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“Wonderful escape to the Cloud Forest, near Quito”

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Maquipucuna Reserve & Ecolodge
Ranked #23 of 290 Specialty Lodging in Quito
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed January 6, 2014

My 84 year old mother, a family friend, and I arrived at Maqui resort after a pleasant drive with our driver Bernardo, and after one night, all we could say was "wish we would have booked more than one night"! The scenery on the way from Quito changes with altitude, and by the time of arrival at Maqui, we were in the middle of lush green primary forests, clear rivers, and fresh air. Just after unloading our luggage, Rebecca, one of the owners, told us a rare spectacled bear sighting had just been made, did we want to go try to see it. Of course we said yes, and Rebecca guided us, took my mother's arm the entire way to help her footing, and we arrived at the spot up the trail about 30 minutes where we watched in awe as the bear fed on berries high up in the trees, then finally settled down for a nap on one of the branches. We were thrilled, since the bears only come down that far for a few weeks a year to snack on their favorite fruit. We got settled in our rooms, taking in the beauty of the lush green vegetation and the dance of the hummingbirds right by our balconies. Lunch was delicious and fresh, as were all the meals, more than we could eat, but we managed to stuff down the tasty fruit, vegetables and deliciously prepared chicken. The afternoon light rain encouraged us to lie in the hammock, read a book, and drift off into naps with the soft sound of drops on the huge leaves. It was still pleasant enough to go for another walk that afternoon and next day before our departure. This is a beautiful place, lovingly taken care of by Rodrigo and Rebecca, in their efforts to preserve a part of Ecuador for future generations to enjoy the natural resources of plants and animals. They treat their guests like friends, and share in their enthusiasm for this special place. Highly recommend, but for more than one night!

Room Tip: Rooms by the main part of the lodge are convenient, and there are some cabins away from the lodge ce...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank dincaprincess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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37 - 43 of 59 reviews

Reviewed November 7, 2013

Just spent the last 5 days at Maqui, a 15,000acre cloud forest reserve about 1.5hrs from Quito. The overall experience was fantastic, from initial booking through Rebeca to pickup by the driver Luis to the extraordinary effort put in by the guide Arcenio throughout the stay.
The highlight was the amazing birds on offer each day - usually a 5:30 or 6am start with Arcenio to ensure we missed nothing! I'm no expert birder, but the experience for me was amazing and educational. We got to watch birds of all varieties including cock of the rock lec and male and female tucans build a nest.
Accomodation was comfortable beside flowing river and food was very tasty. A great time was had and I would recommend Machi for a relaxing time, for nature lovers and especially birders!

Room Tip: Choose any room- all are quiet and with a 5:30am start, you'll sleep well!
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank TJ S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2013

My boyfriend and I returned this week from a month in Ecuador and the Galapagos. The whole trip was incredible, by Maquipucuna was hands down my favorite part of our entire trip. Everything, and I mean everything, is incredible. The food was the best we had in all of Ecuador (which is saying something, we loved all the food everywhere), everyone who works is so friendly, the guides are so knowledgable and so willing to share their knowledge and passion with visitors, the lodge itself is absolutely gorgeous, the facilities inside the lodge are luxurious (including hot showers!), the trails are extensive with varying degrees of difficulty, and the wildlife is abundant. I have some funny food preferences, but everything that I usually don't like I LOVED when I ate it here, and the kitchen staff was very open to preparing alternate dishes if given some advance notice. The ride to Maqui was also great, since Rodrigo asked that the driver take us to a few spots along the way, including a beautiful volcano crater and Mitad del Mundo.

Our favorite part of our stay was our guide, Arsenio. We are hikers and explorers, and we feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from such an enthusiastic member of the Maqui crew. He greeted us with a smile every day, and would approach us a few times a day to see if we wanted to hike around. He hiked with us at least twice a day, sometimes starting at 5:30 or 6 AM for birding and going into the night to look for nocturnal mammals. I swear, this man knows literally every bird in the forest by sound and sight, and he can spot birds seriously miles off and get his scope on them to share with others. His English was excellent, and he helped us work on our Spanish on every hike. Now, back in the states, we think of him daily and take his as a great role model for living a positive and enthusiastic life.

Rebeca and Rodrigo, who organize reservations and run the facilities, are wonderful people and we feel they went above and beyond to help us take advantage of everything Maqui has to offer. Because I mentioned to Rebeca that we are very active, enjoy hiking, and birding, she made sure to mention to Arsenio what our choice activities were and because of that he made himself available to us very often. We also had requested to go to Tilupe to the Pre-Incan site, to Toucanopoy for ziplining, and to Sta. Lucia Lodge to see the Cock of the Rock lek. After we made our reservations, we found out the lodge was booked and we couldn't go. Instead, Rebeca and Rodrigo put together what was one of the best days of my life for us. We went to Tilupe, then to Toucanopy (both incredible experiences in themselves and I highly recommend them both), and then we went tubing at Mindo and toured the Mindo chocolate factory. All this happened to fall on my birthday, and when we returned to the lodge the staff had prepared the most amazing dinner, complete with a freshly baked cake and my very favorite Ecuadorian cocktail, canelazo!

I cannot recommend this lodge highly enough, and I feel that I can't do it justice in writing or in the few picturesmy boyfriend and I took that I included (to see more pictures and read more stories, please check out the travel blog post I wrote about Maqui. I think it covers better everything Maqui offered to us. http://seekmyownway.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/there-and-back-again/). Do yourself a favor and spend as much time there as you possibly can. I highly advise you not to spend one or two days there, but longer. We stayed for five nights and felt that we barely scratched the surface of what Maqui had to offer. We will be back in the future, perhaps as volunteers for such a worthy cause if they will have us.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Tori Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2013

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!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Bill_Woolley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2013

I have been to Maquipucuna twice!, after my first 1 month stay while doing my ecotourism internship i fell in love with this Reserve and everything about it, so as soon as i was able i went back for seconds. This is the real thing, a visionary dream of making a difference come true and you can see how every individual involved in Maquipucuna strives to constantly improve their operation in every way possible. What i find most impressive is the total involvement of the local community of Marianitas where most of the staff originates from, Arsenio the manager and sometimes guide is a great person and master birdwatcher!, complementary to the reserve they also have an organic and bird friendly finca with a Coffee and Banana plantation very fun to visit.

The biodiversity in the Cloud Forest is just unbelievable!, there is life 360 degrees everywhere you look!!; under you, above you and all around you!. the trails are a lot of fun and there are great spots for swimming in the river. During the night temperature drops drastically and you bundle up and fall asleep to the sound of the jungle.

I had the great luck of being there simultaneously with a group of doctors that goes frequently to do medical missions, i went with them as a spanish-english translator and was able to visit many small towns tucked away in the Choco Andes, unfailingly all the people you meet are warm and very generous. They also receive visits from schools and do different activities of environmental education with the children, they have some great volunteer programs as well!.
The food is reaaaaally good, everything was really tasty..there is this really awesome typical preparation that tastes kind of like a muffin but wrapped in banana leafs and cooked in boiling water. Finally, their vibe just makes you feel at home but away from home!.

I have very fond memories of everyone there and send them all my love from the Chilean Andes!!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank Annette B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2013

We returned to Quito after our Galapagos guide JuanFe in 2011 had convinced us we had to see the Ecuadorian Amazonia if we were ever to return to Ecuador. So early the next day after arriving in Quito we made our way to the Macquipucuna Reserve. We were traveling with our 10 & 8 year old and we were hoping to keep them busy and engaged the entire trip (not that easy to do when you are competing with the memory of the Galapagos). Keeping an open mind and being prepared to see a different part of Ecuador we found ourselves in GREAT hands. Rebecca, Rodrigo and Arcenio were more than we could have hoped for with great information, patience and great ideas to keep us all in awe of Maqui. We were there for two days and two nights and had ample opportunity to hike almost all the beginner/intermediate hikes (including a night hike), play around the falls and swim in the river. They had amazingly fresh food and they had no problem accommodating my vegan diet. Macquipucuna is a an excellent example of sustainable tourism within Ecuador that not only talks the talk but walks the walk and it is fantastic!
DO NOT forgot to buy coffee from Rodrigo. It is truly comparable to the BEST coffee found in Manhattan!!! You will love your visit to Maquic

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank TracySchraven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2013

The best place we stayed in our 5 weeks of travel.
Everything was great from the moment we contacted them. Emails were responded to in a timely manner. Explanations were clear.
We were picked up from the airport and driven to the lodge. Before we met this driver we could have been convinced that road markings were purely aesthetic, signs and traffic lights were optional, and killing passengers was a national sport. But pleasingly we stayed on the correct side of the road within the speed limit, stopped for red lights, and avoided all objects (both stationary and moving).
The staff were great; one of our group had serious allergies to several foods, but we did not have to remind them when we arrived. The meals they had waiting for him was pre-planned to avoid poisoning. The cook was also very careful not to cross contaminate his meals (a rarity in South America).
The rooms were spacious, and the common areas had a great atmosphere. At night we enjoyed a drink at the bar over a game of cards while listening to the nearby river - total bliss.
The scientist (Roberto) who showed us the coffee plantation and took some of us bird watching was both knowledgeable and entertaining to talk with.
The walks were lovely,with plenty of pretty birds, and amazing butterflies and insects.
We wish we had stayed longer.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Frogbabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Maquipucuna Reserve & Ecolodge

Address: via a Nanegal | Sta. Marianita, Quito 170168, Ecuador
Location: Ecuador > Pichincha Province > Quito
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #23 of 290 Specialty Lodging in Quito
Price Range: $37 - $157 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
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 
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