Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve

Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve

Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve
4.5
About
Part of the Mindo Area of International Importance for Birds, this 1,800-acre reserve features more than 175 species of birds, a wide diversity of plant life and many hiking trails.
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles139 reviews
Excellent
87
Very good
34
Average
15
Poor
1
Terrible
2

Sarah B
6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021
In two days we saw almost 50 new-to-us birds, but we could have seen more if we were without our kids! Our guide, Danielle, was knowledgeable, patient, and fun to talk with. She worked with us to plan each day’s activities. My favorite was the hike to the waterfall. Oh, and we saw the olingito! The accommodations were not fancy, but they were comfortable. Extra blankets kept us cozy on chilly nights. If you like quirky, ask for the dome. The kitchen and wait staff were very attentive, and the food was delicious (again, without being fancy). We went trout “fishing” (at a fish farm…would be better for younger kids), and the Bellavista cooks taught my son how to clean the fish! Even being rained in one afternoon was great. We played cards with our guide and enjoyed the ever-present hummingbirds.
Written January 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sharon C
Toronto, Canada256 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023
We spent the day here and wished it could have been longer. It's a trek to get there - but don't be discouraged. Well worth it for any lover of nature. The views are spectacular, the hummingbirds an experience that everyone should have at least once and the trails and hikes are amazing. We had an excellent guide who knew both the area and the country well and gave us great information & insights along the way. I wish our timing had allowed us to stay overnight here - can only imagine how wonderful it would be to wake up surrounded by this nature!
Written February 12, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Shelley H
Stow, MA237 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
The staff was very nice and knowledgeable. But the facility is getting tired and needs attention. The room was large but the bathroom felt dirty and the shower didn't drain. There were live and dead bugs on the floor every day. The gourmet breakfast was "basic". You could get a fried egg or scrambled, there was fruit and yogurt. But despite asking we never got a bowl for the yogurt. The other meals were average. On our hike we didn't see any animals and the only birds we saw were the beautiful hummingbirds at the feeders.
Written March 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mary F
Ann Arbor, Michigan141 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I just recently returned from a trip to Quito where we spent a day at Bellavista. This is quite a place to see! You can stay at the lodge here, or just visit for the day and have lunch and a tour like we did. The lodge is rustic but very distinctive. Check out their website. You won't believe the number of hummingbirds and how close you can get to them at the many feeders they have set up on the grounds. The trip to the preserve is an adventure itself and seeing the rainforest was an experience I'll never forget. The cloud forest environment is a high elevation rain forest as I understand it, so it is probably different from what you would see in an Amazon rainforest. The vegetation is exotic and the clouds seem to be close enough to touch. Going here was a good break from the pace and stimulation of Quito and I highly recommend adding an adventure like this to your agenda if you are planning a trip to Quito.
Written October 6, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PALANC
Lexington, KY208 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2011
We were staying in Quito and wanted to take a day trip away from the city. We contacted Bellavista directly and they arranged for us to be picked up at our hotel in Quito. The driver was punctual. Although he spoke little English, we enjoyed the drive. At the Reserve, we had breakfast before meeting our guide to hike. The scenery was fantastic. We saw so many plants and birds that we had never seen before. Our guide was great, only walking at a speed we could handle. After our morning hike, we had lunch. They served fresh fish. It was amazing. After lunch we were escorted to Mindo for a zipline tour (we had requested to do this). The guide from Bellavista stayed with us the entire time, even on the "zips". We had a fantastic time and would recommend this tour to anyone wanting to see a cloud forest.
Written July 28, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ztsipapu
Oceanside, CA1,965 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We did a day trip from Quito to Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve in Sept., 2009 before heading to the Galápagos Islands for an 8-day/7-night cruise. The price included transportation to and from Bellavista, a (rather late) breakfast, a 3+-hour guided hike, lunch, and an afternoon to hike on our own (if we so desired). We were lucky in that we picked up the guide as we headed north out of town; she had just had a couple of days off in Quito and was heading back for a 2-week stretch at Bellavista. She gave us a narrated tour of the ~2-hour drive, which was great since the driver spoke limited English. She even had him stop the van to point out birds as we headed up the last bit of road to the reserve.

The food was ample and good, although nothing spectacular. The hike was great fun, although the birds were at times hard to spot due to that pesky heavy vegetation. (Really--heavy vegetation in a cloud forest? Who'd have thought it....) But the sounds of the birds were terrific--I love birding by ear--and the guide was superb at identifying the many calls and songs we were hearing.

As the guide headed us back to the lodge for lunch, I followed her into the office to give her a small tip ($20 for my husband and myself). We were the only ones of our group that appeared to offer her a gratuity. She seemed surprised and very pleased. I also asked her about the pamphlet of Bellavista birds that we had been looking at in the van on the way up. She pointed me to the person in charge of that and I purchased a copy for myself--a mere $8! It helped immensely when we got back and I studied our photographs, trying to identify the birds in the photographs. I highly recommend buying it.

After lunch, we opted for the "lazy person's" afternoon--sitting around the many hummingbird feeders and watching/identifying/photographing the many birds that came to the feeders. The guide saw us on the benches and came out to sit with us and help with the various IDs of the males and females (which often look quite different in the hummingbird species).

It would have been divine to spend at least one night there. I imagine the morning chorus of birds would be just this side of heaven. But a day trip was all we had time for--and we were delighted with that experience. I was, though, glad that we had done Bellavista BEFORE the Galápagos experience. I fear I'd have been almost unbearably frustrated with trying to spot the birds skulking in the heavy vegetation after having the incredible up-close-and-personal experience with all of the wildlife in the Galápagos. But that's probably just me.

Be sure to bring rain gear, just in case; and a camera will be great for the hummingbird feeders, although getting pictures of birds in the forest can be quite challenging for us amateurs. (We decided to just skip the camera for the hike and be in the moment.) Sturdy walking shoes will stand you in good stead; we were there during the "dry" season, so the trails weren't very wet and/or slick. But they can get tricky, I've heard. I brought a collapsible hiking stick, which helped on some of the steeper sections. But it wasn't necessary.

So if all you have time for is a day trip, consider Bellavista! How often do you get to spend even a mere 6+ hours in a cloud forest? It's truly a special ecosystem. You can read more and see some photos and maps of the area in our trip report: http://galapagos2009.wordpress.com/day-by-day-activities/quito-adventures/bellavista-cloud-forest-reserve/.

Tina
Written September 26, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NorthStar10182
Columbus, OH1 contribution
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve, 2 hours drive from Quito: I won't recommend staying overnight as I found it uncomfortable (cold, musty) and relatively expensive. It's ok for a day trip to see the many hummingbirds on feeders there. Once you have done that and hiked a bit you have seen it. It's hard to see other birds there because the forest is very dense and it's cloudy and rainy most days.
Written May 30, 2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anne D
Bedford, UK5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2014 • Family
We stayed here in August with our teenage son for the 2 night 3 day package tour from Quito - £530 all in for a family of 3 including airport transfers - $850 seems a lot but you'll spend nothing else for 3 days. Three really good home-cooked meals each day. You help yourself to soft drinks or beer with dinner and write it in a book to pay at the end. It was a wonderful experience which felt a lot longer as there was so much packed into the time. We were picked up at 6.30 am from our hotel in Quito and drove for a couple of hours through fabulous scenery and the final half an hour along a very rough track up to the Cloud Forest reserve. We had the Pinchincha Suite - a double bed and a single for our son - quite spacious enough considering we intended to spend the minimum time indoors ! Small bathroom but the shower was good and the water hot. The room was on stilts so that the windows looked straight out into the tree canopy - lovely to gaze out in between the walking activities. We also had a superb view of the nocturnal olinguitos from our room. We saw 2 olinguitos on both nights we stayed - as one of our windows overlooked the humming bird feeding area where the olinguitos come down to feed. Coming from the UK, the thrill of seeing so many different types of humming birds (14 different types all in all) is difficult to describe - they do get very close to you, you hear them clearly especially the one that sounds like a bumble bee and the colours are mesmerising. Before and after the walking tours we would spend some time sitting a metre or two from the feeders just enjoying the fleeting visitors. The walking can be quite strenuous - especially the waterfall walk which involves pulling yourself up a 4m rope ladder then transferring yourself left off the ladder up to a higher level, pulling your full weight on a single rope - amazing what sheer determination can achieve, and the help of a tour guide helping you up too. A word of praise for Nelson, our guide - we wouldn't have seen half so much without his spotting - tanagers, toucans, toucan barbets, woodpeckers, cinnamon flycatchers, parrots and so many more - have fun ticking them off on the sheet he gives to you. Nelson was a joy to walk alongsider - lots of information in between periods of quiet 'looking' and the excitement of seeing something new. Do make the effort to go on all the walks on offer - usually one early in the morning (6am - but so worth it - don't stay in bed !) and another in the afternoon. Nelson was also around after dinner to point out birds by torchlight and of course the olinguito. One morning we were the only visitors who got up early for the walk with Nelson - really wondered why the other visitors had stayed in bed. Private guide - lucky us !
You can use boots/wellies provided by Bellavista - waterfall walk - but mainly our trainers were fine. The trails are well maintained and were dry when we viisted. Be prepared for some steep slopes both up and down - people helped eachother with tricky stretches.

Cool mornings - you'll need a sweater but after 10am it warms up especially if you're walking up hills.

The views across the cloud forest from the highest points on various trails are glorious - photographers' dream. Smooth transfer back to Quito airport. I was sorry to leave and so glad we'd added this side trip to our Ecuador itinerary.
Written October 7, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mr Mitch
Cape Cod, MA99 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2013
Before coming to Ecuador I made it a point to use Trip Advisor to find the very best attraction since we only had a few days and Quito. It look like going to the cloud forest would be the best thing to see. And I noticed that there were a lot of tour companies to take you to the cloud forest however the one that most trip advisor members seem to encourage to book kept mentioning this Tour Operation Company, "Lincoln Jabra & Son Tours".
The first thing that impressed me was that Lincoln made the planning of the Tour agenda simple and easy via emails while I was still back in the States. He had a real gift for understanding the most important attributes of what we wanted and expected. He also was a wealth of information as far as suggestions based on what he determined our interests to be. I can understand why some of his Clients in the past include Lady Gaga's Personal Assistant, Actors from LA, and prominent Business men from all over the world. His company is not some big corporate Tour operator that acts as a middle-person broker and up-charges everything. I found Lincoln's fees to be about 25% LESS then most of the other "big companies" fees.

After deciding upon a set itinerary that was costumed designed for me and my Son, we were not disappointed!
Lincoln met us at our Hotel on the date specified right on time. He was a wealth of knowledge and information and VERY pleasant to spend time with. He speaks excellent English and has a great sense of humor. We explored the Cloud Forest and we fortunate enough to see not one, but TWO Toucans! What a treat!

He has a very clean and a newer model SUV type vehicle. Here is an actual copy of the email he sent to us to give you an idea of how easy and helpful he is to work with:

"Hi Mitch
I just give you an idea.
Time is your inconvenient, but I´m going to suggest something.
-Cloud forest, but stopping on the way to observe Pululahua the only inhabited volvanic crater in South America, then straight to the cloud forest, to observe some species of birds, specially hummingbirds. then you could hike in Bellavista cloud forest reserve and back to Quito
I would like to Quilotoa Volcanic Crater is a really full day driving through a very scenic road and option of hiking into the volcanic crater. and back to Quito.
this place needs the longest day you have.
-TERMAS hot springs in papallacta Papallacta, located in the Andes at 3300m very nice to relax you last day.
if is in middle week is not crowded.
All those places you could google it, with a good weather it will be nice for Nathan for the photography.
Regards
Lincoln"

This Tour operator was FANTASTIC and I highly suggest you book through them for any and all of your Tour and Site seeing needs.
One special thing to mention about my experience with Lincoln. At one point we had a potential medical emergency (never fun to experience while traveling) but Lincoln totally took charge! He quickly took us to the best "PRIVATE" Hospital in Quito (not the Public Hospital) and without the need to fill out any stupid insurance forms, or without having to even wait in a line I was seen by not one but two Doctors within 5 minutes! They assured me all was well and there was not serious problem nor any concern. That was peace of mind for me. We were in and out within 15 mins! And there was not even any fees to pay! NO CHARGE! (Let Obama-care try to top that! lol)

This is the Company you want to entrust your families holiday and welfare too!
He can be reached via his email to book: lincolnjabra@hotmail.c
Written October 22, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Akshay J
Lyndhurst, NJ57 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2013 • Couples
Visited as a couple in August 2013. Did a day trip and got back to Quito on the same day. Its a beautiful forest with interesting trails of around 2 hours. The hummingbirds were especially nice. They kept all their promises of timely pick up from hotel, guide for the trail and lunch. However the charge of $100 per person with transportation and lunch seemed very overpriced. I'll say it was worth around $50.
Written September 16, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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