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Cloud forest – lower montane to montane


Only 85 km from Quito, the Maquipucuna Reserve is located in the transition of two global biodiversity hotspots (the Chocó-Western Ecuador and the Tropical Andes) and has representative characteristics of both bioregions, resulting in not only high rates of diversity, but also high rates of endemism.  The Maquipucuna Lodge is located at the southern end of the 6000 hectare Reserve.  The forest is lower montane wet forest and high montane cloud forest, and ranges in elevation from 900 to 2700 metres above sea level.

For birding, it is one of the best places for seeing the Choco Endemics of the western Andes with an impressive list of 375 species.  Birdlife International and the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador have designated Maquipucuna as an Important Bird Area (IBA) in its own right. The area used to the part of the original Mindo IBA when originally declared back in the 90’s.  Motmots can often visit the dining room area as well as many beautiful Hummingbirds flittering around the surrounding gardens.

The reserve is also home to nearly 2,000 species of plants and at least 45 species of mammals including the Spectacled Bear, which can be seen during specific fruiting seasons.

Making A Difference
In 1988, the Foundation legally acquired what is now the Maquipucuna Reserve and Protected Forest. Several years later, the Foundation and Ministry of Agriculture declared adjacent lands the Upper Guayllabamba Watershed Protected Forest (13,880 ha). The Maquipucuna Foundation has broken new ground in many areas of conservation in Ecuador. It is one of the first organisations in Ecuador that carried out land purchase for conservation and also was one of the first to integrate local communities into ecotourism related activities, which has subsequently proven to be one of the most effective means to protect biodiversity and generate employment in forested areas.


If you would like any more information or to chat over the details of the trip we would be delighted to help. Telephone Telephone01964 552292 for more information or emailemail us today.



  • Simple but comfortable accommodation, with open spaces designed to allow intimate contact with nature and the soothing sounds of the rushing Umachaca River.
  • A network of trails allows tourists and scientists to easily access a variety of natural habitats in different stages of succession.
  • The lodge provides accommodation for up to 30 guests in five separate bedrooms, with shared bathrooms, and has 3 suites with private bathrooms (which is what we recommend for our guests). It also has a family cabin with a private bathroom, all with hot showers.
  • Meals are provided using the best local ingredients and recipes with an abundance of fresh vegetables grown and served from the Reserve’s own organic garden.


  • From the lodge you can access eight different hiking trails with over 40 km of trails.
  • There is a small bird tower for early morning birding.
  • Community visits can be arranged, in particular to see the crafts made by local women out of tagua (vegetable ivory).
  • A shade-grown coffee tour can be organised.


If you would like any more information or to chat over the details of the trip we would be delighted to help. Telephone Telephone01482 872716 for more information or emailemail us today.


With a list of 375 species of birds, the highlights at Maquipucuna are the many Choco endemics.  Situated in the middle of a valley, Maquicupuna has a great advantage of providing access to seeing bird species of both lower elevation and higher elevation forest from the lodge. The many trails through the forest and minor roads nearby give you ample opportunity to see birds in both primary and secondary forested areas.  Real highlights are Lanceolated Monklet, Barred Puffbird and Esmeraldas Antbird. 

Often you get to see wonderful mixed flocks with at least 10 species of Tanagers and due to the intact forest habitat, there is a very healthy Crested Guan population. The river next to the lodge provides a perfect habitat for Torrent Ducks, White-capped Dippers and Bay Wren.  The small tower is an excellent way to start birding nearby the lodge.


If you would like any more information or to chat over the details of the trip we would be delighted to help. Telephone Telephone01964 552292 for more information or emailemail us today.

Think Galapagos

Rachel DexCall Rachel,
Ecuador Specialist
on 01964 552292
Contcat us online

Download Bird ListDownload the complete Bird List
for Maquipucuna.
(in PDF format)




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