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“Amazing place” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve

Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve
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Mindo Cloud Forest Day Trip from Quito
Ranked #33 of 201 things to do in Quito
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The most unique cloudforest in the Andes, Maquipucuna offers easy to moderate trails to access forests for easy sightings of the elusive and endangered Spectacled Bear. Spectacled bear season started on December 7, 2016 and is expected to last through the first week in February. Daily sightings of up to 10 different bears; that is more Spectacled Bears that mosts bear scientists have seen in their entire careers. Besides being the official home of the Spectacled bear and thousand other wildlife species, Maquipucuna is a birdwatchers paradise. Up to 184 birds have been spotted in a single day. The Reserve has an internationally awarded Maquipucuna Ecolodge. The nearly 15,000 acres Maquipucuna Reserve, located only 2 hours away from Quito, is also home to around 400 species of birds, 45 species of mammals, 250 species of butterflies and over 2000 species of plants. Maquipucuna is so biodiverse and well protected that it harbors about 10% of Ecuador's plant diversity and 4% of all the bird species known for the entire planet! Maquipucuna has the category of Protected Forest and has been declared as Important Bird Area (IBA).
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase
Gibson, Georgia, United States
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Amazing place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 12, 2013

Maquipucuna Reserve is absolutely amazing. I spent a week there, and I had the best time. The staff is fantastic to say the least. I'm not much into birding, but I went birding almost every morning while I was there because the array of species and the guides are so good. The guides could literally spot a toucan from half a mile away and put him right in a telescope for you to see. I saw three varieties of toucan, hawks, parrots, motmots, ducks, tanangers and many small birds. I wouldn't have spotted anything without the guides, much less known what they were.

The hiking trails there are amazing on their own and quite extensive. I was there in the rainy season, but they provide rubber boots of all sizes for you to take, and hiking in the rain there actually isn't bad because it's a warm rain, and it's usually just an afternoon shower. There is a short hike to a waterfall that you can get in (be careful the rocks are slippery), and there is a long hike up to what is called a primary forest, which means that it has never been cut. There is all kinds of wildlife up there, and there are some amazing viewpoints that overlook the mountains and cloud forest. Maqui is one of the few remaining homes of the Andean bear, and if you go there while there avocados are in season you're practically guaranteed a sighting

The meals there are simple but very good and filling. The rooms are nice, simple, and clean. There are hammocks strung up everywhere for you to use. There are banana trees galore on the property, and they have a small organic garden and coffee plantation on the property that are worth checking out. If you have any requests like, "hey can I chop down a banana tree with a machete?" they are pretty accommodating.

In summation Maquipucuna is definitely worth a visit. I'd recommend spending a couple nights there if you're into hiking and bird watching. It is a two hour ride from Quito so I would recommend spending the night there, but either way it's worth seeing for its stunning natural beauty alone. A giant rainforest set in the mountains so high that it touches the clouds. Pretty amazing.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Holly H
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, September 18, 2013
Dear Holly H,
Thank you very much for taking the time to write such an extensive review. It makes us very happy when our visitors can enjoy Maquipucuna as much as we do. We heard your review and over the past month we improved the access to the waterfall.
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122 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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English first
Level Contributor
37 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 10, 2013

I am not a "birder", but by the end of the first day I was signing up to do the 6am bird walk. Maquipacuna is amazing in its flora and fauna. The staff is welcoming and extremely helpful. The food was always well prepared and tasty. We took our two teenage sons with us and at the end of our three week Ecuador/ Galapagos trip we asked what the highlights were and for them, Maquipacuna was right up there with the Galapagos Islands. I will definitely go back, but I will stay longer. Carlos, the guide for hikes and birdwatching, is amazing. He knows a bird is there and knows what it is before you can spot it AND he can imitate it perfectly.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank MichelleandAlan
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, July 11, 2013
We couldn't be happier that you enjoyed your time with us at Maquipucuna!
Thanks for coming. Not only was it fun to have you, but your stay was a direct contribution towards the preservation of this majestic forest we all love to share.

When you come back for longer, make sure you come for spectacled bear season! We'll keep our Facebook, website, and other channels updated with the latest info on that.

Keep in touch, and send greetings to the whole family from Carlos, Sam, and the rest of us!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
44 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“For the price, it wasn't really worth it”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2013

My husband signed up for a 1 day tour of Maquipucuna. We were picked up at 8:30am from Old Town Quito. It took over 2 hours to drive out to the reserve. At the reserve, we were offered lemonade and then went on a 1 hour nature walk with a guide. He showed us some plants and their uses in medicine. We also saw a few birds. At 1pm, we went back to the lodge to have lunch. It was a simple but satisfying lunch with soup, chicken, and rice. After lunch, we went on a 2 hour hike to a small waterfall and then to the coffee bean plantation. The coffee bean plantation wasn't much of a plantation like what you might imagine. It's just a few little coffee bean trees planted amongst large trees in the forest. We were on the bus back to Quito by 4pm. On the drive back to the city, the driver stopped at least 5 times to drop off food for friends/family and conduct personal business. Not cool. So in summary, we were only at the reserve for about 4 hours, went walking for a bit, saw a few plants, saw a few birds, ate lunch. I don't think that was worth $106 USD per person.

Visited June 2013
5 Thank charcharLA
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, July 11, 2013
We are just devastated to read about your experience at Maquipucuna.
While it's unfortunate you seem underwhelmed by your time with us, what you mentioned about our driver stopping five times on the way back is certainly unacceptable. Thank you for sending us details and photos that give us more insight into the driver situation. We are taking measures to prevent this from happening again.
We try to make visits to Maquipucuna as inexpensive as possible while still being able to sustain the Reserve. This can be a tough balancing act. But please keep in mind that our purpose here is to protect the 15000 acre Maquipucuna forest reserve. That is where your money goes. Much is needed in order to keep a reserve this size intact, and on a personal level, we often sacrifice our own comforts towards continuing that goal. I hope knowing that will lend you some comfort as to where your $106 went; you could not have more directly combated some of the world's most pressing problems, including deforestation and global warming.
About our coffee plantation. The shade-grown coffee plot that you visited serves for demonstration mainly. There we have less than 0.5 hectares and approximately 1000 plants. The main coffee plantation is about one hour away. Over the past 20 years our foundation has played a key role in fomenting the establishment of conservation corridors in Ecuador. Restoring biodiversity-desert pasture lands into biodiversity-friendly specialty mountain coffee is a key way to involve local people into the Corridor initiative by providing them with a sustainable alternative to environmental degradation.
Perhaps it was an issue of poor timing, and you two didn't really get to feel the magic of the place. We are sorry for that.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairfield, California
Level Contributor
43 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“From NV Winemaker to Ecuadorian Caffetero”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 14, 2013

While on a fabulous Machu Picchu, Cusco, Quito, and Galapagos adventure we spent an ADDITIONAL WEEK at the MAQUIPUCUNA CLOUD FOREST just 60 miles (2-3hour by car) from Quito. This place is a must for anyone who wants to really learn about the Andean way of life, the mountain people, the birds, ecosystem, the past and the future of this remote and physically beautiful part of the world. Very clean accomodations that are architecturally part of the landscape, excellent meals prepared from their own gardens with an emphasis on the local Andean way cuisine. Guided hikes, bird watching and bird calling, horseback rides, quietness and solitude amongst the hummingbirds, butterflys all alongside a rushing mountain stream. There are pre-Inca archaelogical sites/museums to visit. We even got a zip line ride and a Andean Chocolate massage! This location offers you the opportunity to experience planting your own coffee tree in their newly established "SOLSTICE" plot at Orrengo on a steep slope of volcanic soil. There is a thorough personalized coffee making/tasting tour. Our days were spent picking wild, native bananas, smelling thousands of nature's most fragrant orchids, and participating in bird, frog,and medicinal plant tours . Our hosts, Rebeca and Roberto, both highly educated in the U.S., worked diligently to assure that we all had a most enjoyable and personalized visit. Fun, Educational, Unique, Easily accessible from Quito, Superb Hosts..YES!

Visited April 2013
3 Thank Cosmo7760
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
86 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
“Cannot miss this if you are coming to Quito.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 2013

It's about a 2 hour car ride. We were staying in Quito for only a couple of nights and then moving on to the Galapagos. Upon arriving in the city, I had no interest in looking at more Churches, all I wanted to do was get in the mountains. Tripadvisor friends suggested I come here. And they were right.

My buddy and I spent the entire day at this beautiful eco-lodge. I wish we could have stayed here. The co-founder, Rodrigo, was a delight to meet. He told us the history of the land, shared with us their organic garden, the coffee farming process, told us how they are collaborating with the locals to improve their communities. Some amazing things are happening here in one of the most beautiful settings you can possibly imagine.

I wish we had booked an overnight stay here. So learn from me. If you are coming to Quito make sure to stay a couple of nights here. You will love it.

The food is EXCELLENT too!!!

Good job to all those on staff at the lodge!!

Visited February 2013
6 Thank ringinthenewyear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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