As part of Happy Gringo Travel’s custom-made tours in Ecuador, we offer trips to the cloud forest. Located a few hours North West of Quito, the rich region is a bird and nature lover’s paradise. It is a favorite place to visit on day trips from Quito to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Keep reading for our top reasons to make the journey, discovering the natural wonders of one of the most bio-diverse areas of the country.
The cloud forest in Ecuador is home to more than 20 percent of the world’s bird species, making it a top spot for bird watchers from around the world. While the number of species varies, depending on the source, there are well over 500 species of birds found here. These include 35 species of hummingbirds, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, the Golden-Headed Quetzal, and the Plate-Billed Mountain Toucan.
The lush landscape of the cloud forest lends itself to outdoor adventure. Many lodge’s and reserves offer ziplines through the canopy over rivers and valleys, cable car rides, rappelling down waterfalls, mountain biking through the vibrant forests, and even a sky bike-where you pedal your way above the canopy, taking in the rolling hills and valleys of the western Andes.
The lodges of Ecuador’s cloud forest offer a base to jump off from when exploring the spectacular natural wonders of the region. From Mashpi Lodge, located on a high vista overlooking the sprawling, deep green canopy, to Tandayapa Bird Lodge, where 100 species of birds have been spotted from the balcony, there are specialty lodges to fit any itinerary.
Hidden by the lush landscape of the cloud forest are waterfalls reached by crossing a river by cable car, leading to trails through the forest that intersects with cascading falls where you can stop for a swim before heading on to the next set of falls.
The Mindo Nambillo Cloud Forest Reserve, Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve, Intag Cloud Forest Reserve, and the Mashpi Reserve are swathes of land that are protected areas where the wildlife and flora thrive. Each area has birds, plants, and animals that are endemic to the region, giving you a rare chance to see species in their natural habitat without the cages and pens of zoos and wildlife parks.
Happy Gringo Travel’s custom-made tours in Ecuador include horseback riding trips through the cloud forest. These trips are a chance to see the forest from high vistas and explore the valleys with an expert horseback and nature guide, taking you to remote regions only reached by trails lined with dense foliage and teeming with wildlife.
For chocolate lover’s, the cloud forest offers a chance to visit chocolatiers in the region and learn about how the confection is made. Tours take you through the entire process-from harvesting the cacao beans, to the fermentation cycle, until the final product is produced. Tastings are part of the day, a great way to unwind between legs of the journey.
Mindo is one of the most popular towns of the cloud forest, located a few hours northwest of Quito. The small town is a base for day trips that explore the different reserves of the area, a butterfly farm, and for the active explorer, there are chances to tube and raft nearby rivers.
The quaint town is a great break from the city life of the capital, and gives you a picture of what other, more developed areas of the country were like before tourism took center stage.
Happy Gringo Travel is happy to arrange custom-made tours in Ecuador that include stops and day trips in the cloud forest. We can arrange stays at lodges, transportation, and expert guides for you time here. For more information, contact a member of our team through this site or by using our toll-free number.