Cloud Forest Trails

"A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song".

Maya Angelou

The cloud forests of Ecuador, also called the pre-montane/subtropical rainforests, cover the slopes of the Andean mountains from about 900 meters to about 2500 meters. They
are forests of high biodiversity, still pristine with a little study of wildlife and plants.
Ecuador’s size is only 276,880 km2, about half the size of France and almost same size as Colorado in the US, nevertheless, the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest is considered one of the richest biodiversity hotspots on the planet, with approximately 17% of the world’s plant species and nearly 20% of its bird diversity.

While Ecuador is one of the smallest countries of South America, it is home to almost 50% of the bird species on the continent. There are over 500 species of birds found in the cloud forest. These include 35 species of hummingbirds out of the 132 that exist in the country and out of 300 in the new world, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, the Golden-Headed Quetzal, are among the most important species.
Ecuador’s Cloud Forests are home to iconic species such as the Spectacled Bear, Howler Monkey, Puma, a vast variety of plants, orchids, butterflies, and many others.
A superb option for people who are keen to nature and would like to also feel some adrenaline is doing activities like zip-lining, canyoning or exploring the forest.

Tales of the Cloud Forest

The Giant Antpitta

This story is about some old friends, the Paz Family, who live in Mindo Cloud Forest, and mainly worked on different agricultural activities like breeding cattle to produce milk , or selling wood from the forest, but one day an amazing bird changed their lives!
While Angel Paz started his journey in the fields walking on a new path to prepare a terrain for agriculture, he saw a dark bird with patches of light brown on its chest, long legs and a wide beak eating worms, but as he approached the bird flew away. The bird called his attention and Angel came back to the same area many times and followed the bird into the woods, then, he started feeding her with worms. He was really determined and soon the forest became his new
home. As he spent day after day trying to be her friend, she finally accepted the worms and Angel as well.

This simple act of determination and love for nature defined Angel’s life. As he started to realize that protecting the forest and not preying on or hunting the local fauna, he could contribute and give back to nature. At the same time he discovered that sharing these moments with the outsiders and tourists, he could make a better living and be part of sustainable alliances with other farmers and conservation organizations to protect the forest.
The bird with long legs and a strong big beak called a Giant Antpitta is very common to see in the cloud forest, and since became Angel’s friend. He used to welcome everyone to The Paz Bird Refuge. Later on, more Antpittas became Angel’s best friends and are the joy of the ornithologist. Bird watching became their main activity at the refuge, as it is for most of the inhabitants of that region.
Approximately 25 years ago the inhabitants of Mindo Cloud Forest knew about the importance of protecting the existing biodiversity, and ventures like the bird refuge have received recognition among other projects for the defense and protection of natural resources at a national and international level.

By Gentian Trails

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EXPERIENCES

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Discovering the Cloud Forest

  • Luxurious ecolodges.

  • Bird watching for more than 500 species of birds.

  • Orchid exploration with a renown Orchideologist and scientist.

  • Soft adventure.

  • Cocoa, Coffee plantations and tasting experience.

  • Aerial bike, cable car, canopying, river rafting and canyoning, will switch on your adrenaline.

  • A visit to a butterfly farm is a must as Ecuador has nearly 4000 species.

  • Travel through the road of the waterfalls.

  • Enjoy the hot springs.

  • Expedition to the Spectacle bear territory.

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Please, request our E-Brochure for more information and get inspired by the best experiential moments.

EXPERIENCES