Ecuador is a great place for travelling. Not only is there so much scenic beauty – Amazon Jungle, Andes Mountains, coastal plain and the Galapagos Islands; and, hotel / hostel room rates are very reasonable. For example, for between $ 50 and $ 100 USD one can normally find very nice accommodation. Of course, you could also pay much higher rates at the international chain hotels. Frankly, I enjoy the many moderately priced locations.
Having said that; I do, too often, find a beautiful looking place on the internet only to discover something far less. That happened to my partner and I this past weekend. The website for the Safari Hosteria in Puyo shows a very nice place at reasonable, Ecuador, prices. We booked with the required advance deposit and struck out from Quito, over the Eastern Andes Mountain range on the 4 plus hour drive to the South East of the country, bordering on the Amazon Jungle.
The trip through the mountains at 0530 – 0630 a.m. is spectacular. The rising sun casts shadows across the panorama, highlighting the ruggedness of the terrain. Early morning clouds float above and/ or below the highway elevations. My lady hung out of the car window, braving the early morning chill, snapping photo after photo, hopeful to capture what her eyes were seeing. Unfortunately, on this trip, there was not time to stop.
The grounds of the Safari Hosteria are beautiful, with well-groomed lush vegetation and colourful flowers. We checked in and were led through the complex, past a volleyball court and very nice swimming pool with a bar (closed throughtout our short time there) to our room in one of the one-story, 3 linked accommodations, scattered across the property.
It was clear from the outside that there was a serious lack of maintenance on the buildings. Old aluminum sliding windows showed their age and window screens were often torn. Rooves looked like they had not been painted in the over twenty years since installation.
We went through three rooms, looking for one that was able to provide running hot water, as advertised. The third room, alas, spouted hot water from the shower, after 15 minutes of the hotel staff rushing around trying to make it happen. The bathrooms in each room that we went to were old and grungy. Where shower stall tiles had been removed to repair piping at some much earlier time, bare cement patching filled the space.
It was not where we wanted to stay. Sadly, the hostel that had once been considered one of the places to stay in Puyo, was no longer. It was worn, tired, dowdy and seriously needing maintenance to assure basic functions. We asked for our deposit back. With or without the return, we were determined not to stay one night there.
Fortunately, the employees are the blessing of the place. The lady at the front desk and those who tried to satisfy us with a decent room did all that they could to make us happy. Disappointed, the owner readily allowed the return of the deposit, and we headed off to find very nice, clean accommodation at the Restaurant and Hotel Jardin. The price was only $ 10 - $15 more; but, jump in quality was significant. Finally, we were happy. It is a place that we will return to on our next visit to Puyo.
Despite care in selection places to stay, unfortunately Ecuador has many disappointments, everyone due to failure to do maintenance.
Safari Hosteria www.hostelsafari.com.ec (Not recommended)
El Jardine http://eljardinrelax.com.ec/ ( Recommended )
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