! We had between here and the Sacha Lodge and we're so glad we chose the Napo Wildlife Centre. I've never bothered to write a review before, but I felt that I had to for here!

The cabins were fantastic-clean and beautiful. The food was amazing too, there was plenty of it and the quality was great considering it comes in once a week by 2h paddle canoe ride!!!

For me, the thing that sets the Napo Wildlife Centre apart from other lodges is the guides. You get a naturalist guide (we had Lena) who can speak your language and has a wealth of knowledge on the wildlife and has eagle eyes. You also get a 'community guide' (ours was Mariano), who comes from the local Anangu community, so they have grown up in the area and has the most amazing knowledge of all of the flora and fauna as well as being incredible spotters. Mariano would spot stuff that it took us ages to see even when we knew it was there! I think we were probably very lucky to have Mariano and Lena, but I also suspect everyone thinks that regardless of who the guides were!

The other thing that amazed me was that they were always so excited to see things. I'm sure they must have seen a million squirrel monkeys and hummingbirds, but it didn't seem to matter what it was they were always excited to see it. We realised the following week (when our guide in the galapagos said things like, 'oh yea, that's just an iguana') that this can make a big difference!

We saw something new every 10mins including monkeys, bats, caimen, frogs and toads, a 3-toed sloth, snakes, a whole host of amazing birds and we even saw the elusive tapir!

Ok, so there were down-sides, it was hot and humid, there were mosquitos and really early mornings but all of that was totally worth it!

This is a really special place and now taken a special place in our hearts. It even made the Galapagos islands (where we went the following week) seem positively dull!!!

We were on our honeymoon and I can't imagine anywhere better in the world!

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank chameleon19
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
Aptos, California
Level Contributor
71 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 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
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
52 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 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...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      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 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 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...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
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
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Yasuni National Park
36.4 km away
Yarina Eco Lodge
Yarina Eco Lodge
#3 of 3 in Yasuni National Park
4.0 of 5 bubbles 70 reviews
0.0 km away
Tapir Lodge
Tapir Lodge
#3 of 3 in Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
4.5 of 5 bubbles 62 reviews
0.0 km away
Hotel El Auca
Hotel El Auca
#1 of 3 in Coca
3.5 of 5 bubbles 27 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
119.7 km away
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge
#1 of 4 in Yasuni National Park
5.0 of 5 bubbles 395 reviews
20.2 km away
Sani Lodge
Sani Lodge
#2 of 3 in Yasuni National Park
4.5 of 5 bubbles 222 reviews
0.0 km away
Cotococha Amazon Lodge
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing