Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO
Quito to the Ecolodge
This group transfer begins with collection from selected Quito hotels between 7 - 7:30 am. As we make our way north, we'll head past the Monument to the Equator, at 0° latitude.
By virtue of the altitude changes during the drive, you will see a wide range of changing views from dry landscapes to the breathtaking lush cloud forests of Maquipucuna. You will experience the classic example of a rain shadow effect, the result of rainfall differences between the windfall and wind-protected sides of the mountain.
After about 2 hours drive through the changing landscapes, you will arrive at Maquipucuna Ecolodge. On arrival you'll be greeted by the friendly staff then provided with rubber boots, prepared to be on your way for some wonderful wildlife experiences.
Discover the surroundings
Before lunch, embark on a short guided introductory hike to learn about the cloud forest and its fascinating flora. The cloud forest is home to many plants with useful properties. Your guide will explain the plants used as remedies or treatments for a range of ailments, from minor injuries to hair loss and even for natural insect repellent! The medicinal properties and uses of the plants are fascinating and we strongly recommend the guided tour here.
Hike through the cloud forest
After lunch, you will walk through the various trails, looking for traces of the spectacled bears living here. It is a moderate hike through the cloud forest. You can expect some incredible bird and wildlife viewing along this trail. Amongst others, you have the opportunity to spot the Lanceolated Monklet, the Choco Toucan, the Esmeraldas Antbird and the Guayaquil Woodpecker. Various birds of prey live here and the occasional Andean cock-of-the-rock can be sighted on the trail.
The mix of primary and secondary forest make this a journey through the progression of forest regeneration. Primary forests are forests of native tree species, where there is no visible evidence of human activities - this means that they are old growth forests that have never been harvested for timber. Secondary forests are forests that have naturally regenerated after significant removal or disturbance of the original forest vegetation and are now composed of a different forest structure, attracting different wildlife.
One of the tree species characteristic of this secondary forest is a tree of the laurel family (Lauraceae), locally known as Pacche. When in season, these trees carry an abundance of fruit similar to a small avocado. This is the fruit responsible for attracting unusually high numbers of bears in recent years. It is possible to see several animals feeding on the top of the Pacche trees as close as 15 minutes away from the lodge. A local guide is essential during Spectacled Bear season.
An optional guided night hike is offered after dinner
Mating Dance of the Andean cock-of-the-rock
At around 5 am, enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee as you watch the Andean Cock of the Rock's courtship ritual. The walk to the Lek takes about 45 minutes, so the hiking group departs at 5:15 to follow this spectacular display of nature, where Andean cock-of-the-rock's gather in open spaces. You can observe as male birds perform dances for the watching females, which consist of short steps and jumps, accompanied by typical vocalisations. Breakfast will be served back at the lodge around 8 am.
Before lunch, you can do a challenging hike and take a break at the waterfall for a refreshing swim.
Transfer back to Quito
After lunch return to Quito to selected hotels.