Holiday Guide to Ecuador's Cloud Forest
Between the lowland rainforests and the high Andean peaks, is another of Ecuador's very special ecosystems: the cloud forest. This green, lush land of mists and orchids, fast-flowing mountain streams and fluttering butterflies, is home to an incredibly diverse array of wildlife, and is particularly rich in birds and butterflies. Holidays in the cloud forest are a great example of how Ecuador's hugely varied geography is a boon for anyone who loves wildlife.
It's a little-known fact that the cloud forest runs the famous Amazon jungle pretty close in terms of diversity, and if you're an orchid-fancier, birder or lepidopterist then this really is the place for you! In contrast to the flatlands of the Amazon basin, the varied terrain in the Cloud Forest makes it much easier to spot birds and butterflies, and also makes photos much easier to take.
The cloud forest also offers opportunities to see larger mammals such as ocelots, monkeys, bears, sloths and deer, plus innumerable lizards and amphibians. Many of the species are endemic to specific areas within the cloud forest, where they have evolved to suit specific ecological niches. Today, many of these areas are protected in National Parks like the Mindo Nambillo Cloud Forest Reserve, and are easily visited in just a couple of days from Quito.
In fact, a tour into the Cloud Forest from Quito can even be done in a day, although an overnight stay is definitely preferable. We work with a large variety of community-owned and sustainably-run lodges deep in the forest itself, so you can visit for just a couple of days, or stay longer and enjoy the warmth and humidity of the lower altitudes. Aside from the nature and wildlife on offer, the geography of the cloud forest makes it a great place to enjoy some adventure activities on your holiday in Ecuador, such as whitewater rafting and kayaking on the swift rivers or trekking through the forest.