My sweetheart and I traveled to the Maquipucuna Reserve with a group from the New England Wildflower Society. I grew up in northern NJ in the 1950s and now live north of Boston. The most exotic trip I ever went on as a kid was camping in Maine. Anything beyond that I only knew from the pages of National Geographic magazine. Maqui blew me away. Lush, green forests with brightly colored birds, peculiar animals and rushing rivers were spectacular sights, but I was most smitten by the simple, genuine friendliness of the people. Over the years I'd become accustomed to peers trying to out-class and out-splash each other. At Maqui, there were just people being people, all cooperating to make life more livable from one day to the next, epitomizing the concept of "commonwealth." Beyond the people, we stayed in a two-family cabin, with our own bathroom and a porch, set back from the main lodge, which was very peaceful and relaxing. Meals, taken outdoors under a roof, were unusual to my provincial palate, but very tasteful and healthful. Trails were clearly marked and the air was therapeutic just to breathe. If your lodging standards are lofty, hovering somewhere north of Hilton-esque, you'll be unsettled by Maqui's rustic rooms and facilities, but I challenge you to find any upscale hotel where you rub elbows with friendlier, more down-to-earth people. Before my days on Earth are done, one way or another, I'm going to find my way back to Maqui!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Maquipucuna is the official home to the Spectacled bear and the closest pristine rainforest reserve & ecolodge to Quito, Capital of Ecuador. The Maquipucuna Ecolodge is located 2 hours northwest to Quito, it is the official gateway to the Maquipucuna Nature Reserve. The Reserves extends over close to 6,000 hectares (15,000 acres) containing more 45 species of mammals, 250 species of butterflies, and 1000 species of moths - among other species. In addition to hosting more than 2,000 species of plants, Maquipucuna harbors 376 bird species or 4% of the world's bird diversity. Visitors can hike a system of 8 trails spanning 32 km of well maintained trails, dive into natural swimming holes, visit waterfalls, experience the first coffee-tour in Ecuador, bird-watch, visit our organic garden,visit neighboring community ecolodges, learn about our conservation efforts in the Choco-Andean conservation & sustainable development corridor, or simply relax. ... more less