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“Unpredictable Nature”

Maquipucuna Reserve
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$95.00*
and up
Mindo Cloud Forest Day Trip from Quito
Ranked #38 of 271 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 cloud forest 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 in 2017 is expected around November or December. 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: Food available for purchase, Lockers / storage, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Reviewed February 9, 2014

We stayed at the lodge, and I will review that experience elsewhere. The hummingbirds did not disappoint. There were plenty to see all day. I was told not to use a flash to photograph them as it's not good for them. As a professional photographer and somewhat knowledgable ecologist, I found this curious and illogical. 90% of the images of hummingbirds in their slide show presentation were made by a camera using flash. It's the only way to freeze their wings (or any fast-moving object). Also, every living thing finds a flash of annoying (unless you're a model and have gotten used to it). However, it's their property so I ceased (while others used flash). It was Bespeckled Bear season, but apparently they left the area a week earlier than the normally do, so we saw none. On our morning bird walk, we saw precious few species within what seemed a quarter mile of our position, with the exception of a woodpecker that was relatively close by. Most others were basically specks in the scope of Arsenio, our guide. My wife and I did see Chocolate Toucans, and the colored beak variety on self-guided walks we took, along with some other species. I rate this experience "average", but it is really smack in the middle of that and "good". My expectations may have been too optimistic.

1  Thank John D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"spectacled bear"
in 8 reviews
"chocolate massage"
in 7 reviews
"bird watching"
in 16 reviews
"cloud forest reserve"
in 6 reviews
"night walk"
in 6 reviews
"research station"
in 3 reviews
"three nights"
in 4 reviews
"large variety of birds"
in 2 reviews
"wildlife surrounding"
in 2 reviews
"rubber boots"
in 2 reviews
"well marked trails"
in 2 reviews
"guide carlos"
in 2 reviews
"enjoy nature"
in 2 reviews
"gravel road"
in 2 reviews
"hour hike"
in 2 reviews
"short hike"
in 2 reviews
"chocolate factory"
in 2 reviews
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46 - 50 of 132 reviews

Reviewed January 14, 2014

After 8 days straight of touring the Galapagos Islands my family and I were delighted to relax and recharge our batteries at Maquipucuna. The atmosphere is very relaxed, with hammocks littering the place, all meals provided (and delicious!) and hummingbirds everywhere you look.
We stayed over new year’s eve, and were so humbled by how welcoming the owners, staff and their families were. We celebrated the new year in traditional Ecuadorian style- by burning a paper-mache version of the Ecuadorian President!
Mornings were spent bird watching, where we witnessed several toucans. During the day we walked through the rainforest and saw two spectacled bears. In the afternoons we swam in the nearby river. One afternoon we did the zip lining in a nearby forest.
I am recommending this place to all families, couples and solo travellers. It is so safe, welcoming and relaxing.
We were a family with three grown children (23, 21 and 17), and really enjoyed our time together here. We made friends with everyone staying there, staff and other travellers, and we didn’t want to leave!

5  Thank Felicity H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2014

Our family enjoyed the relaxing environment with hammocks and hummingbirds and the sounds of a gurgling stream below the lodge...we wish we could have stayed longer. The food was great and the rooms comfortable. Alas, we did not see the spectacled bear, but we did see some unique birds and learned a lot about the area from the guides.

2  Thank kanneh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2014

We just spent several amazing days exploring the trail system in Maquipucuna nature preserve, 2 hrs from Quito. The non-profit Maquipucuna Foundation www.ecotourism.maqui.org raised enough money two decades ago to buy and protect a big swath of the richly biodiverse cloud forest of the Choco Andean corridor.

My wife and I have had a lot of experience volunteering with environmental organizations back in Canada, and must say that Maquipucuna's outreach program with the communities that border the preserve is a model of how to work with local people in self-determination. Former wildlife and lumber poachers are now gainfully employed as guides, lodge staff and organic farmers on the preserve, creating a win win situation. See some of our photos for examples of this successful symbiotic relationship.

The foundation operates an ecolodge and non-profit nature preserve and by booking a visit there, you will not only have a unique bird and wildlife viewing experience (it's the peak of Andean spectacled bear-viewing season right now), but will also help provide the ongoing financial support needed to conserve a vital tract of habitat.

2  Thank Pat M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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.

5  Thank dennisfr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wisearth, Owner at Maquipucuna Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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