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“Wonderful place in all respects - and underpriced” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve

Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve
Reserve and Ecolodge: Parroquia Nanegal | Office: Baquerizo E9-153 entre Tamayo y Plaza, Quito, Ecuador
+593 99 421 8033
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Ranked #9 of 103 attractions in Quito
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Spectacled bear season 2014: Based on abundant flowering of the small avocado trees prefered by Spectacled bears, locals and researchers estimate that the 2014 Spectacled bear season at the Maquipucuna Reserve will happen between August and October. Located 50 miles northwest of Quito, this reserve encompasses almost 6,000 hectares. It has an ecolodge with private or shared bathrooms and all with hot water. The lodge is located in the northern part of the Reserve, where there are 32 km of easy to strenuous trails. From there one explore the amazing biodiversity of the area which includes 1970 species of plants, 376 species of birds, 45 species of mammals and 150 species of butterflies. Maquipucuna is home to the Spectacled Bear, only bear species of South America. The lodge is run by the non-profit Maquipucuna which offers the possibility of all inclusive packages.
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
36 attraction reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
“Wonderful place in all respects - and underpriced”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2013

Just got back from a three-night stay in one of the "suites," and I absolutely agree with all the favorable reviews. The site is lovely and relaxing (including the sound of the very nearby river at night); the food is excellent (including the specially made dishes for my vegetarian friend); the rooms were very spacious and clean, with good hot showers. (I put "suites" in quotes only because they consist of a single large room, separate bathroom, and deck area with hammock -- so not precisely what American's would normally label a suite -- but this observation is by no means a complaint.) The hiking trails were great. Arsenio is a wonderful bird guide, and is also very knowledgeable about the flora and non-avian fauna -- not to mention always friendly and good company. I always wonder whether guides are actually able to maintain their interest from day to day and week to week over the years, and Arsenio really does seem to be genuinely excited -- maybe mostly for his guests -- when he finds a good bird. Luis did an excellent job with the night hike (frogs, giant snails, bats, insects), and with the little tour of the organic farm -- and was fine company, and very informative, when he drove us from Quito and then back -- the latter on spectacular mountain roads (which he offered and we gladly accepted). Everyone who works at Maquipucuna goes all out for the guests -- including whoever it was who made sure coffee was ready for me at 5:10 when I was going to go our for a pre-sunrise hike to a good birding spot with Arsenio. I must also note that the value we got with our "Classic Tour" -- including the lodgings, food, guide services, round trip transport and T-shirts -- was considerably more than we paid. Maqui is well worth a day trip from Quito, but I was very glad I had the time to stay three nights, and would gladly have stayed longer.

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wisearth, Owner at Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve, responded to this review, October 26, 2013
Dear Dennis, thank you for your comments. We are very happy that you enjoyed your stay at Maquipucuna!
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60 reviews from our community

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English first
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“What a place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2013

After 13 years away I returned to Ecuador to visit my family. This was not my first trip to Maqui (I had volunteered there in my youth) but it was certainly the most fulfilling. I can not say enough about the experience - the place has to be the closest thing you get to a Garden of Eden. Walking out at 7 am to see the cloud forest is simply awesome. From the point of view of the accommodation: first rate, the food was superb (the best Empanadas de Queso on the Continent). I was impressed with the guide, Arsenio, whom I had met years before as a local fellow from the township nearby: now he is able to guide, professionally, in very good English! - The work of the people running Maquipucuna has certainly paid off. What a place! What an Experience.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wisearth, Manager at Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
Dear Fernando J, thank you for visiting us again after such a long time. We are very glad you enjoyed your visit!
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Vista, California, United States
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Maqui deserves ten stars out of five! Extraordinary lodge!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2013

My boyfriend and I returned this week from a month in Ecuador and the Galapagos. The whole trip was incredible, by Maquipucuna was hands down my favorite part of our entire trip. Everything, and I mean everything, is incredible. The food was the best we had in all of Ecuador (which is saying something, we loved all the food everywhere), everyone who works is so friendly, the guides are so knowledgable and so willing to share their knowledge and passion with visitors, the lodge itself is absolutely gorgeous, the facilities inside the lodge are luxurious (including hot showers!), the trails are extensive with varying degrees of difficulty, and the wildlife is abundant. I have some funny food preferences, but everything that I usually don't like I LOVED when I ate it here, and the kitchen staff was very open to preparing alternate dishes if given some advance notice. The ride to Maqui was also great, since Rodrigo asked that the driver take us to a few spots along the way, including a beautiful volcano crater and Mitad del Mundo.

Our favorite part of our stay was our guide, Arsenio. We are hikers and explorers, and we feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from such an enthusiastic member of the Maqui crew. He greeted us with a smile every day, and would approach us a few times a day to see if we wanted to hike around. He hiked with us at least twice a day, sometimes starting at 5:30 or 6 AM for birding and going into the night to look for nocturnal mammals. I swear, this man knows literally every bird in the forest by sound and sight, and he can spot birds seriously miles off and get his scope on them to share with others. His English was excellent, and he helped us work on our Spanish on every hike. Now, back in the states, we think of him daily and take his as a great role model for living a positive and enthusiastic life.

Rebeca and Rodrigo, who organize reservations and run the facilities, are wonderful people and we feel they went above and beyond to help us take advantage of everything Maqui has to offer. Because I mentioned to Rebeca that we are very active, enjoy hiking, and birding, she made sure to mention to Arsenio what our choice activities were and because of that he made himself available to us very often. We also had requested to go to Tilupe to the Pre-Incan site, to Toucanopoy for ziplining, and to Sta. Lucia Lodge to see the Cock of the Rock lek. After we made our reservations, we found out the lodge was booked and we couldn't go. Instead, Rebeca and Rodrigo put together what was one of the best days of my life for us. We went to Tilupe, then to Toucanopy (both incredible experiences in themselves and I highly recommend them both), and then we went tubing at Mindo and toured the Mindo chocolate factory. All this happened to fall on my birthday, and when we returned to the lodge the staff had prepared the most amazing dinner, complete with a freshly baked cake and my very favorite Ecuadorian cocktail, canelazo!

I cannot recommend this lodge highly enough, and I feel that I can't do it justice in writing or in the few pictures my boyfriend and I took that I included (to see more pictures and read more stories, please check out the travel blog post I wrote about Maqui. I think it covers better everything Maqui offered to us. http://seekmyownway.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/there-and-back-again/). Do yourself a favor and spend as much time there as you possibly can. I highly advise you not to spend one or two days there, but longer. We stayed for five nights and felt that we barely scratched the surface of what Maqui had to offer. We will be back in the future, perhaps as volunteers for such a worthy cause if they will have us.

Note: I originally posted this as a review for the hotel part of Maquipucuna. for day trips, I'm positive the service will be just amazing.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wisearth, Manager at Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
Hello ToriZ, thank you for the 10 stars ! We also read your blog and enjoyed it very much. We love Maqui very much and we are so happy that we can share it with people like your self. We look forward to seeing you back soon.
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Guelph, Canada
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
“Unique experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

We did a day trip to the cloud forest from Quito. It was about a 2 hour drive and we booked the trip with G tours.
The first thing you see is the hummingbird feeder area. There is a constant buzz of hummingbirds and we saw likely around 100 in about 30 minutes. The guide pointed out 16 different varieties.
We then went on a guided hike, the tour guide was great. He knew the names of all of the different plans that we saw. We didn't see a lot of birds but we did see one toucan. The clouds roll in and out of the forest making everything damp.
It was a great experience and I would recommend it. Bring binoculars if you have them and some comfortable shoes that you don't mind getting muddy.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wisearth, Manager at Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
Hello Lilly_travelling_cat, it makes us extremely happy to hear that our visitors enjoyed our little gem. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Torrance, CA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Lovely ecolodge”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2013

Lovely, relaxing place. The food was spectacular -- cooked fresh for every meal and eaten al fresco. Birding was a treat -- like finding little jewels hidden in the forest canopy. Our guide, Arsenio, was cheerful and remarkable in his ability to spot birds and train his big scope on them so everyone could see them up close (see the picture I've uploaded, which he took on my iPhone by holding it up to the telescope). The owners, Rodrigo and Rebeca, seem committed to various environmental projects, such as their shade grown coffee plantation and the recycled plastic roofing on a covered bridge. The road there is rather bumpy and winding, but that was a price worth paying. It's not a completely pristine experience -- there are some working farms not far from the the lodge, and you occasionally heard a motorcycle in the morning. I didn't mind that -- it felt like it was part of the rural life around it. What really made it special was the warmth and personal attention we got from Rebeca and Rodrigo, from Katherine, a lovely young American woman who was volunteering there, and Arsenio, our birding guide. My kids, 10 and 14, also loved the zip lining at Toucanopy. There were six separate zip lines, separated by some fairly brief but gorgeous jungle walks.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wisearth, Owner at Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve, responded to this review, September 18, 2013
Dear Jcstorr,
It makes us very happy that we your family enjoyed the Maquipucuna experience. We work hard to share the best of this amazing corner of the world. Thank you for giving us feedback. In the future we are going to ask our staff to turn their bikes off before entering the bridge to the lodge.
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