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Maquipucuna Reserve
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Mindo Cloud Forest Day Trip from Quito
Ranked #33 of 206 things to do in Quito
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The most unique cloud forest in the Andes, Maquipucuna offers easy to moderate trails to access forests for easy sightings of the elusive and endangered Spectacled Bear. Spectacled bear season in 2017 is expected around November or December. Daily sightings of up to 10 different bears; that is more Spectacled Bears that mosts bear scientists have seen in their entire careers. Besides being the official home of the Spectacled bear and thousand other wildlife species, Maquipucuna is a birdwatchers paradise. Up to 184 birds have been spotted in a single day. The Reserve has an internationally awarded Maquipucuna Ecolodge. The nearly 15,000 acres Maquipucuna Reserve, located only 2 hours away from Quito, is also home to around 400 species of birds, 45 species of mammals, 250 species of butterflies and over 2000 species of plants. Maquipucuna is so biodiverse and well protected that it harbors about 10% of Ecuador's plant diversity and 4% of all the bird species known for the entire planet! Maquipucuna has the category of Protected Forest and has been declared as Important Bird Area (IBA).
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase
Level Contributor
58 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 June 2014

This place is wonderful, there you can find waterfalls, so don't forget to carry your water boots, nature that you can observe there is so amazing, weather is hot and it has some kind of humidity. sun protector and repelent are indispensable.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank Negro1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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124 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Barnsley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Off the beaten track lovely location!!”
Reviewed 20 May 2014

We stayed for 3 nights and took the Classic package with all the meals and wildlife guide included. We had a cabin away from the lodge but it was spacious and had a lovely veranda with hammocks to relax in and enjoy the sounds of the forest and the roaring river. All the meals were of good quality with a lot of fresh produce grown locally and the coffee served was grown by the cloud forest reserve and was lovely tasting. The birds we saw were beautiful colours, all spotted by our keen eyed guide who took us out on several walks each day teaching us all about the Cloud Forest. Very peaceful and relaxing place to stay with lovely scenery and wildlife surrounding you. All the staff were friendly and helpful, Luis was a great guide on the way back to Quito stopping at the old Mitad del Mundo on Mount Catequilla and explaining the surrounding areas around. Really recommend staying at this lodge.

Visited May 2014
3 Thank Ratty27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
104 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Unbelievably amazing - don't have enough words!”
Reviewed 24 April 2014

I just returned after 4 nights at Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve. Have you ever had an experience that was life changing in so many ways? This was it for me. The pure silence (with the only sound being the river rushing), the amazing Arsenio, Luis, and Carlos. The two women cooks who allowed me to learn how to make the most incredible breakfast treat, just everything caused for more words than I can post here. A couple of things that a traveler needs to be aware of if you make the choice to come here: food is served at set times. You are outdoors so don't complain about bugs! Try and learn a few words of Spanish - it's just polite :) I have already made another reservation to revisit here. THANK you to the staff and volunteers who made my trip so special!

Visited April 2014
4 Thank sealizis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“beautiful but lax”
Reviewed 22 April 2014

Visited the lodge with my friend – reviewed above (April 6, 2014). It’s a beautiful place, and we appreciate what is being done there for the environment and for the local people. However, I’m writing to correct a couple of the responses by the management.
I called to make a reservation in the morning – the owner did ask that I confirm by email – but we did not understand that this must be done. Nor did she at any time say that we'd be the only guests, and the workers would be getting the day off if we didn’t come. I don’t know if we would have gone if we’d heard that. As it happened, the staff, including the young American managing the place, did leave for vacation after breakfast.
We did call en route for directions, and at that point we understood that she had expected us to email confirmation, but she did not then mention that our impending visit was a problem, and she certainly didn’t say anything about having to “call people back.”
Because so much was made of the locally sourced coffee, always available for dawn hikes, both in the welcome notes and on tripadvisor, we were amazed to be told when we awoke that there was no coffee, and when the staff kindly scrounged some up after the hike, there was no additional coffee beyond a small pot. It was unfortunate that this hotel does not have coffee on hand, and then manages to round up only one serving.
It’s also not at all clear to us why the charge for the guide was not prorated, but he was very good, and we enjoyed the morning hike.
Maquipucuna is beautiful and seems like a place that the owners loved once. Now they are absent, and management seems lax.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank stuart g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wisearth, Owner at Maquipucuna Reserve, responded to this review, 23 April 2014
Dear Stuart g,
Maquipucuna is beautiful and Maquipucuna is our passion and we are as involved or more than we ever did. I will not go into further details, because I already provided them in the response to your partner. During your call in the morning, I stressed to you that we only work with confirmed reservations. It saddens me that you are not valuing our effort to accommodate you without a reservation (plus the fact that you arrived at 10:30 at night) and that despite our apologies and explanation of why you we couldn't serve more coffee in the morning, you and your friend have felt entitled to come up with all sorts of conjectures; that we once loved Maquipucuna, that we are absent, etc.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“nice spot but overpriced”
Reviewed 6 April 2014

First the positives – lovely location – tremendous rushing river, lots of birds, good trail system – easy access to trails. Good birder guide.

Major problem is that it is over priced for what you get and it is not well run.

First the price issue:
We paid 98 for the room, 20 (ten each) entrance fee for the reserve and 16 (8 each) for breakfast. We took one guided walk for an additional 34 plus lunch for 28 (14 each) and spent therefore nearly 200.

I think that a place that charges 98 for a room should provide a breakfast. It would also be nice if the entrance fee was included in the overnight rate. Essentially two folks pay 118 for a night and if you want to have coffee/food in the morning it will be 134 for an overnight. For this place that is simply too much. That they did not include breakfast seems cheap; I’ve stayed at far less expensive places in Ecuador that provide breakfast.

For 64 the lodge offers the services of a guide for three walks. we weren’t able to do all three – and asked for just the morning walk. the owner charged us 34, over half of the rate that is charged for three walks. That seems rapacious and low level. Why not charge around 21 since that is about a third of 64.

Now to the poorly run part:
Even though this place grows and markets its own coffee – grown right there – there was no coffee offered in the morning before our walk as they promise in their welcome packet, and only after a bit of back and forth did they get coffee for us – they seemed a bit surprised by this request. we did get them to get us coffee with breakfast – a small French press pot – and even after they got coffee – which was good - we could not get an additional coffee – a second pot – it was weird. We asked and were told no – that’s it! They explained that they were not prepared for us as there was a bit of confusion with our reservation – we were the only guests. This seemed strange to us – they were aware that we were coming by 7pm –Regardless, not sure why having coffee would be something that they would need to be prepared for. Why isn’t it on hand and offered? As it happened we had some coffee in our bag – and they took this and prepared it for us. So much for a 16 dollar breakfast at a100 a night place – provide your own coffee.

The place seemed nice in many ways, nice folks working there. Nice spot. It also seemed a bit at sea – There was love and attention to details/upkeep at one time in the past – but now the owner/founder is not on site – lives in Quito – but you deal with her for reservations – which are then conveyed (or not) to the folks at the lodge. The absent owner has the place managed by a early 20something American woman – this shows in the details –

i gave this four stars - very good - but would have preferred to give it 3.5 = good - better than average but not very good either -

Visited March 2014
2 Thank jcw721
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wisearth, Owner at Maquipucuna Reserve, responded to this review, 10 April 2014
We appreciate very much all constructive criticism that we receive, as we continuously strive to improve the Maquipucuna experience. We are very sorry that we failed to provide enough of our great coffee, and even more saddened that you used that failure to misconstrue in your review, what really happened.

When you called around 10 in the morning to find out if you could drive on your own to Maquipucuna that same day, I gave you the rates for the room, entrance fee, meals and guide and informed you that we only work with confirmed reservations in order to guarantee good service. I emphasized that we required you to confirm the reservation as soon as possible or otherwise we were giving the next day free to our hardworking staff because a large group had just left the lodge and we had no reservations the next day. Due to the fact that you did not call during the day as you said you would, we assumed this meant you were not coming.

To our surprise you called me at 7:30 pm from Mitad del Mundo to ask if you could still go to Maquipucuna as you were already on your way! We were glad we could help you and made an exception to our booking protocol agreeing to your visit without a reservation, even when that meant that I had to call back our guides and cooks way past their working hours so they may be ready for your arrival. We did the best we could to get everything ready for you, except for fresh coffee. Had you confirmed your reservation in the morning like you offered, we would have followed our normal procedure which is to sent the coffee that we roast and store fresh and dry in Quito in that day's shuttle. This is the reason why we didn't have enough coffee ready for you.

We do not understand your complaint regarding the prices because you still decided to come to Maquipucuna even after being informed about our rates; particularly how we charge for the guided services.

The Maquipucuna Reserve and Ecolodge uses the benefits of the ecolodge to preserve the 16,000 acre reserve. Therefore, contrary to most other lodges, you are not only paying for the accommodations, but also to preserve this vast area of pristine rainforest. You may also take into consideration the immersion into nature and what it takes to get these accommodations here (electricity, water, satellite phone, etc.). In any case your expenses will help us to conserve a rich biodiverse area, and this is something you can feel positive about.
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