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“An Earthly Paradise two hours from Quito”

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Bellavista Cloud Forest
Certificate of Excellence
Mexico City, Mexico
Level Contributor
95 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“An Earthly Paradise two hours from Quito”
Reviewed August 23, 2013

I stayed here with fellow contributer "mexdoc" and we loved everything about it, even though she might have gotten sick from something she ate there during our stay... That being said, the food was really delicious (fresh trout, chicken and broccoli lasagna, homemade desserts, etc. etc.) and we ate it up! The location is stunning and makes one believe in the power of nature and the possibilty that we might not destroy our planet after all, at least not all of it. Thanks to the efforts of doña Gloria and her husband, who have single-handedly acquired and preserved over 600 hectares of pristine cloud forest, we admired beautiful birds, butterflies, orchids, etc., etc. and walked paths accompanied by toucans, hummingbirds and other flora and fauna. We stayed in the "Casa Alemana", something out of Hansel and Gretel, which had a breathtaking view across the cloud forest. It was better than basic and yes, things are a bit damp, but this is a cloud forest and that's what it's all about. The grounds are very well kept and at night, during dinner, we were ushered up to the terrace where we had the incredible opportunity to watch while the recently re-discovered Olinguito descended a tree in pursuit of a banana that had been left for him. I can't heap more praise upon this enchanted place... I only hope that everyone there --Andrea, Jorge, Sara and everyone else- keeps up the excellent work. Please note that some of the really nasty reviews I have read are from 2007 and my impression is that things have changed. I can't wait to return.

Room Tip: We liked our Alemana room on the top floor.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
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1 Thank Peregringo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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212 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (46)
Date | Rating
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
55 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2013

We spent two nights at the Bellavista Research Station, which is about a 30 minute walk from the main lodge. What a place! It happened to be empty at the time of our stay, so we basically were renting a secluded mountain-top cabin for a fraction of the price of the main lodge. The station has full kitchen facilities, scalding hot water, amazing views over the cloud forest and access to great trails right at its doorstep. We were woken up in the morning by giant woodpeckers and hummingbirds buzzing all around. On our hikes, we saw beautiful waterfalls and spotted toucans high up in the trees. In two days, we think we covered about 60% of the Reserve's trails. We did so without a guide - occasionally the trails were a little difficult to follow and didn't always take us where we expected. Signage on the trails could be improved. Guides are not necessary for the hiking but more so I would think to help with the birdwatching. Aside from the toucans, we didn't see a ton of birds along our hikes because 1) we were probably much too loud and 2) we really didn't know where/what to look for. The lodge provided clean filtered water and propane to the research station. Really, the only modern amenity we didn't have was electricity to power lights after dark. But they provided candles and matches to make up for that. It gets very, very cold at night but there were ample blankets to make sure we stayed warm. Since you have to be totally self-sufficient to do this, make sure you bring all the food you need with you. The station has all the cooking supplies you could need, but not the food.

If you're looking for a place to "rough it" for a couple of days and really get lost in the cloudforest, this is it!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
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1 Thank hbsfan93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Danville, California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 23, 2013

We opted for the 3 days/2 night package- then added one more night because of other travel arrangements. We were picked up at our hotel in Quito on a Friday morning, for the 1 1/2 hour ride to Bellavista. Then we were served breakfast upon arrival at the lodge. We were very happy with the room-clean, large enough for all our gear, a good bed, and a sitting area that was sheltered from the weather by glass. It was sort of jungle chic with balconies or sitting areas overlooking the trees. It gave one the feeling of being in a tree house, even on the first floor. There were several buildings on site: a lounge area, a dining room, cook house, and of course the hotel rooms which were housed in 3 or 4 different buildings on the grounds.

The excursions were led by knowledgable naturalists who were able to tell us about many of the plants, animals, birds, and insects we encountered. There are hummingbird feeders all over- one is never far from one with its attendant flock of jewel toned hummingbirds. The mountain tanagers which sometimes feed on the sugar water are a brilliant yellow with blue wings. It was a time to savor the incredible diversity of creation.

We signed up for 2 special birding excursions led by Jorge Luna. He is easily the most skilled birder I have ever seen. He not only could spot birds that were totally hidden from view, he used a small laser pointer to guide our binoculars close to the bird. He knew just how close to move the pointer so as not to disturb the birds. He could hear and see the quietest skulkers in the bottom layers of the vegetation, and lure them out so the rest of us could see them.

We went on the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock excursion which had us walking down a muddy path in pre-dawn darkness to be in position to see the 15-20 male crow sized birds with red "hydrocephalic" heads dancing and vocalizing on the trees all around us. It was eery at first because the cacophony floated out of the darkness.
We spent the rest of the day at a man named Angel's property looking at toucanettes, hummingbirds, 4 different antpitas, guans, tanagers, a lyre tailed nightjar, and a common potoo, to name just a few of the 152 new bird species we counted in just 3 days.

The next day we went down the mountain further to the cloud forest where the rain didn't so much precipitate out of the clouds, but condensed on the vegetation canopy. So we were fairly dry in the open on top of the 45 foot birdwatching tower, but the path through the jungle on the way to the tower was made in a steady rain!

The resort itself was worth the trip, the extra cost excursions were beyond belief for birders. The food was good, alcohol was extra, the staff was very courteous. If you have large appetites, or have teenage boys, you might consider bringing a supply of snacks and/or munchies. You are a long way from a store.

There is no Wi-fi or TV or internet, or cell phone service. Nature is all the entertainment.

Room Tip: The rooms above the kitchen area were troubled by cooking smells, and slightly more noisy and less p...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Shimi M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2013

We spent 3 days/2 nights at this lovely location about 1.5 hours from Quito. The bird watching is marvelous, even if this isn't a passion of yours! You can take guided or unguided hikes and around every corner is an amazing view of a valley, a bird or some of the most amazing greenery you can imagine. The 'texture' of the place is what was most magical for me. Our guide, David, was so much fun, extremely knowledgeable, helpful and one of those rare people who are passionate about their work! Be warned that it does get cold and wet in a cloud forest so be prepared to dress warmly at night and don't forget your raincoat! They do provide galoshes/wellies/rain boots. The only downside to this experience for me was the food was terrible. The worst of any place I've stayed in Ecuador - and this was my 3rd visit to the country in 8 years.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank LRHPOSSLQ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
110 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
Reviewed June 30, 2013

We chose the two night, three day package with pick-up from Quito, which was perfect for us. We picked this place because of the good value you get, compared with other lodges and packages in the area, and also because I felt I wanted to go to the lodge and meet the man who started the Ecuadorian cloud forest preservation concept, the idea that you preserve and savour rather than consume this extraordinary land (farming or lumber). And this is such a unique place on this earth! Bellavista is one of the highest lodges in the area, so you have a better chance of seeing some of the unique birds like the plate-billed mountain toucan (such a cool bird, which we got great views of), but there is more chance of rain this high than if you stayed somewhere at lower elevation. But the vistas out over the unspoiled valleys, past tree ferns and with mists moving in and out, sun casting shadows, and splashes of color made by the many orchids (#1 place in the WORLD for orchid diversity)--just extraordinary. Some info:

1) guides are included, which is a great value, with two guides a day.Knowledgeable and very personable. Our guide was David. The first is around 6:30 a.m., so this is not a place to go and sleep in. The lighting is beautiful then, and there is more birdlife then. If you don't like birds, the landscape and flowers alone are worth the trip. You need your own binoculars, though, and they are necessary!! I would have liked accesss to a spotting scope, but it is just harder for the guides to haul that around on the hilly and often muddy trails. Mud boots are provided, rain ponchos and walking sticks if you want that. Bring a refillable water bottle.
2) food was indeed good, sort of comfort food. There are options for vegetarians and one member of our group had gluten intolerance and they accomodated that. The views at and around the Dome, where you eat, were great. Alcoholic beverages are extra.
3) We stayed in the Bamboo house and had our own covered porch and lots of room. It was a treehouse kind of experience, very unique. Not luxury by any means, but something I will never experience anywhere else. We opted out of the afternoon hike we day, and read books, journaled and watched the birds flit about one afternoon. Quite pleasant with the rain gently pattering on the roof. A different kind of relaxation. There sometimes was noise in the morning. I was glad we didn't stay in the dome, which was more of a dormitory for larger groups, it seemed.
4) This place really attracts an interesting group of people from around the world, which was very cool to me. We chatted with people from France, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, England, Germany, Netherlands, Canada and even a group from our college in the U.S.

Room Tip: make a room request by email. you can request a specific building.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank snorkel-luvin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level Contributor
56 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed June 24, 2013

Stayed for 2 nights and had a guide just for 2 of us! We went in May so it was not busy season yet and so on one night we were the only people staying here!!

This does mean that there is no choice in the restaurant - you eat what you are given. Having said this - the food was very good. The chef is also the mother of one of the guides!

Did some grea trails around the reserve including early morning ones. This is the place to go to see humming birds - i was wearing a red headban which they loved and so they kept landing on my head - you will never get this close to a hummingbird!! The guide showed me a couple of hummingbird nests when we did a trail down to the waterfall - one of which had 2 birds sat in the nest.

The weather here is amazing to watch change - its so sudden. we were very lucky that it didnt really rain but the reserve provide wellington boots for muddy trails.

Also saw lots of toucans in the early morning.

The patio doors to our room did not lock so were always able to get in and out without the key - this was fine when we were there as we were the only guests but would be a problem when there are lots of other people around.

Room Tip: We stayed in a suite that had 6 beds!! but only one bathroom.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank turty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Panama
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed May 26, 2013

Bellavista is by far the best the cloud forest has to offer and a diverse mix of birding. Is a birding paradise. Photographers will have a field day here. The lodges guide David is very good. We saw about every bird you can image. We saw both Female and male cock of the rock. Lots of colorful birds. Also, the food is the best we have had. Far better than the food we had in the Amazon. The place is very organized and they accept credit or debit cards. The owner Richard is a very nice man and is easy to find if you have any questions or any issues. He keeps tabs on everything that goes on and has the best program I have ever found in the cloud forest with a very nice lodge that makes you feel at home.

Room Tip: They also offer dorms for those on a budget, but their private rooms are excellent if you can afford...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank photoman7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bellavista Cloud Forest

Property: Bellavista Cloud Forest
Address: Jorge Washington E7-23 y 6 de Diciembre, Tandayapa, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Pichincha Province > Tandayapa
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Tandayapa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Bellavista Cloud Forest 2.5*
Number of rooms: 16
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Also Known As:
Bellavista Cloud Forest Hotel Tandayapa
Bellavista Cloud Forest Ecuador/Tandayapa

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