Maquipucuna Reserve
Maquipucuna Reserve
4.5
Nature & Wildlife AreasHiking TrailsForests
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Maquipucuna is the closest and largest cloud forest reserve close to Quito. Besides guided tours to watch hundreds of birds, insects, orchid species and Yumbo culture vestiges, it's a unique site that offers easy to moderate trails to access forests where the endangered Andean Spectacled Bears congregate around mass fruiting of wild avocadoes. Andean bear season in 2019 is expected to happen sometime between October and December. Past visitors have sighted up to 14 different bears in two days. Maquipucuna is a birdwatchers paradise too - during the last world bird-count day, our guides sighted 157 species. Internationally awarded Maquipucuna Ecolodge within a 15,000 acres Maquipucuna Reserve located only 2 hours away from Quito. Maquipucuna is a private biodiversity haven for 10% of Ecuador's plant diversity and 4% of all the bird species known for the entire planet! Maquipucuna is an Important Bird Area (IBA) heart of the Choco Andino Biosphere Reserve as designated by UNESCO.
Duration: More than 3 hours
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Via Nanegalito a Nanegal Chocó Andino Biosphere Reserve, Quito 170168 Ecuador
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4.5
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Excellent
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basak y
Ankara, Türkiye16 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Friends
The Andean bear experience is certainly a must.
Staying in the lodge, certainly not.
For a couple of reasons:
1. The lodge is slow in its communication and will not confirm your room until very close to your travel date. The same slowness will be shown in case of your complaints.
2.My room was literally IN the restaurant area. The noise of the restaurant area was completely in it.
3. The room’s door’s top part was made of glass, therefore the light of the restaurant area was also completely in the room.
4. The shower had a primitive electric system so I did not have proper hot water.

I informed the management about my frustration, requested a partial refund and told they can not sell those rooms in the restaurant area unless a customer is sure to accept these conditions with the unfair price tag of such accomodation. The lodge does not seem to care about these customer feedbacks.
Written 2 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AndesInstitute
Cotacachi, Ecuador30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2016 • Couples
I have spent my entire career in environmental conservation. First as a ranger in California, as director of California State Parks and as deputy director of the National Park Service. Maquiepucuna is the epitomy of what an ecolodge should be. It sits lightly on the land, employs local indigenous people and the food is all natural and some of the best you will experience in all of Ecuador. The managment staff at the reserve is friendly, knowledgeable and very service oriented. The bird watching led by Arcenio was unbelievable. If anyone has greater than 20/20 vision it is Arcenio. He saw birds with the naked eye hundreds of yards away and set up the scope in seconds so that all could view. He took photos through the scope with my iPhone while my wife used her 300mm lens to photograph birds Arsenio had spotted. The natural, undisturbed beauty of the reserve will inspire a deep sense of spiritual awe and nourish a tired body and weary soul. The spirit of the place will stay with you long after you leave. If you a patient and willing to do night hikes and get up early, you will be rewarded with spectacular wildlife sightings. I've been all over the world and visited natural and cultural world heritage sites. Macquipucuna is among the wonders of the world. A must see for those wanting to experience nature in all of its glory.
Written 20 March 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Martin H
Southampton, UK17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015 • Couples
We stayed at the lodge as a couple for four days and three nights. Maquipucuna Lodge offers packages which include a guide for unlimited walks each day, all meals, a room with a private bathroom (and HOT water, a rarity in Ecuador), unlimited boiled water for drinking and the park entrance fee. It's a very good deal - if you add all these things up separately it comes to a lot more than is asked for the package and it allows you to relax and immerse yourself fully in the beautiful surroundings.

The food (three meals a day) is delicious and freshly prepared and the staff catered for our needs as vegetarians beautifully. The kitchen was very flexible when sometimes the morning bird walk overran - it's easy to get carried away with such abundant bird life. We typically walked before breakfast - bird watching with the ever-smiling Arsenio - followed by two guided walks along one of the many trails before and after lunch. Carlos even offered to take us on a night walk after dinner (every night!) to see how the forest changes in the dark - an amazing array of insects had emerged, but it's not for the arachnophobic!

The lodge itself is beautiful, made entirely out of bamboo (even our bed frame was made of bamboo!), and with humming bird feeders near to the eating areas so you can watch them as you eat. Our room had lots of big windows so you can wake up to the green swaying trees and bird life outside, and go to sleep to the sound of the rushing stream. There are hammocks to relax in and a bar open in the evenings, staffed cheerfully by Carlos. There is even a waterfall and a swimming hole where you can relax surrounded by trees, in clear clean (if cold!) water.

Of course the highlight was seeing the famous Spectacled Bears, so close to us! We saw them walk up the trees, watched them eat the fruit up in the tops and nearly bumped into them a couple of times on the ground! Spectacled Bear season varies with the fruiting of the trees they come down for, but can usually be predicted about six months ahead so you can plan your trip. We were there in August and saw lots of them.

Overall the best thing about Maquipucuna, is the unabated passion and excitement of the staff, even having worked there for over 20 years. They were as excited to see bears, birds and beetles as we were! Every living creature is valued, treated gently and to be admired. It makes for a truly peaceful atmosphere. We would recommend it to anyone.
Written 16 August 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Akjackson
Vermillion, SD47 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014 • Family
We (me, my spouse, and daughter) traveled to Maquipucuna on July 26th and stayed for 4 days. We loved it. Luis, the driver, picked us up at our hotel in Quito and provided a good history on the 2 hr drive. We stopped and viewed the 0,0,0 point and Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve on the way. The last 15 minutes is on gravel road. We stayed at the lower level cabin near the community dining room. Each cabin had its own bathroom w shower and towels. 3 meals a day are served Al fresco style outside on wood tables nicely decorated. Hot tea and coffee and drinking water is available all day. The water in the cabins is safe. The activities are extraordinary. We took the bird tours each morning with Arsenio at 6:30 am, zip line through the cloud forest, hiking, and chocolate massage. We got a good workout. The scenery is breathtaking. Bugs are moderate level. Chiggers are a nuisance. On the last day, we took a bus back to Quito at 3pm and they dropped us at our hotel. My daughter got altitude sickness the first day, but was fine after that. The air is cool this time of year at night, so bring a jacket. Shorts are not recommended due to the chiggers. We are planning to go back again some day. The staff was all very accommodating and the meals were delicious. The manager, Arsenio, was very knowledgeable about the plants and animals and was an excellent tour guide.
Written 4 August 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

clival
Crete98 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed at Maquipucuna during our 4½ weeks travel in Ecuador – and what a place!!! Really off the beaten track – in thick forest next to a river, it’s a bird-watcher’s paradise where hummingbirds fly around your head. We loved the lodge, the people we met there (staff, guides and naturalists) and the walking we did. We saw SO MUCH!
Written 16 March 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Oliver R
Switzerland15 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2016 • Couples
This may be one of the oldest cloud-forest reserves in the area but it's not only the infrastructure that shows definite signs of age, also their administration processes seem to start falling apart. There are many shortcomings in maintenance to the buildings and infrastructure. The whole place feels very tired. What they tout "research station" in their marketing information is a mere shadow of its former self: two glass jars with snakes in formaldehyde, a few worn information panels, several torn-up books, items that other travellers had seemingly left behind. No perceivable research activity.

We already experienced a difficult time trying to make a booking. While the initial response was quick and professional, my booking request was not answered within three business days despite my explicit asking for the payment details before we were going to fly to the Galapagos island where we expected no internet facilities to make online payment. A desperate Skype call remained equally unanswered.

We booked and paid camping for three nights and a local guide (USD 88 per day) for two days. The booking information was fairly complete but not detailed enough in two instances:

1 — Two days before getting there we were reminded that the roofed access bridge across the river was only 2.60 m high — we weren't going to get across there and needed to camp by the side of the road rather than on their nice camping platform high above the property by the so-called research station. We were kindly offered a 50-percent refund for the camping fees I had already paid ahead. But a month later I'm still waiting for a proposal on how they will actually make the refund.

2 — There was a paragraph on "chiggers" in the information part, which we read but could not estimate the impact of. "Chiggers" are nasty almost microscopic mites that live on the ground and crawl up on you to find the darkest most humid spots of your body where the release a saliva that dissolves skin cells. It causes a terrible itch for several days. Our guide (remember: USD 88/day) did not care to warn us about these buggers or double-check that we actually had the pants tucked into our socks and the shirt into our trousers and had used plenty of repellent. "Chiggers" don't burrow in your skin and seemingly they can be washed off (dislocated) with enough hot water and soap. However, if you wait too long before you shower, the damage is done. We both ended up each with about 50 red blotches on our bodies and were on anti-histamine pills for three days. We would really have appreciated a reminder by our guide Carlos.

Carlos actually proved to be a very knowledgeable guide on the track. He spotted loads of birds and knew everything about every one of them. On day 1 we went on two walks with him in the morning but when it came to a third walk in the afternoon, he seemed reluctant to make an appointment. We still went with him at around 3 pm and we were glad we did because we saw — among other interesting birds — at least 12 Choco Tucans. Wonderful birds to observe!

On day 2 we went on two walks in the morning but then Carlos seemed to be utterly out of ideas as to what to do in the afternoon. We made a few suggestions (like e.g. taking a fixed observation post later in the afternoon and just see what what birds will appear) but Carlos did not seem to remember any such place or have another walk up his sleeve saying that we had done all the walks already. So we let it at that and ended up paying a full-day guide for half a day. Again, I have not heard back from the administration after I complained about this.

Furthermore it does not seem to be a standard practise at this lodge for the guide to provide a strong telescope to appreciate the full beauty of the birds; a service all the other birding lodges we visited had done.

So, in summary, this lodge is showing all signs of a place that is willing to take the tourists' money but does not invest in upkeep, maintenance and thorough customer service. This may once have been a great place to visit but competition is fierce in the area and Maquipucuna seem to have missed to boat to get their act together.
Written 10 November 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
We are committed to share Maquipucuna and that our visitors have the best experience in our piece of paradise, so we are deeply troubled by the experiences you describe. In summary, we feel like we did everything in our power to accommodate and provide for you and your group and we are deeply sorry that you have portrayed such a negative experience. We are also troubled because you threatened us with a negative review on TripAdvisor even before you decided to come to Maquipucuna. I would like to follow up highlighting our correspondences and providing further explanations. Sept - 27 Oliver: " If you find a way to make our stay happen as requested I will be happy. If not I will take the liberty to write a TripAdvisor report and make a Facebook comment outlining the shortcomings of the Maquipucuna administration processes" 1) Booking process: We exchanged 15 emails before you came - that demands a considerable amount of personalized time; and except for a delayed response to one of them, you received timely and full responses to all the rest and you were happy with our responses. Here are excerpts of a few and full correspondences can be provided to anyone who requests them. Sept 23 - Oliver: "Many thanks for the very helpful material, especially attachment 03 with services and prices answer MANY of our open questions." Sept 27 - Oliver: " Many thanks for taking action so quickly and so late at night. That's really appreciated and shows to me that the delay really was an oversight." Oct 5 - Oliver: "I'm afraid I have to tell you that we can't make the agreed date, Oct 8th, around 2pm. The reason is that our Galapagos cruise never happened as planned" Oct 9 - Oliver: " Back in Quito now. Thanks so much for changing our reservation! " Oct 10 - Oliver: "Thanks for your quick and comprehensive reply (as always!), really appreciate it." 2) Bridge clearance: In one of your first mails, you told us you were coming in a 4WD and that you were camping; but only two days before your visit, you told us that you were bringing a camper truck. Although you never told us how large your camper truck was, and considering we have never seen large camper trucks in Ecuador, as a precaution, we informed you that we have a bridge and its clearance specifications: Maquipucuna: "Please take into consideration that the height of the roof of the bridge is 2.60mts." Oliver: "Ooops, if 2.60 m is really the limit and there is no ford to navigate around the bridge, then this means we will not pass :-(( And our friends probably neither. Dang! And we thought we could have a fine time camping side by side (rather than by the side of the road). Now I'm torn because I cannot contact our friends until Wednesday: should I make the payment right now and risk that they won't like to camp by the side of the road, or should I not make the payment and tell them they shouldn't come? Is there a chance the pay cash after the got to Maquipucuna and have decided whether they like it or not? I'm sorry this is getting complicated now but I (stupidly) assumed we would pass that bridge no problem." When we confirmed that you brought a large truck-camper that wasn't able to cross the bridge and although you still camped in our property, we didn't feel right to charge you the full camp site fee and we offered you a refund and we are still waiting for you to tell us how you want your refund as we never received your bank information to allow us to refund you. Oliver: "Arcenio told me to contact you for the fact that we were not able to camp at the actual camping area .... Still, we were able to use the shelters and fire place to prepare a delicious roasted chicken and a typical Swiss cheese fondue.... Apparently you told Arcenio you would charge us only half of the regular camping rate which we is very kind of you. Since our friends paid cash they were able to take advantage of this kind offer right away. Since I paid in advance by bank transfer it's probably going to be a bit trickier to take advantage. I'm happy to pass you my banking details but I fear there are substantial transaction costs”! 3) Regarding your guide Carlos Sevilla: Carlos Sevilla lost one arm as a child and for that reason he is not able to maneuver a telescope. When we hired him many years ago, he was the most avid hunter (yes, with one arm!) of the region and there were no other employment chances for him in our rural area. He has received extensive training from Maquipucuna and is now one of the best guides to spot spectacled bears --during season-- and to recognize traditionally used plants. He knows his birds, and spots them easily; however, because his lack of arm, bird guiding is not his strength. When tourists explicitly ask for a bird guide, we don't send him because he only uses his binoculars and laser pointer but can't use the telescope. We have a bad experience allowing tourists carrying and using our telescopes. We have already lost telescopes because people either dropped them or twisted the controls in the wrong way. Therefore, only the guides who have two arms can take the telescopes. Had we known your specific interests in birding, we would have assigned another guide to take you; however,you didn't specifically request for a bird guide and the $22 that each one of you paid daily for guiding went to pay part of Carlos salary, part of the salary of the night watch, part of the salary of the people who maintain the trails, as well as the camping area, and of part of the salary of the people who guard the reserve. We are troubled by your complaint about him refusing to guide you in the afternoon; and that is currently under review. We are considering that he started his morning shift at 6:30 am and that he did guide you on two hikes, guiding you at 3 pm would have been past his 8 hour work shift. We are also evaluating his reluctance to go on a third hike, as all our guides are instructed to coordinate with their daily supervisor if their tourists desire additional hikes. 4) About chiggers: We emphasized about the prevention of chiggers in the information we sent before you even confirmed and we detailed exactly what to do to minimize the possibility of getting them and their discomfort. Also, you probably know that different people have different degrees of allergic reaction to chiggers. For some, even abundant chiggers are a non-issue, other people react very strongly. Fortunately, chiggers don't transmit any disease. It is unfortunate that you didn't follow our provided instructions. However, we do admit that it is important for the guides to remind our guests about the chiggers and the necessary precautions. This is part of our protocol and we apologize if the information was not repeated to you by your guide. 5) The fact that we have been able to lead and sustain conservation efforts for close to 30 years, which besides the 15,000 acre Maquipucuna Reserve's area include what we have done at the communities of Yunguilla, Santa Lucía, Playa de Oro and the fact that Maquipucuna has become a unique Spectacled Bear sanctuary and heart of a unique regional Spectacled bear conservation corridor, speak of how active and committed we are to keeping the habitat intact so that you can experience wildlife at its peak-- dozen toucans and so much more wildlife. That shows that Maquipucuna is the contrary of a cloud forest reserve in the downturn --how you have titled us. In terms of research, we are as active as ever. We offer a research field station. At no time we claim that we have sophisticated labs or anything of the sort. Not yet, anyway. For now, our pride is to keep the habitat intact and to facilitate our researchers the support they need --such as subsidize stays-- to get their data, work, and finish their publications. And we do all these with the small funds we get from ecotourism and personal effort through fundraising and grant writing. A research site is ranked by the number of publications of great impact and that is what Maquipucuna's researchers keep producing. 6) Even though our ecotourism program is one of the pioneers in the country, we are constantly renovating and making investments, within our non-profit budget constraints. We recently finished a new house and we are currently renovating our thatch roofs which need replacing every four years. If you would like to converse further about these issues, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Written 21 November 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

ringinthenewyear
California447 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2013 • Friends
It's about a 2 hour car ride. We were staying in Quito for only a couple of nights and then moving on to the Galapagos. Upon arriving in the city, I had no interest in looking at more Churches, all I wanted to do was get in the mountains. Tripadvisor friends suggested I come here. And they were right.

My buddy and I spent the entire day at this beautiful eco-lodge. I wish we could have stayed here. The co-founder, Rodrigo, was a delight to meet. He told us the history of the land, shared with us their organic garden, the coffee farming process, told us how they are collaborating with the locals to improve their communities. Some amazing things are happening here in one of the most beautiful settings you can possibly imagine.

I wish we had booked an overnight stay here. So learn from me. If you are coming to Quito make sure to stay a couple of nights here. You will love it.

The food is EXCELLENT too!!!

Good job to all those on staff at the lodge!!
Written 21 March 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Phyllis W
El Portal, CA7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2012 • Friends
Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve Lodge is a truly amazing place in the cloud forest. The rustic cabins are quite large and comfortable. We reserved a two-bedroom suite with living room and deck with a hammock for 2 couples. The food is mostly grown there, organic and delicious. I am gluten free and they accommodated this perfectly. They provided transportation to and from Quito and a knowledgeable guide, Arcenio, from the area who was able to find all kinds of birds (he actually carried a spotting scope). He told us about the plants and animals and their legends. Most exciting was that he helped us find 7 different spectacled bears over the 3 days we were there. We were able to get long looks at them, fairly close up, high in the very tall wild avocado trees eating the miniature avocados and sleeping there. We saw several of them multiple times. I would highly recommend Maquipucuna cloud Forest Reserve. Check out their web page and Facebook page.
Written 30 November 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

416Traveller2013
Toronto, Canada262 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2012 • Family
The drive to Maquipucuna itself is very interesting -- small villages along the way, a glimpse of farming, the changes in vegetation as the altitude changes, etc. The lodge itself is amazing (and spotless bathrooms), and it is wonderful how they have laid out half a dozen different trails of different lengths and difficulties. Everything is well-signposted. One very short (but steep and slippery -- I slipped into the stream from a muddy rock) trail leads to a wonderful secluded waterfall. The birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, etc. are numerous and varied. You can either bring your own food or order food there.
Written 17 August 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LCTAreview
Severna Park, MD2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Friends
Wonderful experience. Very quiet and secluded feeling, while being very close to Quito. Definitely "got away". Wonderful diversity of birds and excellent guide to help us locate them. Plenty of time and opportunity to go hiking on our own as well. Rooms and lodge are fairly basic (not fancy) but clean and very comfortable. Perfect for us. But if you need your marble sink and 300count sheets, this place isn't going to make you happy. Food was excellent. Overall, amazing value.
Written 5 December 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear LCTAreview, Thank you for taking the time to write your impressions about the Maquipucuna Reserve & Ecolodge. Even though we live here, we too still marvel at how amazingly different is Maquipucuna despite being so close to the urban part of Quito. Would you believe Maquipucuna is part of the Quito's county? The Reserve is part of Quito and it holds an amazing biodiversity; 10% of Ecuador plant species and 4% of the world bird species. We are working on some renovations and improvements at the lodge, so in a few months, we hope to have a little fancier rooms. Thank you for your visit, you made a significant contribution to the protection of our little paradise.
Written 8 March 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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MAQUIPUCUNA RESERVE (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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