Cabañas San Isidro
Concept: the ideal mountain get away for anyone looking to disconnect from civilization and surround themselves by gorgeous forest, unparalleled scenery and sensational food in a comfortable lodge atmosphere - peace and tranquility at its best. The reserve offers kilometers of well marked and maintained forest trails that will lead you through a variety of habitat zones typical of the region, including some of the most beautiful, accessible, and well preserved montane humid forest to be found anywhere on the east slope of the Andes; you wouldn't want to miss a stroll down the trails below the cabins that teem with wildlife. Amazing cuisine, cooking classes, primary forest trails, mammal watching, birding, and archeology are some of the activities waiting for you here!
Location: in the picturesque Quijos Valley, one of the westernmost headwaters of the Amazon basin - in Napo province and only 2 about hours from the Quito International airport - at an elevation of about 2,050m (6,800 ft.) above sea level in a zone still mostly blanketed by extensive humid forest.
Accommodations: ten private and comfortable double rooms that are widely spaced about on the sprawling gardens. All allow immediate access to the outdoors right from the open-air, front porches of each.
Dining: at San Isidro, the cuisine is original, vanguard and always evolving. They grow organic vegetables, raise chickens and even guinea pigs, as well as give priority to local providers, creating an incentive for them to plant and rescue traditional products that might have otherwise gone long forgotten. This all paves the way for more environmentally friendly and agriculturally sustainable practices that promote the diversity and cultural awareness of organic products.
All of the menus rotate naturally based on the products of the season and are served buffet-style so that you can choose the options you want. The majority of the recipes are created at San Isidro, using modern culinary techniques, while still trying to maintain a level of harmony with the flavors and textures of our typical Andean and Amazonian products.
Activities: Birds are one of the most visible and vibrant forms of nature and San Isidro has a decades-long reputation for being a truly wonderful spot to include on any birding tour to Ecuador. Right from your cabin doorstep in the early morning, the birding starts as birds drip from the trees in a flurry of activity, so you don’t have to go very far! But this is just the beginning, because the primary forest trails and forested road sides await, harbouring hundreds of species. While San Isidro and its surroundings are well known for quite a healthy set of bird rarities for the more hardcore birder, it is also the perfect place for the beginning neotropical birder to soak in that first quetzal, motmot, or even antpitta.
Hummingbirds are unique to the western hemisphere, and also happen to be among the most awe-inspiring, beautiful, and diverse groups of birds in the world. The nectar feeding stations around the lodge, that attract some gorgeous, glittering hummingbirds, marvel even the most casual of observers; you don’t have to be a serious birder or photographer to enjoy these intriguing little gems, and this is the perfect activity for a rainy spell.
Most folks, other than birders, are not familiar with antpittas. Why? Because they are shy, subtly beautiful under story birds that expertly scamper out of sight at thes lightest hint of danger, often only betraying their presence through distinctive, far-carrying songs. But there is hope! Antpittas like worms, and we have successfully managed to regularly attract a couple of species at specific spots where they have learned that they are free from harm, and can expect a tasty meal.
Pricing: Private Birding Journeys:
- $670 per person/double for 3 days / 2 nights
- $930 for 4 days/3 nights
- $1185 for 5 days/4 nights
- Included: Transfers from Quito city or airport, lodging, all meals, bilingual naturalist guides, birding activities
- Not Included: Extra drinks, personal expenses
Sustainability: Cabañas San Isidro maintains a vital role as one of the front-runners on Ecuador 's east-slope with respect to tying together land acquisition and protection projects, serious biological research, community involvement and world-class nature tourism in one of the most ecologically sensitive and important zones that the country has to offer. More recently San Isidro has worked closely with Biocomercio and GIZ to help make the reserve more sustainable through community projects designed to benefit everybody involved. The goal is that the lodge, the locals, and the forest can forge a relationship that benefits everybody, leaving the smallest ecological footprint possible. The key to the real success of any conservation or tourism project is community involvement. San Isidro employs locals from the nearby towns, which in turn serves as an on-the-job training process in many fields, from meal preparation and hotel operation, to naturalist and bird guiding. .