The Cloud Forest
The Cloud Forest in Ecuador wraps itself around the steep slopes of the Andean foothills. Home to crystal clear waterfalls, moss-covered trees and swirling mist, this pocket of Ecuador is a nature wonderland rich in biodiversity and jaw-dropping scenery.
The montane rainforest found within the Cloud Forest soaks up moisture directly from the clouds creating a lush green habitat that is bursting with life. Home to hundreds of butterflies, birds, and primate species, it is a biodiversity hotspot with new species being discovered on a regular basis.
Revered as a birders’ paradise there are over 500 species of birds recorded in the area alone, from exotic tanagers, strikingly coloured quetzals, and endemic toucans, the list goes on. In one trip one can see a myriad of birds fluttering through the canopy and maybe even get to glimpse at the Andean Cock of the Rock, a species high of the list of every birder coming to Ecuador. The majority of eco-lodges dotted around the area host hummingbird feeders where up to 22 of these magnificent creatures can be seen hovering around, displaying some of the best hummingbird viewing in the Americas.
Brimming with tropical forest, hidden waterfalls, pristine streams and exotic orchids, guided hiking trails offer a wonderful way to experience the sights and sounds of the Cloud Forest. Swimming in crystal-clear waterfalls, learning about the medicinal plants and discovering a variety of bizarre frogs, bats and butterflies are all part of the fun. As well as tubing along the gentle rapids of the Mindo River, rappelling above the treetops and mountain-biking through untouched trails: there are a limitless number of activities to be enjoyed here.
Located only two and a half hours north of Quito, the Cloud Forest is easy to access making it a popular destination to visit in the country. In order to maintain its pristine beauty a number of reserves have been created. The Mindo-Nambillo Reserve and Mashpi Reserve are two of our favourite reserves and offer the perfect opportunity to explore the area and discover the beauty of the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest.