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We will continue to provide our students with the opportunity to visit Ecuador through this … read more
Ceri Richmond

Cloud Forest walking holidays in Ecuadorian Andes

Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
Activity Level: Moderate
Highlights: Cloudforest hikes – Community Projects – Bird-watching - Anciente 'culunco' trails
Itinerary: Day 1 Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Walk
Day 2 Waterfall Trail Hike
Day 3 Yumbo Trail Hike
Day 4 Maquipucuna Palmitos Trail Walk

Day 1    Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Walk   2km–2hrs   1400m–1920m
From Quito we head into the cloud forest region of north-west Ecuador, a spectacularly scenic overland journey which brings us to the start of our walk into the Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Reserve. This uphill walk through beautiful primary cloud forest takes around two hours, there are various seating places to rest and enjoy being in the forest along the way. Depending on the cloud cover you will be rewarded with spectacular views when you reach the lodge for lunch. Your luggage will be transported in by mule. After lunch we can enjoy a moderate walk on a circular trail near the lodge through beautiful primary and secondary forest which offers great views across the surrounding mountains, a visit to the orchid garden and a chance to have a go on the popular giant tree swing.
Dinner and overnight in Santa Lucia Lodge.

Day 2     Waterfall Trail     5.5km – 4hrs     1920m - 1600m – 1920m
This is one of the most beautiful trails in Santa Lucía. The trail descends steeply into a thick primary forest of giant trees laden with bromeliads, epiphytes and orchids, and takes you passed three mountain waterfalls. Doubling back for a short way, you can then pass more waterfalls to arrive at a swimming hole: a beautiful place to relax, appreciate the forest and enjoy a picnic lunch. From here the adventurous can walk waist-deep in the river upstream to a fabulous waterfall.
Dinner and overnight in Santa Lucia Lodge.

Day 3    Yumbo Trail   6km–6hrs (with lunch stop)  1920m–1280m
This walk takes you along an ancient trail, through deeply trenched culuncos which were made and used as a trading route between the mountains and the coast by the pre-Incan Yumbo people who lived in this area from 1500 BC to 500 AC. The hike passes by an organic banana plantation, waterfalls and pristine primary forest including an impressive area of giant tree ferns. A highlight is a stop at the Santa Rosa River where (depending on the river level) you can walk upstream a hundred meters to reach a waterfall which cascades into a crystal clear pool, perfect for swimming. Here we will enjoy our box lunch. At the end of the hike, the trail opens out into a lush green meadow with views of the river below and takes you on to the Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve. Your luggage will be transported to Maquipucuna Lodge by mule.
Dinner and overnight at Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Lodge.

Day 4     Palmito Trail     4hrs     1300m
This morning we hike through the Maquipucuna Reserve along the Palmitos Trail, which takes us along more stretches of Pre-Incan 'culuncos' and through secondary and primary forest where we can learn about the medicinal plants found in this area. The walk offers other interesting sights such as a variety of wildlife and great views across the cloud forest canopy. After lunch in Maquipucuna we begin our return journey to Quito where on arrival, the tour ends. We can also take care of your Quito hotel reservations and airport transfers, if you need assistance with these services please let us know.

Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Reserve

Santa-Lucia-LodgeSanta Lucía eco-lodge and cabanas are in the heart of the cloud forest on a mountain peak at 1900 metres. Beautifully crafted cabanas with amazing views over the forest have private bathrooms and sleep between two and five people. In addition to flush toilets the lodge has compost toilets to minimise contamination. The hot showers have particularly spectacular views over the forest. Solar panels provide limited electricity in the lodge only.
Meals combine traditional Ecuadorian and international recipes and where possible they use organic produce from their garden. Guests are always welcome to lend a hand in the garden and kitchen.

Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve

Maquipucuna-LodgeIn the middle of the cloud forest where peace and tranquility prevail, visitors have the opportunity to stay in the magnificent environment of the Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve. Relax in the warm breeze and be swept away by the exuberant scenery.
All of the accommodations offer breathtaking views of the forest, but for the true nature lover, the open, comfortable Umachaca House is ideal. The lodge is built in accordance with its natural surroundings next to the Umachaca River, creating an even more beautiful, relaxing back-to-nature experience. The Umachaca House sleeps up to 18 guests in double or family bedrooms with shared bathroom facilities.
The Tulipe House is a set of 4 suites with double beds and private bathrooms with amazing views of the forest. This joins the Umachaca House by a covered bridge.

Prices 2017

No of People Accommodation Price per person
1 single room $1810
2 double room $1070
3 - 4 double/triple rooms $890


Price includes:
Private transportation to and from the cloud forest, top English speaking naturalist guide, all accommodation as specified with private bathroom & breakfast, entrance fees to Santa Lucia & Maquipucuna Reserve, 4 lunches & 3 dinners, mules to transport luggage.

Not included:
International flights, personal travel insurance, alcoholic and soft drinks, any extra activities, tips and personal expenses.

Notes:
Prices are stated in US Dollars.
Prices are valid until 31st December 2017.
A single supplement fee of US$110 will apply for those requesting single accommodation.
Special group rates apply for groups of 5 people or more. Please contact us for more details.
Extra nights: We recommend that you visit Quito and can help with hotel reservations and activities in the city.

Photo Gallery - Cloud Forest Nature Walking Tour

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