Cloud Forest Lodge to Lodge Walking Tour
From $801 per person
On this 4-day lodge to lodge tour we explore the trails of two beautiful cloud-forest reserves in Ecuador - Santa Lucia and Maquipucuna, which form part of the important Choco – Andean Corridor. This corridor is a conserved area set up to protect the habitats and migratory ranges of much wildlife including Ecuador’s endangered spectacled bear.
- Activity Level:Moderate to Difficult
- Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
- Highlights: Cloud-forest trails, community-run projects, wildlife spotting, panoramic views, pre-Incan “culunco” trails
Day 1 Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Main Trail (L,D)
From Quito we head into the cloud forest region of north-west Ecuador, a spectacularly scenic overland journey which brings us to the trailhead for our walk into the Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Reserve.
This uphill walk through beautiful primary cloud forest begins at 1400m and takes around two hours to reach the lodge at 1920m. There are various seating places to rest and enjoy being in the forest along the way.
Depending on the cloud cover you will be rewarded with spectacular views when you reach the lodge for lunch. Your luggage will be transported in by mule.
After lunch we can enjoy a moderate walk on a circular trail near the lodge through beautiful primary and secondary forest which offers great views across the surrounding mountains, a visit to the orchid garden and a chance to have a go on the popular giant tree swing.
Dinner and overnight in Santa Lucia Lodge.
Day 2 Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Three Waterfalls Trail (B,L,D)
After breakfast we set out to explore one of the most beautiful trails in the Santa Lucia reserve.
The trail descends steeply from 1920m to 1600m into a thick primary forest of giant trees laden with bromeliads, epiphytes and orchids, taking us passed three mountain waterfalls.
Doubling back for a short way, we pass more waterfalls before arriving at a natural wild swimming hole: a beautiful place to bathe, appreciate the forest and enjoy a picnic lunch.
From here the more adventurous can walk waist-deep upstream to another fabulous waterfall. Then we return the way we came back up to the lodge. (5.5km- 4 hours)
Dinner and overnight in Santa Lucia Lodge.
Day 3 Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Yumbo Trail (B,L,D)
After breakfast this morning we depart along the Yumbo trail to Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve.
This walk takes us along an ancient trail, from 1920m to 1280m, through deeply trenched culuncos which were made and used as a trading route between the Andes and the coast, by the pre-Incan Yumbo people who lived in this area from 1500 BC to 500 AC.
The hike passes an organic banana plantation, waterfalls and pristine primary forest including an impressive area of giant tree ferns. A highlight is a stop at the Santa Rosa River where (depending on river level) you can walk upstream a hundred meters to reach a waterfall which cascades into a crystal clear pool, perfect for wild swimming.
Box lunch included.
At the end of the hike, the trail opens out into a lush green meadow with views of the river below and takes you on to the Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve. Your luggage will be transported to Maquipucuna by mule. (6km – 6 hours)
Dinner and overnight at Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Lodge.
Day 4 Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Palmito Trail (B,L)
This morning, after breakfast, we hike through the Maquipucuna Reserve along the Palmitos Trail, which takes us along more stretches of Pre-Incan 'culuncos‘ and through secondary and primary forest where we can learn about the medicinal plants found in this area.
The walk offers other interesting sights such as a variety of wildlife and great views across the cloud forest canopy. Spectacled bears can be observed at certain times of the year close to the lodge trails. (4km - 4 hours)
After lunch in Maquipucuna we begin our return journey to Quito where, on arrival, the tour ends.
3 Star Prices 2024
- 2 people
- $1195 p/p
- 3 - 4 people
- $969 p/p
- 5 - 6 people
- $801 p/p
Private transportation to and from cloud forest, English-speaking naturalist guide, accommodation as specified, meals as specified (B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner), entrance fees to Santa Lucia & Maquipucuna Reserve, mules to transport luggage.
International flights, personal travel insurance, alcoholic and soft drinks, extra activities not specified, tips and personal expenses
Prices are stated in US Dollars.
Prices are valid until 31st December 2024.
This tour begins and ends in the city of Quito. For pick up / drop off in Quito airport extra charges will apply.