The western slopes of the Pichincha Volcano near Quito are covered in beautiful cloud forests, perfect for nature lovers, and particularly birders, wanting to indulge their sense of adventure.
Mindo Cloud Forest
The small community of Mindo is surrounded by some of Ecuador's most pristine cloud forest – a biodiverse region home to a dazzling array of animal, plant and, perhaps most notably, bird life. Indeed, with more than 450 species identified in the Mindo area alone, including the cock-of-the-rock, golden-headed quetzal and toucan-barbet, it's nothing short of an ornithologist's paradise. A substantial part of the forest here has been designated a nature reserve, filled with a spectacular array of flora and fauna, and many waterfalls. Entry to the reserve itself is restricted to scientists, but a buffer zone of private reserves exists, which offers many opportunities for exploration.
Luxury at Mashpi Lodge
Aside for the landscapes and wildlife, there are some superb accommodation options, with our favourite – Mashpi Lodge – offering stylish rooms with floor-to-ceiling views of the forest canopy. Explore in the company of expert naturalists, head out on nighttime walks and swim in the spray of remote waterfalls, returning each evening to gourmet dining and relaxing Jacuzzi soaks – now what could be better than that?