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The Andean Cloudforest

See all our Ecuador & Galapagos Tours and Nature & Wildlife Expeditions in Ecuador

The Andean Cloudforest

Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights

Program Overview

Explore the amazing Andean Cloud Forest, considered the richest biodiversity hot spot on earth, where undiscovered and supposedly extinct species have been recently found. It is just a small sample of its amazing natural richness!


The Andean Cloudforest: Tour Highlights

  • Explore one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet.
  • Excursion to the Cock of the Rock lek
  • Visit a Chocolate Factory and a Butterfly farm in Mindo.
  • Enjoy Thermal Springs at 3200 mts / 10500 ft above sea level


Itinerary – Day by Day

andean-cloudforest-birdDay 1: Yanacocha Reserve: Looking for the Black-breasted Puffleg.

Discover the beauty of the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest considered one of the most bio diverse ecosystems on the planet. Visit Yanacocha reserve, located on the slopes of Volcan Pichincha, just 30 min away from Quito. The reserve protects a large area (1000 ha) of Polylepis woodland and exceptional montane flora. The reserve is home to many species of hummingbirds like the endangered Black-breasted Puffleg considered the Bird Emblem of Quito. It is also home to other birds like the Curve-billed Tinamou, Ocellated Tapaculo and Mountain Tanagers. Other animals have been also spotted in the reserve, like the Spectacled bear, Andean fox, Western Mountain Coati and Pumas, some of them not so easy to see.

Enjoy lunch at Nono, a small picturesque town dedicated mainly to cattle. Continue your trip through the Nono – Mindo Eco Road. Arrive to your lodge for check in and overnight. (Meals: L, D)

andean-hike-ecuadorDay 2: Cock of the Rock Lek – Exploring Mindo Cloud Forest – Chocolate artisanal factory

Early wake up to visit the Cock of the Rock lek, then return to the lodge for breakfast. Hike in the Mindo Nambillo Protected Forest, surrounded by green cloud forest vegetation and beautiful waterfalls. The forest is home to a multitude of epiphytes (air plants), including bromeliads, orchids, moss and ferns. Learn about the different species of plants, birds, and other animals that live in this amazing ecosystem. The Cloud forest is one of the most biodiverse ecosystem on the planet, it is the home of the most recent mammal discovered, the Olinguito.

Continue to visit a butterfly farm with an exhibition of 25 varieties of butterflies, then visit a Chocolate artisan factory where you will see chocolate being made from the bean to the chocolate bar. (Meals: B, L, D)

andean-cloudforest-hotelDay 3: Cloud forest Ancestral groups – Mitad del Mundo – Papallacta Thermal Springs.

Today learn about the prehispanic cultures who inhabited the north-western valley and mountains of Quito. Visit Tulipe, an archaeological site built by the Yumbos who inhabited this territory from 800 to 1600 AD. Tulipe seems to have once served as the tribe’s main ceremonial site; it features eight main structures with numerous pools that point to its ceremonial importance.

Continue to the Middle of the World complex, built to commemorate the first scientific mission in charge to determine Earth’s shape back in 1743, and to mark the point; where according to calculations used at that time; the Equator line crossed. After lunch, continue to the Andean Eastern slopes, arrive at Papallacta; a small village famous for its thermal hot springs. Rest of the afternoon and night at The Papallacta Thermal Springs & Spa hotel to enjoy the thermal spring pools (Meals: B,L,D)

andean-cloudforest-owlDay 4: San Isidro Wildlife Reserve

Depart from Papallacta to explore the entrance of the Amazon forest, at San Isidro Reserve. The reserve offers 1,900 hectares of well marked and maintained forest trails that will lead you through a variety of habitat zones typical of the region, including some of the most beautiful accessible and well preserved mountain humid forest to be found anywhere on the east slopes of the Andes.

Its immediate surroundings boast a bird list of about 310 species, among the mammals commonly spotted in the area are the Mountain tapir, Tayra, Black agouti and Red-tailed squirrel. San Isidro is situated at about 2050 meters above sea level, but the trails lead through elevational gradients that pass through habitats from 2,400 meters all the way down to 1,850 meters. This is an ideal base to observe Andean birds from the lower reaches of the temperate zone down into the heart of the subtropical zone. (Meals: B, L, D)

ecuador-cloudforest-birdsDay 5: Guango Wildlife Reserve – Quito.

Enjoy the morning at the San Isidro reserve, then start your journey back to Quito. En route, stop at Guango Lodge, It lies at a higher elevation (about 2,700 meters) on Ecuador’s eastern slopes. This area is centered in a zone classified as humid temperate forest, a habitat distinctly different from San Isidro and characterized by its more stunted trees, cooler climate, and different bird and plant composition.

Enjoy lunch in the area and then continue to Quito. Transfer to the hotel. Rest of the evening on your own. (Meals: B, L)

Operational details

The program starts and ends in Quito.

The program includes

andean-cloudforest-orchidPrivate transportation, expert local guide, accommodation & meals according to itinerary detail, visits and entrance fee to mentioned places. Welcome kit, snacks and water provision along the trip.

The program does not included

International airfare, personal expenses, insurance and gratuities.

For a complete Nature Expedition add to this trip a 4 or 5 days in the Galapagos Islands.

Ready to get started? Contact us to book your trip.


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