An Alternative Hiking Experience in Ecuador
When you think of hiking in Ecuador, you most probably imagine typical Andean backdrops of highland landscapes and snow-capped volcanoes.
But Ecuador offers a distinct and alternative hiking experience that often gets overlooked. Hiking in Ecuador’s cloud forest offers some amazing off-the-beaten-track trails and unique experiences.
Walking with Wildlife
if you love hiking and wildlife then this is for you. As you explore forest trails you will be on the look-out for toucans, tanagers, orchids, bromeliads, medicinal plants. This is also home to the endangered Spectacled Bear and many other mammals. Bear sightings are becoming more frequent in Ecuador’s cloud forest at certain times of the year, a conservation success story to be celebrated and supported.
Hiking in the cloud forest can involve a bit of up and down. Trails tend to be hilly as you navigate the deep forest terrains, but remember you are at a lower altitude compared to the high Andes, so there is definitely more oxygen to go around. The cloud forest hikes Original Ecuador offers tend to take place between 1400m - 2000m. The rewards for climbing cloud forest trails to secluded lookout points are the spectacular 360-degree views that greet you. Definitely worth the effort!
The cloud forest is filled with pristine rivers and inviting waterfalls. After a good forest hike, there is nothing more welcoming than a dip in a local “bado” or swimming hole. Guaranteed to be an extremely refreshing experience, which leaves you tingling all over!
Supporting Conservation Projects
There are many incredible and important ecological reserves in Ecuador’s cloud forests that need and deserve our support. They are fighting the threat of mining, hunting, colonization & deforestation. The ecotourism projects provide communities with a sustainable income whilst ensuring the protection of the forest. We can support them by visiting them, staying in their lodges, hiking their trails, learning about their work and sharing their stories.
If you have visited Ecuador’s cloud forest you will know exactly what we are talking about. For those of you who haven’t, brace yourselves. We wear WELLIES (rubber boots) to hike in the cloud forests of Ecuador. Weird right? They are perfect for the trails which can be wet and muddy in places, and they can protect your ankles from biting bugs. OK, they are not for everyone but we definitely recommend you give it a go if you want to hike like a local.
Check out our 4 day / 3 night Lodge to Lodge Cloud Forest Hiking Tour itinerary, which supports two great cloud forest reserves – Santa Lucia Cloud Forest and Maquipucuna Reserve. Wellington boots included!