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San Jorge Birdwatching Guestbook (2012 reviews & earlier)
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Birdwatching Photography Tour - Nov. 17-Dec. 4, 2012
Name: Jim & Sherrie Richards
Country-City: Ontario, Canada

Well, we’re home and almost fully rested. It was one fantastic trip! With the exception of my being laid up for 5 days (including my 2.5 days in the hospital) it was a great experience. It was great because:

1/ all your help in setting up the intinerary in such a professional manner, and looking after all of the details about pickups/transfers and the like – you are to be commended!
2/ all of the help we had from Danny. Without him I don’t know what we would have done; especially at the hospital with the language barrier.
3/ all of the 3 lodges (Quito, Tandayapa and Milpe) were great. The food was terrific and the services were extremely good. Must admit, we liked Tandayapa the best.
4/ Stalin was a great host at Tandayapa, and was a major help in my bird ID. The meals put up by his wife were among the best we have ever experienced.
5/ The meals at Milpe (by Carolina) we also to die for; I would like to adopt her and bring her back home!
6/ Our day with Dr. Cruz was a treat as well.

I read about you in a newspaper clipping at the Quito lodge, and was very impressed…

All in all it was a very memorable trip and one I will recommend to my friends.

Thanks too for setting us up at Sacha Lodge in the Amazon – it was outstanding to say the least, and once again the accommodations, food, staff and wildlife were all fantastic.

We are two very happy campers; thanks to you and everyone connected with San Jorge. (Nov. 17-Dec. 4, 2012)


“Birding at the lodges”
5 of 5 starsSeptember 12, 2012
I have some 1,400 birds from seven continents on my life list. I wanted to add the birds of the mid-to upper Andes, especially hummingbirds. To this end, I found the SAN JORGE ECO-LODGES & BOTANICAL RESERVES in Ecuador. They have three lodges at different altitudes to give a whole range of eco-systems. The guides were remarkable both in bird knowledge and eyesight – they found everything. I got over 200 birds over six days with 150 new to me. I got my hummingbird fix with 29 species seen both at extensive feeders and in the wild. The lodges maintain miles of trails through the forests so the going is easy, but with a good bit of up and down (it’s the Andes!). The accommodations are very comfortable with private bathrooms. The included meals were a treat – all homemade with a taste of local flavors. Soups at noon and night were especially good. Transfers were on time and the service could be depended on. I went during the dry season (early Sept.) which gave mild temperatures and low humidly – very comfortable – so I cannot comment on other seasons.
I highly recommend the lodge for birders of all intensities.


Name: Steven & Felicia Cook
Magic Birding Circuit Photography Tour, Galapagos Islands Cruise & Amazon Jungle extension
March 21 – April 24, 2012

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San Jorge Ecuador Birding Trip: http://www.photodex.com/share/stephencook22/9pakcmg4
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Name: Douglas Door
Country-City:Tacoma, Washington USA
Magic Birding Circuit Tour
September 1 – 8, 2012

I have some 1,400 birds from seven continents on my life list. I wanted to add the birds of the mid-to upper Andes, especially hummingbirds. To this end, I found the SAN JORGE ECO-LODGES & BOTANICAL RESERVES in Ecuador. They have three lodges at different altitudes to give a whole range of eco-systems. The guides were remarkable both in bird knowledge and eyesight – they found everything. I got over 200 birds over six days with 150 new to me. I got my hummingbird fix with 29 species seen both at extensive feeders and in the wild. The lodges maintain miles of trails through the forests so the going is easy, but with a good bit of up and down (it’s the Andes!). The accommodations are very comfortable with private bathrooms. The included meals were a treat – all homemade with a taste of local flavors. Soups at noon and night were especially good. Transfers were on time and the service could be depended on. I went during the dry season (early Sept.) which gave mild temperatures and low humidly – very comfortable – so I cannot comment on other seasons.

I highly recommend the lodge for birders of all intensities.


Name: Karen
Country-City: Maryland, USA
Magic Birding Circuit Tour
July 16, 2012

Starting with the Internet booking by Cheryl everyone at San Jorge Eco-Lodges goes out of their way. Approximately 20 minutes outside of Quito this very charming old hacienda sits on a hill overlooking the town.

The rooms in the Hacienda are charming, except for the charmless, cavernous bathroom. At night the staff will light a fire in the fireplace for you, to warm your room. The food was fantastic and lovingly prepared by the staff. The staff will carry your luggage, do natural history interpretation, serve your food, transport you, all the while changing their uniform. I cannot say enough about the help both at the lodge at Quito and Tandayapa. Senior Jorge and his wife, and son Jorge make you feel like family. I went to both lodges to do birding and was not disappointed. The knowledge of birds as well as culture, and history were most impressive. I will be back to stay in the newest lodge in the future.
I highly recommend that you look into staying at one or more of Jorge's lodges. It is not just a business for the family but a passion, and saving the environment is foremost in their thoughts.

I might also mention that the Quito lodge has beautiful mostly bird murals on the walls and the dining room has original watercolors of the local birds, also not to be missed.


Name: Bookey P
Country-City: Johannesburg, Michigan
June, 2012

Ecuador is pure magic and so is the very aptly named Magic Birding Tour.  In eight days, we visited three of their private reserves, all of which offer superb birding and wildlife experiences. The Cruz’s are marvellous hosts: Jorge’s knowledge not only of birds, medicinal plants and every facet of Ecuadorian life is formidable, and Irina’s catering is out of this world!

We spent our first couple of nights at San Jorge de Quito – a charming and secluded lodge in the mountains with a magnificent view over the city, in the style of an 18th century estancia homestead, where we saw our first hummingbirds, and also spent an afternoon in the Yanacocha cloud forest, where we saw and photographed the fabled sword-billed hummingbird. From there, we made our way to their new, and beautifully appointed Tandayapa Lodge for two nights – where we were treated to a banquet of birds - an unforgettable experience. Jorge has created a unique hummingbird restaurant – an open air dining area surrounded by feeders, which literally hums from dawn to dusk with numerous species of these breathtakingly beautiful little birds (Ecuador has 163 species of them!). Like all his reserves, Tandayapa has a network of well-maintained trails – and we had some fascinating walks with Jorge through the cloud forest.

Then onto San Jorge de Milpe Orchid and Bird Reserve for more spectacular birding, this time in sub-tropical rainforest. The lodge is picturesque and again, very comfortable and tastefully furnished. It’s perched over a deep gorge with a river below and a series of eleven waterfalls, perfect for a swim after a long walk!

Jorge is himself an artist and a keen photographer, so he made sure that we had the best photographic opportunities wherever we were.
What we really enjoyed was the fact that all three places were part of the same tour – Jorge accompanied us all the way and took care of everything. No stress.

We’re hoping to go back next year and visit their other lodges. And next time, we won’t rush!

“So close to nature just above Quito”


Name: Paul
Country: Canada
June, 2012

Spent 5 nights here in early June for birding and tourist visits to Otavalo market and Quito old city arranged by the lodge. Dr Jorge Cruz is a great guide not only for birding, but for local plants and their medicinal uses on which he is publishing a book. As a bird guide he and his son know all the birds and their vocalizations. He can get a bird in the scope as fast as anyone, and comes equipped with sound tapes and green laser pointer when needed. His enthusiasm is so catching I think he had as much fun showing us birds as we did seeing them. Dr. Cruz is a busy person and cannot always guide, but we were lucky to spend greart two days with him. I have seen well over half the world's birds and this was my second trip to Ecuador.

The lodge has numerous hummingbird and other bird feeders, and the hikes above the lodge allow access to much good habitat. We also visited San Jorge Eco-lodge Tandayapa which is part of the Magic Birding Circle. Birders should check out this website. Both lodges have surprisingly good food, and personal service. E-mail arrangements are done efficiently through an office in USA.

On arrival the altitude caused some shortness of breath on exertion the first day going uphill to our room from the restaurant. We were fine by the next day.

“My best birding trip ever”


Name: Candi H
Country: Virginia
May, 2012

This was my first trip to Ecuador & I could not have made a better choice. Booking it was easy over the internet - all my emails were answered completely & promptly. The itinerary provided was complete & detailed so I knew exactly what to expect. I booked the 8 day Magical Birding Circuit & it fully lived up to its name. I've birded in Costa Rica & Panama, but this was by far the best. I saw 188 total species with 142 being new life birds for me - this despite the fact that my 2 afternoons at the Milpe lodge were rained out. My guide for most of the week was Dr. Jorge Cruz, the owner of the lodges. He was an excellent guide, making sure that I got the best views possible of the many, many species we encountered. He digiscoped the birds for me with my camera so I came home with lots of wonderful pictures to share. Dr. Cruz is very knowledgeable regarding the flora, fauna & geology of Ecuador. I learned a lot from him while I was there & he helped me improve my birding skills which I appreciated very much. He also clearly loves his country & wants to share this with his guests.

As for the lodges, each is different but all are in beautiful locations & well maintained. The staff at each were professional & courteous. They did their best to ensure that I was comfortable & made certain that I felt welcome. The rooms were large, comfortable & well appointed. It was so relaxing going to sleep at night with only the sounds of frogs, crickets, water & wind. The food was fresh, organic & delicious. I would return again just for their coffee alone!

My only regret from this trip was that I had to come home without experiencing more of the birds & more of Ecuador, but I will definitely be returning.


Name: Candace Harris
Country-City: Virginia, USA

Magic Birding Circuit Tour – May 1 – 8, 2012

This was my first trip to Ecuador & I could not have made a better choice. Booking it was easy over the internet - all my emails were answered completely & promptly. The itinerary provided was complete & detailed so I knew exactly what to expect. I booked the 8 day Magical Birding Circuit & it fully lived up to its name. I've birded in Costa Rica & Panama, but this was by far the best. I saw 188 total species with 142 being new life birds for me - this despite the fact that my 2 afternoons at the Milpe lodge were rained out. My guide for most of the week was Dr. Jorge Cruz, the owner of the lodges. He was an excellent guide, making sure that I got the best views possible of the many, many species we encountered. He digiscoped the birds for me with my camera so I came home with lots of wonderful pictures to share. Dr. Cruz is very knowledgeable regarding the flora, fauna & geology of Ecuador. I learned a lot from him while I was there & he helped me improve my birding skills which I appreciated very much. He also clearly loves his country & wants to share this with his guests.

As for the lodges, each is different but all are in beautiful locations & well maintained. The staff at each were professional & courteous. They did their best to ensure that I was comfortable & made certain that I felt welcome. The rooms were large, comfortable & well appointed. It was so relaxing going to sleep at night with only the sounds of frogs, crickets, water & wind. The food was fresh, organic & delicious. I would return again just for their coffee alone!

My only regret from this trip was that I had to come home without experiencing more of the birds & more of Ecuador, but I will definitely be returning.


Name: Professor David Morimoto Lesley University
Country-City:  Cambridge, MA

It doesn’t get any better than this…

…except with time, perhaps, as passionately devoted and exemplary conservation and ecotourism efforts such as San Jorge’s succeed, and the birds and other taxa of this global hotspot of biodiversity develop to their fullest potential in this breathtakingly beautiful tropical mountainous landscape. I love Ecuador!

As far as fullest potential goes, my naturalist experience was most definitely fulfilled to the highest degree at San Jorge ecolodges and reserves (Quito, Tandayapa, Milpe) and surroundings (Antisana, Yanacocha, Nono-Mindo road, etc.), and I will be back.

It’s the highest quality birding with expert guides like Dr. Jorge Cruz and his son, Jorge, who really know the birds, where they are, how to describe where they are in the bush and get them in a scope pronto, and who know the habits and habitats, calls and songs and behavior, and patterns of endemism, ecology, and abundance (they have a 6 point rating system – we saw lots of solid 5’s and good numbers of 6’s!). Dr. Cruz has also just published a book on medicinal plants, and they know the fascinating natural and human history of their places, making for a deeply enriching overall tropical experience...

Read the rest


Name: Nicole Belanger-Smith & John Smith
Country-City:  Ontario, Canada
Magic Birding Circuit Tour - Description: Description: 5 of 5 starsFebruary 1 – 17, 2012

This was our third trip to the Eco-lodge at San Jorge the Quito.
We are experienced birders and we just had to enjoy the birds one more time.
The lodge at Quito is and old monastery which has been fully refurbished and is in the hills overlooking Quito. The food is excellent and the staff speaks English and is always available. There were Black Trainbearers and Swordbills on the property. Danny is in charge of the schedules and makes sure we get to where we need to be in time.
We then traveled to Milpe, to a beautiful eco-lodge situated on the side of a valley deep in the rain forest in the north of Ecuador. This area provided a large selection of rain forest species including Woodnymphs, White -whiskered Hermits and an occasional Tyra. The food was superb and the entertainment by Luis on his guitar is something to behold.
We then stayed at San Jorge de Tandayapa, an eco-lodge situated in the cloud forest, where birders and photographers can sit in the open-air restaurant and be entertained as numerous Hummingbirds, Tanagers, Toucanets and Barbets provide a kaleidoscope of colours as the visit the feeders.
We were also introduced to a modified van where there were 3 moon roofs and where you could sit next to deep windows and quickly stand up and not miss anything flying by. We affectionately called it the bird mobile!
This is how we visited Antisana and the Papallacta Pass . The snow capped mountain is a spectacular backdrop to the area where Andean Condors and Black-chested Buzzard Eagle soar. The Paramo species include Black-faced Ibis and the Ecuadorian Hillstar. The mountain lakes provide habitat for the Andean Teals and Coots and the Giant Hummingbird can be found along the mountain road.
We also managed a trip to the Otavalo market where beautiful colourful weaving can be found with a very interesting stop at a solar clock which is literally in the middle of the world.
Dr. Jorge Cruz was our guide and is a fountain of historical, birding, medicinal plants and flower information.


The Magic Birding Circuit Tour – February, 2012
Just reflecting back on last year's wonderful birding experience in Ecuador at the San Jorge lodges, coordinated through Connecticut Audubon. Jorge's knowledge and skills in birding were incredible as well as our other guide, Nolberto. The staff was extremely warm and welcoming, especially Jose, and made us feel at ease given our language barrier. I hope to return to Ecuador and spend more time at each of the lodges soaking in the plethora of birds!


Great birding experience” – December, 2011
I spent two weeks in Ecuador visiting all four of the San-Jorge reserves and staying at the three Eco-lodges - Quito, Tandayapa and Milpe. I am not a fanatical birder but I saw 300 species of birds and had a wonderful holiday. The staff were always friendly and helpful, the four course meals beautifully presented and tasty and the accommodation comfortable. If you want classy, sophisticated rooms and service then this is not the holiday for you. However if you enjoy nature, want to see lots of birds and are happy with simple, comfortable accommodation then you will enjoy your visit. Given the chance I will be going back.


The Magic Birding Circuit Tour – December 18, 2011 – Guests from Massachusetts, USA
We spent two glorious weeks in Ecuador doing the circuit from San Jorge Eco-Lodge in Quito, Tandayapa Hummingbird Sanctuary, Milpe Eco Lodge, and Sani Lodge in the Amazon. Fabulous & healthy four-course meals in Quito were served by the charming Vicente and Jaibir, and in Tandayapa, Dona Pilar cooked like a domestic goddess. There was a lovely dining room in Quito, and the food presentation was right out of a magazine page. Our guides, Dr. Jorge Cruz, Estalin (Tandayapa), and Carlos Huallinga (Sani Lodge) were knowledgeable and engaging. Whether you are a serious or a backyard birder, if you love nature, this is the place to go. Be prepared with sweaters/jackets for cooler evenings in the mountains and bring lightweight rain gear. Ecuador offers stunning views, friendly people, unforgettable encounters with the natural world, and world class cuisine.

To enjoy this wonderful experience, you must be prepared to tolerate the occasional insect (outdoors). If your idea of vacation is poolside at Disney with cable TV, this is not the place for you, but for the adventurous, it's heaven. Two thumbs up!
Room Tip: Suggest a first-floor room for seniors, as the trek uphill to the rooms with balcony views is a challenge...


Name: Nicole & John
Country-City:  Ontario, Canada
This was our second trip on The Magic Birding Circuit Tour. It’s all inclusive, food, lodging, transport and guides.The eco-lodges are in pristine areas, comfortable and very clean.The food is prepared fresh and is excellent. Our guide, Dr. Jorge Cruz excels at finding the birds, knows their songs and can focus the scope at lightning speed and your chance of seeing the bird is very good. At San Jorge/Tandayapa Lodge we saw 40 species of Hummingbirds, Tanagers, Toucanet and the Golden Quetzal and all this before breakfast. In Milpe, the group saw a Banded Ground Cuckoo, a very rare find. We then relaxed a few days and then we were off for the altitude birding. Yanacocha gave us Hummingbirds, Antisana and the Pappalacta Pass gave us 9 Andean Condors and at San Jorge/Cosanga, where there are plans for a new Lodge, The Cock of the Rock flew by us. We totaled 350 species in the 2 weeks.



Name:
Sandy & Frank
Country-City:  New York, USA
I want to thank you and tell you what a wonderful trip we had to the Galapagos and San Jorge Eco-Lodges. Everything was very well planned and organized and Frank and I enjoyed every minute of it. We were well taken care of all along the way. The Aida Maria captain, crew, and guide were all exceptional and delightful to travel with. The other guests were wonderful also, we enjoyed the diversity of the group and made several new friends. A special thank you too for the best cabin on the boat, we were right behind the captain on the top deck, it made a big difference. The San Jorge group at all of the lodges were very welcoming and made us feel safe, and at home everywhere we traveled. Jose especially took very good care of us, but of course Dr. Jorge Cruz was the guide and host that made our Ecuador adventure one of the best trips we have ever been on. Traveling and birding with Dr. Cruz is an experience that is hard to equate with any other. He shares his knowledge, experience, love, and passion for Ecuador without reservation. We felt privileged to have his company throughout our travels to Quito, Yanacocha, Tandayapa, and Milpe and hope to stay in contact and visit again.
You did an wonderful job of planning an itinerary for us and everything went very smoothly. The accommodations were clean and very comfortable, and the service was first rate all the way.


Name: Tony
Country-City: Cape Town, South Africa
The three Lodges I visited, San Jorge Eco-Lodge, Tandayapa and Milpe are fantastic locations for seeing and photographing Humming Birds without having to walk any great distances. The staff are incredibly efficient, attentive and accommodating. They will give you space if you need it and literally "jump" whenever you ask for any assistance, not that one expected the "jump". I was amazed at how flexible they were when it came to arranging meal-times etc and how helpful they were when it came to sharing their knowledge of birds. Tandayapa, for example is one of the most beautiful places I have visited due to the fact that the clouds constantly change the mood of the place. It warrants a day or two just sitting in the rooms which have beautiful/majestic views of the Cloud Forests and a few days more enjoying the birds. The whole visit from booking to departure ran like clockwork and my only disappointment was that I did not add a few extra days at Tandayapa. The birds kept me glued to the feeder area and I only enjoyed glimpses of the lovely forest when waking and just before nightfall.


Name: Robert & Carol
Country-City:  Santa Barbara, California
Our reason for visiting San Jorge Eco-Lodges was birdwatching and photography. Cheryl was able to arrange a perfect itinerary for us. We stayed at San Jorge Quito, San Jorge Tandayapa, and San Jorge Milpe and took side trips to Antizana, Jerusalem Park, Yanacocha, and traveled the old Nono Mindo road. All the lodges were great. Wonderful staff and delicious food. One of the unique things about San Jorge Tandayapa and San Jorge Milpe Lodges is you walk into them. They are surrounded by pristine forest, which makes them very unique.  Another of the highlights of the trip was spending time with Dr. Jorge Cruz. He is a remarkable man with great vision. His knowledge of birds, flora, and the history of this tremendously diverse country is to be applauded. He also has a great sense of humor.



Name: Naish & Shelia
Country-City:  Canada
My wife and I made all of our arrangements for a 15 day Magic Circuit of Birding Trip, through the good services of their US Agent, Cheryl Korowotny, who was most helpful. We spent a total of 7 days at the San Jorge Quito Eco-lodge. Our room was in the fascinating, historical, main building. It was large and comfortable with a huge bathroom and lots of instant, hot water and plenty of towels. Due to the high altitude (about 10,000ft) the evenings can be cool after sundown. So, it was always a pleasure to return to a blazing wood-fire in the room's attractive stone-fireplace, prepared by Vincente. It was only steps away from the dining room, where we enjoyed delightful, Ecuadorian, gourmet meals. Plentiful hot breakfasts, delicious and varied soups at both lunch and dinner, beautifully presented entrees and scrumptious desserts, accompanied by fresh, fruit juices of all kinds. More than enough to keep our strength up for the somewhat, strenuous, mountain-trails around the lodge. The hosts, Dr.George Cruz and his wife Irina (she manages the kitchens), Jose, the manager and Vincente, the waiter, all work very hard to ensure the comfort and satisfaction of the guests. With regard to the reason for our visit - Birding - the well-groomed trails throughout the varied habitat at different elevations, together with strategically located, bird-feeders around the lodge, provide plenty of opportunity for great birding. You will not find a better, more bird-savvy, bird-guide anywhere (and I do mean ANYWHERE) than Dr. George. He is also a most knowledgeable botanist and a scholar of history, be it of San Jorge, or Quito, or Ecuador. Also a gifted artist, examples of his talent adorn the walls of the lodge, from beautiful paintings of birds to colourful, wall murals. All of which subscribe to his being quite a raconteur. We would recommend that prospective guests take high altitude medication, to ensure the full enjoyment of this wonderful eco-lodge, as we, active seniors in our late 70s, did in every aspect it has to offer.


Name: Matt Heyden
Country-City:  Titusville, Florida
Date: Description: Description: Description: Description: 5 of 5 starsThe Magic Birding Circuit of Ecuador – May 24 – 31, 2011

“great birding”

We stayed at all three properties. These two biologists had the birding adventure of a lifetime. Hundreds and hundreds of life birds. Incredible attention to detail. Worry free non stop birding to die for! You need 3 nights at each property. We didn't allow enough time to see everything. Study their website closely, as it's a trip of a lifetime. Food is over the top, and guided trips are a hoot!


Name: Dana Masters
Country-City:  Brisbane, Australia
Date: The Magic Birding Circuit Tour of Ecuador – May 4 – 9, 2011

“A Magic Birding Trip”

The lodges and surrounding gardens/grounds are immaculately maintained and set in the most beautiful scenic surrounds. The staff are extremely friendly and it feels like they can't do enough for you. The food was absolutely delicious authentic Ecuadorian food and there was so much of it!

The birdlife is staggering. An array of hummingbirds buzz around your breakfast table or bedroom window dashing from flower/feeder to flower/feeder. We saw emerald toucanettes, toucans, cock of the rock, quetzals, all sorts of tanangers...the list is endless! It seemed every which way we turned another brightly coloured bird was there to amaze us.

Our guides were wonderful, spotting birds we never would of seen or found by ourselves. They were so enthusiastic and passionate and had excellent English speaking skills.

Name: Dave and Floy Zittin
Country-City:  California, USA
Date: The Magic Birding Photography Tour – May 6 – 25, 2011

We always felt welcome and the staff was helpful at all the lodges. The rooms were clean and comfortable.  The food was very good and we appreciated the Ecuadorian touch.  The maintenance of the hiking trails was good to excellent. Some problems with Quito room but it was solved quickly.  All the guided tours were of high quality and we learned a lot.


Name: Christian Behan and Dana Masters 
Country-City:  Australia ~ Tropical Nature Tours
Date: The Magic Birding Circuit Tour - May 4 - 9, 2011                                                                                                                                                                  

We stayed in Quito, Tandayapa and Milpe. Our transportation was excellent: on time, he helped me in and out of the car and carried bags for us. All our rooms were great with beautiful views and comfortable beds.  The grounds were in good condition and the gardens beautifully kept and the hummingbird feeders were nice.  The food was delicious and it was nice to have authentic Ecuadorian food. Our birdwatching guides were passionate, enthusiastic and very knowledgeable.  The photography through the viewing scopes was an excellent touch allowing visitors to get some great bird shots.


Name: Janice Haney
Country-City:  New York, USA
Date: March 23-25, 2011

My husband and I started out our 2 week Ecuador/Galapagos adventure by staying at the San Jorge EcoLodge in Quito.  Our flight landed at 10pm, and the EcoLodge had sent to of the most pleasant and informative guys to pick us up.  What a great introduction to Ecuador!

It was late, and we went right to sleep when we got to the lodge.  The next morning, our day started extra early – 4:30 am we were down to the dining area for a toast & coffee, ready for a 5am departure for a guided birding hike at the San Jorge Tandayapa resort.  Our driver picked us up promptly at 5am, and we met Peter, our guide for the day.  Peter is a great, very knowledgeable, and very interested in providing you the most memorable experience while in Ecuador.  On the drive, we got to enjoy the scenery north of Quito, on our way to Mindo, including amazing waterfalls.  Once we arrived at the Tandayapa, we were greeted by another guide, an experienced birder.  Yes two guides for the two of us!!

We proceeded on our 20+ minute hike up to the resort (with plenty of stops, as I was having some altitude issues).  When we arrived at the top, it took what was left of my breath away.  The lodge is spectacular, the open air dining area surrounded by flowering plants and hummingbird feeders, and all the hummingbirds.  My husband started clicking away; the guides were setting up the scope and sighting in on incredible tanagers.  The manager took me on a special walk to see all the orchids blooming around the resort (Peter told him I liked orchids).   The sweeping cloud forest vista, and the most precious little mule you’ve ever seen, this seemed like heaven.  After about an hour of enjoying all the bird activity, we were treated to the best breakfast I have ever had – no exaggeration.  It started with fresh squeezed blended tropical fruit, fresh fruit plate, beef empanada, and scrambled eggs with diced vegetables.  All this while the hummingbirds were enjoying their food & plants, and an occasional fly over the dining table to see what we were up to.

After our breakfast, it was time to hike back down the hill to go searching for birds on the Mindo Road.  Once again, our two guides were busy pointing out interesting and unusual flora and fauna for our enjoyment.  Honestly, they seemed as excited at spotting the birds as we were to see them.  These guys were working hard, and we most certainly got our money’s worth, no doubt.  We got to see Creepers, Cuckoos, Warblers, Tanagers, and although we didn’t get to see the Cock-of-the-Rock, we did get to see some Cock-of-the-Road (chickens).  There were raspberries ripening, orchids blooming, fushias in the wild, and more heliconia than I realized there were varieties.  It occurred to me, birding has no language barrier, we had no issue communicating with our non-English speaking guide.  We headed back up the hill for lunch, and I was treated to see one of the variety of snakes in the cloud forest … let’s just say that I made it up the hill faster after that.

When we arrived back up to the lodge, we were treated to another amazing meal, all fresh, and traditional Ecuadorian food.  And once again, entertainment was provided by the hummingbirds – the booted rackettail (hummingbird with fuzzy feet and a long tail with peacock like fronds at the end)., and the elusive violet sylph.  My husband’s finger was starting to get tired from clicking.  We shared lunch with other visitors to the lodge, so it was great to share our experiences to that point.  We headed back down the hill, on a different path to find some different birds, and make our way back to Quito.  On this walk down, the views were once again stunning, and we got to see woodpeckers, and toucanettes!    All together, we got to see over 50 varieties of birds from the EcoLodge checklist, including one that is marked as uncommon.  We were tired, well contented, and feeling very fond of the service provided by the San Jorge staff.  My husband ended up with over 600 photos, and 6 short videos from our day in Tandayapa.

Upon return to the Quito lodge, we quickly washed up and headed down to the main gardens so we could enjoy them in daylight!  The feeders, plants, and activity around the main buildings were great.  This resort is higher elevation than the cloud forest, so it was different types of hummingbirds and different plants.  The lodge is cozy, and it’s natural beauty makes you realize you are some place very special.  We were treated to yet another incredible meal and one of the employees played guitar and sang, it was the perfect ending to a perfect day.  The following day was “on our own”, so we hung out at the lodge, and I recuperated from the hiking up and down while my husband explored the trails around the Quito resort. More incredible meals, more priceless birdwatching.  We were going to be transferring back into Quito later that day to start the rest of our adventure, however we were very sad to be leaving the resort … we decided to go back and spend the last few hours of our trip ( a week later) at the Quito resort.

San Jorge has it all: natural beauty, hiking, waterfalls, birds, historic building, archeology, amazing food, and some of the best people working there.  We can’t wait go back.  All in all, it’s not just a Magic Birding Circuit, it’s just magical.


Name: Jeremy Peters
Country-City:  Clifton Park, NY
Date: March 24-26, 2011
Transportation was excellent, staff was excellent and I greatly enjoyed dinner. The rooms were excellent. I loved the fireplace. The food was excellent and I loved the local fruits and vegetables.  Meals were beautifully displayed.  The hiking trail was good but slippery, however, it was the rainy season.  The birdwatching tour was great. Peter was excellent and took time to point out plants as well as birds.  The staff seems as exited and interested as the guest. Cheryl was excellent and answered all our questions, provided options and she is extremely responsive. 


Name: Stephen Cox
Country-City:  Idaho, USA
Date: February 1 - Februray 17, 2011
I wanted to give you some feedback on our recently completed trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. All of the San Jorge lodges (Quito, Tandayapa, Milpe) were very nice and the staff at all of them were just terrific! Jose at Quito was totally pleasant and helpful, Vincente and Daisy were most gracious and professional in the dining room. It was remarkable at Tandayapa and Milpe to see men who had been working all day in rubber boots serve us meals all dressed up and doing a very professional job of table service. The food was terrific in all lodges and actually way too much. After while we asked for just soup and fruit for lunch, leaving out the "plata fuerte" in concern for our waistlines.

Dr. Jorge was a great guide on the one birding trip we took; his obvious encyclopedic knowledge of the birds and his ability to identify them in tough jungle viewing conditions were very impressive.

Our Quito guide Peter was very nice, knowledgeable and entertaining. Driver Pedro (or Peter II as we called him) was excellent and very safe (in contrast to the general motoring public, who passed on curves with oncoming traffic - we did not witness any collisions as they happened, but did see the aftermath of a couple). Our half-day tour of Quito was very nice and Kathy and I both remarked that after lunch we should have stayed downtown for a couple of hours more on our own before being picked up and returned to the lodge.

The shaman experience was unforgettable! There were repeated sprayings of cane alcohol from her mouth, applications of oil, beating by leafy branches, rubbing by eggs and special stones. We really did not know what to expect and it was a bit shocking at first (my wife got the first treatment, so I got to see what she experienced), but it is a most interesting cultural experience. The Otavalo market was enjoyable and I was able to test my bargaining skills as we purchased a number of textiles and other items.

The Yacht Eden and Galapagos cruise lived up to all expectations. Our guide Jorge (think his last name was Espinosa, but I am not sure of that) was excellent; the staff on the boat were very good, and the meals were fantastic, especially considering the tiny galley that Chef Fernando had at his disposal. Alejandro the barman became a special friend.

All of the arrangements, transfers, etc. went off without a hitch and it was always very nice to know that we were being looked after and didn't have to struggle with transportation. I also want to thank you for all of your pre-trip help and providing us with complete documentation for all phases of our visit. We will be enthusiastic boosters of San Jorge Eco-Lodges for any of our friends and family that are planning on visiting Ecuador or the Galapagos Islands.


Name: Sandy Mendel
Country-City:  New York, USA
Date: February 18 - March 3, 2011
I want to thank you and tell you what a wonderful trip we had to the Galapagos and San Jorge Eco-Lodges. Everything was very well planned and organized and Frank and I enjoyed every minute of it. We were well taken care of all along the way. The Aida Maria captain, crew, and guide were all exceptional and delightful to travel with. The other guests were wonderful also, we enjoyed the diversity of the group and made several new friends. A special thank you too for the best cabin on the boat, we were right behind the captain on the top deck, it made a big difference. The San Jorge group at all of the lodges were very welcoming and made us feel safe, and at home everywhere we traveled. Jose especially took very good care of us, but of course Dr. Jorge Cruz was the guide and host that made our Ecuador adventure one of the best trips we have ever been on. Traveling and birding with Dr. Cruz is an experience that is hard to equate with any other. He shares his knowledge, experience, love, and passion for Ecuador without reservation. We felt privileged to have his company throughout our travels to Quito, Yanacocha, Tandayapa, and Milpe and hope to stay in contact and visit again.

You did an wonderful job of planning an itinerary for us and everything went very smoothly. The accommodations were clean and very comfortable, and the service was first rate all the way.


Name: Terry Colburn
Country-City:  Davis, California, USA
Date: October 1 - 10, 2010
“THE MAGIC BIRDING CIRCUIT IS A BIRDERS PARADISE”  My wife and I spent 10 incredible days on a San Jorge Eco-Lodge birding tour in Quito, Ecuador, in October, 2010. Starting and ending the tour at their historic Quito Eco-Lodge, we were treated to superior hospitality and gourmet meals. The food was delicious, traditional Ecuadorian home cooking and very plentiful. When we entered our room, we found a nice warm fire burning in the stone fire place! The room was small, but very adequate for the two of us. The birding was superb! We were accompanied for the entire trip by our host and birder-extraordinaire, Dr. Jorge Cruz. We saw over 300 different species of birds. We stayed at three lodges, each one unique. The newest lodge, Tandayapa, was the most remote and beautiful, located in a birding paradise, with hummingbird feeders set-up within feet from our viewing area. The view of the rainforest canyon from the deck of the lodge at Milpe was breathtaking. If you love birding and hiking and want a truly authentic experience of Ecuador, this is the trip for you. We give it our highest recommendation!


Name: Tony Camacho
Country-City:  Cape Town, South Africa
Date: September 16, 2010
The three Lodges I visited, San Jorge Eco-Lodge, Tandayapa and Milpe are fantastic locations for seeing and photographing Humming Birds without having to walk any great distances. The staff are incredibly efficient, attentive and accommodating. They will give you space if you need it and literally "jump" whenever you ask for any assistance, not that one expected the "jump". I was amazed at how flexible they were when it came to arranging meal-times etc and how helpful they were when it came to sharing their knowledge of birds. Tandayapa, for example is one of the most beautiful places I have visited due to the fact that the clouds constantly change the mood of the place. It warrants a day or two just sitting in the rooms which have beautiful/majestic views of the Cloud Forests and a few days more enjoying the birds. The whole visit from booking to departure ran like clockwork and my only disappointment was that I did not add a few extra days at Tandayapa. The birds kept me glued to the feeder area and I only enjoyed glimpses of the lovely forest when waking and just before nightfall.


Name: Robert and Carol Goodell
Country-City:  Santa Barbara, California USA
Date: September 3, 2010
Our reason for visiting San Jorge Eco-Lodges was birdwatching and photography. Cheryl was able to arrange a perfect itinerary for us. We stayed at San Jorge Quito, San Jorge Tandayapa, and San Jorge Milpe and took side trips to Antizana, Jerusalem Park, Yanacocha, and traveled the old Nono Mindo road.
All the lodges were great. Wonderful staff and delicious food. One of the unique things about San Jorge Tandayapa and San Jorge Milpe Lodges is you walk into them. They are surrounded by pristine forest, which makes them very unique.
Another of the highlights of the trip was spending time with Dr. Jorge Cruz. He is a remarkable man with great vision. His knowledge of birds, flora, and the history of this tremendously diverse country is to be applauded. He also has a great sense of humor.


Name: Ronald Barnes
Country-City:  California, USA 
E-mail: RTBARNS@NETSCAPE.COM
Date: August 23, 2010
The transportation was very prompt and the staff very caring. The lodging was comfortable and the food excellent! I can not wait until San Jorge Amazon Lodge opens.


Name: Andrew Hall
Country-City:  Washington DC, USA
Date: August 23, 2010
E-Mail: andrewdhall@gmail.com
Transportation is excellent and very efficient. Service is wonderful-very professional and knowledgeable. Very good lodging. Food is excellent. Jorge is an excellent birdwatching guide.  We enjoyed his trips immensely. The Quito City tour is nice.


Name:  Gordon McWilliams
Country-City:  Decatur GA, USA
Date: August 23, 2010
E-mail: quetzalgm@gmail.com
Excellent transportation, friendly staff. Service very accommodating and friendly.
Excellent accommodations, food is very good with nice variety. George is an excellent birding guide. Cheryl Korowotny was very informative and helpful, pleasant and easy to work with.


Name: Gabrielle Boisrame and Karen Klonsky.
Country-City:  California, USA
Date: August 23, 2010
E-mail: klonsky@primal.ucdavis.edu
USA The transportation was on time. Everyone was friendly and professional.  The lodging was comfortable and beautiful. GREAT BIRDWATCHING TOUR!! George was an excellent guide. Cheryl was excellent. 


Name: Naish & Sheila McHugh
Country-City: Canada
Date of travel: Magic Birding Circuit Tour:  January 7 – 21, 2010
E-mail: naisheila@rogers.com
My wife and I made all of our arrangements for a 15 day Magic Circuit of Birding Trip, through the good services of their US Agent, Cheryl Korowotny, who was most helpful.

We spent a total of 7 days at the San Jorge Quito Eco-lodge. Our room was in the fascinating, historical, main building. It was large and comfortable with a huge bathroom and lots of instant, hot water and plenty of towels. Due to the high altitude (about 10,000ft) the evenings can be cool after sundown. So, it was always a pleasure to return to a blazing wood-fire in the room's attractive stone-fireplace, prepared by Vincente. It was only steps away from the dining room, where we enjoyed delightful, Ecuadorian, gourmet meals. Plentiful hot breakfasts, delicious and varied soups at both lunch and dinner, beautifully presented entrees and scrumptious desserts, accompanied by fresh, fruit juices of all kinds. More than enough to keep our strength up for the somewhat, strenuous, mountain-trails around the lodge. The hosts, Dr.George Cruz and his wife Irina (she manages the kitchens), Jose, the manager and Vincente, the waiter, all work very hard to ensure the comfort and satisfaction of the guests.

With regard to the reason for our visit - Birding - the well-groomed trails throughout the varied habitat at different elevations, together with strategically located, bird-feeders around the lodge, provide plenty of opportunity for great birding. You will not find a better, more bird-savvy, bird-guide anywhere (and I do mean ANYWHERE) than Dr. George. He is also a most knowledgeable botanist and a scholar of history, be it of San Jorge, or Quito, or Ecuador. Also a gifted artist, examples of his talent adorn the walls of the lodge, from beautiful paintings of birds to colourful, wall murals. All of which subscribe to his being quite a raconteur. We would recommend that prospective guests take high altitude medication, to ensure the full enjoyment of this wonderful eco-lodge, as we, active seniors in our late 70s, did in every aspect it has to offer.


Name: Mr. and Mrs. James Van Beveren
Country-City: Chatsworth
Date of travel: 27 May—29 May, 2010
E-mail: becktravel@yahoo.com
Thank you for providing Dani as our guide for birding.  He knows them all and helped us to see many birds.  The transportation was excellent.  The service was excellent and the staff was friendly.  The rooms were excellent and interesting.   We had no problems with the maintenance.  And thank you for providing vegetarian meals!  Everything was delicious.


Name: Alex Farren
Country-City: Hayward, CA, USA
Date of travel: 23 April – 29 April 2010
E-mail: alexfarren@gmail.com
Dr. Cruz and his son are excellent guides for birdwatching.  They are extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic.  Both guides are also very friendly and helpful.  The lodges are all outstanding and very beautiful!  The lodges are each very unique and have beautiful views as well as being very comfortable.  The transportation was well organized and efficient.  The staff is extremely friendly and helpful.  Everyone always smiles.  The meals are well-balanced and delicious.  The trails are beautiful and very well maintained.  I will highly recommend San Jorge to anyone wanting to travel to Ecuador.  They are wonderful lodges.


Name: John Powles
Country: USA
Date of travel: 24 April – 28 April
E-mail: canoetoo@tds.net
The birding tour was enjoyable.   The service was excellent in all three locations.  The transportation was excellent and prompt.  The food was very good at all three lodges as well.  The trail maintenance was very good!  Keep doing what you are doing!  I’ll recommend San Jorge whenever.


Name: Eliot Grev
Country-City: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Date of travel: 10 May – 13 May
E-mail: elgrevo@usiwireless.com
George was great as a bird guide.  Sometimes he saw too much to keep up, but I saw amazing birds!  The transportation was timely and comfortable.  The rooms were very wonderful.  The settings couldn’t be more pleasant.  I like the local accents, but overall there was too much to eat.  It was very tasty though. The maintenance was wonderful.   


Name: Paul Blanchard
Country-City: Eau Claire, WI, USA
Date of travel: 25 March – 12 May
E-mail: IMBIRDER@charter.net
The guide at Tandayapa was excellent.  We were always looking for birds.  We spotted a masked trogon just before dark which was photographed.  Tandayapa can cool down and Milpe can be very damp and humid.  I did my own guiding in Milpe and Quito.  Jose gets 5 stars for service!  He has an excellent personality for this type of people-related service.  He goes the limit to help in every way possible and is a one in a million type person.  Other staff was quite adequate.  I have no complaints about the transportation.  Jose makes the drive interesting.  The rooms were very comfortable.  Lilianna was an excellent cook and makes unique soups.  The trails in Tandayapa and Quito were very good.


Name: Belore Harold and Marion
Country-City:, Aurora, Ontario, Canada
Date of travel: 16 April – 17 April, 2010
E-mail: marion.belore@yahoo.com
We were fortunate to have the owner as our guide and enjoyed immensely his wide knowledge of birds, flowers, medicinal plants and history.  The staff was very friendly and courteous.  The transfer was excellent.  It was punctual and comfortable.  The rooms were very comfortable and nicely decorated.  They also had nice views.  The food was excellent.  There was good variety and a good choice of serving typical food.  The trails were very good.  We had no problems.


Name: P. Jodoin
Date of travel: 6 March – 21 March, 2010
E-mail: paul@oh-yeah.com
We were very well received at all three lodges and the service was EXCELLENT.  I have absolutely no complaints at all about the transfers.  The food was very, very good.  Perhaps portions could be a bit smaller, but otherwise very good.  The maintenance was excellent like the rest of the lodge.  The trails were well-marked and easy to navigate. 


Name: Jill Coopen
Country-City: Boise, Idaho, USA
Date of travel: 1 March – 12 March, 2010
E-mail: jill@ptidaho.org
I can’t say enough good things about Jorge.  He knew about birds, plants, and history.  He was with us 14 hours/day sometimes.  The trails were excellent.  The staff was great.  The transportation me on time and was a safe driver.  The food was excellent.  There was too much for me so I had to leave some each meal.  The rooms at Milpe were fantastic.  The other lodges had very nice rooms.  You should think about selling postcards of birds and lodges.


Name: Ellen Williamson
Country-City: Reading, Massachusetts, USA
Date of travel: 19 January – 23 February 2010
E-mail: ellenwrock@gmail.com
The birding was fabulous.  Dr. Jorge is wonderful and so knowledgeable.  The staff was excellent at all times.  José is a terrific manager.  The transportation was well coordinated and prompt.  The rooms were clean, quiet, and serviced daily.  The food was tasty, varied and well served.  The trails at Tandayapa were clean and raked.


Name: Jim and Karen Hall
Country-City: Fallbrook, CA, USA
Date of travel: 28 February – 10 March, 2010
E-mail: j-hall@northwestern.edu and karenfuson@mac.com
The transportation was timely and efficient.  The driver was pleasant as well (Jose).  The staff was helpful and pleasant.  The food was uniformly excellent.  It was an unusual combination of healthy and tasty.  Jorge is excellent for birds and flora.  It was outstanding. 


Name: Falma Moye
Date of travel: 1 March – 12 March, 2010
E-mail: falma@custertel.net
The staff at all lodges was very attentive and all excellent.  Stalin was fantastic.  Vicente is a wonderful person.  The staff at Milpe was great!  The transfers were very efficient.  Jose is prompt, courteous and loads of fun.  The rooms were comfortable.  The food was excellent.  It had fresh ingredients.  I normally do not eat so much and would have liked smaller portions.  All trails were excellent.  There is much detail to safety.  Jorge is a wonderful guide.  What can I say!  I am so astounded by his knowledge and communication skills.  Truly one of the greatest experiences in my life!


Name: Stan and Jan Shadick
Country-City: Saskatoon, SK Canada
Date of travel: 19 February – 23 February
E-mail: stanshadick@usask.ca
The transportation was good.  The bus to Yanacocha was excellent.  It is difficult to see birds from the back of other vans.  The staff and food were excellent.  There was good maintenance.  Everything was very clean.  There were excellent trails for birding.  Jorge is an excellent knowledgeable guide for birding.  We were very satisfied.


Name: Sandy and Steve Foote
Country-City: Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Date of travel: 19 February – 26 February 2010
E-mail: sandy.foote@gmail.com
Jorge is amazing.  Danny knows birds, but is less customer-oriented.  Renato is a gem—a good driver, very friendly and a birding enthusiast.  He made the Cosanga part of the trip smooth sailing.  The transportation had outstanding service.  It was on time, safe, and welcoming.  The service was outstanding, except for laundry delay.  Milpe is stunning and the room was great.  Tandayapa is magical and the room was fine.  Quito is a lovely environment and room was OK.  The food was outstanding.  It was good quality and had terrific variety.  It was sometimes too much for lunch, which his hard to say “no” to when it has been prepared.  The trails were outstanding.


Name: Lynn Grimes and Mike Hutchinson
Country-City: Shady Shores, Texas, USA
Date of travel: 11 February – 14 February 1010
Patti was a good guide, but we feel very fortunate that Dr. Cruz was able and willing to join with us.  We learned so much from him.  He is the best guide we have EVER experienced.  The trails were good and the signs were very good.  Everything else was excellent at the lodge.  We have no recommendations.  Keep the lodges the way they are.  We will recommend San Jorge to all our friends. 


Name: Sue Holmes and Nick Trigg
Country-City: Sheffield, UK
Date of travel: 4 February, 14 February  - 18 February 2010
E-mail: holmes_trigg@yahoo.co.uk
Pickups from airport were excellent.  I loved the birdwatching to Tandayapa.  The vehicles were comfortable.  All staff were very good, helpful and the lack of Spanish did not cause us any problems.  There was very tasty food and wonderful presentation.  For us there was just too much of it.  We would have liked a smaller lunch.  Jorge is the best.  The trails were wonderful and in most places were in excellent condition.  The Milpe waterfall trail is spectacular but due to the rain several things had fallen.  We thought all the lodges were nice.  We particularly liked the room in Milpe.  In Quito we liked the heaters.  We really loved Tandayapa. 


Name: Andrew Lear
Date of travel: 27 December – 3 January, 2010
E-mail: andrewlear2@gmail.com
I had no problems with the transportation.  The rooms were very nice.  I think you might need to insulate or heat the rooms at Tandayapa.  They are rather cold at night.  But all three lodges are lovely.  The food was fantastic (though dessert at lunch is unnecessary!).  Your staff did an excellent job with my dairy allergy, but the food is also very good from an aesthetic point of view, and the use of local ingredients is highly commended.  All the trails were very good.  The hiking trails at Milpe and Tandayapa are lovely.  Both Jorge Sr. and Jorge Jr. are excellent guides


Name: John and Nicole Smith
Country-City: Ontario, Canada
Date of travel: 1 February – 8 February 2010
E-mail: johnnicolesmith@xplornet.com
We went birding with Jorge and Camillo and Estalin.  All of them were very knowledgeable and fun to be with.  We got to see lots of the country.  The trails are slippery with rain but walking sticks are available.  You may want to start the tour at lower elevations so we can acclimate and be ready for higher tours.  Otherwise, the transportation was reliable and had gracious drivers.  The rooms were clean with good beds and hot water.  The food was excellent.  It varied each day and was non-fat.  The staff was polite and always smiling.  They were all accommodating.


Name: Sheena and Joseph Hines
Country-City: Glen Carbon, IL, USA
Date of travel: 8 February – 10 February 2010
E-mail: sheenahines@yahoo.com
The food was amazing!  Keep up the great food and you could have a 5-star resort!  Birding with Jorge was very informative.  We saw over 80 birds and were amazed at his ability to quickly spot and identify them.  We were very satisfied with him.  The staff was very friendly and helpful.  Jorge upgraded us to the new lodge to make it like a second honeymoon for us.  The original lodge (Milpe) was small and almost too secluded.  The new lodge provides easier access to the road and many trails.  The trails are the main thing keeping this place from being a 5-star resort.  The scenery is beautiful, but difficult to hike. 


Name: Avie and April Grunspan
Date of travel: 6 April – 19 April, 2010
E-mail: april-g@SATX.RR.com
We had an excellent guide – Dr. Cruz.  He is knowledgeable in many spheres.  The transportation was perfectly coordinated.  The staff was extremely pleasant and accommodating.  The rooms were rustic, but clean and comfortable.  And the food was excellent.  The trails were well maintained and not slippery even with the rain.


Name: Neville Pamment and Marj Pegler
Country-City: Clifton Hill, Australia
Date of travel: May 2010
E-mail: npamment@bigpond.net.au
We don’t usually like guided tours.  Jorge is very knowledgeable about all aspects of local and natural history.  The Galapagos trip on Millenium was excellent.  The food was very tasty but too much!  Otherwise the rooms are very nice and the trails are very well maintained.  The transportation service and staff are all very good.


Name: Ruth Hamler
Country-City: Folsom, CA, USA
Date of travel: 21 May – 23 May, 1 June – 2 June, 2010
E-mail: ruth.hamler@intel.com
The transportation was very punctual and helpful.  It is nice to have a friendly face waiting for you at the airport.  Everybody was friendly and helpful.  They were very accommodating, made me feel at home.  Las habitaciones son comfortable.  La comida fue excelente!  Vicente y Rosa son excelentes cocineros.  No tuvimos ningún problema caminando.  Pedro fue muy informativo y venia bien preparado para nuestro escurción.  Yo sé lo recomendaría a otras personas visitando a Quito.  Nuestra visita a los Galapagos fue excelente.  Pensamos regresar en el futuro.


Name: Lenny Fenimore
Country-City: Florida, USA

Magic Birding Circuit Tour date:  April 30 – May 12, 2010

I recently returned from going on my best birding tour ever and would like to share the information with you since each of you enjoy bird tours.

I arranged the tour through San Jorge Eco-lodges (www.eco-lodgesanjorge.com).  The tour was titled, Magic Birding Circuit.  I signed up for the tour because I have never birded the west slope of the Andes in Ecuador.  San Jorge has lodges near Quito, Tandayapa, and Milpe on the west slope.  You also stay two nights at Baeza for birding the east slope.  (Construction on a new lodge on the east slope is expected to begin within a year.)

On my tour we saw over 300 species in 10 days, which included 44 species of hummingbirds and 54 species of tanagers.  (Note:  The tour is actually eleven days but the first day is a rest day to allow you to acclimate to the altitude (roughly 10,000 feet at your lodge near Quito.)

One of the things that made my tour special was that I was the only person that signed up.  Obviously, that meant that I was always first on the scope and not someone standing in line waiting for a "quick" look.  (San Jorge is not yet well known, so this may be your chance to get a quality tour before the big crowds.)

But what really made the tour great was my guide--Jorge Cruz, Jr.  (His father is also a guide but I never met him.)  Jorge is phenomenal and has an uncanny ability for spotting birds, identifying them in-flight (I'm not even sure why he carries binoculars), and tracking the movement of the birds as they forage (or evade) through the vegetation of the forest.  His knowledge of the birds, the flora of the forest and the Natural World is impressive.  But the most amazing thing about Jorge is that he is only 21-years-old.

So, if you are looking for a safe, quality tour for yourself or a small group, consider San Jorge.  You will not be disappointed. 

PS.  I am not writing this to promote San Jorge.  I just wanted you to know about a quality "gem" in the rough.


Name: Theoore Ripley
Country-City: Washington, USA
Sent: 10/22/09
Yes, we enjoyed birding at all three lodges. We enjoyed the trails especially and the views from the trails at San Jorge/Tandayapa.
Jorge was our guide at all three locations and we enjoyed him very much. He is excellent at guiding and was very patient with
us. The transportation was fine; food excellent at all three locations; lodging was comfortable considering the far and rustic locations; lodging maintenance was good; electricity, hot water, plumbing, security lighting all worked fine. Service was very good, meals on time, served well; bags handled very well considering distances to carry.  Some trails were maintained daily, others were in good repair.


Name: Juanita and Richard Baker
Country-City: Sebastian, FL USA
Sent: 8/5/09
We appreciated our stay very much. Dr. George Cruz is so knowledgeable and has many interesting facts and stories. He was able to show us many birds, they are so beautiful! The trails and the whole concept of eco-lodge at different altitudes is amazing! Patti was excellent, looked after us well, was very flexible and had a fine sense of humor. She was very willing to share her ideas. Dr. Cruz was always there when he said he would be, drove us very safely, and explained everything well and answered all our questions. He is a fine person, plus an outstanding bird guide who is well equipped. We appreciate having the transportation very much and being met at the airport is essential. There is one seat belt not working. All passengers must be safe here and have seat belts. The food was excellent. It had been a treat to try Ecuadorian food and all the fruit and juices were wonderful. Lodging and lodge maintenance were fine. Since 2-3 of us old folks reacted to the altitude, we appreciated being driven up to our rooms the first night – and helped with the luggage. Assume that folks over 60 need that extra help and advice (as you gave) on handling the altitude. And when going uphill, stopping and resting – listening for birds, or telling us about the forest while we caught our breath was very good.
You do an excellent job asking if everything is OK, and that is wonderful. We enjoyed it so much!
Gracias for everything


Name: Andrew Liu and Brenda Baker (Kira and Erik)
Country-City: Newton, MA USA
Sent: 8/5/09
We enjoyed our stay at Quito, Tandayapa, and Milpe very much. The facilities, hospitality, food and tours were all excellent. We were very fortunate to have Jorge lead us on our bird tours. We learned a tremendous amount from his wealth of knowledge about the birds, plants, and local ecology. We also enjoyed the city tour of Quito with Patricia who was very knowledgeable and friendly. Food was excellent at all of the lodges, I think I gained a few kilos Lodges were also excellent and situated in wonderful areas. They were well maintained and the service was great. The hiking trails were well maintained and covered interesting terrain. Perhaps it would be nice to have all the faucets in the wash basins with hot on one side and cold on the other (Just kidding, in the US, hot is on the left). We think that all the services were wonderful and thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Ecuador, the Quito and the lodges. Thanks so much!


Name: Larry & Judy Sall
Country-City: Dallas, TX USA
Sent: 5/09

ABA BIRDING MAGAZINE ~ September 2009 issue
MINDO CLOUDFOREST

The note in the May 2009 Birding (p 14) regarding the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation in Ecuador was timely.  We had just returned from a tour in that area.  Ecuador is a birder’s paradise.  Our experience was enriched by Dr. Jorge Cruz, who is an extraordinary bird guide and who runs the San Jorge Eco-Lodge and Botanical Reserve.

We birded at Dr. Cruz’s San Jorge Eco-Lodge and the Yanacocha Reserve in the western Andes.  >From there, we worked our way along the Nono-Mindo Road to his lodge at Tandayapa, where we saw hummingbirds and tanagers in abundance beyond any expectation.  At Milpe Lodge we saw yet additional species, in an environment that could have been Jurassic Park.  Another day, we birded near Pedro Vicente Maldanado.  Because Dr. Cruz employs and trains local people, he is fostering in them an appreciation for their natural environment.  If these fragile and important Ecuadorian environments are going to be saved – and it is necessary for the people who live there to feel that the preservation of those environments is likewise in their best interest.

We were delighted with the local cuisine prepared by local ladies with local ingredients, and we were thrilled to see young people from the area studying the birds, plants, and culture so they could be guides too.  Dr. Cruz’s program is designed to be profitable, and it needs to be to realize his vision for the welfare of the land and the people who live on it.  One way for us to help is to take advantage of Ecuadorian hospitality and visit these places where we leave behind only our footprints – and jobs for the local people.


Name: Renee and Dave Capouya
Country-City: Gainesville, VA USA
Sent: 5/26/09
Our stay at San Jorge Eco-lodges has been a magical experience. San Jorge de Tandayapa is set in an exquisite cloud forest. The birds and hummingbirds are absolutely amazing. The same is true of the San Jorge Eco-Lodge in Milpe. At all of the lodges and the food was wonderful. We did not expect 4 courses meals at lunch and dinner in the forest, but that is what we received, and with attention to detail. They all worked very hard to ensure an enjoyable stay and Jorge, the owner is truly an expert in every face of the forest life, weather it be birds, plants, or other animals.

We would certainly return here and highly recommend San Jorge Eco-Lodges in the beautiful country of Ecuador.


Name: Larry and Judy Sall
Country-City: Dallas, Texas USA
Sent: 5/26/09
Our trip to your Magic Birding Circuit in Ecuador was satisfying on many levels. Having never been to Ecuador before, the experience gave us a lovely view of your country and an introduction to some of its wonderful people. Everyone on your staff was friendly, helpful and accommodating, so you are to be congratulated on having a fine team of colleagues. Even more impressive was your personal knowledge of the birds, the plants, the environment, and the culture of your country. With over 1600 bird species and their various plumages to know, I was astounded by your ability both to quickly identify and spot so many birds during our time together. We saw wonderful birds, birds of extraordinary plumages, shapes, and behaviors that are only found in that tropical environment. While ordinarily a person associates tropical environments with extremes of temperature and humidity, the Magic Birding Circuit is found at an altitude with comfortable temperatures in the 70’s F or low 20’s C.

Because this was our first birding trip in the tropics, both of us were initially enraptured by the variety and beauty of the hummingbirds, but then we noticed all the tanagers with colors we had never seen in such combinations on birds before. The tanagers became my favorite species even though the toucans and others gave them considerable competition for beauty and color. Because there is more to life than birds, the extra botanical dimension enriched our time there, for we had to stop to see the orchids and amazing plant life. Words fail me in trying to describe the cloud forest environment. It was something between the Garden of Eden and what one would have expected from Jurassic Park. The trees, epiphytes, bromeliads, all the palm species, the vines and mosses all combine to create a beautiful, lush environment filled with sounds and smells we need to preserve.

The accommodations were far more than just a place to sleep and eat; they blend almost seamlessly into the environment and are more interesting because they are fashioned from local materials and were built by local people. Our rooms at Tandayapa, and Milpe were aesthetically pleasing and very comfortable. More important, they seemed to make us part of the environment while protecting us from the elements. We were both delighted and surprised by the meals served under outdoor pavilions with spectacular views of the surrounding forests. We particularly enjoyed meeting the local people who prepared and served the local foods with skill normally expected in very fine restaurants. Each of the four courses was presented with style, adding a touch of luxury to the experience. Your San Jorge Eco-Lodge above Quito is also a lovely place to stay, and for a real bird watcher like me a destination in itself. There is a great deal of history associated with that location which I was so pleased that you shared with me.

Considering the very reasonable cost of our trip, and that from our arrival at the airport until we returned to it every need was taken care of, we look forward to returning often in the coming years.


Name: Andrew Griswold, Director
Connecticut Audubon Society
Sent: 5/5/09

San Jorge Eco-Lodge & Botanical Reserve/Quito  has a great atmosphere. San Jorge de Tandayapa Hummingbird Sanctuary in the Cloud Forest is very clean, with great birds.  San Morge de Milpe Orchid & Bird Reserve in the Tropical Rainforest is ‘beautiful’.  Jorge Cruz is a very good guide. All lodges and trails are in great shape!


Name: AH & TB
Country-City: St. John’s, NL Canada
Sent: 4/27/09

We have just spent 10 days birding in Ecuador on The Magic Birding Circuit and, despite the weather, saw well over 300 birds. What a great concept this is; there are 4 privately owned birding reserves and 3 excellent lodges. The circuit starts with pickup at Quito airport and includes all meals, lodging, transportation and bird guiding. All is run by the Ecuadorian people.

We spent 2 nights in Quito then headed over the Papallacta Pass (13,000+ ft.) to Baeza for 2 nights and some “Oriente” birding. Back over the pass to Quito for a night, then birded the famous Nono-Mindo road en route to the Tandayapa lodge where we spent 2 nights. Then it was off to the Milpe lodge via the famous Mindo tower (has to be seen to be believed) for 3 nights. Back to Quito via “Mitad del Mundo” (the equator) for a final night before our trip to the Galapagos.

George Cruz, General Manager was our bird guide for most of the time and he was excellent, full of knowledge about the birds, the plants and their medicinal properties. We also had a couple of young local guides at Milpe and they were both very good.

The lodges are excellent; all rooms have private facilities and the beds are very comfortable. The meals were mostly typical Ecuadorian cuisine and we didn’t suffer hunger after four course lunches and dinners!!
A certain degree of physical fitness is required to cope with both the altitude and some of the walks.

Highly recommended.


Name: Karen and Dick Unrue
Country-City:Mill Creek, Washington USA
Sent: 3/1/09
The most fantastic birding tour in South America we have ever experienced!

We enjoyed a wonderful, comfortable room with a panoramic view of the valley and Quito. The meals were tastefully prepared from local cuisine and creatively presented in a mouth-watering display that tasted as good as it looked. Up early in the mornings with our bird guide George Cruz, we encountered a plethora of species new to us each day. Our trip ranged from 13,000 feet in stages going down the western slope of the Andes while spending nights at Tandayapa and Milpe Eco-lodges and traveling from high semi-arid mountains through the highland rain forest, cloud forest, sub-tropical and tropical forests while descending to around 1,500 feet. The vegetation transitions were stunning but the birds were unbelieveable. George was relentless as he worked tirelessly to locate as many birds as possible during our drives along the winding back roads in the van, hiking the trails near the lodges or walking along a high mountain road. The same adventure awaited us on the eastern slopes of the Andes as we descended from the high Andean pass down to the upper reaches of the Napo River drainage (a main tributary of the Amazon River) in sub-tropical Amazonian rain forest. We spent two nights in Baeza and drove down the river to the private Cosanga-Yanayuca Bird Preserve. The bird diversity is overwhelming and we were ecstatic to add over 300 new species to our life lists! If birding is your interest, you will certainly be rewarded. The bright vibrant colors and diversity are truly mind-boggling. We had a blast! This truly is the Magic Birding Circuit Tour.


Name: Karen and Dick Unrue
Country-City:Mill Creek, Washington USA
Sent: 3/1/09
Dick and I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful trip we had in Ecuador. The birding was far and above our expectations. Jorge was absolutely the BEST bird guide. He has a delightful personality and his bird expertise is A-plus.

The lodges were even better than what we may have expected. The food was excellent. Not only was it very good tasting, the girls presented it like you would expect at a fancy restaurant. Surely not what we were anticipating for the jungle.

Jorge is very anxious to please and make his business the best. I reiterated to him how nice it has been to have someone here in the states to answer questions. I also shared with him that when Dick and I originally put out our feelers regarding a trip, you were very prompt in answering our e-mails and that was definitely what swung our decision to San Jorge. I have no patience for people who don't get back to my inquiries. Thank you for that.

We just can't say enough great things about Jorge's birding. He can spot a bird a mile away, he can call birds in with his whistle, he can identify everything that flies and his spotting scope was so great. He is very quick in getting that set up. It is very evident that he puts forth every effort in spotting and identifying every bird possible.

We just can't thank you all enough. Jose was also wonderful and the other staff were also intent on making us comfortable and happy.

If there are ever prospective travelers that need a good word about San Jorge, you can certainly give them our e-mail address and we will be glad to sing your praises.


Name: Dave and Susan Russem
Country-City:Wala Wala , Washington USA
Sent: 3/1/09
A wonderful visit to all 3 of your lodges. Your staff were all very profesional and accommodating. A pity we couldn´t have stayed longer to get to know them better.! The birds were magnificent - thank you for your patience . Good luck for your future plans .


Name: Melanie and Brad Paquin
Sent: 2/20/09
The Botanical Reserves at Tandayapa and Milpe are excellent for wildlife and the accommodations are excellent. We had a wonderful time and saw a plethora of birds and frogs. The plants are amazing , the large trees in particular. The hospitality was exceptionally good, the food superb and Jorge´s knowledge of birds and enthusiasm are outstanding.


Name: Dick and Karen Unrue
Country-City:Wala Wala , Washington USA
Sent: 2/20/09
Yes, we went birdwatching with Jorge for a 10 day Magic Birding Tour and we really, really enjoyed ourselves San Jorge in Quito, Tandayapa, Milpe and Cosanga. Jorge was the best guide ever!! He has his eyes always focused for more and new birds. We couldn´t have been happier. Services, transportation, lodging, trails and meals were very good. Your employees are very neat and considerate with attention to every need . What a great birding experience!!


Name: Joe Schelling
Country-City:Alburquerque, NM USA
Sent: 12/30/08
We truly enjoyed our entire visit to San Jorge. Each of the three San Jorge lodges we visited, Quito, Tandayapa , Milpe were uniquely different, but all quite comfortable.
The staff and service were exceptional and made us feel more like we were visiting with friends.
The birding tours with Jorge, the owner, more than met any expectations I had before coming . To have the benefit of his expertise for ust the two of us was a real treat , not to mention the 288 species he helped us to see in 3 days and a half.
Food is absolutely exceptional, quiet comfortable and enjoyable lodging. I was quite impressed with the care and attention to details paid to ensuring that we had a wonderful visit.


Name: Terri Treacy
Manager Illinois Audubon Society
Country-City:Illinois USA
Sent: 12/30/08
San Jorge de Quito Ecolodge is a great facility so close to the airport. Good birds.
San Jorge de Tandayapa Hummingbird Sanctuary Lodge. Great birding from the lodge, enjoyed the trails, birds, plants -look forward to visiting again when lodge is completely finished . Liked hiking in ... remote San Jorge de Milpe Orchid and Bird Lodge - gorgeous facility, loved the waterfalls, great birds, very peaceful. Liked the remoteness of walking in.
Jorge, the owner is a great guide. He knows the birds extremely well and is very helpful pointing them out. The little green light was useful.
Food excellent . I suggest more downtime to enjoy the beauty and ambiance of the lodges.


Name: Richard Hamilton
Country-City:Canada
Sent: 12/16/08
The Trails at San Jorge Botanical Reserve/Quito were nice . I am very glad you have hummingbird corn and fruit feeders.
Excellent services. All your staff are very nice . The facilities are very good and has a wonderful feeling of history .
Food was wonderful, trails were nice, the transportation was very reliable and the driver very accommodating.
Thank you for a wonderful time and great hospitality.!!


Name: Prof Dr M Sumper
Country-City:Sinzing , Germany
Sent: 12/3/08
Food and lodging were excellent!


Name: Ron and Julie Jensen
Country-City:Saskatoon SK Canada
Sent: 12/3/08
San Jorge de Milpe, Great location, great accommodations .
George, the owner was very knowledgeable and competent !
Its very special that he can call the birds without mechanical help.
We appreciate the transfers , specially as we do not speak the languages .
Food -EXCELLENT!
Hotels – GREAT ! Clean and comfortable.
Hiking Trails - good wide, well made, graveled : Great


Name: Marnie Coulter
Country-City:Victoria, B.C. Canada
Sent: 12/3/08
I went on a birdwatching trip to Milpe with George Cruz as a guide. Both Quito and Milpe are beautiful lodges in Quito. It’s hard to believe we are still in the city. San Jorge de Milpe is spectacular. Saw many beautiful birds and traditional healing plants. San Jorge de Milpe lived up to its reputation as an excellent place to see birds. Sorry I missed Tandayapa. George is very knowledgeable and very enthusiast. Gustavo is also good at spotting and will be a very good guide . Hotel services are excellent, everybody tries their best to be helpful and are ALWAYS Cheerful. Jose is exceptionally helpful with everything – including transportation, helping make arrangements for your stay here – and in Ecuador generally. I feel at home in San Jorge Food is excellent in both lodges.


Name: Carlie Holland
Country-City:B.C. Canada
Sent: 11/15/08
Excellent day!! Lunch was exceptional , gourmet quality. George, the owner was excellent, knowledgeable, KNOWS THE BIRDS! Went an extra mile to show us the birds. I was impressed with his knowledge of the bird calls and his ability to imitate. Hotel and tourism services are excellent, on time driver, pleasant, polite explained information about Quito, Ecuador. Good Driver. Trails are excellent at San Jorge


Name: Evely Luecke and Yvonne Homeyer
Country-City:Ontario, Canada
Sent: 11/13/08
We loved everything about this adventure. San Jorge Eco-Lodge/Quito is comfortable and charming.We enjoyed the Magic Birding Circuit (10 days) Full, complete and long birding days. San Jorge Eco-lodge in Quito is very comfortable and lovely lovely surroundings. José is the most helpful and charming person who is perfect for this job! Wished to have more time to enjoy the lodge. San Jorge de Milpe Lodge is a beautiful location with trails and waterfalls. Delightful staff. Baeza, nice local lodge in the tranquil village. Very clean, but of course lacks the character and locations of San Jorge Eco-lodges. Jorge is a superb guide with exceptional knowledge. All areas we visited were beautiful. I loved the great variety. Transportation is reliable, very courteous, transfers to and from the lodge. Food excellent at San Jorge, Milpe and the effort put to vegetarian meals were much appreciated. Very creative! Loved all the flower decorations. Very nice touch! Rooms at San Jorge Eco-lodges are very comfortable and cozy. Thank you for everything and we will come back!!!


Name: Olga Clarke
Country-City:Glendale Ca USA
Via Escapes Limited – CA USA
Sent: 11/13/08
I enjoyed the birdwatching tours with you. San Jorge de Quito Lodge is historical and lovely. San Jorge de Tandayapa Hummingbird Reserve , good location and should be excellent once the lodge is finish. San Jorge de Milpe , good habitat, great birding, beautiful lodge. Baeza, near San Jorge de Cosanga, very comfortable, quiet and good access to habitat .
Of course I loved the guides!! Specially Jorge, the owner , he was excellent everywere!!! Norberto Jumbo was excellent on Nono Road ! Areas were very good choices . Requiring very early arrivals for the best birding . Understandable. Hotel services, maintenance , transportation , food , lodging, hiking trails in reserves, all very well kept. I will come back!!


Name: Margot Craddock
Country-City:Australia
Sent: 10/08
During my 10 day birding trip, I loved every moment. I experienced very attentive people in Quito, and had a very lovely rest at the top of the Tandayapa valley to watch the hummers. I think I enjoyed Milpe the best, as this lodge was right in the rainforest.


Name: Robert Alison
Country-City:Vancouver, BC.
via Holbrook Travel
Sent: 10/30/08
San Jorge Eco-Tours were very informative; we would not have seen nearly as much on our own. Not only did the tours focus on birds, but a variety of cultural and nature topics. It was a terrific introduction to the ecosystems of Ecuador. Our guide was tireless in trying to show us as much as possible.
Our guide was superb, personable, knowledgeable and interesting; probably the best guide I have ever had. What I liked about our tours was that their itineraries were elastic to allow us to experience much more. There was a wonderful mixture of habitat types. I liked to focus on rainforest species in my professional life, to get to know them, and this tour gave me ample opportunity.
The hotels and transportation were superlatives. Our food was gourmet quality; no repetition, served with class. The whole experience was high-end, and all rooms were kept clean and comfortable. I could have done with much less. The trails we hiked were very well kept and everything, including the meals and our guide had a comfortable family-type atmosphere.
It would be difficult to improve; I think it could be a good idea to better inform people who might want to come here about the opportunities the Birding and Hiking Circuit has to offer.


Name: Sacha Levandusky
Country-City:Vancouver, BC.
via Holbrook Travel
Sent: 10/18/08
San Jorge de Quito Eco-lodge: very knowledgeable and courteous staff. I enjoyed the diversity in the tour content, mixing bird info with information on the flora. I was particularly interested in how the various plants could be used for medicinal purposes. Guided tours with Dr. Jorge Cruz were extremely insightful and spirited. Beyond having an excellent collection of subject matter, he evidenced a tremendous passion for the environment that was highly contagious. The transportation was always on time, the food was definitely the highlight of San Jorge de Milpe. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all excellent, as was the service.


Name: Robert Alison
Country-City:Victoria, BC.
via Holbrook Travel
Sent: 10/1/08
San Jorge Eco-Tours were very informative; we would not have seen nearly as much on our own. Not only did the tours focus on birds, but a variety of cultural and nature topics. It was a terrific introduction to the ecosystems of Ecuador. Our guide was tireless in trying to show us as much as possible. Our guide was superb, personable, knowledgeable and interesting; probably the best guide I have ever had. What I liked about our tours was that their itineraries were elastic to allow us to experience much more. There was a wonderful mixture of habitat types. I liked to focus on rainforest species in my professional life, to get to know them, and this tour gave me ample opportunity. The hotels and transportation were superlatives. Our food was gourmet quality; no repetition, served with class. The whole experience was high-end, and all rooms were kept clean and comfortable. I could have done with much less. The trails we hiked were very well kept and everything, including the meals and our guide had a comfortable family-type atmosphere. It would be difficult to improve; I think it could be a good idea to better inform people who might want to come here about the opportunities the Birding and Hiking Circuit has to offer.


Name: Larry & Karen Croft
Country-City:Salt Lake City, UT USA
Via Escapes Limited – CA USA
Sent: 9/18/08
We loved everything about this adventure. San Jorge Eco-Lodge/Quito is comfortable and charming. Excellent food. Birds are great. Staff was helpful and gracious. San Jorge de Milpe is beautiful, comfortable, the best setting possible. The waterfalls are wonderful! George was the best guide we have had in over sixty years. Thank you! The hotel services, like transportation, food, maintenance, hiking trails in the Botanical Reserves are five stars – first class.
Larry

We appreciated the elegant touches such as flowers at the tables and flowers and leaves garnishing the plates. The food was delicious and perfectly prepared – portions just right. Thank you for everything!
Karen


Name: Alan and Terri Kasper
Country-City:Glen Arbor, MI USA
Hurons Diving Club Team
Sent: 9/7/08
Yes, we did enjoy some cultural and nature tours with you.
Otavalo Tour (Great) Churches, Old town, Virgin Mary, Market Tour , Guide, friendly and informative.
Milpe Eco-lodge (Wonderful) Most beautiful place, amazing birds walk , waterfalls, A SANCTUARY!!!
Food great.
San Jorge Eco-Lodge/Quito (Great History ) a place to begin our tour. Lodging very comfortable . Great food.
Birding tours, Julia (our guide) Milpe and Tandayapa Hummingbird Reserve (the best) Otavalo. Orlando (our guide) Very proud of his city this came through on our tour.
Dr. George Cruz , a wealth of knowledge. We couldn´t get enough, We were very interested to taste the flavors and foods of our visiting countries . The food at San Jorge was the most delicious . We suggest flyer for each tour visit. Include the top ten most important sighting, ie: Birds, Location, valley, etc.


Name: Wanja van Zoest
Country-City: Holland
Sent: 9/7/08
Yes, I did the bird and plant tour at San Jorge Quito Ecolodge . Was very educational and great to see so many birds.!
Tour guides were great and Dr. George was the best. Thank you so much.
Hotel and touristic services were fantastic!!!
I think you offer all the services people could ever want!


Name: John Oakshatt
Country-City: Cambridge UK
Sent: 8/4/08
San Jorge Eco-Lodge in Quito – Excellent!!
Fantastic days birding with Julia.
Excellent medicinal plant tour with Vicente and Gabriella around the lodge.
Great guides. Excellent food. Gorgeous hotel!!


Name: Kris Norvig & Kristin Ashton & Juliet Norvig
Via Tropical Nature Travel, FL
Country-City:Palo Alto, CA USA
Sent: 7/26/08
Everything was great!. We visited San Jorge Botanical Reserve, San Jorge de Tandayapa Hummingbird Sanctuary, and Yanacocha. Thanks so much for all the attentive service and dedicated staff. The food was outstanding! Tandayapa was fabulous , So many hummingbirds!!! The San Jorge Eco-lodge is a gem in the foothills overlooking Quito. Jorge, you are wonderful! We learnt so much!! The transportation was excellent, Guides excellent and outstanding, rooms excellent, restaurant outstanding.


Name: Dr. Susanne Shrader
Maine Audubon Society
Sent: 7/17/08
The San Jorge lodges were, as Jorge Cruz himself proclaims, "magic". The Quito lodge was steeped in history, and the birding there might have been great but our time was too short. Food there is excellent. The Milpe lodge was astonishing in its opulence in the middle of a jungle, like Shangri-La. The host Jorge was the most interesting person I have ever met, with encyclopedic knowledge about everything. He entertained us with knowledge of flora and fauna of both ecosystems. Rooms were clean and spacious, food creative and delicious.


Name: Dr. Linda Lee and Dr. Michael Pharoah
Country-City: Toronto, Canada
Via Tropical Nature Travel
Sent: 7/14/08 - 7/17/08
George Cruz is a very special man. His depth of knowledge of all things, biological and ornithological, is very impressive. But more important is his enthusiasm
for conservation and his love of life make him a magnificent host and guide. He made us feel so welcome and at home. Thank you so much.
The staff are all very respectful and take pride of their work. The food is excellent! Keep up the good work!
Some Hammocks on the beautiful porch would add to the relaxing and paradise like setting in Milpe.


Name: Dr. Guillerme Tosoni and Dr. Silvana Bernardi
Country-City: Bauru Sao Paulo, Brazil
Via Tropical Nature Travel
Sent: 7/14/08 - 7/17/08
We stayed at San Jorge Eco-lodge Quito for 2 nights, 2 days in San Jorge de Milpe Orchid Lodge and visited San Jorge de Tandayapa Hummingbird Santuary.
Everything was wonderful!! George is a fantastic guide! He knows a lot of virtually everything ! The food is outstanding and Irina is a very nice and kind person besides being a great cook.
We loved the environment, the birds, the waterfalls and also George, Irina and the kids.
We had a great time! It was like a little paradise….
Hotel and tourism services were all good. Just keep on going like this.


Name: Dr.Melih Arici
Country-City:Branford, CT USA
Via Tropical Nature Travel
Sent: 7/14/08 - 7/17/08
I was post in the group that took the Milpe, Tandayapa and San Jorge Botanical Reserve
The whole experience was very educational, enjoyable and exceptionally interesting.
This has been my best excursion/ birdwatching trip ever.
This sentence describes it well, I felt at home with my family the whole time.
Thank you very much for this wonderful experience!.


DUKE UNIVERSITY BOTANIZING & BIRDING GROUP TOUR WITH GALAPAGOS ISLANDS CRUISE
June 10 - 23, 2008

Name: Alexander F. Motten, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of the Practice of Biology
Duke University
Country-City: N.C. USA
We are now all back from Ecuador, tired but delighted. Once again the trip was a spectacular success. And what more can I say about Jorge Cruz and SanJorge/Quito and San Jorge/Milpe? Everyone in the group, from the most serious birder to the casual twenty-something, was impressed with the warm hospitality at both lodges and Jorge’s sheer level of energy. Several folks commented to me, and told Jorge, that that they would definitely be recommending the San Jorge experience to their like-minded, especially birding oriented, friends at home. The new lodge at Milpe is fantastic, definitely a highlight of the trip and worth even more time in the future. The Monseratt crew, and especially our guide Jorge were all superb, totally helpful and professional in every way. Jorge anticipated every request I had about details of our itinerary even before I voiced them and was a sheer joy to work with. Everyone recognized and appreciated his extraordinary ability. Thank you again for all your help.

Name: Patsy Bailey & Norm Budnitz
Via Duke University Tour
Country-City: N.C. USA
We enjoyed the naturalist and Birdwatching tours. We went northwest, to San Jorge’s Reserves and thoroughly enjoyed them. It was a wonderful to experience all the different ecological zones and habitats. Jorge Cruz, owner and our guide was extremely knowledgeable about history, plants, animals and especially the birds. The hotel and tourism services were all wonderful. The rooms were clean, the food was great and transportation was fine. Thank you for everything!


Name: Paul & Lorraine Vonreilly
Country-City:Staten Island, New York USA
Sent: 6/1/08

The natural beauty of the area is spectacular. The knowledge of our guide, George, is phenomenal.
He was able to call birds and then capture them in his spotting scope so they can be viewed in the smallest detail
Great room, the food was wonderfully prepared – excellent variety with a lot of attention to detail.
Vicente is superb at all he does.


Name: Melitta Smole & Kerry Jarvis
Country-City: Ontario, Canada
Sent: 5/15/08

Our tour guides were knowledgeable, friendly, flexible and accommodating. San Jorge de Tandayapa Hummingbird Reserve exceeded our expectations with the amazing amount of hummingbirds, the facilities and the picnic area. The guided waterfall, birding and hiking tour at San Jorge de Milpe Orchid & Bird Reserve was amazing and a necessity for guests that stay for a few days on the property. The food was exceptional especially tasting Ecuadorian cuisine. The waiters and waitresses were friendly and Vicente was amazing – a 5 star employee. The table setting with flowers is a special touch. Our room with the view and balcony was wonderful. Jorge, we are glad that we had the opportunity to meet you and your family. This made our vacation richer in many aspects. We will recommend San Jorge Eco-Lodge to our friends and family.


Name: Anne Bricis & Andy Hunt
Country-City:United Kingdom
Sent: 3/31/08
Wonderful properties. Food is excellent, service very good, comfortable rooms, friendly staff (and owner)
The walk this evening covering plants and the medicinal information was very interesting. The jacuzzi and sauna were a brilliant option before dinner.
The bird talk and hummingbird watching were great.


Name: M & A Gurr
Country-City:United Kingdom
Sent: 3/31/08
Comments of San Jorge Ecolodges: Real paradises.
The rooms are very comfortable and well equipped.
The food and service are excellent. We appreciated the proprietor´s talks on the hummingbirds when we first came to San Jorge in Quito and on medicinal plants on our second visit.


Name: Dawn Dickson
Country-City:Corpus Christi, TX USA
Sent: 3/31/08
Tandayapa Valley. Nice trip, good birds. Nice hotel and hotel services.


Name: France & Alice Davis
Country-City:Austin, Texas USA
Sent: 3/31/08
We made the Tandayapa Hummingbird tour.
Great birding, food was very nice. Accomodations fine .


Name: Dale & Barbara Crowley
Country-City: Raynham, MA USA
Sent: 3/17/08

We enjoyed San Jorge de Tandayapa Hummingbird Reserve, the hike and the hummingbirds. We really enjoyed San Jorge de Milpe Orchid & Bird Reserve – everything was excellent. The services we thought were excellent. The guides, the drivers, the rooms were very nice and comfortable. The food was very good and the hotel maintenance was also good. Everyone was very helpful and accommodating, making us feel at home


Name: Gerry Doekes
Sent:
3/2008

In March 2007, my wife Denise and I finally went to Ecuador, a trip we had been planning all winter.
We arrived in Quito, capitol city of Ecuador on March 4, and were warmly greeted by a Dr. George Cruz, owner of, and guide at the 2 lodges we were going to be staying at. Not a twenty minute drive to the outskirts of Quito, we arrived at the Hosteria San Jorge Botanical and Eco-lodge.
This lodge was built as a traditional 18th Century Spanish Hosteria, and is situated on 200 acres in the Pichincha Foothills.
This property is the only reserve within minutes of Quito, and is the start of what is offered as the San Jorge Magic Birding Circuit.
George Cruz owns five different nature and bird watching reserves, located at different altitudes of the country. This gives a wonderful opportunity to see birds that occur only at certain elevations, with some overlap of a few species.
San Jorge Reserve includes High Barren Plains and Highland Rain Forest. We had to acclimatize to the altitude (approx. 9000 ft.) for the first couple of hours on our first full day there.
We then hiked into the highland plain area of the property, here we were treated to the constant calling of the Tawny Antpitta. This species of bird is a master at staying hidden, we did manage to get great looks at it.
Another species of bird we observed in this area is the Curve-billed Tinamou, another secretive bird, that will not flush until you almost step on it.
We then hiked on, into the Highland Rainforest area, where we saw the beautiful Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager.
Other spectacular species seen on the property, just to name a few, included Black-tailed and Green-tailed Trainbearer, Purple-backed Thornbill (all hummingbird species)
Next day we completed an easy hike to the Yanacocha Hummingbird Reserve, we were treated to the appearance of the
Sword-billed Hummingbird(approx.four inch bill) Golden-breasted Puffleg, Buff-winged Starfrontlet, as well as other bird species such as Glossy Flower-piercer and Barred Fruiteater.
The next two days were spent birding along the world famous birding area named Nono-Mindo road in the Tandayapa Valley, where we admired beautiful scenery and observed many more species of birds, including the beautiful Grass-green Tanager, Plate –billed Mountain Toucan and Andean Cock-of-the-Rock.
We then visited San Jorge de Tandayapa Reserve, located in the cloud forest of the Tandayapa Valley, after more hiking we ended up on a hilltop with a shelter surrounded by hummingbird feeders. During the next three hours we observed a total of nineteen different species of hummingbirds, including a gorgeous Booted Racket-tail, which is another species of puffleg hummingbird, referring to the tufts of feathers on their thighs.
We then were transferred to San Jorge de Milpe Reserve.
Here there was a beautiful newly constructed 2-level lodge built in 2006, along with observation decks, overlooking a river gorge. Our guide, George Cruz suggested we get ready for a nice relaxing day of hiking, birding and some swimming.
This property was about280 acres of Sub-tropical Rainforest, with a great trail system and at least five waterfalls, where we had a lot of fun swimming at each of them, nice and refreshing.
Birding there, was spectacular as well. In the evening, around the open air dining shelter, attracted some beautiful moths of different sizes, up to 5 inch wingspans. Along the trail around the lodge, at night, by flashlight we happened upon a blind snake species, about 3 feet in length, it was purple in colour and it’s defense mechanism was it’s ability to emit slime from it’s body.
We were able to imitate the call of a Common Potoo, after a couple of attempts, the bird finally did answer. It makes a very eerie sound, it is of the family species of Frogmouths, this species of bird, camaflouges itself by perching in a frozen position, making itself look like a end of a broken branch.
From this lodge as a home base, we drove down to the Sub-Tropical lower humid area of Pedro Vicente Maldinado, where we spent the day birding along the road network.
This lodge was well worth the 5 day visit as a home base, in an area of abundant bird species.
Transferred back to San Jorge Hosteria Botanical Eco-lodge. The next day George took us and his family north of Quito, to spend a delightful day visiting the famous Otavalo Native Market, with all there crafts and native blankets, it was an enlightening day for us to take in the culture of the area, and a change from birding, allowing our necks a rest.
Next day we left for the trip that would see our guide take us up the western slope of the Andes Mountains, for an adventurous day of bird-watching.
In the Paramo area, on the Papallacta Pass (approx. 14000ft. altitude), we were lucky to observe a mixed flock of birds, including Giant Conebill, Stout-billed Cinclodes and also lucked into seeing an endemic Ecuadorian Hillstar (hummingbird sp). All this, with high winds and temperature of only plus 2C.
Heading down the eastern slope, we checked a lot of mountain streams, and finally saw a pair of Torrent Ducks.
Over the next couple of days our guide took us to San Jorge Cosanga/Yanayacu Bird & Wildlife Reserve, the last of the reserves to visit that George owned, and ultimately ended the Magic Birding Circuit which he is proud of, and worked so hard at, toward seeing his goal come true.
One more day was spent driving and birding along the road to Coca, fantastic Amazon Basin area, where we saw the spectacular Paradise Tanager.
George did a wonderful job as a guide, and took the time to share his knowledge, showing us medicinal plants and a lot of the beautiful wildflowers, everywhere we visited. All the meals served were fantastic.
Of all the birds we seen, one of the highlights had to be the Lyre-tailed Nightjar, with the male showing off tail streamers of 24 inches in length.
After 22 days it was hard to have had to leave such a beautiful country behind


Name: Mark Enarson
Country-City: Edmonton, Canada
Sent: 1/30/2008
San Jorge Eco Lodge is a beautiful, welcoming and very well run destination for people who want to see the tremendous diversity of Ecuador’s birds. The rooms were beautiful and the staff was very attentive. George was an exceptional guide and I was impressed by his desire to tailor the experience to the needs of a photographer. He appears deeply passionate about maximizing the quality of the viewing sites as well as furthering the welfare of his local people. It was a pleasure to visit this beautiful area and to feel that I was supporting an ethical business


Name: Francisca Regester
Country-City: San Francisco, CA , USA
Sent: 1/18/2008
My friend and I spent days on end, in December 2007, with George as our guide, and were continually amazed by his knowledge, enthusiasm and uncanny ability to see birds even when they were hidden in dense foliage. And if we didn't see the birds he would call them to us. George is what I would call, not just avid, but an obsessive bird watcher and guide. And, he's incredibly knowledgeable about the history of Ecuador. He's a lot of fun, too!
San Jorge Eco-Lodge, near Quito, is worlds away from Quito. It's a lovely place where we felt more like guests in George's home than tourists. His parents, and relatives , as well as the excellent staff, made our stay there truly special. Do go horseback riding!
The lodge at San Jorge de Milpe is another story. The setting is so stunning and the lodge is so comfortable and the food is outstanding. The surroundings--the waterfalls, the perfect trails, the views, the BIRDS--it's like a wonderland. It is a wonderland!!
And don't miss Tandayapa--great hiking and amazing varieties of hummingbirds right under your nose! I could go on, but will close by saying only that if you want an unforgettable experience seeing the birds of Ecuador and parts of the country you could never see otherwise, George is your man. .


Name: Alan & Teresa Gubanich (Tour Leader)
The Magic Birding Circuit Tour: Dec 25 – Jan 2, 2008
Lahontan Audubon Club – Nevada, USA
Sent: 1/2/2008
We visited Colonial Quito one day, and went to Otavalo for one day. The rest of the time we went birding here at San Jorge, Tandayapa and Milpe Reserves, including Pappallacta areas. All of the areas are beautiful, have great bird diversity and well worth visiting. The guides and drivers were all excellent – Jorge, Richard, Jessica and Fernandino. Jorge is a warm and entertaining and knowledgable host. All of your services are excellent! The food is delicious, some of the best meals we have ever had. The staff is very attentive and personable and very efficient. The rooms are lovely. I can’t think of any way you could improve!


Name: Vern Benhart and Linda Edwards
The Magic Birding Circuit Tour: Jan 1 – 7, 2008 CA, USA
Sent: 1/7/2008
Just wanted to let the younger Jorge know that he was in our thoughts yesterday. We were hoping that he did well on the SAT's that he told us about. Our morning of hiking and birding with Jorge Jr. remains a highlight of our time in the Quito area. Also wanted to thank you all for our memorable stay at your beautiful Hacienda. Thank you.


Name: Vern Benhart and Linda Edwards
The Magic Birding Circuit Tour: Jan 1 – 7, 2008 CA, USA
Sent: 1/7/2008
Just wanted to let the younger Jorge know that he was in our thoughts yesterday. We were hoping that he did well on the SAT's that he told us about. Our morning of hiking and birding with Jorge Jr. remains a highlight of our time in the Quito area. Also wanted to thank you all for our memorable stay at your beautiful Hacienda. Thank you.


Name: Jim Dodson
Columbus Audubon Club
Country-City: California, USA
Sent: 1/5/2008
We visited Milpe, Tandayapa Yanacocha. The grounds around the lodge provided pleasant walk. Milpe is excellent. Yanacocha was a nice walk. Tandayapa provides an excellent setting for bird viewing.
Transport was adequate. Our guides were knowledgable and skilled in English. They were also quite considerate of our need to “see birds”, especially young George. Food was considtently “excellent”!!. I enjoyed the rustic atmosphere of the grounds and the buildings.


Name: Heather Raymond
Columbus Audubon Club
Sent: 12/5/2007
San Jorge was beautiful and charming. We loved the architecture. The staff were very friendly and attentive to all of our needs. Great job! San Jorge de Tandayapa Hummingbird Reserve was a bird paradise. Excellent rare birds and Jorge is a perfect guide. Tandayapa and Nono-Mindo Road trip was more than we could have hoped for. We saw many specieis we did not thini it would be possible to locate. Jorge was patient and excellent guide and younger Jorge was a friendly person and good driver.


Name:Byron and Donald Loucks
Country-City: Centralia, WA USA
Sent:12/11/2007
We took the 8 day Magic Birding Circuit Tour - 4 days at Milpe Lodge, 4 days at Quito Lodge. We enjoyed everything! Thank you!


Name: Janice Tweedy
Country-City:San Francisco, CA. USA
Sent: 11/28/07
My gratitude for all you have done to make my visit full. Thank you Jorge for your excellent birding and patience. In San Jorge de Quito, Tandayapa and Milpe - everything was great. The guidance, the transportation, the hiking and transportation was great! Thank you!!!


Name: Marilyn Coburn
Country-City:West Branch, Iowa USA
Sent: 11/28/07
We found San Jorge Ecolodges and Botanical Reserves in Quito, Tandayapa and Milpe TOO GORGEOUS. Everything was perfect. Wish we could stay longer. Do not change a thing. Keep it personal and so caring about your visitors. Thank you


Name: Birdwatchers from The Netherlands - The Magic Birding Circuit Tourd
Sent: 10/19/07
The highlights were the surroundings, the landscape, the Pichincha, the birds. The lodging was lovely (just enough heating,though), the meals were excellent, the service more than good and very charming. Milpe was a very nice surprise: the beauty of the Cañon, the birds, the beautiful Lodge and the loving care by which we were surrounded. Thanks, we will recommend the place to our birding friends.


Name: Michael and Marianne Walsh
Country-City:Weatherfield, Vt USA
Sent: 11/18/07
The Magic Birding Circuit was a wonderful experience for my wife Marianne and I. It was very nice to be able to go birding so close to Quito, in the hills above the gardens. The people, the lodges, the birds, the guide, the food, and the land, were all excellent. Our guide George Senior, was very knowledgeable of the birds, their calls and their habitats. The San Jorge Community and its ethics are exactly what defines successful ecotourism . It’s a perfect blend of local involvement in conservation that ensures the preservation of critically endangered ecosystems. Ecuador is very fortunate to have people like Dr. Cruz. We look forward to our next visit.


Name: Vic and Marion Czaja
Country-City:Huntsville, Texas USA
Sent: 10/31/07
The fifteen days (Oct. 17 - Oct. 31, 2007) were really filled with "magic" as we noted 325 species in that time. Our guides were excellent. Young Jorge and the senior Jorge were exceptional guides for the two of us who are partially deaf. Patience, persistence and a wonderful knowledge of habitat and behavior shared by our guides helped us to note all these birds. We enjoyed every moment! Your hospitality was warm and welcoming and adaptable to our needs. The food was delicious! Victor exceeded his expectations in hiking with his cane. He is delighted as am I. Your accomodations really helped! Our room was very comfortable. We are eager to share our "find" of this wonderful birding circuit. Thank you for a wonderful stay at all times in all lodges. We are most happy that we chose the Magic Birding Circuit.


Select Latin America ~ UK ~ October 21, 2007

Name: Mike and Susan
Country-City: Cornlal , UK
An amazing 2 days. Wonderful scenery, huge variety of birds and flora.
Food excellent. Jorge made us feel very welcome and acts as a superb
and extremely knowledgeable guide.

Name:Margareth Kirkman
Country-City: East Cowes Isle of Wight
United Kingdom
We were given a warm welcome at San Jorge de Milpe . The rooms are spacious and clean with good facilities. The food is definitely 5 star – varied, well served plus predominantly 10 cal- make sure you get the figs and cheese! And thats before you get on to the wild life . Jorge has the enthusiasm of a child and the knowledge of an expert. We walked round the trails while he identified every bird by sight or by call and had the book to show us pictures, plus the scope for real close ups. Wait till you hear him imitate everything from owls to marmosets!
Swimming through cool rock pools and under waterfalls was a special treat. All in all, highly recommended for birders of all levels.

Name:Sally Henbury and Sue Thomas
Country-City: United Kingdom
Wonderful location and setting with a circuit of well laid out trails . Providing a great information of flora and fauna .
Superb Ecuadorian food with excellent hospitality.


Name: Tyler, Steve Buckingham and Barbara Edeen
Tropical Adventures
Country-City:New Jersey USA
Sent: 9/19/07
We went to Tandayapa , Milpe and Quito, San Jorges Reserves. Were incredible , the best experiences of my life. Transportation, lodging, restaurants, and hotel services and maintenance were all very high quality. The waiters, cooks and waitress were phenomenal. The lodges were very warm and hospitable. We did birdwatching and hiking . The transportation and tourism services were great. George Sr and George Jr were brilliant guides and made our experience a very memorable one. There are no improvements that I think need to be made. Thank you very much and we will be back soon!!


Name: Peter Candido
Professor Emeritus
University of British Columbia
Country-City:Vancouver, Canada
Sent: 9/19/07
The lodges were excellent, transportation, food and hotel services also excellent. The birdwatching was wonderful, the system of lodges is outstanding . Many thanks for your kind hospitality and for sharing your extensive knowledge. We can not think of any way to make it better – it was excellent!! Many thanks, Peter and Gloria.


Name:Jon Dunn
Country-City: Los Angeles, CA USA
Senior Guide WINGS
Author of: Birds of North America National Geographic Book
Sent: 7/7/2007
We enjoyed San Jorge Ecolodge in Quito, San Jorge de Tandayapa Hummingbird Reserve and San Jorge de Milpe Orchid and Bird Lodge .
SUPERB, especially Milpe . I have never seen such well maintained and tour participant trails - anywhere in the world!!!!!!
Dinner was excellent. The dining area here in Quito Lodge was very intimate and friendly.
You will need to use tapes eventually, but perhaps, not now.
Just state the policy up front. Really, but everything was just superb.



Name:
Jennifer Jolis, Daniel Gibson
Country-City: Research Associate Ornithology
University of Alaska, USA
Sent: 7/7/2007
Excellent service, excellent food and excellent birds.
Beautiful places – coludn´t have ask for more, except more time!
George, the owner was an incredible guide, to birds, to history.
On the horse back, Jose was wonderful.
The web site is excellent but it would have helped me to understand the relationships between the different sites .
Thank you all so very much!!


Connecticut Audubon Society, CT USA
Birdwatching Group Tour - April 11 - 15, 2007


Name: Nancy Finlay
San Jorge de Tandayapa is fabulous. San Jorge de Milpe is Magical. San Jorge de Quito is lovely. Birdwatching in the Magic Birding Circuit was EXCELLENT, a lot of good information about many good birds. Wonderful guidance by George Cruz, the owner. Food was good; accommodations were delightful, very comfortable in a beautiful setting with birds outside the windows. Can´t ask for more!
We could have used more free time in Quito and in Milpe, but I wouldn´t have missed a thing.
Maybe Connecticut Audubon could schedule more time or maybe we can come back for a longer stay next time.

Name: Mary Jean Sodlad
The Magic Birding Circuit, including San Jorge de Tandayapa, San Jorge de Milpe and San Jorge Ecolodge in Quito was MAGICAL!!! Yes, totally BEAUTIFUL, friendly and full of excellent nature and birding.
In the birdwatching and hiking tours, George Cruz, the guide was EXCELLENT, sensitive, warm and very knowledgeable.
Transportation was good and comfortable. Food was delicious and native which I enjoyed.
Lodging, hotel and services were all very good.
Everyone was very helpful and professional and always gracious!!
Thank you very much!!!

Name: Rick and Pat Holloway
We visit San Jorge de Tandayapa, San Jorge de Milpe and San Jorge Ecolodge in Quito.
Each place was wonderful and unique.
We mostly enjoyed birdwatching and hiking which was varied and interesting, even for non- birders.
Transportation and food very good from both places.
For nonbirders, informational tours that focus in geology, flora, fauna ,archeology and cultural history would be welcome.
For those unfamiliar with Ecuadorian birds, it would be easier to call out and track only one or two birds at a time.

Name: John and Luisa Colas
We had a wonderful time . Thank you for your time and attention. I learnt a great deal and thought that all aspects of the trip -guide transportation, food and lodging were EXCELLENT!!! I specially appreciated reviewing the bird lists together as we saw so, so many different species. Everything was truly special. Thank you,

Name: Paula and Dan Coughlin
We visited San Jorge de Milpe, San Jorge de Tandayapa and San Jorge Ecolodge in Quito. They are all beautiful, well-maintained and have great diversity. George Cruz, the owner is an excellent guide, with top knowledge in birds, friendly and personable. Birding from the porch was great! Thank you for the abundant supply of bottled water. The food was very good and excellent service. Thank you for sharing these beautiful places with us.


Name: Gerry and Denise Doekes
Country-City: Norval,ON Canada
Sent: 3/27/07
Thank you so much for the fantastic 20 days we stayed at San Jorge Quito and San Jorge de Milpe. Bird watching the Magic Birding Circuit with you was absolutely glorious; we saw a total of 403 different Ecuadorian bird species. All 5 of your reserves are basically untouched and pristine and your 2 Eco-Lodges are beautiful. The food was delicious and made with caring hands. The personal care and thoughtfulness by George, Irina and all the staff was very much appreciated by both of us.
We would definitely recommend The Magic Birding Circuit of San Jorge Botanical Reserve, San Jorge de Milpe, Tandayapa, Yanayacu and Cosanga to all who visit beautiful Ecuador.

Read a detailed trip report of The Magic Birding Circuit


Name: Bob and Susan Soderstrom
Country-City: Grand Blanc, MI USA
Sent: 3/4/07
Everyhting was wonderful. We birded solidly the whole time. What an experience!!
Food was wonderful, as was the staff.
George made the trip for us. We enjoyed the time with his family.
Laura made us feel very comfortable.


Name: Lance and Michele Oberholtzer
Country-City: Michigan USA
Sent: 3/4/07
WE went birding from 2-23-07 to 3-3-07.
The areas were San Jorge Lodges and Preserves are located (Quito, Tandayapa, Milpe, Cosanga) are absolutely incredible!!
Don´t think they could be much better.
We were happy to see so much of this beautiful country. We loved Ecuador.
Everyone was so helpful and enjoyable. We loved how personal everyone was.
The food was delicious, we enjoyed the cultural dishes.
Wonderful birding experiences. What an amount of birds!! George is a very knowledgeable guide.


Name: Andrew Promaine
Country-City: Georgia Bay Islands National Park, Canada
Head Biolgist
Sent: 2/4/07
The Magic Birding Circuit: Nono-Mindo Road and San Jorge de Tandayapa Hummingbird Reserve provides some of the best birding in the world! This is a good tour for bird enthusiasts. At San Jorge Botanical Reserve in Quito we did self-guided tours to the waterfalls and the high altitudes (above the tree lines). The property is beautiful, especially with its proximity to Quito. It is like a little Oasis! Jorge is an excellent birding guide; the best I ever had; enthusiastic and professional. He really enjoys birding, and it shows. The rooms and restaurant are comfortable and the hotel services are friendly and secure.


Name: Marilyn and Dave Binkley
Country-City: Lakewood, CO USA
Sent: 1/10/07
1.-Very personal service and family atmosphere
2.-Healthy and balanced meals
3.-Helpful and courteous staff lead by an enthusiastic proprietor!
4.-Beautiful locations.
5.-Wide range of activities on and off -site
6.- Enjoyed hummingbird feeders outside our room in San Jorge Ecolodge and in San Jorge de Tandayapa Reserve.
7.- Great Ecuadorian experience
8.-New years eve trip down town and party at the Hostería-fabulous fun!
We went for 5 birding day trip with Jorge Sr and Jorge Jr. The Magic Birding Circuit.
Mountain Biking with Jorge Jr and with Jorge grandfather like a driver.
Papallacta Hot Springs
Otavalo Indian Market
New Years Eve Activities
Thank you for sharing your knowledge about the geography , geology, agriculture, history, politics, economics of your country.
-Thank you also for making us feel like a part of your family. It made our Ecuadorian experience that much more special.
-Thank you for your humor and laughing at our bad jokes.
-The very personal bird guiding provided by Jorge Sr and Jorge Jr was INCREDIBLE. You both are very knowledgeable about your local birds .
-I found it specially helpful when you help us located the birds, showed us the picture and name in the field guide and doing the checklist at the end of the day.
-The experience with your family and the whole Hosteria was so incredible that its hard to list them all.
-Jorge Jr is a super and enthusiastic birder . What an incredible young man.!!

Read a detailed report of the birding days


Name: Jim and Laura Wittemberger
Country-City: Boulder Colorado USA
Exotic Birding Co.
Sent: 11/10/06
We went birding in San Jorge Eco lodge and San Jorge de Milpe Reserve . Everything was great!! Many birds!! Hotel services, guidance and transportation, Everything was as expected. Thank you !!!


Name: Claudia Haag
Country-City: Portland Oregon USA
Portland Audubon Society
Sent: 9/28/06
We have visited San Jorge’s Reserves in Tandayapa, Milpe and Quito areas. Amazing areas. Jorge and Jorge, Jr. are fabulous guides. Drivers were very knowledgeable about the area. I felt the Jorge was extremely well versed in the area and birds, and very respectful. The rooms were kept very clean. The food was very delicious, although too much food. Excellent guides, very willing to help us to see birds and excellent locations. Very kind, considerate and respectful. Galapagos trip. Great guide, very knowledgeable and good spirited. The Aida Maria boat was very clean and the food good. I thought they could have clean towels, more pillows and blankets and screens in the windows.


Name: Willow Walker
Country-City: Portland Oregon
Portland Audubon Society
Sent: 9/28/06
San Jorge Ecolodge, San Jorge de Tandayapa Reserve and San Jorge de Milpe Reserve birding trips were great!! Its a warm, friendly, professional and respectful drivers and workers. Excellent food and room services. Knowledgeable guides. Jorge is professional birdguide, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, respectful of all levels of experience. Galapagos trip Good guide Luis Guantanamera, good view, good food. Rooms very small, scary at night when air conditioning, turned off. No clean towels in 4 days. Willow Walker


Name: Dawn Wilson
Country-City: Portland,OR USA
Portland Audubon Society
Sent: 9/28/06
Audubon Society guides choose an excellent location. San Jorge Ecolodge, San Jorge de Tandayapa, San Jorge de Milpe lodge are wonderful areas, great time. Services were all was great. We enjoyed our time here very much. Excellent restaurant, very attentive staff. Jorge and Jorge Jr. are very knowledgeable guides, comfortable accommodations. Thank you for all you did! Galápagos trip. Knowledgeable guide. Fun trip!


Name: Fran Ferro
Country-City: Portland, OR USA
Portland Audubon Society
Sent: 9/28/06
We visited most of San Jorge Reserves around the country. Jorges guidance was excellent. Birds were great. Every hotel aspect was very good. Jorge is an excellent and avid birder. He took time to make sure everyone saw the bird. Jorge´s son was very knowledgeable and helpful. Galápagos trip on Aida Maria Yacht. The wildlife was amazing. Our guide was very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English.


Name: Kelly Scott
Country-City: Portland USA
Oregon Audubon Society
Sent: 8/10/06
We went birding at San Jorge Ecolodge in Quito, San Jorge de Tandayapa and in Milpe. All EXCELLENT!! San Jorge Ecolodge is beautiful, lots of character. Rooms clean, mostly supplied, fireplace great, food excellent. Everyone is friendly. A GREAT place to stay. Probably no better place in the area. Jorge is a great guide-resource !!! Great variety of locations. Galapagos trip. Excellent guidance Boat clean, crew attentive to our needs.


Name: Bob Wilson
Country-City: Portland, Oregon USA
Professional bird guide & tour leader of Oregon Audubon Society
Sent: 9/28/06
San Jorge Ecolodge, San Jorge de Tandayapa Reserve were all excellent. Beautiful new facilities in Milpe Reserve. All hotel services are excellent!! Jorge’s guidance is EXCELLENT!! Engaging, informative, expert birding. Galapagos Cruise. Guide was very good. Boat was ok.


Name: Dan van der Broek
Country-City:Gladstone, Oregon USA
Professional bird guide & tour leader of Oregon Audubon Society
Sent: 8/10/06
We took the San Jorge Magic Birding Tour Great Birding places.
Everybody had great fun!! San Jorge provided excellent services.
The food is wonderful, great hotel, looking forwards to San Jorge de Milpe!!
Jorge is an excellent guide. Lots of fun.
Galapagos trip had a great boat (Aida Maria). The guide was an excellent naturalist

.


Name: Kathy and John Schick
Country-City:Sacramento, CA USA
Sent: 7/21/06
Wonderful, excellent birding guides!
Fernando was very helpful and good. Of course, George was the best, having both helped like a great team. The complete hotel and tourist services in Hostería San Jorge are wonderful.


Name: Diane and Ted Luck
Country-City:Denver, Colorado USA.
Sent: 7/20/06
Excellent hotel accomodations. The dining service was wonderful and we enjoyed all the meals. Hotel and staff are first rate. The rooms are clean and comfortable Thanks for the ample linens (loved the sheet colors) and fine towels.

George, you are a talented birder and Irina added to the species we saw. I liked having a couple hours on the trail before breakfast.
The laser point is very helpful and we were glad to use it.
We so enjoyed your guiding and hospitality. Its important to us to use services that go to a good cause….the environment and birds. Many thanks.

One trail yielded potoo, trogons, motmots and aracaris. A BIRDER NEEDS NOTHING MORE THAN A VISIT ON THE MAGIC BIRDING CIRCUIT !!!


Name: Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Tischner
Country-City:Malton, N.J
Sent: 6/17/06
We went to San Jorge de Tandayapa Reserve and Nono Mindo Road. It was the best day!!
Loved the drive, the scenery, the birds!
The guides came through and found us great birds.
San Jorge has a wonderful, friendly staff. Good services and good food. It is a lovely mountain retreat.
The grounds are exceptional as is the architecture of the buildings.
I like it the way it is!.


Name: Greg And Linda Brown
Country-City:New York USA
Sent: 3/23/06
Night walk with Jorge- wonderful evening walk.!
Birding S.J. Botanical reserve with Jorge. We enjoyed the entire day. We saw over 30 new species. Jorge is very knowledgeable, speaks excellent English and is very patient. He is very proud of his land and we felt privileged to have him sharing it with us. .Nice to have the bird book and the bird species list.
-Horseback riding Tour.- the only way we could have gotten up so high for such a FABULOUS VIEW. Vicente did a great job. The horses were well -behaved.
-Rooms were clean and comfortable. Thank you for the electric heater and extra blankets. It gets cold at night. Very nice rooms! Nice flowers on first day.
- The dining room is beautiful and the food is EXCELLENT. Every meal was nicely presented and delicious. Fresh flowers.!!
-We think that inviting all the guests to the fireplace room for happy hour is a great idea. It is nice to meet the other interesting guests and to listen to Jorge talk about the Hosteria and Ecuador. It is a very comfortable room. Maybe add books of Ecuador, a puzzle for a rainy day.
- Exteriors. The hotel grounds are beautiful! Lovely gardens and nice walkways.
-Consider also a short horseback ride. 1 to 2 hours for people who do not want to go so far. The box lunch was very tasty.
- We really enjoy the hummingbird feeders, the gardens are lovely. .Essential to have English speaking staff.
We loved our visit. Thank you very much!! We will hope to return.!!


Brazo Sport Birders - Texas Master Naturalists - Texas
March 2006

Name: Tom & Ethel Morris, Tour Guide
Country-City: Lake Jackson, Texas USA
The Old Colonial Quito City Tour & Middle of the World Tour were good. We visited San Jorge de Milpe Reserve; Botanical Reserve in Quito; San Jorge de Tandayapa Reserve and Yanacocha Reserve. All the birding tours were excellently guided by Jorge and Jorge, Jr.. They gave good directions to find birds. Guides saw and heard lots of birds and made sure all of us got a chance to see them. Guides also gave good cultural history and ecological understanding. The San Jorge Eco-Lodge Staff are extremely helpful and pleasant. Everything was taking care of promptly.

Name: Jerry & Jane Eppner
Country-City:Lake Jackson, Texas USA
The Old Colonial Quito City Tour & Middle of the World were very good. San Jorge Botanical Reserve Quito – good starting point. Cuyuca/Paramo – excellent birding. San Jorge de Milpe Reserve – excellent facility/good potential. Yanacocha Reserve – very good. San Jorge Staff very friendly and attentive. Grounds are very clean. An excellent visit !! Thanks for all of your hospitality!!

Name: Sam & Mickey Dufilho
Country-City: Brazoria, Texas, USA
Our birding tours were at San Jorge Botanical Reserves in Quito, Milpe, Cuyuja, Tandayapa and Yanacocha. The birding guides were excellent. They knew the birds, the ecology, plants and history. I enjoyed the information about the medicinal plants. Drivers were very good. Food was wonderful. Staff was friendly and helpful.

Name: Georgia Ann Monnerat
Country-City: Lake Jackson, Texas USA
The birdwatching was great. Also enjoyed the change in scenery with all the plants. Am glad we went to the Paramo to Papallacta and Cuyuja and into the Eastern side of the Andes. Transportation – good. Birding guides – excellent. Rooms – a little cold but housekeeping was very good. Restaurant food – very good. Staff at San Jorge are excellent !! They are friendly, courteous, and very helpful.


Rochester Birding Association
March 2006

Name: Bob Mauceli, President Rochester Audubon Society
Country-City: Pittsford N.Y. USA
I particularly enjoyed the cloud forest reserves, but I would go back to any of them.
Birding guides were actually FANTASTIC!!! Jorge, Sr. and Jorge, Jr. were phenomenal. Heike was great - helpful and knowledgeable and a courageous driver. Hugo Lino had a good knowledge of both botany and birds. We wished he had better English to share more information with us.
We preferred the larger buses instead of the small vans. Rooms were comfortable. Food in the restaurant was plentiful (maybe too much). and very good. The servers were good and helpful.
BUT, YOU SHOULD KNOW, THAT YOU AND YOUR STAFF WORKED HARD TO TAKE EXCELLENT CARE OF ALL OF US . YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF THEM. YOU WERE EXTREMLY GRACIOUS AND HELPFUL TO ALL OF US.

Name: Sandy Maucelli
Country-City: Rochester, NY USA
San Jorge de Tandayapa – beautiful but a climb. San Jorge de Milpe – Great. Otavalo Tour – Good. Birding guides: Hieka and Jorge – very good. All staff is good. Shuttles were very accommodating. Jorge is very gracious, welcoming and informative.

Name: Bernie Kester
Country-City: Rochester, NY USA
All the birding tours were great. The transport was fine; restaurant very good; birding guides Heike and Jorge, Jr. very good; staff was extremely warm, welcoming and helpful. Everyone tried very hard to make us comfortable and we felt welcome!!

Name: Marcia Birken
Country-City: Rochester, NY USA
Guided bird walk around the surrounding of San Jorge and San Jorge de Tandayapa Reserve birding tour; Jorge, Jr. was our guide and he is excellent. His knowledge of birds and the local areas, as well as his passion for birds, make him a natural guide !! Transportation – excellent. Birding guides – excellent. Rooms – Charming.

Name: Donna & Dick Marchant
Country-City: Big Pine Key, FL USA
The countryside and San Jorge Reserves are beautiful and diverse. San Jorge Eco-Lodge is nice with very good food.

Name: Joyce Leimberger
Country-City:Big Pine Key, FL USA
The Magic Birding Circuit Reserves: Quito, Tandayapa, Milpe, and Yanavaca. The areas were spectacular with a variety of landscapes, trees and plants. Birds were wonderful!!
The dining hall waitresses were wonderful and worked hard; our drivers were great; and our birding guides were wonderful.


Name: Kirsten Geertz- Hansen
Country-City: Copenhahue Denmark.
Sent: 3/6/06
It has been a pleasure to meet you and go with you to Tandayapa Valley.
It a beautiful landscape and we got a lot of information about birds and plants.
You are an excellent birdwatcher. You recognize the birds in a split second , and we are not always able to follow you.
Without you we would have not seen that much. We will recommend you to all bird lovers.
Thank you for the wonderful day!!
Six Danish Birdwatchers


Name: Dr. Steve Covington (Birdwatcher)
Country-City:Atlanta Georgia USA
Sent: 2/28/06
San Jorge is a beautiful location, beautiful country, with very friendly people.
What a beautiful place ! I enjoyed the food and the hospitality along with birding with George and Holguer, who were both very knowledgeable and helpful. We visited San Jorge de Milpe Reserve, San Jorge de Tandayapa , Nono Mindo Road , Yanacocha and Botanical Reserve Hosteria San Jorge.
Overall a very enjoyable experience!!!
Thank you very much!!


Name: Dr. Dwanne Collier (Birdwatcher)
Country-City:Rome, Georgia USA
Sent: 2/28/06
Transportation ,birding guides, food, andpersonnel are WONDERFUL!
Rooms charming, clean, beds comfortable.
My opinion about the birdwatching and guidance services provided by San Jorge is.: EXCELLENT !!.


Name: Dr. Stuart A. Smith ( Birdwatcher)
Country-City:Rome, Georgia USA
Sent: 2/28/06
Food, dining room, our rooms were great. Not the Hilton, but that is part of the charm. The transportation was timely, and worked well.
Joe and Vicente were especially helpful.
We were out birding everyday ALL DAY in San Jorge Hosteria, San Jorge de Milpe, Cosanga, San Isidro, San Jorge de Tandayapa,Papallacta Pass and Yanacocha.
Our 2 guides were George Cruz, Sr. and Holger, Both were very helpful in finding lots of birds, is which why we came in here.
We have seen about 300 species in 6 days, plus, we would have had more, but the Galàpagos Islands Cruise trip cut into the totals and we were aware that it would.


Name: Peggy and Joel Harman
Country-City: New York, USA
Sent: 2/28/06
Charming, rustic, eco-conscious, family run eco-lodge that provides the opportunity for first rate birding along with attractive service and and wholesome, quality cuisine.


Name: Lise Toft - Hans Henrik Iversen
Country-City:Copenhahue Denmark.
Sent: 1/10/06
George, just a short note to tell you, how much we enjoyed the two days at your Reserve in Quito and in the Tandayapa Valley. Your hospitality went beyond anything that could be expected by "mere" day-trippers and the birdwatching was really first class. There is no doubt, that without your enthusiasm and knowledge we would have returned with considerably fewer species that the 85 we succeeded in "chalking up" during the two days. We certainly hope that we shall be able to draw on your assistance in a not too distant future.


Name: Laurie and Dolores Seaman
Country-City:Calgary , Alberta, Canada
Sent: 12/8/05
San Jorge de Tandayapa (magic birding circuit)
Birdwatching: beautiful scenery in varied terrain. Interesting information about history and culture of the area. George provided a very knowledgeable bird guiding tour- brilliant bird spotting and identification.
Numerous treats and smiles from Irina!
Very enjoyable outing -like being good friends.
In Botanical Reserve Hosteria San Jorge (Quito)
Lovely decorated room warmed by the fire . Restaurant: delicious food, pleasant service. Warm and intimate atmosphere by the fire. Loved the roses, candles and music! Grounds peaceful and beautiful. Artistically designed . Trails serene and quiet.
A very memorable experience . Thank you for your warm hospitality


Name: Joel and Patty Trick
Country-City: Maribel, Wisconsin USA
Sent: 9 /21/05

We very much enjoyed our stay at Eco-lodge San Jorge and thank you for your hospitality. We would recommend your establishment to others looking for an alternative near to, but out of the city of Quito. The lodge would provide an excellent base location for tripsto various nearby destinations . As birders, we had good birding on the grounds, and recognize that the series of Botanical Preservesoffered by San Jorge provides opportunities to see a huge number of bird species . Thanks again for the helping to make our trip to Ecuador a success.

Name: Maggie Morales
Country-City: California USA
Sent: 8/1/05
Our Stay in San Jorge de Tandayapa Reserve 08 07 05 (Magic Birding Circuit) My first time to a cloud forest and there was not a cloud in the sky!!The bunagalo is going to be very good when its finish.I greatly enjoyed the birdwatching in the morning. Jorge,Jr. was a wonderful bird guide.!!

Our stay at San Jorge de Milpe Reserve (Magic Birding Circuit)I, loved walking down the road before we took the path into the tropical forest. The lunch in the forest was wonderful! Excellent fruits and cheese. The path was lovely and it was my first time in a tropical forest (upper lowlands)I specially enjoyed seeing the choco toucan and at the end... the sun setting...writing down the 42 species we saw... It was a memorable experience!!Enrique, the driver did and excellent job and greatly appreciate all this hard work.


Name: Chaya Spector
Country-City: California USA
Sent: 8/1/05
Our stay at San Jorge de Milpe Reserve (tropical forest) Magic Birding Circuit.Beautiful hike and delicious fresh lunch.The cheese was the best I have had in the past 3 weeks!The pitajaya was delicious as well. I think we had better luck birdingon the benches after our walk as is often my experience .Our driver, Enrique was the best.


Name: Bridgett Perry
Country-City: .New York USA
Sent: 8/1/05
Our stay at San Jorge de Tandayapa ( Cloud forest Magic Birding Circuit)I really enjoyed riding to the different areas. Viewing birds from the road was a great way for us to enjoy birding. It was not as strenuous as hiking.Jorge, Jr. was a very good birding guide.

Our Stay at San Jorge de MilpeWalking along the road to the trail was a great way to bird watch.The lunch in the forest was really wonderful.Although, the trail was beautiful, I preferred watching birds from the area where we parked, at the benches.


Name: Claudia Berry
Country-City: Florida, USA
Sent: 8/1/05
Our stay at Botanical Reserve Hosteria San Jorge (Quito. Highland Rain Forest and Paramo) Facilities and staff are wonderful, helpful and welcoming. Excellent food and service. Thanks for everything!!

Our stay in San Jorge de Tandayapa ( cloud forest) Beautiful. Run tours from 6 am to 2 pm. We really loved the enthusiasm . We already talk about ideas. I think everything you are doing is very exciting. Thank you


Name: Jeanie Boyton
Country-City: Utah, USA
Sent: 6/10/05
I have enjoyed the Magic Birding Circuit Tour during two days and the Otavalo cultural tour.In San Jorge de Milpe Reserve, the tropical rain forest birds, the vegetation and a Sloth that was watching me from a tree!!In San Jorge de Tandayapa Reserve, the magic cloud forest. In Hosteria San Jorge the paramo, highland rain forest and gorgeous lodge area.Beautiful mountains and volcanoes . Fabulous birds!! WONDERFUL ,FRIENDLY, TRUSTWORTHY STAFF
THANK YOU!!


Name: Mr. & Mrs. Craig Walker
Country-City: Ohio , USA Journeys International
Sent: 4/19/05
Wonderful place - A REAL SHANGRI LA !!! -
Fabulous birdwatching trips in San Jorge Ecolodge and San Jorge de Tandayapa!!

ABA members


Connecticut Audubon Society Birding Tour
March 17 - 21, 2005

Name: Diana Whitelaw
Your mountain surroundings are indescribably beautiful. George, Hugo and Giorgio all shared their deep love of natural environment
in general, and birds in particular, in a genuine, knowledgeable and caring fashion. Your lodge is charming, and the dining room delightful. I fully enjoyed every meal. The staff is kind, personal and very helpful. Thank you so much for a visit of a life time.

Name: Joan McQuire
Excellent food and accommodations.

Name: Milan Bull
The food was excellent

Name: Jeb Brown and Catherine Ciric
The food was delicious, the evening fires delightful. Wonderful blankets and decor . The night tea on arrival we really appreciated.

Name: Joyce Banta
The staff was very polite and helpful. The rooms clean . All were willing to help us and keep us comfortable . They were neat, clean and always smiled.

Name: Kim and Peter Torop
Yes, San Jorge is charming, friendly, beautiful. We hope to come back!! The room was lovely and the fireplace welcoming. Also, the food, wine and beer were excellent. The gardens are beautiful.

Name: Sally Leighton
A very comfortable and hospitable lodge.


White Mountain Audubon Society
Arizona, USA
Birding tour: January 15 - 26, 2005

Name: Mary Ellen Bittorf, Tour Leader
San Jorge is a beautiful place to stay. From the moment we arrived at the airport until we departed, the service was excellent. The food was also outstanding. We were promised the opportunity to see many beautiful birds, and we certainly did.
The guides were amazing. They knew the birds and where to find them. George was most gracious and accommodating. The grounds at San Jorge are inviting and beautiful. The tours exposed us to a wide variety of trails and breathtaking scenery. All is all this has been an unforgettable trip. Thank you!!


Name: Nancy and Ed Buell
It was a beautiful setting . The history of Ecuador also made it more interesting to stay here.
The Galàpagos tour also was very good. Jorge the owner and our guide were very knowledgeable and helpful. Mindo area is a nice contrast from mountains to jungle. The San Jorge staff is exceptionally nice. Food was delicious and beautifully prepared.

Name: John Faust and Tricia Gerrodette
We went birding to San Jorge, Tandayapa, Yanacocha , Mindo , Milpe, and Pedro Vicente Maldonado with San Jorge Ecotours.
The food and the hospitality were outstanding. The location of Hosterìa San Jorge provides excellent access to birds. The tours are supported by professional guides who work well with the group and among themselves. The narrations that accompanied the bus rides are informative and provide a good contest for understanding this beautiful country.

Name: Emilita McDonald
The comfort and the interest of the hotel - visually, sensivity, gastronomically - I could imagine this as a setting for families for generations. Every enjoyment can be met. Thick towels and sauna.
Thank you for the memories.

Name: Don and Karen Stewart
A wonderful place filled with natural beauty. Even more wonderful were the people, helpful and with a friendly smile.
Thank you for your hospitality!!

Name: Bob and Loreta Peña
The stay at San Jorge was comfortable, the food was excellent and the hospitality outstanding. Everyone here worked hard to make us welcome and meet all our needs. I loved the bird outings and thank George, Bessie, Diana, Santos, Irman and Hugolino for their efforts to find the birds and help everyone to see them. Many thanks!!

Name: Karen and Jim O`Neil
San Jorge Eco-lodge steeps its guests in the culture of Ecuador. The owners and the staff are friendly, caring and helpful. We felt truly care for. The guides for our birding trips to San Jorge Reserve, Yanacocha, Tandayapa, Mindo, and Milpe are extremly knowledgeable about the birds. They work hard to "get" everyone on as many birds as possible .
George Cruz, owner of San Jorge Ecolodge is a man in love with his native Ecuador, its people, its history , its culture and its birds. He is thrilled to share his love with others.
We had an excellent food at both San Jorge and at the Floreana boat.


Name: Irving Himel
BIRDER
Country-City: Toronto Canada
Sent: 1/15/05
After this magic visit I will return to Ecuador and Galàpagos .
I went 4 days birding with San Jorge EcoLodge Adventures. The place is great, your hospitality is perfect, the food copious and delicious.
Tours well executed with good guides. Great trip.

I stayed at the SAN JORGE ECO-LODGE run by Dr. George Cruz, a true renaissance man. I had my own native guide for birding, and the pleasure of Georges company for most of the trips taken. The lodge is at 10000 ft. weather is cool and pleasant, even though we were on the Equator. We hiked for 7 hours, probably climbing 3500 ft. we were rewarded by good long looks at an Andean Condor. (first sighting around Quito). We birded 5 zones. The highland forest and plains. The rain forest. A stop at Tony’s hummingbird station. (17 new hummer species) and the Mindo Rain forest. We stayed in Mindo were we were living the way the indigenous lived. At 4am we hiked in the dark through farm fields and climbed a cliff to await dawn and the COCKS ON THE ROCK a bird hidden in the deep forest, which appears only at dawn to impress his females. In Ecuador I was shown 147 species, having missed a whole bunch because of my colour blindness.

HIGHLIGHTS: COCK ON THE ROCK, ANDEAN CONDOR, TONS OF HUMMERS 30 of the 150 species, WHITE CAPPED, DIPPER BLACK CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE, HORNEO, ANDIAN GUAN, SUPERCILLARIEDMHEMISPINCLUS, SUNBITTERN, TOO MANY TANAGERS AND OTHER LEAF HIDDEN BIRDS, CHOCO TOUCAN.

Sometimes in the next 24 months, when I get the listing urge again, I we return to Ecuador and go to the Galapogas, Mindo and south to the tropical forest, with a few days at the lodge overlooking Quito.

Might I suggest that you visit their web site www.eco-lodgesanjorge.com. And soon let them plan at trip to Ecuador.

Happy birding,
Irving Himel
Toronoto, Ontario
Canada
January, 2005


Name: Dennis and Carol Wysong.
President Buena Vista Audubon Society
Country-City: California USA
Sent: 12/18/04
We really enjoyed the wonderful hospitality, the graciousness and helpfulness of our hosts.
The room was very comfortable and the views spectacular . Since we are birders, the best part was the birding. We logged over 200 birds in 3 days of birding. Jorge knows the best spots around here and took us to them and helped us identify them and also provided other bird guides including his son, Jorge, Jr., who where very helpful. We loved our stay and highly recommend San Jorge Botanical Reserve.
We birded in San Jorge Botanical Reserve, Yanacocha, Tandayapa, Mindo and Milipe.


Ecuador -A Land of Hummingbirds and Warm Hospitality
By Mary Ellen Sargent
Denver Audubon Society
Tour date: October 29 - November 8, 2004

We arrived in Quito in the evening of Oct. 29th and immediately traveled to the San Jorge Eco-Lodge – a 200 acre ranch located high above the city with gorgeous views. The next day started with a delightful gourmet breakfast, followed by birding around the eco lodge (the Black-tailed Trainbearer Hummingbird being the most magnificent). We then traveled to the Yanacocha Preserve, a protected cloud forest west of Quito, (approx. 10,000 ft in altitude) where many hummingbirds and tanagers were sighted. In the afternoon, we descended to the Trucha/Bella Vista area, where we birded at a unique preserve owned by a conservation minded American couple. In the short time of 1/2 hour, we saw at least 20 species of hummingbirds (the most outstanding being the Violet-tailed Sylph).

Imagine an early morning walk, (in pitch dark) up a steep mountain. We were on our way to see the Cock-of-the-Rock at their lek. Noisy bright red-orange males displayed their mating ritual whenever a female flew in or wandered by. After the spectacular display at the lek, we trekked down the mountain, to enjoy 40 more bird species in a farmer’s field. That afternoon, we visited wildlife and birding sites in the famous Mindo area where at one point the elusive cougar was sighted. Life lists kept growing.....

We returned from Napo on Nov 5th and we took the afternoon off from birding to visit the Andes Indian market and weavers in Otavalo, 2 hours north of Quito. On Saturday, during a 1000 ft vertical hike above San Jorge Lodge, we experienced more birding and an excellent lesson in the medicinal plants of the Andes from our host and lodge proprietor Dr. Jorge Cruz. During our leisure time, several members took advantage of the pool, hot tub and sauna. Sunday, we toured the Papallacta area east of Quito looking for high altitude raptors and were thrilled to see the Carunculated Caracara and the Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle. After birding in the misty coolness of the cloud forest, we relaxed in the multiple pools at a local hot springs.

We left Ecuador on Nov. 8th, filled with the warmth and hospitality of both the Napo and San Jorge lodges. We took home many memories of our diverse, fun-filled trip and delighted in the fact that we saw over 300 bird species.

Name: Toni Rautus
President, Denver Field Ornithologists
Country-City: Denver Colorado USA
Tour Date: October 31 - November 8, 2004
A belated thank your for a wonderful stay at your lodge. What a
beautiful introduction to Ecuador. You, your family and the wonderful
staff made us feel at home and like part of a family. I have told all
my friends about your beautiful lodge, what a hard working and
delightful host you and young Jorge are how special your parents were to
our fellow travelers, Gale and Jim. Your success is well deserved.

All of our excursions to look for birds or plants were spectacular. The
Cock of the Rock hike was well worth getting up at 4:00 am and the hike
up the hill. Unfortunately we did not get to see the Condor but our soak
at the hot springs was a nice way to soothe the loss. Your roadside
picnic lunches were the best. We all want the salad dressing recipe as
well as the cerveche and quinoa soup.

Jorge Jr. is a doll and will be a super bird guide. His ability to
locate and identify the birds quickly is truly a gift. Both he and you
have such wonderful enthusiasm for what you are doing. Your pride and
respect for your country and its natural resources and history are
evident in everything you do.

I hope all is well at the lodge and your baby llama is growing up
strong. Many thanks again for my wonderful oasis in Quito.

Name: Dr. Lu Picher
DENVER AUDUBON SOCIETY BIRDER
Country-City: Denver Colorado USA
October 31 - November 8, 2004

While any good birding trip needs to have a good variety of birds in several different habitats, it goes best with good, knowledgeable guides who are pleasant ,easy to get along with and helpful. The San Jorge Eco-lodge in the hills overlooking Quito has just that, with the very accommodating, aggreable and helpful guides like the owner Jorge Cruz and his oldest son, Jorge, Jr., as well as other guides. They know where to find the birds and what they are when they "just fly by" suddenly. They make themselves available from sun up till long after sundown (since they also run the lodge with good food and other great services, like horsebackriding, shamanic plants hiking, real shamanic cleansings and mountain biking in the cloud forest!).
Our birding experience was terrific-ranging from sunrise in the jungle at the cock of the rock lek, (beautiful but certainly noisy), to seeing a golden headed Quetzal on the way back to the van, 23 hummingbirds in the first day and 14 lovely tanagers the second day. In addition, Jorge`s training as a vet and life long interest in Ecuador`s archeology as well as his knowledge of medicinal uses for native plant makes for a well rounded ecological understanding. The family and staff make you feel right at home.


DENVER AUDUBON SOCITIEY
Denver, Colorado, USA
Tour date: October 29 - November 9, 2004

Name: Becky Beckers
DENVER AUDUBON SOCIETY BIRDING TOUR LEADER
DENVER , COLORADO USA

The most delightful, charming lodge that I have ever stayed in. Rustically luxurious, old style hacienda, combined with modern convenience. George, Irina and Georgy are more like family, than proprietors and cater to your desires before you have time to develop them.
Georgy,Jr. is a delight and extraordinary bright birding guide. He relates well to the group with very good people and social skills.
He will make world renowned guide. I love his birding enthusiasm.
Vicente is a blessing and magician. With his multi-tasking skills at the resort and always with a smile!!
And Jorge, what can I say!!? We love you Jorge , thank you!! for taking such good care of us!!



Name: James Dunan
As an english only speaking indiviual, I found the management very understandable . The food was outstanding
and so well prepared, and the rooms are cozy, clean and very comfortable. We were met at the airport promptly and transported
in good comfort to the lodge. While in our various birding trips the guides were very good, and I was especially impressed with the young lad, Jorge Jr. ( Dr Cruz's youngest son). If he keeps the interest up,he is bound to have a very bright future.

Name: Frank Witebsky
Country-City: Bozeman , Montana
Sent: 7/04
Dear Jorge, I just wanted to thank you again for providing me with a wonderful day¹s birding while I was at San Jorge. Even if you were at least 10 years older
I would consider you an extremely talented and skilled birding guide, and I
could not believe it when your father told me your actual age. I hope your
interest in and enthusiasm for birds continues, and that you will continue
to share the delights of the birds in the San Jorge area with other visitors
in the years ahead.


Name: Laurie Kleen
Country-City: Saint Louis, MO USA
Sent:7/04
San Jorge location is spectacular with a view of the mountains, volcanoes and Quito. Staying up in the higher rooms gives you a bird-eye
view of it all and marvellous birdsightings too. Good meals, pleasent service, and the trip to Otavalo were great, but best of all was following young Jorge up the steps and cutting in the mountain side to see the scarlet bellied mountain tanager and many other great birds



Name: Denise and Raimond Morin
Country-City: Toronto Canada
Sent: 5/31/04

ABA members/17 years of birdwatching

Thank you for the wonderful time we had at Eco-lodge San Jorge. We were very impressed with the natural environment at San Jorge .It was our first experience with a Highland Rain Forest. The diversity of vegetation and birds was astounding
Your birdwatching tour was fantastic!!

The highlights were the hummingbirds and the tanagers .The Cock of the rock excursion was spectacular. Your birdwatching guide was very good in helping us discover some beautiful birds of Ecuador.


Name: Sharon and Ted Kirsten
Country-City: Johanesburg South Africa
Sent: 5/4//04
Thanks to all San Jorge
We had a lovely service and good food and company.
Young George was an excellent birdwatching guide in San Jorge highland rain forest.We saw great birds.

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