Santa Lucia Eco Lodge is a lovely and tranquil place up in the Santa Lucía Cloud Forest Reserve. The Eco Lodge at Santa Lucía is owned and run by a cooperative of local families. In the area the possibilities for hiking and bird watching are excellent, and I did several hikes during the days I stayed here. After the hikes you can rest in one of the hammocks, or if it is too cold (as the afternoon always is cloudy in the cloud forest) inside the communal room, where all meals are served.
In the main building there are both private rooms and dorms. The rooms are basic and the walls are very thin, so you can basically hear everything people say in the other rooms. I had my own room with stunning views. There was two beds, a bedside table, a table and chair and hangers in the room. On the table there was a jar with boiled drinking water and a glass. For the room I also got a candle to lit if the electricity went out. Inside the main building there are also two flush toilets, but they should only be used at night-time.
Toilets and showers are shared and situated in a building next to the main building. There is one compost toilet for women, and another for men. And there are two showers for each gender, with hot water and beautiful views.
There are also a few private cabañas and they have their own bathroom.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served in the communal room and all guests eat together. If you are going on a hike you will get a packed lunch.
Electricity comes from solar panels and was often off soon after dinner. In case the electricity is cut off too early there is a generator so that the food can be prepared. There is nowhere to charge your camera batteries, so I was glad I had brought two batteries.
To go to Santa Lucia Eco Lodge you take a bus to Nanegal and from there a car. The drive from Nanegal to the starting point of the path to the lodge takes about half an hour and then there is an uphill walk along a trail for about an hour before you reach the lodge.
When I in April sent an email to ask how much it would cost me to stay at Santa Lucia in the beginning of August I got the answer they were fully booked until the 4th of August, so I thought it was best to book already then to be sure to get a room. As long as the days I had booked didn’t get fully booked I could wait with the payment until I arrived in Ecuador at the end of June. When I visited Santa Lucia it was not fully booked. It turned out there had been a large group of researchers and volunteers leaving just the day before I came, so that’s why it had been fully booked until then.
I paid $28 per night (five nights) for a room including all meals (August 2011) and $30 per day (four days) for a guide. When I booked I was not sure I would need a guide every day, but I knew a guide was needed for some of the hikes I wanted to do. I left one day earlier than planed, but money is not refundable once you have paid (at least not if you cancel less than two months ahead of your visit).
And here it is! Staffed by the most friendly of people! Great food, hammocks and beer! Great spot on top of the world!!!
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