Bellavista Cloud Forest Lodge and Regional Nature Tours
The Bellavista Reserve is located in the spectacular cloud forests of northwestern Ecuador, on the edge of the Choco bio-region, one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.The expanding 2,000 acre reserve hasdeeply forested mountains which descend into gorges sprinkled with cascading waterfalls and crystalline streams.
Only two hours from Quito, Bellavista is an ideal place for comfortable adventure and relaxation. It's a great option for those traveling to the Galapagos and don't have time for a trip to the Amazon. But above all, Bellavista is a wonderful place for discovering the cloud forest and its magical diversity of bird and plant life. And perhaps most importantly, you can walk the trails in peace at your own pace without bumping into crowds of other people.
They offer guests a unique stay above the forest canopy! Some prefer their new Superior rooms while others prefer the Mirador Suite, the unusual Bamboo House, the half-timbered Trailhead House , the 4-story, thatch-roofed geodesic dome, or the House in the Woods.
The lodging offers all the comforts of home: hot showers, comfortable beds, friendly staff, plenty of relaxation, and delicious food.
That makes a total of 18 rooms with private bath, and 10 beds in shared accommodation, so families and larger groups can be accommodated in comfort. They also offer a research station/hostel, where student groups are accommodated in simple bunk bed accommodation in a different area of the 2000 acre reserve.
The kitchen staff provides the finest in Ecuadorian and international cuisine (local trout is a specialty, also meat-based dishes, vegetarian options, good salads. Allergies, etc. are catered for) and refreshments (wine, beer, juices and colas). In early 2017, they will offer a completely new resaurant area with sweeping views towards Pichincha!
Staff speaks English, Spanish, French, and German.
An Olinguito has started to visit the lodge regularly and very visibly every evening. This highly attractive animal is the first new mammal discovered by science in the Americas in the past 35 years, so to have such high probability of seeing this animal at close quarters at Bellavista is truly something special! An overnight stay is required.
Andean Spectacled Bear signs are frequently seen on the trails, and occasionally somebody sees one of these wonderful and harmless animals up close. Just to know such a fascinating and rare (sadly endangered) species moves through the reserve is fantastic! As they very recently downloaded the photos on one of the camera traps, they found photographs of a large bear (likely a male) breaking down a heart of palm tree, and eating the freshly-forming leaves .. and less than 10 minutes walk on an easy trail from the Lodge! Bellavista is part of the recently- declared "Corredor del Oso (Corridor of the Spectacled Bear, which is working to protect bears and conserve their habitat in the Quito Metropolitan District.
Whether you want to catch sight of the of epiphytes on an easy trail near the lodge bushwack with machetes through the Valley of Mist, hike upstream to the Hidden Falls, or just relax in a hammock in the whirring company of fearless hummingbirds, Bellavista is a great place to commune with nature -- and yourself. Their bilingual guides are knowledgeable in tropical ecology and are familiar with the forest's elusive inhabitants (birds, mammals, lizards, and more). Let us know what discovery experience you are craving and their guides will custom-tailor your days' adventures. (Rubber boots are provided.)
2 Day Itinerary
Day 1 - Leaving Quito at 6:30am, we descend a scenic mountain road with forested mountains and beautiful views. Reaching the turn to Bellavista, you climb to the top of the mountain, again with fabulous views, where Bellavista lodge is perched. Settle into your room, enjoy our special breakfast and see the hummingbirds at such close quarters. Then you are invited to join the first hike into the forest. Rooms will be available during the morning.
After a tasty lunch, you can take a guided hike with a Bellavista naturalist, or explore on your own. A guided hike will acquaint you with the exuberant vegetation (orchids, bromeliads, ferns, trees, etc) of the cloud forest, its bird life, and the fascinating adaptations to life in this special environment. The evening is relaxed, but it is the time for the chance to see the delightful Olinguito! We also recommend you take time to admire the incredible variety of moths or you can also look for night birds such as the Common Potoo!!
Day 2 - an early morning bird hike in the serene morning light is well worthwhile. At 8 AM, a special Bellavista breakfast is served. Afterwards, perhaps explore on your own, or go with a guide to a waterfall! Every hike reveals something new.
Lunch is served at 1 pm, and afterwards you choose whether you want to take a short hike or just relax while enjoying the flight and activity of the hummingbirds.
Transfer back to Quito, expecting to arrive between 5 PM and 5:30 PM
3 Day Itinerary
Day 1: 6:30 AM departure from your hotel in Quito, to arrive in time for breakfast. Then enjoy a naturalist guided hike. Lunch, then later enjoy a forest hike – discover the ecology of this mysterious forest - and/or bird watching. Dinner. Then it is the best time for the chance to see the delightful Olinguito. We also recommend you take time to admire the incredible variety of moths or you can also look for night birds such as the Common Potoo!!
Day 2: Early morning bird hike before Breakfast. Then hike to a waterfall hidden in the forest, or walk the Self-guided Trail. Lunch, then in the afternoon are further options for easy hikes or true adventure, alone or with a guide! Dinner
Day 3: Early morning bird hike, then Breakfast.
Optional- there are more than 20 optional day excursions you can do. Recommended to see on longer stays at Bellavista: Cock-of-the-rock, butterfly farm, chocolate factory, canopy zipline and much more - the choice is yours. Can be booked at the lodge to try to get a group rate.
Lunch, then free afternoon till 3 PM departure. Arrive at your Quito hotel between 5 and 5:30 PM
NOTE THAT THIS 3 DAY PACKAGE CAN EASILY BE EXTENDED AN EXTRA DAY OR MORE!
2017-2018 Package Prices: including accommodation, round trip transportation from Quito, guide service for 3 hikes a day and meals. Tax and Service are included. Note: Specialist birding guide, or individually exclusive guide service, costs extra). Add $50 for English-speaking transfer person. Add $84 for pickup or dropoff at Quito airport for 1-3 people.
Extra nights are $100 / $121 per adult, and $56 / 61 PER child (SINGLE OR DOUBLE).
Please add US$1.50 Municipal tax per room per night.
"Bellavista is FANTASTIC. I was thinking of it as a bookend to my trip, not expecting too much. Truly wonderful how they've set up everything there. Richard is amazing (didn't meet Gloria).
All in all, I've highly recommended you already to all my friends!! Thanks again" Cara
"We had a wonderful time at Bellavista Lodge. All of the transfers went smoothly, the lodge was very comfortable, the staff was friendly and helpful, and, with the help of our expert guide, Juan Carlos Crespo, we enjoyed some excellent birding during our four-day Birding Bonanza. We were surprised at how few other birders were there, so we are trying to spread the word in our local birding community. Thanks very much for your help in making the booking and other arrangements, and for answering all of our questions. You made it all easy for us." Rachel and Joseph