Known as a birder's paradise, with almost 500 species seen on the property, we found that this lodge offers much more than some of the most unusual birds in the world. The lodge, their Biological Research Station and it's non-profit arm, the Rio Pucuno Foundation, conserve wonderful low cloud forest, much of it primary forest. Altitude ranges from about 4000 to 5000 ft. The range of plant life is bewildering and the fungi are abundant (at least in late May) and fascinating. We saw several species of large millipedes daily and enjoyed taking videos of them walking on the trail, and bothersome insects were few. We photographed many beautiful moths and butterflies. Most entertaining are the banks of Hummingbird feeders off the main deck, allowing easy viewing and photography of rare species. The deck also provides early morning and late afternoon entertainment by birds, monkeys and fine sunsets and views of the Antisana Volcano, when the ubiquitous clouds part for a while. A fine library of books in the Lodge helped ID what we saw, as did the owners and their guides. There are dozen trails for exploring and nature observing, more than we could complete in our four days there in May. Spanish speaking guides are available for about $35 per day and English speaking guide for about $150 per day.
We stayed four nights and completed about half of the trail system, took hundreds of pictures, went out with a fine Spanish speaking guide on a morning Antpitta feeding walk, and left wanting much more time in this cloud forest.
The owners, Jim and Bonnie, are on site and eager to interact with guests, not only to answer questions (which are many) but also to help with bird ID and natural history information. Themselves avid birders who have lived many years in South America (their original home is the USA), they are committed to involving and employing local residents in all of their conservation efforts.
The Lodge holds about 20 guests. Rooms are large and outfitted with great lighting, electrical sockets, a large tale, a small desk and a couple of chairs. They are a short distance from a great room which serves as a living room with a giant fireplace, dining area, a bar and a library.
Three fixed hot meals are served restaurant style each day, delicious and pretty filling, with many typical Ecuadoran dishes. Coffee and tea are always available. One member of our group has special dietary needs and they were cheerfully accommodated.